We began our day docked in the thriving town of Oban, perhaps most famous for the whisky of the same name. Blustery winds buffeted us as we walked to the distillery for a tour around the facility. It was a fascinating experience, learning about the whisky-making process and the history of this distillery. Following the tour, we trekked up a steep hill to visit McCaig's Tower, a prominent landmark above the town. It was built in 1897 by a local banker as a monument to his family. Today there are gardens inside and a commanding view of the surroundings.
Once back aboard Lord of the Glens, we cruised away from Oban up Loch Linnhe. Here, the stunning scenery stretched away in sun and rain showers as we had some iPhone photography practice and an introduction to Bonnie Prince Charlie, whose legacy will loom large in the upcoming days. Ben Nevis, the highest point in Scotland, was fortuitously (and unusually) visible, so photographers had a crack at shooting it as we came to the entrance of the Caledonian Canal.
Late in the afternoon, we hopped onto a coach and sped to Glenfinnan, a lovely setting where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard and began the Jacobite Rebellion. The area is made famous now as a major scene of the Harry Potter movies, in which Harry and Ron's flying car went over the railroad viaduct and spotted the Hogwarts Express. This real steam train now carries tourists over the beautiful viaduct, much to the excitement of Potter fans waiting with cameras at the ready. Some of us walked to the viaduct while others enjoyed a nature stroll through a pine woodland and wetland.
In the evening, we saw the steam train puff past at dinner, and we closed out the day with a very entertaining talk by Alastair Gibson, manager of Glenfinnan Estate.