Oban, Scotland

Christine Smith

Grovedale, Australia

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FEATURED in Artists Universe 27-03-2013

Camera: Canon EOS 50D, Lens: @ 30,,m ISO: 100, Aperture: f8, shutter: 1/125

Oban is a resort town within the Argyll and Bute council area of Scotland. It occupies a beautiful setting in the Firth of Lorn. The bay is a near perfect horseshoe, protected by the island of Kerrera, and beyond Kerrera the Isle of Mull. To the north is the long low island of Lismore, and the mountains of Morvern and Ardgour. The local culture is gaelic, and some 9.4% of the population of the town speak Scottish Gaelic. The modern town of Oban grew up around the distillery which was founded there in 1794, and the town was raised to a burgh of barony in 1811 by royal charter. Sir Walter Scott visited the area in 1814, the year in which he published his poem The Lord of the Isles, and interest in the poem brought many new visitors to the town. The arrival of the railways in the 1880’s brought further prosperity, revitalising local industry and giving new energy to tourism. During World War II, Oban was used by Merchant and Royal Navy ships and was an important base in the Battle of the Atlantic. The Royal Navy had a signal station near Ganavan, and an anti-submarine indicator loop station which detected any surface or submarine vessels between Oban, Mull and Lismore. Oban was also important during the Cold War because the first Transatlantic Telephone Cable (TAT-1) came ashore at Gallanach Bay. This carried the Hot Line between the US and USSR presidents. Since the 1950s the principal industry has remained tourism, though the town is also an important ferry port, acting as the hub for ferries to many of the Hebrides.

McCaig’s Tower, the round folly at the top of Battery Hill, was built of Bonawe granite taken from the quarries across Airds Bay, on Loch Etive. It has a circumference of about 200 metres with two-tiers of 94 lancet arches – 44 on the bottom and 50 on top. The structure was commissioned by a local wealthy, philanthropic banker, John Stuart McCaig. The tower was erected between 1897 and his death, aged 78 from Angina Pectoris, on 29 June 1902 at John Square House,4 Oban, Argyll. McCaig’s intention was to provide a lasting monument to his family, and provide work for the local stonemasons during the winter months. McCaig was an admirer of Roman and Greek architecture, and had planned for an elaborate structure, based on the Colosseum in Rome. His plans allowed for a museum and art gallery with a central tower to be incorporated. Inside the central tower he planned to commission statues of himself, his siblings and their parents. His death brought an end to construction with only the outer walls completed.

Artwork Comments

  • William Bullimore
  • Christine Smith
  • Phil Thomson IPA
  • Christine Smith
  • Ray Clarke
  • Christine Smith
  • Tom Gomez
  • Christine Smith
  • Katey1
  • Christine Smith
  • Mary Sedici
  • Christine Smith
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