The 2018 season has begun at pace fuelled by the longest unbroken period of sunshine on the west coast that I can remember. The best of the magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas are now behind us but what a wonderfully colourful transition into summer.
Oban and Argyll are already bussing with travellers from far and wide and the new pontoon by the North Pier has enabled the sailing fraternity large and small to tether their boats and step right into the heart of town. The yachts, the bustling yachties and the chorus of mast-rigging tapping add enormously to the an already busy backdrop of fishing boats and Calmac ferries.
There has been an increase the number of cruise ships arriving in the bay or at anchor off Maiden Island. The Variety Voyager deserves a special mention having completed 3 of their 10 visits this year and so please with the warn welcome they receive have already booked up for 2019. They employ 4 of the 12 newly qualified walking tour guides, undertake a tour of the distillery, then after an afternoon at Inveraray Castle return to the ship to be entertained by the Gaelic Choir. Then after dinner hit the town on a pub crawl.
The Castles tour, Glen Coe, and the Island tours remain the most popular with the Land Rover Discovery. Just completed a 2-day Whisky tour of Islay and Jura with a night in Bowmore which is always a treat and also a trip to Arran. More people are choosing to commission their own tours which is exciting for me bringing together the logistical challenges and of course many new discoveries along the way.