Scotland is a Northern country, and it is one of the Arctic’s nearest neighbours. Connections between Scotland and the Arctic, however, go much further than geographical proximity. They include important trading and cooperative relationships, long-standing historical and linguistic ties, deep cultural and social links, and similar challenges and outlooks. Strategically positioned on the northern Atlantic rim, Scotland has the capacity to help connect the Arctic and the wider world—a connection of which SCOTMAC is an important strand.

For more information about Scotland and the Arctic, see the Scottish Government publication Arctic Connections: Scotland’s Arctic policy framework .


The host of SCOTMAC 1 is the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) , an academic partner of the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) and a member through UHI of the Scottish-Arctic Network. Founded in 1884, SAMS is Scotland’s oldest and largest independent marine-science organisation; world-renowned for research and teaching in ocean systems, dynamic coasts and the blue economy; and home to a specialist marine consultancy working in partnership with government, business and civil society. The SAMS campus is situated three kilometres northeast of the town of Oban, in a stunning coastal landscape of mountains and lochs.


Known as the ‘Capital of the West Highlands’, ‘Gateway to the Isles’ and ‘Seafood Capital of Scotland’, Oban is a charming university town , as well as a much-loved holiday destination and a working port.  Nestled on a deep fjord and sheltered from the North Atlantic, Oban and its surrounding mountains and lochs offer outdoor opportunities for the adventurous.  Oban means ‘Little Bay’ in Scottish Gaelic, and ferries connect Oban to the remote Morvern and Ardnamurchan Peninsulas, as well as the beautiful islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides—Kerrera, Lismore, Mull and the holy island of Iona, Coll, Tiree, South Uist and Barra.

Though SCOTMAC is an all-day affair, visiting delegations will still have time to explore Oban’s many historic and modern attractions. For more about what Oban has to offer the visitor, see the website of the Oban Tourism Group , as well as touring recommendations from from SAMS .


Delegates are requested to make their own accommodation arrangements in Oban.  The SAMS campus is just a short distance away from the town, and frequent bus service connects the two.  As a holiday destination, Oban offers a range of accommodation options, from youth hostels and guest houses to bed-and-breakfasts, self-catering flats and cottages, and hotels.  An accommodation listing is available from the Oban Tourism Group .

Accommodation recommendations are also available from SAMS , including amongst others:

It is also possible to find room lets, B&Bs and self-catering options via AirBnB .  Delegates who would like assistance with finding appropriate accommodation for SCOTMAC should feel free to contact Helen McNeill , Education Officer at SAMS.


Morning and afternoon tea and coffee, as well as lunch, will be provided to delegates whilst SCOTMAC is in session. An informal welcome dinner will also be provided on the first evening, and a finale dinner on the last evening. Delegates will be free to arrange other meals as they wish. A restaurant listing is available from the Oban Tourism Group .


The health and safety of SCOTMAC delegates is our priority, and we ask delegates to comply with Scottish COVID-19 regulations.  At the time of writing, these regulations require face coverings in communal areas, including university teaching and seminar rooms, as well as on public transport.  Full and up-to-date information can be found on the website of the Scottish Government .

Delegates travelling to SCOTMAC from outside the UK should also be aware of requirements for entering Scotland from abroad.  At the time of writing, these requirements include completing a passenger locator form, and taking a COVID-19 test within two days of arrival.  Full and up-to-date information, including links to test providers, can be found on the website of the Scottish Government .


SAMS is located three kilometres from Oban in Argyll, PA37 1QJ—see the map below for exact location. SAMS provide detailed information about alternative transport options, as well as instructions about how to travel to their campus and Oban town by bus, train or air.

It is anticipated that delegates arriving in Oban from elsewhere will arrive no later than the Thursday evening before the conference begins.  Detailed arrival instructions will be circulated in the run-up to the conference.  Delegates who would like assistance with making travel arrangements for SCOTMAC should feel free to contact Helen McNeill , Education Officer at SAMS.