Summer in Oban

July 16, 2016 - Oban, United Kingdom

Weekends begin more slowly at our hotel; breakfast from 8am rather than 7:30am. There was no great rush to head outside either. The view from our room looks across the Sound of Kerrera to a large island, Kerrera. The day looked dismal. From our window we could see the fine rain and mist blowing in around the island from either end and sometimes obscuring it completely.

Breakfast had plenty of choices from a hot and cold buffet as well as a small selection of hot dishes to be cooked. Ahh, there was smoked salmon and scrambled eggs so I was happy. Tea and toast brought to your table made the experience better than the usual 'scramble for the scramble'.

We stretched breakfast for as long as we could but when there was more staff than people in the dining room we thought we should return to the room and write up some of the journal. At least there we could watch the day and the weather from a comfortable seat in a warm room. Yes, we turned the heater up when we arrived and it feels almost tolerable now. Or are we acclimatising.

The hotel would do our laundry for us for just £10 a bag so we collected together the accumulated washing and left a bag at reception. 'Will tomorrow lunchtime be alright', they asked. We were just happy to get it done without having to take it into town and collect it later.

When the weather lifted about lunchtime we went for a walk to the centre of town. We had to go to the Staffa Tours office and exchange our voucher for tickets to the Tuesday tour of Staffa, Lunga and Mull. Our walk along the waterfront was punctuated by frequent stops to read some of the many plywood squares tied to the railing and rattling together in the wind. On them were drawings by young children from 3 to 7 or 8 years and sometimes a little verse or joke -

Knock, knock. Who's there? Cows go. Cows go who? No, silly, cows go mooo!

After 50m or more of the railing with these rattling boards we discovered that it was an appeal for donations for a playground for the younger children. Just another £60,000 to go. Somehow the number of boards hanging on the railing seemed to far outweigh the number of children around the town, even if we included the holiday makers.

We found the West Coast Tours office which is where Staffa Tours used to be (glad that was pointed out by the hotel staff) and received our tickets for the tour. In fact a ferry ticket to get to Mull, a bus ticket for Craignure to Tobermory and a ticket for the boat trip from Tobermory to Lunga and Staffa. Looking around at the weather today I am slightly concerned about being dropped for two hours on an island with only the birds for company and the rain blowing horizontally. We shall see.

It was raining again (should I be surprised?) when we walked out of the tour office but we popped umbrellas and buttoned up jackets and took a walk around the block. There wasn't a great deal to see but we did look at a couple of restaurants as an alternative to eating at our hotel.

Margaret found a shoe shop with a pair of shoes she thought would suit her for the wedding. When she was paying for those she realised that we all should have looked for VAT refund forms when we bought the suits. Margaret got one for the shoes but that will only be a small amount.

Perhaps as compensation for my patience waiting at the shoe shop we then walked along to the Oban Chocolate Factory for a hot drink. We both chose hot chocolate - naturally, and a bakewell slice to share, as well as buying an assortment of handmade chocolates for later. After breakfast at the hotel I am not sure that the bakewell slice was really necessary but I know the chocolates were.

The walk back to the hotel was into the wind blowing up the Sound of Kerrera and the rain was fine enough to blow in anywhere the wind could go. Thank god the temperature is 14ºC. Imagine if it was cold!

Once back in our freshly made up room we stretched out and basked in the heated air while we wrote up some of our journal articles and sorted photographs from the last few days. I know the weather doesn't sound pleasant and Margaret is feeling restricted as she wants to do everything and try everything while we are here. For my part I am happy to watch the world and our room gives us the chance to sit and watch the weather blow in and out around Kerrera Island.

For dinner tonight we decided to try the food in the bar rather than eating in the Dining Room. In fact some Aussies we met last night at dinner saw us in the bar and pointed out we could order the bar food in the Dining Room or vice versa. That may have been because they saw us wince at the 'delightful tinkling laughter' of a group sitting nearby. There was much calling between tables, hearty chuckles from the three men and loud braying laughs from the four women. They may have been sisters for the laugh seemed the same from each. Thankfully their pudding arrived and they adjourned to the lounge area around the corner and the noise level fell dramatically.

Dinner at the bar was only fair but the wine, a french syrah, was compensation of a sort. I was tempted to have a whiskey afterward. Perhaps tomorrow. The strong peat smoke aroma of a Laphroaig would go well.


Confined to Barracks
Searching for things to do

1 Comment

Sue Bonjer:
July 17, 2016
great descriptions of your last couple of days. Hope that the weather clears up for your trip to the islands. Sunny and 23 in Sydney tomorrow.
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