It’s National Picnic Week! There’s nothing more enjoyable on one of our long, brilliant summer days than packing a hamper and heading out for a bit of al fresco dining in one of the many spectacular settings in Oban and Lorn.
Whether it’s a romantic outing for two or a big day for the entire family, picnicking is a summer holiday tradition, and with lots of luscious local fare to sample, it’s easy to put together the perfect outdoor feast. Build your own repast with goodies from a local deli, or order up from one of the many local cafés, restaurants and pubs that offer takeaway picnic meals-complete with drinks, cutlery and all the nice touches.
To celebrate National Picnic Week, we offer our list of our Top 10 Favourite Picnic Spots in Oban and Lorn, in no particular order.
Pulpit Hill. With magnificent views over Oban and a picnic table, Pulpit Hill is one of our favourite places in town to enjoy a nosh. There are toilet facilities here and grassy space for the kids to play. Bring binoculars if you can, there is lots to see!
Wee Ganavan. This lovely spot is a favourite of families and dog owners, with lots of room to run. There is a bench there, but bring a blanket to spread out on the sand and while away the entire afternoon relaxing to the sound of turquoise waves lapping the sandy shore. Have a local deli wrap up some salads and sandwiches, and don’t forget the sunscreen!
McCaig’s Tower. Offering another of Oban’s best views, McCaig’s Tower is a top picnic spot for visitors and locals alike. Grab one of our world famous fish and chips, spread a blanket out on the cushy, green grass amongst the flowers and relax in the dappled sunshine while the kids run around.
Oban War Memorial & Lighthouse. With benches and tables overlooking scenic Oban Bay, this is a popular picnic area, especially with mum and kids. It’s an easy stroll down the Esplanade- and the views of Dunollie Castle, the Isle of Kerrera and the ferries and boats coming in and out of the bay can’t be beat. Get a seafood takeaway box from the pier and spend your lunch hour in the sun.
Dunstaffnage Castle. The grounds of this amazing castle just outside of Oban are so lovely, especially in summer, set amongst a profusion of foxgloves, primroses and bluebells. Large grassy areas invite a blanket, a hamper- and you, lying in the sun enjoying a snack. This is a family friendly area, perfect for a couple of hours when you don’t want to go very far from Oban, but also great for spending the whole day. There is a walking trail along the coast to Ganavan Beach from the castle if you want to wander.
Cologin Forestry Commission Trail. Three miles south of Oban in Lerags, with the starting point at The Barn Bar, this one-mile walking trail winds up through serene woodlands, offering spectacular views of Ben Cruachan and superb wildlife watching. There are two picnic tables along the way, one nestled in the forest and one overlooking scenic Loch Gleann a’Bhearraidh. We hit this spot when we don’t want to go too far from Oban, but want that feeling of being in the middle of nowhere. Stop at the Barn Bar before if you forgot your lunch- the friendly staff are glad to fix up a bag of delicious treats to go. And afterwards, stop for a pint or a coffee and dessert in the beer garden- perfect!
Glen Orchy. Pick your postcard perfect place- beside a waterfall, along the rushing river, in the forest, or at one of two charming picnic sites- the Bridge of Orchy car park or Catnish car park. This sheltered, quiet, dreamy glen is our favourite pick for à deux alfresco. A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou…it doesn’t get more romantic than that, unless you throw in a waterfall or two of course! Stop in Kitchen Garden on the way for some award winning local cheeses, fresh baked bread and a bottle of great wine-they even have pre-packaged hampers all fitted out with quality goodies that are sure to melt even the coldest heart.
Isle of Kerrera. Just a short ferry ride from the mainland, a trip to the emerald Isle of Kerrera is like going back in time-you won’t find traffic or crowds here. Take the south Gylen Castle hiking circuit that starts at the ferry slip. Pack everything, including a blanket, in a rucksack and walk to a nice spot overlooking the castle among the colourful wildflowers fluttering in the sea breeze. Try to catch a glimpse of sea eagles and otters- you might even see a wild goat or two in the distance.
Fearnoch Forest. Just off the A82 between Oban and Taynuilt, Fearnoch is another fine Forestry Commission picnic spot. Above the trailhead parking lot are picnic tables with sweeping views across Ben Cruachan. You can often find horse riders and cyclists enjoying picnics here. Hike a bit down the Eas na Laraiche Moire trail following the burn to find another set of tables in a delightful glade.
Beinn Lora. Beinn Lora Forestry Commission trail in Benderloch gets our vote for most picturesque picnic spot in Lorn- and that’s saying something. You don’t have to climb to the very top- the hike up the base of the hill is rewarded with picnic tables at scenic points along the way, so you can catch your breath. We like to save our lunch, hike up to Eagle’s Eyrie viewpoint for the sweeping panorama of the coast, islands and mountains, then stop at a table on the way down- nothing tastes better than picnic when you are really hungry!