We travelled northwest to Culloden, just outside of Inverness, en route to the Isle of Skye. We toured the amazing interactive visitor centre commemorating the battle that took place here in 1746, but were unable to take photos. After listening to the audio guide inside, we went out to the battlefield. The photo below is of the memorial erected about 100 years later to the commemorate the gallant Highlanders (Jacobites) who fought for Scotland and Bonnie Prince Charlie. Around 1600 men were slain, 1500 of them Jacobites. In the second photo you can see the memorial from across the moor.
We drove through Inverness and along Loch Ness towards Urquhart Castle. We stopped at the Fiddler’s Highland Restaurant in Dummadrochit, just minutes from the castle. The weather was still gorgeous so we ate outside. Here’s a photo of Doug (to prove that he is actually with us, he’s usually behind the camera.)
Urquhart Castle was next. It’s on Loch Ness and very popular, but worth seeing especially in the sunshine.
A view through a “window” to the loch beyond.
As we got closer to the Isle of Skye, the skies became cloudier. We made a quick stop at Eilean Donan Castle for a photo.
We drove across the bridge to the Isle of Skye and followed the meandering road up the island to Portree. The island is only about 80 kilometres long and 45 kilometres wide but has about 700 kilometres of coastline. After dinner, walked down to the harbour. The pink guest house was the first to be painted brightly.
The weather was unsettled when we drove north. We had hoped to see the Old Man of Storr, but it was too cloudy and rainy to bother getting out of the car. It didn’t seem like it was raining much when we got to Lealt Gorge, so we took the short trail to the coast for the view of the interesting rock formations. We were quite wet from the Scottish mist blowing sideways by the time we were back in the car.
We could see Kilt Rock behind a 200 foot waterfall. Kilt Rock is a basaltic headland that gets its name because it resembles the pleats of a kilt. If you look closely on the patch of green on the cliff just beyond the falls, you might make out some nesting fulmars.
It was raining with intent by the time we reached the weird rock formations of the Quiraing. You can see the steep one lane road behind us. There were “passing points” at regular spots along the road. It means that one car pulls over and waits so that no one needs to back up. Bill did an awesome job driving.
We walked long enough to get some more photos of the formations through the mist and then lowered our heads and headed back into the blowing rain.
We continued on the narrow road over to Uig, travelling through rolling terrain of heather and whatever else the sheep can eat. Here’s a Blackface sheep calmly lying by the side of the road, on the wrong side of the fence.
We still had the afternoon ahead of us, so we drove another half hour to Dunvegan Castle and Gardens. The castle is the ancestral home of the chieftains of the Clan MacLeod for 800 years, and is still used as a residence.
The interior was ornate, with some rooms set up as they may have been used and some set up with displays.
We toured the impressive gardens even though it was pouring rain.
Back in Portree, we enjoyed a pot of mussels as an appetizer.
Although it was wet the next day as well, we had booked a tour at the Talisker Distillery, a 40 minute drive away, and it was mostly inside. We couldn’t take photos during the tour, but here’s a shot of the empty sample glasses with a jug of water and pipettes to allow visitors to add a few drops to the Talisker Storm whisky.
We spent the afternoon lounging in our apartment, reading and looking out at the rain. Just after dinner, the rain stopped and the sun came out. People poured into the streets and we joined them. Here’s one of several good pictures with the nice light.
The next morning we left Skye by ferry. Here’s the harbour at Armadale.
It was hard to leave “the misty isle” in such good weather, but we were glad to have sunny skies for the ferry ride to Mallaig and the mainland.