Wully Davidson’s Bus Pass Rambles: Warm Day in the West Highlands
Glasgow to Oban
Wednesday was forecasted to be a warm day in the west Highlands, as an area of high pressure over the UK would be centred there. I decided on a trip down the west coast from Fort William to Oban. Journey time 1 hour and 33 minutes.
The bus from Buchanan Street left at 0830, arriving in Fort William at 1140. The day had begun very misty, and there was still low cloud over Loch Lomond, as the bus travelled up its west shore. The bus went through Tyndrum, where the hottest UK August day of the year would be recorded at 26.8 C (80 F).
Glencoe – Fort William
Glencoe was as ‘magical’ as ever. Since starting my bus pass ramblings, I’ve been through it 3 times, always in sunny weather. I had just 50 minutes in Fort William, before getting the 1230 bus to Oban, arriving at 1403. The west coast scenery was quite stunning. I tried taking photos from the bus, but the flash reflecting from the window made this difficult.
I thought Fort William was busy, but Oban was absolutely crammed with visitors, probably due in part to Covid foreign travel restrictions. It seemed that every B&B had a ‘no vacancies’ sign. I had 4 hours and 12 minutes in Oban, before getting the last bus back to Glasgow at 1815. Dunollie Castle, McCaig’s Tower and Pulpit Hill were on my ‘to do’ list.
Dunollie Castle and museum are about three quarters of a mile to the north of the town, but I took a wrong turning and must have walked about 3 miles, before eventually finding it, only to be confronted with a sign saying that the museum was only open Thursday to Sunday. There was also a sign saying ‘private road – no access’, so I headed back to town.
The colosseum like building overlooking Oban used to be known as McCaig’s Folly, but today goes by the more respectful ‘McCaig’s Tower’. It was a tough climb, but worth the effort.
After all my exertions, I didn’t feel like doing the steep walk up to Pulpit Hill, so got a taxi. That turned out to be a good decision, as it was a particularly arduous walk. Pulpit Hill is so called because a local minister used to hold outdoor services at the site, standing on a rock which became known as the pulpit.
I told the taxi driver about the ‘no access’ sign at Dunollie Castle, and he replied that it only applied to vehicles, so I needlessly missed out on some photos of the castle.
The views were even better than those from McCaig’s Tower, but there were just two sightseers, compared to the dozens at the tower. Pulpit Hill appears to be a little known ‘hidden gem’, and not to be missed if you’re a visitor with a camera
The Bus Journey Back to Glasgow
The 1815 buss back to Glasgow, through Inveraray and Arrochar, took exactly 3 hours, and it’s still one of my favourite bus journeys.
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