Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A wee trip to Oban and Inveraray...

Last weekend we took some time off and took a wee trip Friday afternoon and Saturday and drove to the west coast of Scotland to a town called Oban.  We drove from Edinburgh to Stirling and then through Callandar and across to Oban on the A85.  The drive was beautiful but would have even been better in a few weeks as the trees begin to show more green leaves.  Most of the castles are opening back up for the tourist season so we will see many more as we travel throughout Scotland.

On the road to Oban on the A85

The town of Oban is only about 200 years old, but there are castle ruins nearby that date back to the 13th century.   
Oban Bay looking out from main street.

On the hill behind the town, overlooking the bay there is a structure that looks like a coliseum.  The story is told that a wealthy man in the city was worried about the mason workers who were out of work in the winter.  So he hired them to build him a home on the hill to keep them working.  The structure was never finished as he died before it was finished.  The view from the top is very nice


The daffodils are in bloom everywhere.  They are along the side of the road, in pastures, lawns, just about everywhere.

Overlooking the bay from the top of the hill.

We stayed overnight in Oban and then drove to Inveraray on Saturday.  On the way we passed the Kilchurn Castle (pronounced – “ki-learn” with a sound from the back of the throat) located at the north end of Loch Awe.  This castle is a ruin with not much to see other than from the outside.  
Kilchurn Castle
Kilchurn Castle was built in the mid-1400s by Sir Colin Campbell, 1st Lord of Glenorchy.  In the 14th to 15th century, the various Campbell clans controlled most of the southwestern part of Scotland.

In 1432, Colin, second son of Duncan Campbell (later 1st Lord Campbell), was granted Glenorchy, at the north end of Loch Awe.  Kilchurn remained the powerbase for the Campbells for 150 years. It was not abandoned until the 1700s.
We next stopped in Inveraray to see the castle.  Inveraray Castle is the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell.  Inveraray Castle is first and foremost a family home rather than a castle built for defense.    The Campbells fought with King Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannock Burn in 1314 when they defeated the English (Edward II)  in the Wars of Scottish Independence.


For all you Downton Abbey fans, this is the location used to film the summer vacation at the end of the 3rd season.  This is the group of missionaries that traveled with us for the weekend.

The tour of the castle was on the first two floors on the left side of the castle.  We went into about a dozen rooms out of the nearly 100 that are in the castle.  The family lives in the castle and uses all of the rooms at certain times of the year.
Fields of daffodils.


The 13th Earl (Duke of Argyll) and his family currently live in the castle when they visit Scotland.   

From Inveraray we returned home by driving down the west coast of Loch Lomond and through Glasgow to Edinburgh


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