Gateway To The Isles
Oban (An t-Òban in Scottish Gaelic meaning The Little Bay) is a resort town within the Argyll and Bute council area of Scotland. Despite its small size, it is the largest town between Helensburgh and Fort William and during the tourist season the town can play host to up to 25,000 people. Oban occupies a beautiful setting in the Firth of Lorn. The bay is a near perfect horseshoe, protected by the island of Kerrera, and beyond Kerrera the Isle of Mull. To the north is the long low island of Lismore, and the mountains of Morvern and Ardgour.
The site where Oban now stands has been used by humans since at least mesolithic times, as evidenced by archaeological remains of cave dwellers found in the town. Just outside the town stands Dunollie Castle, on a site that overlooks the main entrance to the bay and has been fortified since the Bronze age. Prior to the 19th century, the town itself supported very few households, sustaining only minor fishing, trading, shipbuilding and quarrying industries, and a few hardy tourists. The Renfrew trading company established a storehouse there in about 1714 as a local outlet for its merchandise, but no Custom-house was deemed necessary until around 1760.
Royal National Mod
The local culture is gaelic, and a survey in 2006 showed that some 9.4% of the population of the town could speak some Scottish Gaelic. Oban is considered the home of the Royal National Mod since it was first held there in 1892, with ten competitors on a Saturday afternoon. The town hosted the centenary Mod in 1992 (the year it became Royal) and in 2003 the 100th Mod, the two events attracting thousands of competitors and visitors (the 100th Mod was later than the centenary because it was not held in the war years). The Mod is held in Oban roughly every 6–8 years, and is next due in 2015.
An annual Highland Games, known as the Argyllshire Gathering, is also held in the town.
The area around Oban is rich with attractions for tourists, from the dramatic scenery of the coast and mountains to the fascinating histories of the local castles and ancient religious sites. There are also many activities available for families and those interested in more active pursuits. The Oban and Lorn tourist information website has detailed information for visitors.
The Oban Visitor Information Centre, operated by VisitScotland, is located in the Columba Buildings on the North Pier.