Corpach & Oban

Sep 04, 2019 - Lord of the Glens


We left the Caledonian Canal and ventured into the sea, passing through the last lock of the trip. For the remainder of our week we will be sailing through saltwater, exploring the Inner Hebrides on our way over to the Kyle of Lochalsh. As we traveled from Corpach to Oban along Loch Linnhe, we were still within the Great Glen Fault, though beyond the stretch of the canal. As we sailed to our day’s destination of Oban, we heard a talk on the different populations that came into the country and the advent of Celtic Christianity to Scotland, preparing us for our eventual trip to Iona.

At midday, we arrived at the bustling town of Oban in a burst of beautiful sunshine. Oban is a transport hub and service area for the region. Ferries, trains, and buses meet here, and shops and stores provide for the surrounding area. Shortly after arriving in Oban, a distillery tour was offered—a wonderful chance to learn about the creation of Scotland’s iconic whisky. The distillery is one of the oldest in Scotland, established in 1794. The buildings remain much the same as they were in the 1890s when the business was renovated and updated. The tour ended with a delicious sample.

It was a windy day, with blustery breezes raising whitecaps on the sea. But the sun was out, and so it was a good afternoon to explore the town. A few walkers ventured up to McCaig’s Tower. Also known as McCaig’s Folly, the construction looks like a ruined Roman coliseum. The building was constructed by the wealthy banker John Stuart McCaig starting in 1895 but was left unfinished upon McCaig’s death in 1902.

Before dinner, there was more whisky on the schedule, along with a tasting led by a local expert. With clear skies and drifting clouds, it was an atmospheric evening to end the day.

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About the Author

Robin Patten

Naturalist

The natural world has always been central to Robin’s life. At an early age, she was out exploring the Montana backcountry, learning natural history through experience. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in landscape ecology from Colorado State University, followed by an M.S. in Environmental Writing from the University of Montana and a Post-Graduate Diploma from Scotland’s Centre for Mountain Studies. Her studies included environmental history and cultural geography, and her work often focuses on the interactions between cultures and landscapes. Robin still lives in Montana, writing and working from a small cabin near Yellowstone National Park.

About the Photographer

Erika Skogg

Photographer

Erika Skogg is a photographer, educator, and National Geographic Explorer with experience documenting cultural stories from the United States to Morocco, Greenland, Iceland, Colombia, and beyond. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Erika’s photographic research and storytelling ideas are driven by the desire to immerse, understand, and visually preserve the region’s local Nordic culture, and in 2018, Erika received a National Geographic Early Career Grant for her project “Scandinavian American.” Erika travels to Scandinavia regularly in search of the cultural connections to our emigrant history and promote an interest in one’s own genealogy to foster a respect for the continued immigration of today.

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