Fort William or Oban?

Old Apr 28th, 2005, 07:06 AM
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Fort William or Oban?

Hi! I am currently planning a trip through Scotland and have a choice between staying 2-days in Fort William or 2-days in Oban. I have no idea which one to do and am trying to get information about both areas.

It was brought up that we could do the Harry Potter steam train ride from Ft William to Mallaig as a day trip. Or if in Oban we you could do a day trip by coach and ferry to the Isle of Mull to see Iona or Staffa and the puffins on the Treshnish Isles. Is the Harry Potter train pretty much a gimmick? I am leaning to Oban, but would love to hear the voices of those with experience.

Anyone have any suggestions or thoughts?
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Old Apr 28th, 2005, 07:23 AM
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We spent three nights in Oban last year and loved it. It is a nice, small town on a very pretty harbor. We did not make it to Mull/Iona, but we did use it as a base for day trips to Glen Coe, Kilmartin Glen, and Inveraray.

We drove through Ft. William, and frankly it didn't look that exciting, but the area between there and Mallaig is beautiful.

Photos and trip report:
http://www.onelittleworld.com/scotland_5.html
ms_go is online now  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 07:37 AM
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if those are your only two choices, then I'd choose Oban hands down. There really is no reason to stay in Ft William.

I personally wouldn't stay IN either one if I had a car -- but it sounds like you aren't planning to drive. I would stay outside of Oban or Ft William. If you are driving - then the sky's the limit, you can stay anywhere.

(BTW, the steam train ran looooooong before Harry Potter was ever thought of)
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Old Apr 28th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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ms_go & janis- Thanks so much for your help! You both made this an easy decision. We will go with Oban.

Ms_go Thanks for the website link. We have much to look forward to in July!

Janis-We are actually doing a self-driving tour and have gone with someone who is making the accommodation arrangements. So, I am not exactly sure if we will be in Oban or outside of it. Thanks for the info on the train - that makes sense.
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Old Apr 28th, 2005, 08:39 AM
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The railway line from Fort William to Mallaig is one of the most beautiful in Britain, if not Europe. There are about four regular diesel trains a day, and a steam train that runs in summer. The scenery is exactly the same, whichever train you use.
Both Fort William and Oban are good touring bases: from Fort William, it's easy to visit Loch Ness, Inverness or Skye, for example; from Oban, you can go to Mull and Iona. Both towns are big enough to have a choice of pubs, restaurants, etc.
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Old Apr 28th, 2005, 11:43 AM
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I really enjoyed walking around Oban when I was there. Be sure to visit McCaig's Tower while you're there. I have a handful of Oban and Iona photos here if you're interested: sunny16.smugmug.com/gallery/193445
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Old Apr 30th, 2005, 05:42 AM
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I'm glad you've chosen Oban. Fort William is little more than a glorified railway junction,with quite a lot on industry. Shame they ruined such a glorious location by building it there.

For your day trip, I'd be well inclined to suggest you make your boat trip direct from Oban, rather than by going to Mull first.

You COULD actually do the train trip with the add on of an hour in the car to get to Fort William before and after.

Otherwise head south into Kilmartin Glen, and routes to east and west off the main road to Lochgilphead.

have a great trip
sheila is offline  
Old Apr 30th, 2005, 08:57 AM
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I spent 3 nights in Fort William a couple of years ago. Totally unimpressed. We did hike nearby and that was nice, but the town is nothing more than a lot of tourist shops. Very disappointing.
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