Having travelled all the way from Worthing to meet my bestie in Ayr – blaring out of the car stereo and ever so cooly singing along to ‘Spice Girls,’ the road trip began to mine and Oban’s first ever lesbian weekend.
All of my senses heightened, my eyes captured the stunning landscape of mountains and lakes from the car window on the journey to our lesbian destination. Having volunteered to be a crew member, anticipation and excitement kicked in as we entered Oban, where we were greeted with more beautiful surroundings. With an open mind, I was so ready for the adventure ahead.
With 130 attendees, fully inclusive of trans women and non-binary individuals, everyone met at Markie Dans for welcome drinks, where the weekend officially began. Some came with friends – others came with partners, and there were a number of people who braved coming alone, but were not alone for long due the friendliness and kindness of so many lovely lesbians. Being around so many like-minded people, I knew this was where I was supposed to be.
Accommodation ranged from budget options, to luxury options for those who wished to push the boat out (pun intended). A campervan community was also amongst us, with campervanners living the freedom dream.
After dinner that evening, where there were restaurant choices to cater for different tastes and budgets, the weekend was in full swing as the talented Jess Gardham, with her microphone and fabulous embellished guitar at the ready, kicked off the party. The pub was packed with our lot dancing and singing along to tunes of various genres, including hip hop, which is a favourite of mine and turned me into the lesbian Eminem I think I am after a few pints.
The weekend days saw arranged trips to various places for walkers/non-walkers, including accessible trips for all, which were led by the amazing crew I had the pleasure of volunteering with. The Wildlife boat trip led us to see many seals, as well as other areas of the island to explore if so desired.
A visit to Wee Ganavan beach dared me to brave the freezing cold water…only up to my knees, but made me feel hardcore all the same. Others wild swam, kayaked and paddle boarded to their heart’s content. One of the things that I liked was that a lot of the time, we split into much smaller groups for walks or dinners, so it felt easy to get to know others. Although, it was great to see the dance floor at night packed with lesbians, a first for a small town like Oban.
Food choices throughout the weekend ranged from seafood and taco shacks, to various restaurants, including the very classy, fine dining option at No17 The Promenade. Each course came well presented and melted in my mouth with each bite. The delicious food, delightful conversation, stylish decor, the view of the calming water….and the fact they had Mezcal (my absolute favourite spirit) on the menu, highlighted this as being one of my most enjoyable dining experiences to-date.
Bubbles was the name of the game on Sunday at the Oban Bay Hotel. Feeling relaxed and at peace as we sat in a hot tub overlooking the serene ocean – chatting, laughing and sharing the tranquil experience and picturesque view with other lovelies in our group.
Sadness hit as the last night arrived but it did not disappoint. Oban’s very own, LGBTQ+ artist, River Martin, performed their debut with an intimate outdoor acoustic gig, with their lovely voice, awesome limited edition Ed Sheeran guitar, and their passion for music shining through. River captivated the audience and had us all singing along to various ballads and other genres that they made their own. It was truly a special touch on the last night, and such a wonderful way to end a belter of a weekend.
No rest for the wicked later on Sunday evening, with Edinburgh DJ, Trendy Wendy, making everyone a maniac on the floor…dancing like they’ve never danced before, with banger after banger of a range of old-school and current day beats. We came…we danced…and some of us didn’t stop until closing!
As people hugged and said their goodbyes Monday morning, warm emotions struck.
We did it!!! Oban’s first (and by no means last) lesbian weekend.
It was so empowering and has created lasting memories, smiles and friendships for so many. One person said they had found themself again. With this I smiled and felt so proud to be part of such a special and life-altering event for some. Another said: “I’ve never been to a lesbian event that’s got such a good atmosphere as this, and I’ve lived in London for over 10 years.”
Here’s to a wonderful weekend full of new experiences, beautiful scenery, new connections, smiles, laughs, decent chats, delicious food, quality music, dancing…and feeling free with the most amazing people, in where could possibly be the new LGBTQ+ capital of Scotland!
Those I met made my first lesbian weekend a very memorable one – and hats off to Maz for doing the majority of the endless work to organise such a successful event.
As this was the first event, it wasn’t perfect, which is to be expected. However, it’s definitely the start of great things to come as Oban Lesbian Weekend is returning in July 2023!!!
So the burning question is….will I be back for more?!
For information about Oban Lesbian Weekend 2023, please go to: