From Glasgow it was time to leave the city and head to a more rural place. I really wanted to get to the Isle of Sky in Scotland but unfortunately there just was not enough time so of course I plan to go back. Instead I decided to head over to Oban. Only about 2.5 hours by bus you got to love the closeness of places in Ireland and the UK. Overall they are definitely more expensive then South America and Asia, but if you have the finances the ease of travel is pretty convenient.
When I walked out of the Oban bus terminal I realized just how small the town was, and I instantly loved it. I stopped at that fancy hotel straight ahead and to the right for a latte and to get some internet to find there real place I was headed, Oban backpackers.Since everything is within about 15 minutes walking in the town, it wasn’t hard to find. Eclectic, spacious, and full of warm inviting vibes, I also loved this hostel. For the most part there is not a hostel I don’t love which is why I do not post every hostel I stay in, you should choose the one that suits you, however, there are very limited places to stay in Oban so if you are passing through with a backpack then you probably know this placeI’m sure you are familiar with the name of the town. Non other than the Oban distillery, which is just a few minutes walking from the port, closer than my hostel was. I popped in for a few sips and to have a look around.
The first night in Oban was pretty lazy. As I mentioned before I was traveling off season, which was not as apparent in the cities, but in smaller towns the shops all close early, the hostel was nearly empty, and Oban provided a quite space to escape reality for a few days. I actually prefer traveling during the off season although as I was talking to one of the locals we both agreed that in a few more years there may not be off seasons because of the increasing frequency of foreign travel during all seasons and months across the globe.
I found a local market for some food items to make dinner, and a six pack of beer for a few drinks. You may recall my Scottish acquaintance if you follow my instagram, but this guy provided quite an eventful evening on an otherwise uneventful night.
After I got settled I started talking to other backpackers about the day trips to different island and also immediately started looking for a tour because my friend Maura had told me about Staffa island and the puffins that come there to breed. I knew I was already too late for them because they normally leave the island in late July and early August, but I still wanted to see the island anyway. And so I booked a full day tour to the Isle of Mull, Staffa, and Iona. This involved a couple of ferries, a small boat and some rough seas but it was so much fun and a really good tour.
We took a ferry to the Isle of Mull first and then after that through the island with an energetic and informative tour guide who grew up there so knew much about the area.
After we got to the other side of the island we had short break before boarding a small boat to the Isle of Staffa. I of course donned the fisherman’s rain jacket and I’m glad I did because the water spray was intense.
As we came up on Staffa, this is what you can see from the boat. It was quite magnificent, especially knowing that this was shaped through the Earth.
Here we had plenty of time to walk around and the as you can see below, the boat wasn’t very big so it wasn’t very crowded with people. Meaning there was plenty of space to go your own way while you were here.
Just up on the ridge, there was plenty it was relatively flat and I just started walking around to the edges of the cliffs. I felt so secluded out here on Staffa, very similar to the Santa Rosa, Channel Islands which I still have yet to blog about and will soon!
After power walking across the top of Staffa’s Cliffs I headed down to the famous cave on the outer edge of the island that you can climb to.
Sitting for a minute to enjoy the waves. It brings me back to my Navy days out on the ship when I sit this close to the waves with the wind whipping through my hair. This will always be why I love driving with all the windows down in the car so much, I think I am forever trying to capture this feeling.
The terrain down here is really interesting!
It’s true, this cave is a spectacular creation, so much so it is said that Mendelssohn, a famous composer wrote the piece Fingal’s Cave overture while sitting at this very cave. Trust me when I say you’ve heard of the piece I am referring to. He wrote that piece in the 1830s!
I actually love this photo from way back in the cave, capturing the silhouette of one person standing at the opening.
After plenty of time exploring and taking in Staffa, we met back at the boat and boarded for a trip back to Iona.
The isle of Iona was a bit more civilized and the perfect place to find a spot for lunch. I ended up eating with an older couple from the boat and after lunch I headed out and walked around a bit, taking a quick look at the island ruins and also the monestary.
Tours were available but I decided not to do it.
Of course there was much banter with my Scottish friend. We were up until the wee hours of the morning when I slipped into bed and fell right asleep. Up next is the Jacobite Steam train from Fort William to Mallaig!
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