|Scottish Gaelic: An t-Òban |
Oban from Druim Mor
Oban shown within Argyll and Bute
|Population||8,120 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Council area||Argyll and Bute|
|Lieutenancy area||Argyll and Bute|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Argyll and Bute|
|Scottish Parliament||Argyll and Bute|
Oban ( listen (help·info); An t-Òban in Scottish Gaelic meaning The Little Bay) is a resort town within the Argyll and Bute council area of Scotland. It has a total resident population of 8,120. Despite its small size, it is the largest town between Helensburgh and Fort William and during the tourist season the town can play host to up to 25,000 people. Oban occupies a beautiful setting in the Firth of Lorn. The bay is a near perfect horseshoe, protected by the island of Kerrera, and beyond Kerrera the Isle of Mull. To the north is the long low island of Lismore, and the mountains of Morvern and Ardgour.
The site where Oban now stands has been used by humans since at least mesolithic times, as evidenced by archaeological remains of cave dwellers found in the town. Just outside the town stands Dunollie Castle, on a site that overlooks the main entrance to the bay and has been fortified since the 7th century. Prior to the 19th century, the town itself supported very few households, sustaining only minor fishing, trading, shipbuilding and quarrying industries, and a few hardy tourists.
The modern town of Oban grew up around the distillery which was founded there in 1794, and the town was raised to a burgh of barony in 1811 by royal charter. Sir Walter Scott visited the area in 1814, the year in which he published his poem The Lord of the Isles, and interest in the poem brought many new visitors to the town. The arrival of the railways in the 1880s brought further prosperity, revitalising local industry and giving new energy to tourism. Shortly thereafter McCaig's Tower, a folly and prominent local landmark, was constructed, as well as the ill-fated Oban Hydro.
During World War II, Oban was used by Merchant and Royal Navy ships and was an important base in the Battle of the Atlantic. The Royal Navy had a signal station near Ganavan, and an anti-submarine indicator loop station which detected any surface or submarine vessels between Oban, Mull and Lismore. There was a controlled minefield in the Sound of Kerrera which was operated from a building near the caravan site at Gallanach. There was also a Royal Air Force flying boat base at Ganavan and on Kerrera, and an airfield at North Connel built by the Royal Air Force. A Sector Operations Room was built near the airfield, and after the war this was extended to become the Royal Observer Corps Group HQ.
Since the 1950s the principal industry has remained tourism, though the town is also an important ferry port, acting as the hub for ferries to many of the Hebrides.
The local culture is gaelic, and some 9.4% of the population of the town speak Scottish Gaelic. Oban is considered the home of the Royal National Mod since it was first held in Oban in 1892, with ten competitors on a Saturday afternoon. In 2003, Oban hosted the 100th Mod, attracting thousands of competitors and visitors. As well as the 100th Mod, Oban also hosted the centenary Mod in 1992 (the year it became Royal). (The 100th Mod was later than the centenary because it was not held in the war years). The 2009 Mod was again held in Oban. An annual Highland Games, known as the Argyllshire Gathering, is also held in the town.
The town had a two-screen cinema which was closed in early 2010. Thanks to a local community initiative, and supported by a number of famous names, it was reopened in August 2012 as the Phoenix Cinema. Oban has also been used as a backdrop to several films including Ring of Bright Water and Morvern Callar.
The Oban War and Peace Museum advances the education of present and future generations by collecting, maintaining, conserving and exhibiting items of historical and cultural interest relating to the Oban area in peacetime and during the war years. A museum also operates within Oban Distillery, just behind the main seafront. The distillation of whisky in Oban predates the town: whisky has been produced on the site since 1794.
In the 2010 Pipe Band season, the local Oban High School Pipe Band were successful in winning the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, the Cowal Games competition, and the Champion of Champions for the year in the novice-juvenile grade. The band is led by piping legend Angus MacColl, who has taught all of the pipers. The town also boasts a successful senior pipe band.
