Robin McKelvie spends a weekend in Oban
Roll over the wee bridge and into the welcoming embrace of the Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island (www.eriska-hotel.co.uk), a private island with its own golf course and walking trails.
The Deck is the new kid on the Eriska block. This informal eatery at their health spa offers their own Eriska island smoked salmon.
Head into Oban proper to the Oban Distillery (www.discovering-distilleries.com/oban), where a range of tours and tastings tempt just back from the waterfront.
Oban styles itself as the “Seafood Capital of Scotland” with good reason. You can savour the boat-fresh bounty of the local fleet across town, with the stand out The Waterfront Fishouse Restaurant (www.waterfrontfishouse.co.uk). Book a window table.
After a sumptuous breakfast, take a drive a few miles up the road to Castle Stalker, one of Scotland’s most dramatic fortifications. The view from the Castle Stalker Café (www.castlestalkerview.co.uk) is superb and they do a decent brew too.
Time for a simple seafood feast. Head along the Oban pier to the original and best seafood shack – the green and white one. Watch the ferries come and go as you tuck into local oysters, scallops and lobster.
After spending all weekend looking at the water it’s time get out on it with a wee boat tour (www.obanboat.co.uk) in search of a seal colony. Watch for porpoises and dolphins too.
It’s Michelin-star restaurant time back at Eriska. This superlative-inducing dining room is one of Scotland’s finest, bursting with fresh local produce. Opt for the tasting menu, but leave room for the epic cheese trolley.
Head to Eriska’s spa, where myriad treatments await, from standard sports massages, through to deeply-relaxing hot stone therapy treatments. They have a new chill out area to relax in afterwards or just ease into their large swimming pool.
• You really need your own car to make the most of a stay at Eriska and the Oban area. Lonely Planet’s Scotland guide covers the area well, while www.visitscotland.com provides more information.