If you ever find yourself in Oban, one of the most notable landmarks you’ll come across is the McCaig’s Tower. This impressive structure, which sits atop of Battery Hill, offers some of the best views of Oban and the surrounding area.

Throughout this article, we’ll explore the origins of the tower, its impact on the local economy, and how it’s perceived today.

The Origins of McCaig’s Tower

Why was it built?

McCaig’s Tower in Oban was designed and commissioned in 1897 by John Stuart McCaig, a wealthy banker and philanthropist from the Isle of Lismore.

The reason for the construction of the tower was for Mr McCaig to imprint a long-lasting monument to his family, as well as providing work for local stonemasons in Oban.

It’s speculated that the tower was built to be an art gallery or museum, with many also suggesting that there were plans to construct more buildings within the existing structure; however, these plans were never executed, most likely due to financial reasons.

The Building Process

The stonemasons employed to build the tower had a difficult time finding suitable stone and lime wall materials, meaning the tower had to be built using a combination of stone and lime for the walls, and granite for the tower.

McCaig was responsible for the tower’s construction over a five year period before his death (1895–1902). During his management of the building process, McCaig spent £5,000 on the construction of the tower.
He stated in his will that, after his death, a further £1,000 per year would be paid towards the additional construction costs, but the tower was never completed as per his original plans.

In court and after McCaig’s death, the surviving members of his family stopped the £1,000 per month from being spent on the tower, with the judge describing Mr McCaig as an “eccentric testator” in regards to the decision to cease payments towards construction.

Influence on the Local Economy

The construction of McCaig’s Tower had a significant impact on the local economy. The tower provided work for local stonemasons which helped boost the local economy at the time.

Today, McCaig’s Tower continues to have a positive impact on the local economy, with the monument being a prominent reason for tourists visting Oban. According to the Office of National Statistics, the revenue generated from tourism in Oban was 17 million pounds. Although it can’t be proven, it’s likely the tower still has an influence on revenue Oban receieves each year from tourism.

Visitors travel from all over the world to see the tower, with many of them staying in local hotels, eating in local restaurants, and spending money in local shops. The tower has even become a popular venue for weddings and other unique events which additionally helps generate revenue for local businesses in Oban.  

Notable Features of McCaig’s Tower

Today, the tower is more than just a building to remember the McCaig family.

This tower is one of the most prominent and respected landmarks in the town. So much so that the tower is listed as a Category B building by Historic Environment Scotland, meaning that it is of regional importance and should be preserved.

Below are the two notable features of McCaig’s Tower:

The Viewing Platform

The tower’s main attraction is its viewing platform. While here, you can enjoy panoramic views of Oban Bay and the Firth of Lorn.

The platform is accessible via a steep climb up the tower’s spiral staircase, but the effort is well worth it! The view from the top is spectacular!

The Public Garden

Another attraction of McCaig’s Tower is its public garden.

The garden is located inside the tower, is well maintained, and includes a variety of trees, plants, and flowers. You can take a peaceful stroll through the garden or sit on one of the benches and enjoy the view.

McCaig’s Tower is open 365 days of the year. The summer months is when the garden is at its most beautiful and in full bloom. During the winter months, the gardens are expectedly much quieter; however, it still offers visitors a chance to enjoy the peaceful surroundings.


In conclusion, McCaig’s Tower is a must visit attraction in Oban. Whether you want to enjoy spectacular views or relax in a peaceful garden, the tower has something for everyone so, make sure you include the tower in your itinerary when you visit Oban.

If you’re staying in Oban overnight, visit our website. Our luxury hotel is the perfect place to stay while you discover everything Oban has to offer.