Saturday, 16 November 2013

Skye in September

It's a windy and rainy night here in jolly old England so it seems as good a time as any to put up a new post. I know, I know, it's been a while, a LLLLOOOONNNGGG while, but better late then never.
 Here goes. 
Our darling daughter came for a visit with her new beau and we saved our summer vacation to spend with them. Scotland was our destination!! The easiest way to see everything is to drive there. So we packed up the little honda civic and off we went. Em's boyfriend is over 6ft tall, so it was going to be a challenge for him in our little car. He was a very good sport, we were so happy to have him with us!
Our first stop was Carlisle to see Hadrian's Wall.   To get some background info we stopped at a very informative Roman Army  museum. Then it was onto the WALL. 

There were small forts every mile along the wall, only a few ruins remain. 

We hiked about 3 miles along the wall until we came to this famous tree in the gap of these hills. Ever see Robin Hood Prince of Thieves? Well, this tree had a cameo role.  I didn't see it so I can't be sure, but if Rick Steve says it's so, then it must be.



The next day we went into Scotland to Glencoe. Just the most amazing scenery I have ever seen. 

There is a very nice visitors center with an photography exhibit about this artistically inspiring area. This is also backpacking country and people come from all over to walk these beautiful hills. We took a short walk on the aptly named Devil's stair case. Ironically, at the top there was the most heavenly view!

There is one main road that takes you thought the region. It has many places to stop along the route to take in the views. 

This is Ben Nevis, the highest point in Scotland. We sure were lucky with the weather while we were there!!
We were driving on to Oban to stay the night another 4 hours still to go.

We stopped for a traditional Sunday lunch on Loch Lomond. Our table had a terrific view of the loch, where we watch a group of kayaks navigate around until one suddenly turned over!!


Oban is a quaint little seaside town. Many ferries come and go here. Taking tourist to the Isle of Mull and other smaller islands. The Oban Distillery is in the middle of town, but we didn't get to a tasting. 

The Isle of Skye is in the Scottish Highlands and if you look at a map you can see it is really up there. We had been warned that the weather could be wild. Wind, rain, mist, fog.  We had a few nice days, mild, and clear with no wind, the weather gods were on our side. 
 You can get to the island two ways, the sky bridge or the ferry. We chose the bridge. 

This is why..... 

We didn't want to miss seeing this stunning castle.  Eilean Donan Castle is quite majestic!  Not be missed if you ever in the  area. We didn't go inside just stopped to take photos.

Isle of Skye

 We stayed in Portree one of the larger towns on the island. We had a nice apartment with a kitchen, laundry and was walking distance to the port. There are lots of little shops, tearooms, restaurants and pubs there. It was an ideal base for exploring the Isle of Skye.  Our first day there we took a drive up the Trotternish Pennisula with its amazing lanscape.

Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls – This is a 200 ft sea cliff (with waterfall) which has the appearance of pleats in a tartan kilt. There is a viewpoint here.  We had to wait a while for these shots, there were many people queuing to take photos.

Duntulm Castle Ruins

The Quirang is an intriguing place. There are such dramatic land formations, all covered in bright green moss. 

Skye Museum of Island Life
The way of life was very, very hard on the Isle of Skye and this museum showed that the families lived in these harsh conditions until the 1960's.  This remote settlement had a school, church with cemetery, and modest homesteads.

Old Man of Storr

We also visited the Talisker Whiskey Distillery, the Oyster Shed and the Dunvegan Castle while staying on the Isle of Skye.

Dunvegan Castle was the seat of the Clan MacLeod,  the ancestral home of the chief of the Clan MacLeod.  Portraits of all the many clan chiefs were hung in the main hall. They were very handsome in their formal kilts.  

The castle garden surrounding it, includes a large forest and water garden, and formal perennial and rose gardens.

The Talisker Distillery was located on a loch where oysters were farmed. I had my first raw oyster at the Oyster Shack. It was so fresh, I really enjoyed it.

Ullswater Lake, Lake District

After we left the Isle of Skye we stopped at the Lake District for the night. We stayed near the Ullswater Lake in a nice B&B. The next morning we took a hike up to see a waterfall, then a stone circle. 

I would love to spend more time in Scotland, there is so much to see and do. Stunning scenery and dramatic history, my kind of place!  Next up, Dublin.