History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
John Stuart McCaig was a successful banker in Oban, head of the North of Scotland Bank. In a spirit of public service mixed with no small amount of family pride, he decided to build a very odd public building on a high hillside overlooking Oban harbour. The project was intended to provide employment for local stone masons during the lean winter months, and at the same time create a lasting memorial to the McCaig family.
The Tower is built of local granite from Bonawe, with a circumference of 200 metres. There are two tiers of arches; a lower tier of 44 lancets, and an upper tier of 50 lancets. McCaig did not hire an architect but designed and supervised the building himself, to a budget of 5,000 pounds.
He drew inspiration from classical sources, both Greek and Roman, and intended the finished building to house an art gallery and museum, surmounted by a central tower. The tower was meant to house statues to his family. In the end, McCaig's grand plans came to naught, for he died in 1902 at the age of 78 and construction came to a halt, with only the shell of the building complete.
The 'tower' is completely hollow, and roofless, but from a distance it bears more than a little resemblance to its Roman inspiration. The interior of the Tower is a public garden, and though the garden is pleasant enough, it is the superb views that make a climb to the Tower worthwhile.
Most photos are available for licensing, please contact Britain Express image library.
About McCaig's Tower
Address: Duncraggan Road, Oban, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: Accessible on foot from the harbour - and obvious from all over Oban! Open daylight hours.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Dunstaffnage Castle - 2.4 miles (Castle)
Ardchattan Priory - 7.4 miles (Abbey)
Duart Castle - 8.4 miles (Castle)
Bonawe Iron Furnace - 9.2 miles (Historic Building)
Castle Stalker - 10.4 miles (Castle)
Loch Awe - 12.3 miles (Countryside)
Arduaine Garden - 13 miles (Garden)
Lochbuie Stone Circle - 15.4 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Nearest Accommodation to McCaig's Tower:
Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from McCaig's Tower. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.