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 Bronze age. 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 Renfrew trading company established a storehouse there in about 1714 as a local outlet for its merchandise, but no Custom-house was deemed necessary until around 1760.
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.
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.
Every year Oban and the surrounding areas hosts various festivals and events, from the world famous Highland Games, the Winter Festival, the West Highland Yachting Week, the Music and Dance Festival and not forgetting the festival of the Sea.
There are plenty of things to do in and around Oban, from visiting our famous Whiskey Distillery and McCaig’s Tower monument to dancing the night away at the The View. Oban has something for everyone’s tastes.