The Peaceful Isle of Kerrera
Visitors to Oban who may be seeking some solitude or a slightly different sort of adventure should certainly consider boarding the ferry and heading to the Isle of Kerrera. Home to some 40 people, the Isle of Kerrera is beautifully situated in the mouth of Oban Bay. Because of its location, the island provides a natural breakwater for the harbour, along with spectacular scenery and a sense of peace.
Whilst Oban may be a hive of activity, the Isle of Kerrera stands in stark contrast as an ideal escape, a place to simply unwind. A popular attraction on the island is Gylen Castle. This interesting structure was built by Duncan MacDougall of Dunollie in 1587. The “L” plan tower house was besieged by the Covenanter army, led by General David Leslie and had to surrender in 1647 due to a lack of water within the fortifications. The army proceeded to loot and burn the castle. The castle was restored in May 2006 after a grant was provided by Historic Scotland and funds were raised by Clan MacDougall members from around the world. Also worth visiting while on the island is the memorial of David Hutchenson, or Hutchenson’s Monument, who was a founder of the Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry service to the island.
With few cars (only island residents are permitted to have cars) and an amazing landscape, the Isle of Kerrera is ideal for walking. Visitors to the island are likely to spot some interesting birds whilst traversing the landscape, including robins, oyster catchers and golden eagles at times. The ground can be a bit rough and boggy in places, so it is advisable to wear a good pair of walking shoes. A 10 km walking route on the Isle of Kerrera will take you approximately 6 hours to complete. After arriving on the ferry, walkers can follow the shore road that leads past Ardchoric, almost reaching Gylen. Then turn to the left on reaching the sheepfold, where there is a faint track. From there you will eventually see Gylen Park and then turn onto another path down to Gylen Castle. After exploring the castle, take a path that follows the shore and then over a foot bridge and leading to a gate. After the gate (remember to leave gates as you found them), a decent track will lead walkers past Ardmore and on to Barr nam Boc. Take the old drove road back to the ferry. Maps are available from Tourist Information Centres.