Argyll is from the old Gaelic word 'Earraghail' which means 'coastline of the Gaels'. Then, the waters around Oban and Lorn were marine motorways transporting people and animals from islands to mainland. Now these same seas are a mecca for water sports enthusiasts with unrivalled sailing, sub-aqua diving, seakayaking and sea angling.
The beach at Ganavan, just a couple of miles from Oban town centre, is popular with locals and visitors alike. Once the home of World War II sea planes, Ganavan Bay now offers safe bathing for all the family and a separate launch slip for boats.
Oban has several local Marinas where there are also charter facilities for those who wish to explore Europe's finest unspoilt cruising grounds - renowned world wide by yachtsmen, divers and kayakers. New this year (2017) there are pontoons off North Pier which allow visiting yachts to tie up for crew change or provisions or even to stay for a few nights.
At the end of April Easdale island hosts its annual RIB Rendezvous. This event is open to locals and visitors and is a RIB cruise in company.
Then in May, the town is the starting point for the famous Scottish Islands Peaks Race which is a gruelling test of sailing skills and fell running stamina.
In early August the harbour is crowded with yachts taking part in the renowned Tunnocks West Highland Week.
For those interested in leisure sailing the Sail Scotland web site gives details of sailing holidays off the coast of Oban. There are several small charter companies listed in our Activities pages.
More information on sailing in the local waters can be had from Oban Sailing Club.
Occasionally you may see a cruise liner in the bay or, more spectacularly, anchored out in the Firth of Lorne, against the backdrop of the hills of Mull and Morvern. Visit our Cruise Ships page for details of which ships are visiting and when.
As the area is famous for its clear waters and a number of interesting wrecks, both ancient and modern, sub-aqua divers make it a starting point for their expeditions. See our diving pages for more information.
Some of the loveliest scenery is only accessible by boat. The cruise from the pier at Taynuilt to the head of Loch Etive is quite breath-taking, not only for the scenery but also for the wildlife which can be seen, in the water, on the shore and soaring in the skies.
Loch Etive is one of Scotland's most beautiful lochs. At its mouth stands the thirteenth century Dunstaffnage Castle on what is said to be the site of the capital of Dalriada - the original Kingdom of the Scots. It was here that the Stone of Destiny was kept until it was taken east by Kenneth MacAlpine, the first King of the united Picts and Scots. The Stone has recently been returned to Scotland after 700 years in Westminster Abbey, and can now been seen in Edinburgh Castle.
Oban is rightly proud of its reputation for superb sailing and is currently campaigning to improve the walk ashore pontoon facilities for small boat users and kayakers in the bay. Details of the project, which has the support of Oban and Lorn Tourism Association, can be found at The Oban Bay Marine website.