During the 2011 Guy Fawkes Night, Oban became briefly infamous for its fireworks display, which became a worldwide news and online hit, when £6,000 of display fireworks were ignited all at once due to a computer error. The display, which was due to last 20–30 minutes, was over in less than a minute. Pyro1, the company putting on the display, said sorry to the town by providing a free fireworks show on 27 November.
The town has been the birthplace and home of a number of well known people from Oban
The area around Oban is rich with attractions for tourists, from the dramatic scenery of the coast and mountains to the rich histories of the local castles and ancient religious sites. There are also many activities available for families and those interested in more active pursuits. The Oban and Lorn tourist information website has detailed information for visitors.
The Oban Visitor Information Centre, operated by VisitScotland, is located in the Columba Buildings on the North Pier.
The local amateur football team is Oban Saints with a small stadium situated in Mossfield. However, shinty is a more popular game locally, with two major teams, Oban Camanachd and Oban Celtic, in the town. The Oban Times runs a "Spot the Shinty Ball" competition each week. Oban Cricket Club was formed in 2003 and plays in nearby Taynuilt. Oban Lorne Rugby Football Club turned 50 years old in 2012, and competes in the RBS West region. The Highlanders were a World Wrestling Entertainment wrestling tag-team originally from Oban.
Watersports are an obvious activity in a seaport, and sailing is very popular. West Highland Week  brings sailors from around the world to the town every year.
Scuba diving is also readily available. There are many dive operators running services in and around the area. The wreck diving is spectacular, with the Sound of Mull offering some truly world-class dive sites. Although weather and visibility can be variable, the local geography means that a dive somewhere can always be achieved.
A weekend chess congress is held in Oban each year in the Royal Hotel. It usually takes place on the last weekend of November or the first weekend of December and brings 150-200 players to Oban along with their families.
The West Highland Tennis Championships are held annually in July at Atlantis Leisure  and attract some of Scotland's best players to the town. Past champions include Colin Fleming and Judy Murray.
Oban has a primary school campus located in the south of the town along with Park Primary School at the north of the town, and a major high school. Secondary school pupils are drawn from a wide surrounding catchment area, with some pupils having long commutes to and from school every day.
Oban High School and Scotland High School (located in sister city of Laurinburg, North Carolina) share an exchange programme which has given many pupils an opportunity to discover and experience a different culture. The two schools each have ten families who host pupils from the other school for two weeks in the summer (Oban) and two weeks in the autumn (Laurinburg). The exchange was expanded in 2007 to include the participation of a police officer from each community, at the same time as the pupils' exchanges.
Oban is served by Kilmore & Oban Parish Church of the Church of Scotland.  There are three church buildings in the united parish, namely at Glencruitten Road and the white church (opened in 1957) at Corran Esplanade in the town, as well as Kilmore Church. The minister (since 2007) is the Rev. Dugald Cameron, who formerly served at St. John's Renfield Church, Glasgow.
The mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Argyll and the Isles is St Columba's Cathedral at the north end of the Esplanade. During the 19th century, the Rector of the Pro-Cathedral was Father Allan MacDonald, a poet and Gaelic scholar. The present cathedral was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and constructed between 1932 and 1959.
The Scottish Episcopal Church is represented in Oban by the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, situated in George Street. It is one of two cathedrals of the united Diocese of Argyll and the Isles, the other being the Cathedral of the Isles in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.
There are several other churches in the town, including the Free Church of Scotland in Rockfield Road, the Baptist Church in Albany Street, Salvation Army in Stevenson Street, Elim Pentecostal Church in Soroba Road, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Lorn Christian Fellowship (Independent) both of whom meet at Oban High School and the Associated Presbyterian Church in Campbell Street. The Congregational Church in Tweedale Street was built in 1880.
A Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses is located nearby at 57 Lorn Road.
