Updated: Jan 23, 2018
Kerrera is the island which is visible directly from Oban Bay, although it’s merely the northern tip that can be seen. Kerrera is in fact quite a large island and can be compared with Scarba, Seil and Luing, is scarcely populated and provides excellent shelter for the Oban harbour. The current population is around 35 people, in the early 1800s it was around 200.
With all the hustle and bustle of the nearby tourist centre of Oban, Kerrera is in contrast very quiet, rural and offers lovely views of the surrounding coastal areas. Cars are banned on the island, except for the locals making it a walkers paradise, although good footwear is advised because of some rough and boggy grounds.
Gylen Castle was built in 1587 by Duncan MacDougall of Dunollie, the 16th chief, on the site of an earlier fortification. Due to the absence of a water supply inside the castle the MacDougall defenders had to surrender to a detachment of the Covenanter army of General David Leslie after the water supply outside of the castle was captured in 1647. The castle was then looted and burned and the Brooch of Lorn was stolen from the castle only to be returned to the Chief of the MacDougalls in 1824. The castle, which can look formidable on a gloomy day poised above the steep and rocky coastline, has an interesting passage underneath it. Carved heads can still be seen on the walls and an inscription which may have read “trust in God and sin no more”.