Like many travelers, Oban was an overnight stop for us, the next day we would be on a Ferry for the island of Iona. Located 60 miles (98 km) northwest of Glasgow as the crow flies, the modern town grew up around a whiskey distillery founded in 1794. The distillery is still in operation and offers tours.

Location of Oban relative to Glasgow, from Google Maps

Looming over Oban is McCaig’s tower, loosely based on the Colosseum in Rome. It was built between 1897 and 1902 at the order of John Stuart McCraig as a monument to his family and to provide work to local stonemasons. is plan was for it to be a museum and art gallery, but work stopped with his death, leaving only the outer ring standing.

John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era and is considered by many as one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Ruskin was a strong advocate for the conservation of historic buildings, but he deplored restoration, stating that restoration “means the most total destruction which a building can suffer”. According to Ruskin, the steps taken to conserve a building must be readily apparent and distinguished from the original structure. He certainly would have approved the approach taken to conserve the St. John’s Scottish Episcopal Cathedral, a detail of which is shown below.



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