Our visit to the Isle of Skye located in the western highlands of Scotland was magical. We only spent a day here, but we want to go back. It was the type of island where we wished we had stayed on the island itself for at least a week. I would describe it as quaint, eerily beautiful, and magical–the kind found in fairy tales.
The Le Boreal anchored in a bay which required a tender service to get us to shore. Right off, we noticed a ruin on a hill that probably was some type of ancient fortress used to protect the entrance to the natural basin where we disembarked.
The houses around this basin were quaint and picturesque.
The wild floral display is rhododendrons, which they consider an invasive.
We first drove to the castle, but the scenery on the way was magnificent.
The island is rural and agricultural.
Their main economy is also tourism, fishing, and forestry.
The views were awesome!
Finally, we arrived at our first destination, the Eilean Donan Castle, otherwise known as the Kyle of Lochalsh, which we toured. Its name means Island of Donnan, a martyred saint.
It is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland and sits on a tidal island where three lochs meet.
You gain entry by a footbridge which connects the castle’s island to the mainland.
The original castle was built in the 13th century and was later occupied by the Mackenzie clan and their allies Clan MacRae.
However, during the 18th century, the Mackenzie’s role in the Jacobite Rebellions led to the castle’s destruction. A McRae-Gilstrap rebuilt it from its ruins in the 20th century. Gilstrap is one of my family’s surnames, but I have no idea if we are kin. If we are, though, then they have all the money.
Gaining entry is interesting and circuitous. One makes a hard left just as one enters and climbs stairs.
Then the stairs do a switchback as one climbs higher and higher. I guess those defending had the higher ground.
Our first room was a hall for receiving, but because this is still private property owned by descendants of McRae-Gilstrap, the family wishes there to be no photographs.
The views from the castle, though, were awesome.
Our day was cool enough for a thin down jacket, while back in Tallahassee it was already in the 90s.
Next, we spent an afternoon of free time in Portree, its largest city and capital.
Portree on the Isle of Skye, Photo on Wikipedia
Also, a working port,
there were views up on the cliffs…
and down in the harbor.
We spent a good bit of our day at the Eilean Donan Castle and hanging out in Portree, but there was so much more to see such as the Old Man of Storr and Neist Point. I’m afraid we just scratched the surface.
We also did not get to see any of the Fairy Pools, but those probably required hiking. I’m not sure Chuck was up for that anyway. His heel was still giving him trouble.
Take a moment to click here. The blog post is entitled “9 Images that Prove Why the Isle of Skye in Scotland is Landscape Photography Heaven on Earth.” His photographs of the other sites on the Isle of Skye are why we want to go back.