Oban’s business is cruising at the moment
IT’S all happening in Oban Bay these days with our new transit marina and boats and ships of all shapes and sizes coming and going, writes Oban ambassador Kay MacDonald.
One of the greatest pleasures of my job is seeing the constant activity in the bay and knowing that it’s going to transfer to the town. Whether it’s passengers from the ferries, fishing boats tying up or cruise ship passengers coming ashore, it all adds to the buzz.
During the past few years I’ve noticed that we have more ships dropping off and picking up passengers in the town, which is great. It shows that we have the transport links required and, for many of the passengers, it will mean a stay in the town either before they board for their trip or on their return before they head off home and, having spoken to quite a few, I know that often they extend their holiday with a few days in Oban.
We’re also lucky enough to have smaller companies such as the Majestic Line and Hebridean Cruises based here. Coming and going on a weekly basis, their boats really add character to the bay, as does the beautiful Hebridean Princess another weekly visitor.
Add in the tall ships constantly in and out and you have a photographer’s dream.
It’s always a pleasure to welcome our cruise ship visitors, no matter how long they’re here for. I know that is a concern for some but a lot of work has been done to try to accommodate the local businesses and the cruise operators for whom excursions are a large part of their business.
One of the figures I have heard is that fewer than 50 per cent of passengers chose to go on the excursions, with a few choosing to remain on the ship and the majority coming ashore to explore.
I should also mention that the excursions are usually for a half- day and remain within our area, going to Kilmartin, Inveraray and Glencoe before then returning for the rest of the day in Oban.
I know my hope always is that they will fall in love with our wee town and the welcome they’ve received from everyone and want to return for a longer stay to get to know us better.
And if the response I’ve had from the passengers is anything to go by, I’d say it’s not far off the mark.
As for the picture, I know a few of you spotted last week’s photo and a fair few didn’t. It was actually the building beside Webster of Oban Photographic Centre which I think used to be Pearl Insurance. Good luck with this week’s photo – I think it’s a doozy!