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ISSUE 3 ARCHIVE - A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO EATING AND SLEEPING, OBAN, SCOTLAND

Scotland has some of the finest dive sites in the UK and up amongst those top locations has to be Oban. It may be a long way to travel from London, but this really is worth the effort. Protected by the Northern tip of the island of Kerrera, it is possible to dive in the bay in all but the most severe weather conditions. Among the most popular dive sites around here are the wrecks of The Hispania; The Breda; The Rondo; The Shuna and Thesis with stunning reefs such as those of Calve Island where divers can expect to see all the wonderful marine life that Scotland is renowned for. If exhilaration is what you're after then check out one of the world's largest whirlpools at Corryvreckan Pinnacle (for experienced divers only).

There are plenty of options for accommodation in and around Oban:
  • Oban Caravan and Camping Park provides the cheapest option with all the facilities of a top camp site and stunning views.
    Tel: 01631 562 425
    www.obancaravanpark.com
Maldives Diving Adventure
  • Oban Backpackers in the centre of Oban.
    Tel: 01631 562 107
    www.obanbackpackers.com

  • Puffin Divers offer two types of accommodation: Waterfront chalets (sleeping 6-7 people in each chalet) and townhouses.
    Tel: 01631 566 088
    www.puffin.org.uk

  • The Manor House Hotel
    Tel: 01631 562 087
    www.manorhouseoban.com

  • The Dungallan House Hotel with award winning restaurant
    Tel: 01631 563 799
    www.dungallanhotel-oban.co.uk

  • Alternatively you can stay in the lochside self-catering chalets at Melfort Pier and Harbour. This is a little away from Oban, but offer 15 beautiful chalets (sleeping 2 6 people each) on the edge of Loch Melfort. Many of the chalets have log burning stoves and saunas.
    Tel: 01852 200 333
    www.melfortpier.com
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Grub's Up

You cannot possibly come to Oban without eating at Ee-Usk (the name being the Gaelic for 'Fish'). This awardwinning waterside restaurant serves simple yet delicious fish and shellfish dishes (all wet fish, other than sea bass, being locally caught).

The view ain't too shoddy either, as you look out over Oban Bay and out to kerrera and on to Mull. Ee-Usk also has a separate Pizza restaurant too. The Sea Food Temple is another favourite local fish restaurant, the fish here has practically jumped out of the water onto your plate! It is very small, so pre-book for sittings at 6 & 8pm.

There are plenty of other pubs and restaurants serving local fish and produce, as well as the usual Chinese, Indian and take-aways that can be found about Oban.
  • Ee-Usk
    North Pier
    Oban
    Argyll PA34 5QD
    Tel: 01631 565 666
    www.eeusk.com

  • The Sea Food Temple
    Dungallan Park
    Gallanach Rd
    Oban
    Argyll PA34 4PB
    Tel: 01631 566 000
Nautilus Lifeline

Dive Centres

  • Puffin Divers
    Port Gallanach, Oban, Argyll PA34 4QH
    Tel: 01631 566 088
    This is the main diving facility in town with: Air/Nitrox fills; boats; super ribs; shop; repairs; courses; fuel and boat launching; food and drinks area with comprehensive map of local dive sites.

  • Oban Dive Charters
    Adrian A Lauder (Skipper)
    Tel: 01631 720 262 Mobile: 07720 302 727

  • Porpoise Diving
    Tel: 01631 571 010 (Daytime)
    01852 300 203 (Evenings and Weekends)

Down the Boozer

For a diving debrief there is a good choice of pubs here in Oban. You'll also find good solid grub and maybe a few local fishermen:
  • The Oban Inn
    Stafford Street
    Oban
    Argyll PA34 5NJ
    Tel. 01631 562 484

  • Aulays
    8 Airds Crescent
    Oban
    Argyll PA34 5SQ
    Tel: 01631 562 596

  • The Lorne
    Stevenson Street
    Oban
    Argyll PA34 5NA
    Tel: 01631 570020

  • O'Donnells Irish Bar
    Breadalbane Street
    Oban
    Agyll PA34 5NZ
    Tel: 01631 566159

Diving Leisure London

Not in the Water

Oban Distillery I doubt many of you divers will not take the opportunity to visit this fine establishment. You can't miss it, right opposite the pier and with a tall chimney as a helpful landmark. The guided tour costs 5 (includes a free dram), with this you get 3 discount off the purchase of a bottle of single malt whisky or 8 off 2 bottles.

McCraig's Tower If you can be bothered to climb the hill after your whisky tasting, then head up to this landmark. The Colosseum-like construction was built at the end of the nineteenth century, when a local banker noticed that there were a number of skilled masons sitting about doing nothing during the winter months, so decided to have this folly built as a memorial to his family. It is now a great spot for arty photographs of the bay and surrounding islands at sunset.

Cruachan Hydro Power Station head one kilometre into a mountain where the massive caverns deep inside Ben Cruachan house the great turbines of this eco-power station.

Keen photographers may also be interested in a wildlife and digital photography experience on Loch Awe, where Philip Price (an award winning wildlife photographer) organises talks, tours and tips on wildlife photography (equipment can also be hired). Loch Visions

Some Useful Scottish Terms

Birling. Motion inclined to induce disorientation (often occurring to divers when they come to the top of a big drop off)

Ginger. Generic term for carbonated drinks. Despite billions of dollars spent on brand recognition and advertising, Coke, Pepsi, Seven Up and Sprite are all referred to as ginger

Single fish. Serving of battered fish without chips which rather confusingly includes two fish. (Note: also rhyming slang for urinary function)

Team handed. Arriving with a large group of people, normally with the intention of fighting (be careful when in a large dive club as you may well find yourself in the same drinking establishments).
Ralf Tech

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