Thursday, March 22, 2018

Back to Scotland: Quiet Sojourn in Oban

We flew from Dublin on February 21, and after a one-night stay in Glasgow, we made a bee-line to Oban. It is a beautiful train journey along the West Highland Way to the west coast. It turned out to be a good choice, as you will see. 

Cathy settled us in the Oban Youth Hostel, one of the best we have stayed in during our 9-month sojourn. We had a beautiful bay-window view in our room overlooking the harbor and we watched the Cal-Mac ferries come and go to many of the western islands, including the Outer Hebrides. 

Yarn bombing seems to be a lively pastime in Oban. Even though we encountered few knitters and could not find a knitting group in town, the knitters are here and apparently knitting in secret guerilla yarn-bombing clans. Many poles throughout the town are covered with colorful and whimsical jumpers. Perhaps to keep them warm? 

Val, who shared a dorm room with us, was a knitter and she was able to add to my length. She was so sweet to write in my journal: “Every now and then I come across someone who reminds me why I travel—you are that person!!

Cathy got in one nice hike in the nearby mountains. You can read about that special day here on her travel blog.
(She did not take me with her, however.) 
Cathy encountered a lot of sheep on her walk...ahhhhh source material!

On March 6, a huge snowstorm smothered almost the entire United Kingdom with snow and wind. Most of the country came to a standstill—no trains or buses; businesses and schools closed; and many rural folks were stranded behind snowdrifts the rest of the week.

BUT…not in Oban. The western coast of Scotland had barely a few flakes of snow and very little wind. It did get very cold—down to below freezing, but there just was not any precipitation! So, Cathy and I missed what came to be called the “Beast from the East” (so-called because the storm originated in Siberia). Of course, we could not leave Oban, but that was no problem—it is a very special town to spend extra time in. 

The sunsets from our window were phenomenal!

In the cozy hostel, Cathy was able to finish her bookmark commission. You can access the free downloadable pattern for her Celtic Knot Bookmark here on Ravelry. She is hoping to have more of the patterns for these quick-to-make items published soon. 

I will keep you posted as she uploads more  of the patterns.

One benefit of the snowstorm: When we finally boarded a train to cross the Highlands in route to Edinburgh, the snowy views from the train were stunning.

At our next stop, spinners, knitters, and weavers were waiting for us to visit. Wait’ll you see what happened next!

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