370am Oban to Ganavan Bay

I’m really looking forward to today’s walk. After many miles of inland walking, it will make a nice change to be on the coast again. I leave The Beast in the caravan park and set off along the narrow lane towards the Sound of Kerrera.

01 Roseview caravan park to Kerrera ferry, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

The road winds down the hill,  with flower-filled meadows on either side. There’s the Sound of Kerrera ahead.

02 road to Karrera Sound, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

(The lady who runs the camp site recommended a trip over to the Island of Kerrera because, apparently, it’s very beautiful. If I had been able to work out a circular walking route around the coast I might have gone and spent the day on the island, but no such route exists.)

I reach the shore, where there’s a jetty and a diving centre. If I turned left at this point, I would come to another camp site, but that’s a dead-end, so I’m turning right towards Oban.

03 dive centre, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

It’s only a few hundred yards before I reach another jetty. This is where the passenger ferry leaves to go over to Kerrera. It’s a popular place, with a crowd waiting for the next boat, and the little car park is full.

04 ferry for Kerrera, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

I carry on along the road. Oban is a couple of miles away. To my right are cliffs and the high land of Druim Mor. I pass Kilbowie Outdoor Centre, where a group of youngsters are assembling for some adventure.

I reach a residential area and am overtaken by a couple on touring bikes. They must have come from one of the campsites, and look heavily laden with tents, sleeping bags, and other equipment.

05 cycle touring, Oban, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

I moan about the weight of The Monster, but that’s nothing compared to carrying all your camping stuff around on a bike. I admire those cyclists.

Now I’m passing properties with pretty gardens and neat lawns, and I can see Oban Bay ahead.

06 view of Oban, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

A couple of workmen are peering down a hole in the road. A few cars rush past, and I think the men should really be wearing high vis jackets.

07 two workmen in road, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

I pass a building with an interesting plaque outside. “Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses”. The local lighthouses and navigation buoys are serviced from here.

08 commisioners of northern lighthouses, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland, Oban

The road bends round and into Oban Bay. There’s a large ferry below me, just pulling out from the quay. It will be heading towards one of the many islands.

09 ferry from Oban, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

One day I’ll come back and visit some of the Hebridean islands, I promise myself. (Another “one day” promise to add to my list!)

I follow the walking route into Oban and, for a few minutes, I think I’ve taken a wrong turn or misunderstood the signs, and there’s a possibility I might end up visiting the islands by mistake! The pedestrian route actually goes right through the ferry-boarding area.

10 ferry port, Oban, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

I walk past Wetherspoons and reach the main road through Oban, which runs along the waterfront. It’s a bustling place, but quite touristy. What’s that weird building on the hill? It looks like the Colosseum.

11 Oban waterfront, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

Just off the main road is a grey building covered in scaffolding. (You can see it in the centre of the photo above.) This turns out to be The Oban Distillery. Now, if only it was a rainy day… but I really must get on with this walk while the weather holds.

At the end of the bay are two cathedrals. Two? That’s plain greedy. Turns out one is Catholic, and the other belongs to the Scottish Episcopal Church.

12 two cathedrals in Oban, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

I’m reaching a narrow part of the Sound of Kerrera, and another ferry is passing through on its way to the port at Oban. Over on the island I can see a tall monument, and I wonder what it is and why it’s there.

13 ferry ariving at Oban, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

[Later I learn the monument on Kerrera was placed in memory of David Hutcheson, a nineteenth-century ship owner, and also serves as a navigational mark.]

On this side of the water is another monument. This one is for fallen soldiers of the two World Wars, and is topped by a rather fine statue of two soldiers in kilts helping a wounded comrade.

14 war memorial, Oban, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

The wind is blowing fresh off the sea, and the sun is behind clouds. I realise I’m quite cold. First time on this walking trek that I’ve actually felt chilly. I’m only wearing a T-shirt and a thin fleece. Oh dear, wish I’d brought something warmer with me.

Then I remember I’m carrying my emergency rain cagoule, which never leaves my rucksack. I pull this on, and feel slightly warmer. The cagoule is made of very thin nylon, but at least it keeps the worst of the wind out.

Beyond the war memorial is a stubby little lighthouse, and a castle.

15 castle and lighthouse, Oban,

I’m following a narrow dead-end road along the coast. It isn’t very busy, but the pavement soon comes to an end – and now I’m playing dodgems with traffic again. Not pleasant. To my right are rocky walls. To my left is a wonderful view across the sea.

16 coast road to Ganavan Bay, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

After a few hundred yards, I come to an area where there are a few houses lining the road, and a pretty little beach. It’s 12:30 already and I’m a little peckish, although I haven’t walked far because there’s been just too much to look at in Oban.

