Visit Oban and you cannot fail to notice the Colosseum on Battery Hill which overlooks the town. However, the facades and two tiers of arches staring out from the hillside owe their existence not to the Romans but to the turn of the twentieth century and John Stuart McCaig, a philanthropic Scottish banker.
McCaig’s dream and ultimate plan was to build a museum and art gallery in a Romanesque architectural style with a central tower housing family statues to serve as a lasting monument and memorial to him and his descendents. The philanthropic element of his project was to use local stonemasons and keep them employed during the winter months. Construction to a plan drawn up by McCaig himself began in 1897 using locally quarried Bonawe granite. Unfortunately McCaig died five years later before work was finished with only the outer walls erected and although he made provision for funds in his will to complete the project it was never carried out.
Today McCaig’s Tower dominates the town of Oban giving visitors stunning panoramic views across the town and out over the bay to sea and to the islands beyond from a viewing platform and through the arched windows. The walls rise to a height of 45 feet with a circumference of 600 feet and the structure stands over 200 feet above sea level. The interior of the tower is planted with trees and grass and a tranquil place to sit and rest from the demands of modern life.