Aug 01, 2019 - Lord of the Glens
After waking up in Craignure, we departed the Isle of Mull and headed to the mainland and the port town of Oban. Oban is a bustling metropolis of the west coast, with a population of 25,000 and a thoroughfare for ferries, taking people to and from the Hebridean Islands. As we sailed across the Firth of Lorne, it became clear that it was going to be another glorious, sunny day.
Docking in at Oban, we departed the ship for a bit of morning whisky tasting. We headed across town to Oban Distillery where we were given a tour before tasting some 14-year-old single malt. With our new-found expertise gained from Francis the night before, we were able to truly appreciate this fine drink in all its glory. Following the tasting, we headed up the hill to visit McCaigs tower—a folly at the top of the town, which was never completed but commissioned by a rich Scottish banker who wanted to memorialize his family. Building works stopped in 1902 upon his untimely death.
After our walk we set sail again, this time up Loch Linnhe and into the Great Glen Fault. Loch Linnhe is a 31-mile-long sea loch, so as we headed toward our first loch on the Caledonian Canal at Corpach, we spotted our last few marine bird species. A few rafts of guillemots saw us off as the mountains on our either side grew higher and higher.
We sailed past the military town of Fort William, historically named Inverlochy as we approached Corpach. Corpach is a small village north of Fort William with a name that translates to “field of corpses”—a lovely name for a village. The name refers to the historic use of the village as an important stopover for the bodies of Scotland’s celebrated dead en route to Iona Abbey to be buried.
Upon arrival in Corpach, we headed off for our afternoon excursions: kayaking or visiting the Estate of Glenfinnan. Those of us who went to Glenfinnan walked to the Glenfinnan Viaduct, famously featured in Harry Potter, or enjoyed a nature walk through native woodland on the way to a monument celebrating the fallen highlanders who lost their lives during the Jacobite rebellion.
In the clear afternoon, we spotted the UK’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis, which stands over Fort William at 4,411 feet high. After an afternoon in the sun, we headed back to the ship for recap, dinner, and then a captivating talk by Glenfinnan Estate Manager Alasdair Gibson. Another incredible day in the Scottish Highlands.
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