And so much for the weather

July 20, 2016 - Oban, United Kingdom

Well summer doesn't last long in the highlands and islands. Yesterday was the beginning and the end of summer. It ended with a bang ... a thunderstorm indeed. Today it is wet but maybe not as cold as it was. We slept in for a bit then had a late and leisurely breakfast (I seem to recall saying that before). Discussion at breakfast ruled out another trip to Tobermory which had been tentatively planned on our way home last night. We resolved instead to look at train and bus timetables and take a trip to somewhere.

Well they say the best laid plans ... searching the internet revealed that trips to Fort William were out because of the timing and connections, and anywhere else was even worse. Oh well we thought, we would walk down to the West Coast Motors Office, the Tourism Board and maybe Staffa Tours to see what options were available. West Coast Motors suggested the local bus out to Ellenbeich where the bus turns around and returns to Oban or we could get the next bus three hours later. OK, so there is choice one, we looked at the board at the railway station for options so choice two was a train to Crianlarich spend fifty minutes at the tearooms there (if they are still there three years later) before catching the train back and option three was too far from the bus stop as a walk to the Tourism Board would probably see us miss the bus to Ellenbeich. So that decision was easily made in the end. We found the TEMPORARY southbound bus stop and joined a small queue waiting on buses. After a couple of other buses came and went we realised they were all waiting on the Ellenbeich bus as well.

Sure enough when the Number 18 bus (the bus to Ellenbeich which in fact is the 418 Easdale bus - obviously) everyone filed aboard. As we waited to pay the driver I remarked to Margaret that Ronnie Corbett was our driver. Just the eyes, glasses and facial mannerisms reminded me so much. When our turn came we bought return tickets to Ellenbeich (must be going to the right place) and found a seat with a not-so-foggy window.

The bus moved along at a fair old rate, not only on the main road but also down narrow roads to little villages where it did three point turns and retraced the route to the main road. We had to make way for other vehicles on occasion or come to squealing slipping stops to force other vehicles to back up to passing places. It was still raining a little all the way and as we approached the coast the mist closed in as well.

Our route took us from Oban to Kilmore, Barran Estate, Kilninver, Clachan Seil, Balvicar, North Cuan and then to terminate at Ellenbeich before returning by the same route (in reverse order obviously). The scenery as it emerged from the mist gave little glimpses of cottages and farms, fishing villages and lakes. One notable part was the large arched (humpback) bridge that spans the Sound of Seil which is a branch of the Atlantic Ocean so in fact our bus trip terminated on an island, and without moving us from our seats.

Ellenbeich is a quaint little village that was originally founded around slate quarrying and fishing but didn't seem to offer much to occupy three hours before the next bus so we remained on the bus for the return trip snapping several photos from the windows of the bus.

When we arrived back in Oban we walked along George Street and dropped in to the Coast Restaurant to book for an early dinner. The food there is so good and with plenty of good menu choices that we have virtually ruled out trying any others. From there we walked down the little lane toward the esplanade and visited the local museum called the War and Peace Museum which covers a history of Oban with a focus on the WWII flying boat base. One of the photos in the museum showed waves crashing over cars parked  on the esplanade which we found hard to imagine.

I spent the remainder of the afternoon writing up the journal, while Margaret did a tour of the shops to make sure she hadn't missed anything.  In time for our 6 o'clock booking (it's too easy to eat uncomfortably late these long evenings) we walked back to the restaurant in the rain (again). There is a Regatta store nearby and Margaret decided she would prefer a hooded jacket to her coat and umbrella so we had a diversion on the way. Tonight we had Carrot and Coriander Soup and Corn Fed Chicken Breast for Margaret and Cullen Skink and Lamb Rump for Max with coffee to follow. Another delicious meal from Nicola and Richard and we let them know how much we have enjoyed eating there.

The weather looked like it was clearing again as we walked home so we took some creditable enough sunset photos. We are keeping our fingers crossed for our trip to Iona tomorrow.


Pictures

A bus trip to Ellenbeich
A bus trip to Ellenbeich
Some quaint little cottages emerged from the mist
Little cottages on the shore near Seil
 
 

1 Comment

Sue Bonjer:
July 21, 2016
well that was a quick summer in Scotland. England had that 2 day heat wave but think it has now cooled down. Hope the sun is shinning for you tomorrow, now that Margaret has brought a new rain coat the sun is bound to come out
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