Time for a drink and a snack. I go down onto the beach and sit on the sand. From here I watch another ferry making its way around the corner of Kerrera Island.

17 Camas Ban, Oban, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

Onwards. I soon reach the end of the road, where there’s a new development of houses, a large car park, and another beautiful sandy beach. This is Ganavan Bay.

18 Ganavan Bay, Oban, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

The view is breathtaking. All those mountains! Fabulous. I pull out my OS map, but of course the mountains are well off the sheet. Next, I study the map on my Garmin, but still can’t make out what I’m looking at. Oh well. I’ll just enjoy looking.

19 Ganavan Bay and Glencoe, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

I was wondering if I could stay here in the Beast tomorrow night, but the proximity of the nearby houses put me off. And then I see the signs. There are an awful lot of things you’re not allowed to do in the Ganavan Sands car park, and that includes overnight camping!

20 Ganavan Sands car park rules, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

There’s a little refreshment van over there – Dougie Dans. It’s rather close to the toilets for my liking – but I think it might be sheltering from the wind. Anyway, I can’t resist some hot food, so I go over and order a cup of tea, with a hamburger and chips.

21 Dougie Dans at Ganavan sands, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

A couple with a huge dog sit on one of the tables nearby. We get talking, and they tell me their dog is missing its companion. Their other dog is old, and they left it behind when they came on holiday, but they learnt this morning it had been taken very ill, and had to be put down.

Oh dear. I’m so sorry. It’s horrible to lose a dog, and when you’re away on holiday too.

I sit for some time, enjoying my chips and admiring the view. A wonderful place.

22 Ganavan Bay, near Oban, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

But I can’t sit here for ever. I’ve got more walking to do…

[To be continued…]

This morning’s route:


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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13 Responses to 370am Oban to Ganavan Bay

  1. jcombe says:

    Looks another lovely walk. The unusual building on the top of the hill in Oban “weird building on the hill” is McCaig’s Tower (a folly, basically, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCaig%27s_Tower)

    I love visiting islands, but there are just so many in Scotland! So I’ve decided to concentrate on going round the mainland with the intention of walking around as many islands as I can when I’ve finished the main line. However I’m making exceptions for islands I can walk around (or as much as possible) on a day trip. This is why I made an exception and visited Handa Island on my recent trip to north west Scotland (https://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/reserve/handa-island/). It was well worth the trip, I really enjoyed it.

    With all the islands on the west coast I think you’ll be seeing a lot of CalMac ferries!

    • I met a Scottish cyclist when I was in Ayreshire, and he told me he spent one summer holiday just travelling round the islands and cycling, he said you could buy a CalMac ferry ticket which gives unlimited travel for a set number of days. Sounds a wonderful thing to do.

  2. Jes C says:

    Pity you missed Kerrera as it really is worth a visit…and there is a round walk https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/argyll/kerrera-gylen.shtml

  3. john dennis says:

    I should think they are the hills west of Fort William (that you saw from Ganavan.) Happy to be corrected of course. We had a very happy few days in Oban and visited thew Seafood Temple – now sadly closed – and the ‘Coliseum’. That was constructed just over 100 years ago ; http://www.obanargyll.com/mccaigs-tower.html Hope the midges are kind.

  4. gill rance says:

    I just love all the details and information you share with us, Ruth. Looks a beautiful area, hope you don’t have too much road walking.

  5. Jayne Hill says:

    I’ve only ever been through Oban either on the way to a ferry or on the way to Fort William. It does look like it is worth a visit in its own right though.

    Perhaps Jon’s suggestion to do the islands is one for you as soon as you’ve finished this walk (ducking, running away 😄) Fairly tempted myself . . .

    • Hi Jayne, sometimes I think it would be nice to travel without a set mission, and just go wherever I want! Then I remember I wouldn’t be here at all without the mission driving me on 😄 But, yes, I certainly think the Scottish islands are worth exploring further,

  6. Eunice says:

    Just catching up with your last couple of posts. Ganavan Bay looks lovely with the mountains in the background 🙂 Oban looks quite interesting – I missed it when I went up to Arisaig as I went straight on from Tyndrum and through Glen Coe to Fort William, but next time I’ll go the Oban way instead and maybe make an overnight stay there – the site you stayed at looks like a handy place 🙂

  7. Karen White says:

    How sad that the couple’s dog had to be put down while they were away. It’s always one of my fears if I leave my oldie behind when I go away – though this year I took her and left the younger one at home.
    Kerrera does sound lovely, a shame you couldn’t visit. Definitely a place to add your ‘one day’ list. My own list of places to go grows longer – a recent trip to Kew Gardens to see the Dale Chihuly glass exhibition (amazing sculptures – photos on my Flickr stream if you are interested), while it removed one from my list it added two more that I heard about as a direct result of talking to people while I was there.

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