We decided to catch some sunrise moments on the two remaining days of our visit to Oban. Even at this time of year that means a very early start, making it doubly important to get a good night’s sleep beforehand. That’s why I was so pleased when, at 3am, Biggles declared quite forcefully that he needed to go outside for a trip to the loo.
A nighttime toilet walk in a campsite full of dogs is no trivial undertaking; it requires a pocket full of poo bags, a torch (preferably head-mounted to allow hands-free operation), patience mixed with a sense of urgency, and a generous helping of luck. Why? Well, the need for the poo bags and a torch is obvious. Patience is required because even a desperate little Biggly boy can’t go just anywhere – he has to sniff around a bit to find exactly the right place. Sometimes a spot that seems OK for the first couple of solids turns out not to be suitable for the rest, and he has to waddle around a bit more until he hits the right position. However, said patience must be tempered by a sense of urgency, because (1) the longer he spends out there the more likely he is to spot another human, dog or rabbit (yes, the campsite is overrun by rabbits during the hours of darkness) and burst into a baying session, oh and (2) I WANT TO GO BACK TO BED! And finally a generous helping of luck is essential, because completing the dump and getting him back into the caravan without waking everyone on the site takes a bloody miracle.
Barely a couple of hours after that upheaval all four of us were out of bed again, preparing to go up a nearby hill by the name of Ben Lora. The starting point was only a short drive from the campsite, which was good, but the walk guide I’d printed out was almost useless, which wasn’t good at all. The very first turning on it was now barred to the public! Fortunately an alternate route was pretty clearly signposted, but it was also considerably longer than the one we were expecting and sunrise wasn’t going to wait for us. We made good progress for the first section of the walk, but missed an important diversion in the darkness which swallowed up a few more precious minutes. Speaking of things being swallowed up, one section of the route was so boggy it nearly took the boots off my feet. One of the drawbacks of having Beagles out in front is that you tend to assume that anything they can walk over without sinking, we humies can walk over too. Not so!
Despite all this we made it to the top before sunrise, and got the most amazing visual treat. For such a small hill, Ben Lora delivers some incredible views.
It’s official sunrise time, but for us the sun is still hiding behind a distant peak
Rolling mist still covers much of the low ground
Looking back, the summit marker is visible on the right
And finally the sun makes an appearance!
Curiously it grew noticeably colder the moment the sun appeared, and as the mist cleared the Beagle contingent spotted some sheep. Soon after that the baying started so we didn’t hang around up there for too long. I did get one more good shot before we headed back down though.
Back at the caravan we all had breakfast, then Biggles went for a top-up nap. Susan and I tried to follow suit but Beanie had other ideas and made several attempts at raiding the breakfast leftovers. I decided to have a man-to-Beagle talk with her about this, and suggested that she take all the energy she currently uses for scavenging and redirect it into something less bothersome, like philosophy. I mean she’s certainly a smart little girl, so why couldn’t she be the first Beagle philosopher? In response she scratched an ear with one of her rear feet, planted her bum hole on the carpet, lifted her rear paws off the ground slightly and scooted from one end of the caravan to the other. I didn’t pursue the philosopher Beagle angle any further after that.
Biggles’ post-breakfast nap. Getting up to go for a poo at 3am can really tire a boy out. Wasn’t so great for me either!
Very early on our final morning we headed straight for Oban’s signature feature: McCaig’s Tower. Sitting on a hill above Oban, the tower is modelled on the Colosseum in Rome. It was never completed and is now just an ornate shell surrounding a rather nice garden. I’d visited it briefly the previous evening to scout it out and somehow managed to get one shot that didn’t include the hordes of Japanese tourists taking group photos with their phones.
In the morning however- about half an hour before sunrise – there was scarcely anyone about and the views of Oban from the tower’s front platform were very nice indeed.
The ferry takes pride of place in the center of the photo
Beanie and Biggles didn’t bother much with the views because there were fast food debris inside the tower that urgently required their attention. As the sun rose and they explored the outside of the tower, they even found a bush with blackberries ripe for picking.
The first direct sunlight hits the tower’s grand entrance
More of the garden inside the tower
Beanie & Biggles’ explore the tower thoroughly..
..and Biggles raids the blackberries!
Once Biggles had finished off the blackberries he looked around for more natural snacks and discovered some rose hips. These demanded a more robust picking action than the blackberries, in fact he had to get so tough with them that he virtually uprooted the blummin’ plant. He spent the rest of the walk looking for more fruits which is a little worrying because not everything is dog friendly. If we don’t keep an eye on him there could be another trip to the vet in his future.
That visit to McCaig’s tower pretty much concluded our holiday. We’d all had a great time but judging by her reaction when we got home, I think Beanie may subscribe to Frank Sinatra’s point of view: it’s nice to go trav’ling, but it’s so much nicer to come home!