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Haggis and Heartfelt Memories in Oban

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"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal" - From an Irish headstone

Travelling Scotland has just got a whole lot easier for us! We've picked up our rental car, Zippy, and have the privilege of no public transport or lugging our packs around for 2 weeks! Excited! From Glasgow is a stunning picturesque drive around Loch Lomond heading to the West Coast of Scotland. First stop is the town of Oban, where my wonderful Granny has lived for all of my life. My family and I spent countless Christmas and summer holidays up here with her, and I can't wait to show Mark this little piece of my history. My Granny passed away a few years ago, so it will be lovely to remember her in her home town, but strange and sad not to be able to drop in and see her.


Foodie moment

Oban is famous for its seafood so the first eating stop had to be the pier in the middle of town. We both got the famous Warm Scottish Smoked Salmon with Coleslaw and Scottish Cheddar Sandwiches. Amazing!!


If there was one place we had to visit whilst in Oban it was 'The Barn'. A traditional old pub set in the middle of the Scottish countryside was a regular eating/drinking spot of my family. Lucky we had 'Zippy' because it is a long, windy drive from Oban to The Barn, down country roads and dodging herds of cows to get there. Mark loved the location of the pub, surrounded by hills and meadows, already showing a real connection to the Scottish countryside. We were just going to have a drink but the sun was lovely to sit in, so we had another, and then decided we may as well head indoor for some delicious home made cooking.

The inside is a true traditional pub with low ceilings, exposed beams and a fireplace for cold winter nights. We decided that this setting was the perfect place to have our first taste of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties. For those that don't know Haggis is made up of all the bits of sheep you don't want to know about, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the sheep's stomach and simmered for approximately three hours. Lucky for us it was then minced before serving so it didn't look as bad as it sounds! And surprisingly it tasted good! Its has a very rich taste to it, so you couldn't eat a large serve, but it was enjoyable and the neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes) helped to reduce the richness.


Cultural moment

A quick drive down the road from Oban to Ganavan Sands brought us to a beach set on a holiday estate. Even though the weather was cool, the children were still running around in their bathers digging in the sand and paddling in the sea! i guess you take what you can get with a Scottish Summer!


Wow moment

I really wanted Mark to like Oban, as it was the place of so many fantastic memories for me, and although many people say Scotland looks best when dark and stormy, I really wanted sunshine....and the weather cooperated giving us a stunning afternoon. We headed up the steep hills behind the town to McCaigs tower for a panoramic view of Oban and the islands off the coast. Built in 1897, the tower was never completed due to the architects death, and now somewhat resembles a Roman Colosseum. A beautiful, peaceful place with breathtaking views....that is until the tour groups arrive!


The centre of Oban is a lovely little fishing village. Throughout the day there are boats and ferries pulling out of the harbour to visit the various surrounding islands (including the large Isle of Mull), or heading off on fishing trips and nature spotting tours. The seagulls are huge, and they float over the main front spying chips (and ice creams!) to pinch. A short walk along the coastal road brings you to Barcaldine Castle, and a nature walk through the fields. Overall there is a lovely relaxed vibe to the harbour front, even with the hundreds of tourists that flock there in the summer.


What we learnt today

Since arriving in the UK, Mark and I have been consistently amazed by the affordability and range of ready made meals in the supermarkets. Our favourites are the Tesco's finest £10 Meal deal, where you choose a main (lasagne, meatballs in sauce, spicy chicken), a side (Garlic mash, vegetables in mint butter, Salt & Pepper Potato wedges), a desert (Orange and Passion fruit tarts, fresh cream profiteroles with Swiss Chocolate) and a bottle of white or red wine -all for £10!!!


Another favourite is the Indian Meal deal. For only £6 we got 4 Onion Bhaji, 2 Naans, 2 curries and Safron rice. It is really amazing value, and tastes really good. Great as a money saving meal while travelling, and you really couldn't make it yourself for even close to the price!!


Posted by travellinglise 08:10 Archived in Scotland Tagged oban isle_of_mull mccaigs_tower the_barn

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Found this really interesting reading as I have discovered that my own family name (Maciag)originates from Oban! Photos are brilliant!

by Yvonne

Loved the photos and hearing about your visit - it brought back both happy and sad memories.

by Linda

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