Tuesday, May 15, 2012

One Part Ferry, One Part Castle, One Part Chippy Equals Oban!

"If you were going to build your own castle, where would it be?" Asked Grace as we walked along the pebbled path.

Duart castle's imposing rocky crag loomed above us, made even more foreboding by the violent crashing of the sea's waves on the stones below.

"Somewhere like this," I responded, taking it all in. "Definitely somewhere like this."

Yesterday Grace and I made the trek up from Stirling to Oban! When we arrived at our destination, we hopped over to the ferry terminal and almost immediately made our way over to the Isle of Mull! The ferry takes about 45 minutes to cross, and the views are gorgeous! We really lucked out on weather - it only rained for about half an hour during the entire day, which is almost unheard of! We also got stuck in very little fog, so we could actually see out!

From the upper left: Oban from the ferry, Dunollie Castle, Grace and I on the ferry.

When the ferry docked at Mull, it was just a hop skip and a jump to Duart castle! Inside, we toured the castle, and upon declaring how awesome it would be to be a lady of the castle, we heard a story that made us reconsider:

In about 1520, Lachlan Cattanach's wife Catherine, the sister of the Chief of Clan Campbell, failed to produce an heir. So, naturally, he stranded her on a rock now appropriately known as Lady's Rock, so that when the tide came up it would drown her. When Catherine was nowhere to be found the following morning, Lachlan went into mourning, and informed her brother of her death. Shortly after, Lachlan was invited to a feast with her brother in order to mourn her passing. Imagine his surprise and horror when he arrived and was greeted by none other than Catherine. She had been saved by passing fishermen who had heard her screaming from the rock.  Nobody mentioned the incident, and amazingly, he was allowed to leave the feast unharmed. Catherine's brothers certainly did not forget what he had done though, and one of her brother's stabbed Lachlan in Edinburgh three years later. I have to say, if my future husband leaves me on a rock to drown, either Karl or Anna had better avenge me too!

After we finished our tour of the castle interior, Grace and I went outside to look around the grounds. I'm really glad we did, because the location of the castle is really more impressive than the castle itself. From below, we were surrounded by the whole experience. The castle sat in the background as the smell of the seawater filled the air, the waves crashed around us, and the strong wind pulled at our clothes. It was a breathtaking moment.

Once back in Oban, we explored some of the cute little shops, and of course, stopped for some George Street fish and chips. This time there was no feeding of the seagulls; it was all for us! Delicious! You really can't say you've had fish and chips until you try it from Scotland.

So, with full and happy bellies, we got on the train back to Stirling! We were amazed at how seamless the traveling was yesterday. We hardly waited at all for any of the trains, ferries or buses, and all of the traveling time was pretty enjoyable and went by really fast! Before we knew it we home in bed, exhausted from an awesome day in Oban and the Isle of Mull.

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