History of Oban
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History of Oban

A bit of history about Alt na Craig House

Professor John Stuart Blackie who was professor of Greek at Edinburgh University, originally commissioned this stone built, turreted house in 1865.

Professor Blackie was an important scholar, poet and socialite who included amongst his close friends Prime Minister Gladstone. Professor Blackie discovered the Alt na Craig site whilst touring the Highlands with his wife looking for the perfect country retreat and biographies tell in detail of the building and opening of Alt na Craig.

Signs of Professor Blackie’s influence can still be seen throughout the house. There is a large stone, almost covered now by grass and moss, in the garden on the lawn as it rises up to the viewpoint. Apparently on still, Sunday evenings in the summer, Professor Blackie used to stand on this stone and sing hymns and psalms and talk to the assembled locals.

Those were the days before radio and television, before 24 hour news channels and even before the railway had reached Oban!Professor John Stuart Blackie

There was even a poem written about the house by the famous poetess of the time Henrietta Bird that was read on the day of opening :-

    Thus at last hath the ideal
    On this rock become the real
    Born of bright imagination
    Outlined forth by contemplation, reared in fancies vague
    Now at last in fair expansion
    Standeth it, - a goodly mansion
    Blessings on its walls and towers
    On its gardens and its bowers, Beauteous Alt na Craig!

Of course people lived on the site long before Professor Blackie built Alt na Craig. Recent archaeological diggings have shown that the Alt na Craig site has been inhabited since circa 7000 B.C.

Whether they ran a Bed & Breakfast so long ago is a matter of conjecture but most importantly we feel that we are carrying on the tradition of highland hospitality and welcome you to our home.

Some further info on Prof. Blackie

The house is now owned by Ina & Sandy MacArthur having moved back to Oban, Sandy's home town, from Pitlochry in Perthshire where we ran a very successful hotel for some 13 years.