Kayaking & Canoeing
Paddling gives you the best seat in the house for viewing coastal wildlife and stunning vistas, and Oban is a kayaker’s heaven.
Oban boasts a group of easily accessible launch sites at key points along our coastline, with some cracking spots, to spot otters, porpoise, dolphins, sea eagles, herons, ducks geese and many more of the west’s fantastic wildlife.
Starting at Ganavan Beach, you can encircle Maiden Island and visit Little Ganavan. You'll see Dunollie Castle come into view as you enter Oban Bay. The bay is busy with ferries and fishing boats, so take care to give them a wide berth!
Or why not head to Kerrera Sound, either side of the sound is fine to paddle, depending on conditions. You'll then follow the coast past Minard Point and the mouth of beautiful Loch Feochan. Take a rest in Barnacarry Bay on the opposite side of the mouth before making your way around the coastline to the islands.
Oban is a perfect place to start your sea kayaking career with plenty of excellent, highly qualified companies keen to give you a safe, enjoyable and fun introduction.
Several businesses offer a complete sea kayak outfitting, rental, hire service for those experienced kayakers who fly in from all over the World. They can offer lots of advice and local knowledge to help make the visit a superb experience.
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.
The waters of the Firth of Lorne make Oban a mecca for UK diving enthusiasts. There is diving here to suit everyone, from pleasant scenic dives in wrecks both shallow and deep, to hairy drift dives with tidal flows exceeding 15 knots and deep drop offs.
The marine life is abundant, with walls covered in anemones, sea squirts and sponges, lobsters and conger eels. You can also discover wildlife such as otters, seals and skate that teem in these pure waters.
Close to the shore of Oban is the drift round Dunollie Castle and the spectacular dives in the Sound of Mull, where the shipwrecks of the Rondo and the Hispania are excellent. Other popular dives include the Breda, a WW2 wreck in Ardmucknish Bay, and the turbulent Falls of Lora at the mouth of Loch Etive, which is definitely not for the faint hearted.
There are many other sea lochs close to Oban and they are well worth exploring, particularly Loch Creran where of particular interest are the serpulid reefs.
There are several dive boat operators who run large hardboats taking up to 12 divers and also smaller RIBs to the local dive sites.
Basking Shark Scotland offers a range of shark swimming and scuba diving excursions to the Inner Hebrides, where they provide unique interactions with basking sharks and the other abundant wildlife of the area.
Sailing to Oban, the 'Gateway to the Isles', is very popular as it has most major facilities and is the focal point for many sailing events during the season. Recently installed at the North Pier, a new facility allows visiting vessels to berth centrally and step ashore in the heart of Oban.
The finger pontoons have 39 fully serviced berths for boats up to 12m in length, however at busy times, and in suitable weather conditions, this can be expanded by rafting up boats and using the breakwater. The breakwater pontoons can accommodate boats of up to 30m in length/ 127GT depending on their specifications.
Additional berthing and marina services are provided by Kerrera Marina on the nearby island of Kerrera. A short distance north of Oban there is another serviced marina at Dunstaffnage, also with an on-site bar and restaurant.
Oban's harbour is always busy with cruise ship activity. The Hebridean Princess and Lord of the Glens are regular visitors and there are several smaller cruise ships operators, which embark passengers from Oban.
For the majority of cruise ships, passengers will disembark by tender to the town's North Pier Pontoons, where The Port of Oban Welcome group has trained walking tour guides help travellers who want to stretch their legs ashore in Oban town centre and enjoy the things to see and do.