In order to make you understand how extraordinarily The Hebrides affected me, I send you the following, which came into my head there.” (Mendelssohn in a letter to his sister after visiting this area. He sent her the first phrase of the music to the Hebrides Overture.)
Oban is a town of about 8,000 that grows to 25,000 during the summer as it’s the place to get the ferry to Mull.
Two interesting landmarks dominate the town’s view.
The first is Dunollie Castle (which was just around the corner from our B&B – but we did not have time to walk up to it). This was the seat of the MacDougall clan (also known as the Lords of Lorn). At one time they owned one third of Scotland. The MacDougall clan still owns the castle and the land and had a MacDougall homecoming as recently as last year.
The other landmark is McCaigs Tower or otherwise known as the Coliseum. It was built at the end of the 19th century as a means to provide employment to the people of the town. Statues of people from the McCaig family were to be built in all the arches. But McCaig died in 1900 and the Coliseum sits there overlooking the town – half built.
(SCOTLAND FACT: Mendelssohn wrote his Hebrides Overture while in this area. He had just visited Fingal’s Cave – we were not on Staffa, the location of the cave, but were close to it. Although, the piece is entitled Hebrides Overture, many simply call it Fingal’s Cave.)