Three fun facts about the town of Oban

oban seafront harbour
Think I can understand why Oban was lived in since the Mesolithic times – it’s such a beautiful place.

Apart from the few obvious touristy attractions that Oban is blessed with – fresh seafood, beautiful sunsets and a world-famous whisky distiller, there’s plenty of history and culture of Oban worth learning about it. I thought there is more to the little town than its otherwise bustling little harbour and seafront. Here are three fun facts about the town of Oban. The info credits go to Wikipedia.

oban town buildings modern
Like Edinburgh, the town has a semblance of medieval architecture.

1. The site where Oban now stands has been used by humans since Mesolithic times (about 10,000 to 5000 BCE)

According to Wikipedia, this is 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.

oban town buildings modern
It’s a quiet town, when you move away from the action near the seafront.

The experience of travel is described in the famous book – A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland. It will give you a good sense of what Scotland was like in the past, this include marauding privateers and slave-ships which worked the coasts. The destruction of Scottish forests was in full swing. Scotch whisky was distilled illegally and profusely (Johnson noted the custom of the skalk, or drinking whisky before breakfast). Skalk also means in English terms, ‘a sharp blow to the head’.

2. Oban played a key important during the Cold War because the first Transatlantic Telephone Cable (TAT-1) came ashore at Gallanach Bay.

oban seafront harbour
A docking point for boats and ferries.

This carried the Hot Line between the US and USSR presidents. At North Connel, next to the airfield/airport was the NRC (Nuclear Reporting Cell) of the Royal Observer Corps (29 Oct 1925 to 31 Dec 1995) Since the 1950s, the principal industry has remained tourism, though the town is also an important ferry port, acting as the hub for CalMac – Caledonian McBrayne – ferries to many of the islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

oban seafront harbour
A port for ferries to the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

3. Susie Wolff, Formula One’s first female race car driver is from Oban

Susie Wolff is a British former racing driver. In 2014, she was the first woman to take part in a Formula One race weekend in 22 years, representing Williams at the British Grand Prix, at Silverstone. In 2016, she joined Channel 4 in the UK to be an analyst for their F1 Coverage.

oban town cathedral
I can’t be quite sure if this was the Cathedral in the town.

The Travelling Squid’s Take

Hope you enjoyed the three fun facts about the town of Oban. Despite it’s very alluring tourist attractions, I thought it would be good to put some context into Oban’s history and its people. It’s one of those things where you could inform your travelling companion, while he or she is mid-slurp through an oyster. Makes for bragging rights in the knowledge area.

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