As with the rest of the British Isles, including Scotland, Oban experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The nearest official Met Office weather station for which online records are available is Dunstaffnage, about 2.7 miles north-north east of Oban town centre. The lowest temperature to be recorded in recent years is −7.9 °C (17.8 °F) during December 2010.
|Climate data for Dunstaffnage 3m asl, 1971-2000 (Weather station 2.7 miles (4 km) NNE of Oban)|
|Record high °C (°F)||13
|Average high °C (°F)||7.0
|Average low °C (°F)||2.1
|Record low °C (°F)||−8
|Precipitation mm (inches)||192.2
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ mm)||27||23||28||24||23||26||24||26||27||28||27||27||310|
|Avg. rainy days (≥ mm)||25||21||27||24||23||26||24||26||27||28||27||27||305|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ cm)||7||6||5||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||3||23|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||33.5||59.6||86.2||145.8||189.7||174.9||142.6||141.7||97.5||75.6||46.2||30.7||1,224|
|Source #1: Met Office |
|Source #2: Weatherbase |
Oban lies at the western end of the A85 road. It also has a railway station where a number of First ScotRail services operate to and from Glasgow Queen Street daily. The town is also an important ferry port, being Caledonian MacBrayne's busiest terminal. Oban is known as the Gateway to the Isles, with ferries sailing to the islands of Lismore, Colonsay, Islay, Coll, Tiree, to Craignure on Mull, to Castlebay on Barra and to Lochboisdale on South Uist. In 2005 a new ferry terminal was opened, and in 2007 a second link span opened, allowing two vessels to load/unload at the same time.
Scottish Citylink operate services from Glasgow's Buchanan bus station several times a day, during the summer a service from Dundee via Perth (Service 973) and another to Edinburgh via Stirling (service 978) is also operated.
Oban is also reachable by plane via Oban Airport at the village of North Connel. The airport is currently being upgraded (costing some £4.2 million), so commercial planes can operate life-line island services, using Oban as a hub.
In 2007 a further airlink was created between Oban and west-central Scotland with a seaplane service making it possible to fly from Glasgow city centre's Seaplane Terminal off the Clyde into the bay in Oban.
- Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba ~ Gaelic Place-names of Scotland Gaelic Place-names of Scotland
- Census data
- Macarthur Cave
- Dunollie Castle
- Oban History
- Duwe, Kurt C. (June, 2006). Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) Local Studies: An t-Oban & Latharna a Deas (Oban & South Lorn 18: (2nd). p. 15. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
- The Argyllshire Gathering
- Corran Halls
- Dame Judi Dench in bid to save Oban cinema
- Scotland: the Movie Location Guide to Oban
- http://www.scotchwhisky.net/distilleries/oban.htm#hist Oban Distillery History
- The Oban Times
- Fireworks company to put on free show to make up for display which lasted just 50 seconds because of computer error
- A SCOTS town's bungled firework display has become a YouTube sensation — after the £6,000 display lasted less than a MINUTE.
- Oban and Lorn Tourist Office
- 50th Birthday Celebration for Oban Lorne
- West Highland Week
-  West Highland Tennis Week
- "2010 temperature". Met Office.
- "Dunstaffnage 1971-2000 averages". Met Office. Retrieved 02 Nov 2011.
- "Oban weather records". Weatherbase. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- Hughes, Mike, The Hebrides at War Canongate Books, 1998, ISBN 0-86241-771-6.
- Batstone, Stephanie, Wren's Eye View, The Adventures of a Visual Signaller, Parapress Ltd, 1994, ISBN 1-898594-12-0. Written by a Wren based in Oban for most of WWII.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Oban.|
- Oban Airfield
- Oban Webcam
- Oban Times (local newspaper)
- Origins of the Mod
- Oban War and Peace Museum
- Royal Air Force Oban
- Anti-submarine indicator loop at Oban
- Minefield control tower at Gallanach
- ROC Group HQ Connel
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Oban.|