McCaig’s Tower is Oban’s most prominent landmark and was built to resemble Rome’s Colosseum. This structure, construction of which stopped in 1902, has since been transformed into a walled garden. Make the steep uphill climb to visit this odd tower. Stroll through its pretty gardens and take in the views over town and across Oban Bay.
The tower was built beginning in 1897 by local banker John Stuart McCaig. McCaig’s intention was to provide work for unemployed stonemasons during the off-season, as well as to create a permanent monument to his family. Work progressed slowly, mainly taking place in the winter months when the stonemasons were out of work, and McCaig died before the tower was completed. Look for an inscription above the entrance, the only tribute to McCaig ultimately be included in the tower. It reads: "Erected in 1900 by John Stuart McCaig, art critic and philosophical essayist and banker, Oban."
The tower is composed of stone extracted from the quarries at Bonawe, on Loch Etive. Walk around the building’s circumference. Notice the two rings of lancet arched openings, set one above the other. McCaig’s will requested that these windows be decorated with bronze statues of his family, but this wish was never fulfilled. The wall height varies slightly around the building to accommodate the slope of the hilltop on which it’s constructed.
Head through the small doorway on the west side of the tower to access its concrete viewing platform. The platform offers striking views over Oban, as well as Kerrera, Mull and the Firth of Lorn.
Spend some time relaxing in the beautiful gardens set within the tower and continue to admire the sea vistas through the tower’s arched windows. Follow these gardens out the east side of the tower, where they spread down the hillside.
McCaig's Tower can be reached by making a steep climb up a flight of stairs from Argyll Street in Oban. It can also be accessed by car by following the signs leading through a series of hillside roads. The tower is open 24 hours a day and admission is free. Don’t miss the gorgeous panoramas offered by this distinctive landmark.
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