McCaig’s Tower and its gardens sit proudly on Battery Hill, overlooking Oban and offering spectacular views over Oban Bay and over to the islands of Kerrera, Lismore and Mull in the distance.
Built of Bonawe granite taken from local quarries, it was built in 1897 by local banker John Stuart McCraig to provide work for local stonemasons over the winter months as well as to be a lasting monument to the McCaig family. However, work stopped when John died in 1902 and the building was never completed.
Given this, there has been much speculation as to what the building would have been, including an art gallery or museum. This suggests that there was an intention to construct further buildings or a tower within the exisiting structure, however there was little effort made to prepare the land for substancial building work above what is currently there.
Originally costing £5000 to build, if it was built today it would cost in excess of £500,000.
The climb from the town centre to McCaig’s Tower is well worth the effort when faced with the spectacular views across Oban Bay to the Atlantic islands. The gardens inside the tower are well maintained and a peaceful escape from the bustle of town life in Oban.
You can visit the tower by walking up Argyll Street, then climb the steps of Jacob’s Ladder. With 144 steps, it is a fair climb but the views are worth it. For those who don’t fancy the steep climb, there is a small car park at the base of the tower whereyou can access the gardens by a short flight of steps.