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Day 8, Castles and Monsters

The weather forecast in Inverness was warm but slightly cloudy. Perfect enough. We even got a quick peek at the peak of Ben Nevis from our room.

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Off to Eilean Donan Castle just before the town of Dornie (about 105 Km). Eilean is island and Donan is the name of the bishop killed there in 618. The site has been inhabited since the 6th Century. The first fortified castle was built in the 13th Century and was rebuilt several times. The castle was partially destroyed during a Jacobite uprising in 1719 and lay in ruins for almost 200 years. Bought and restored in 1911 by the MacRae clan, it is now a tourist trap and place for the annual MacRae gathering. It was also briefly in the 007 The World is not Enough as the the MI6 location in the north. As you can see in the photos, we were a little under dressed. 15 and windy/rainy. Wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been had it been dry and a little warmer. Glad we did go though.

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Yes it really was that dreary.

Down the road is Hector’s Place and Bothy in Kyle of Lochalsh. Bothy is a place of food and friendship. They were friendly and the food was good. So the place was well named. For some weird reason I always wanted to go the isle of Skye. I can’t explain why. But since the bridge was practically right there, we went. Didn’t look much different than Kyle of Lochalsh. But I can say I’ve been on the Hebrides now.

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And some ruin we thought looked interesting on Skye.  Later in the day we Googled it and found out it is Castle Moy.  The castle, an ancient seat of the Mackinnon clan, was a fortress commanding the straitof Kyle Akin between Skye and the mainland, through which all ships had to pass or else attempt the stormy passage of The Minch. The present building dates back to the 15th century, but is traditionally reputed to be of much earlier origin.

According to that tradition, Alpín mac Echdach‘s great-grandson Findanus, the 4th MacKinnonchief, brought Dunakin into the clan around the year 900 by marrying a Norse princess nicknamed ‘Saucy Mary’. Findanus and his bride ran a heavy chain across the sound and levied a toll on all shipping vessels.  The Princess lies buried on Beinn na Caillich on Skye, her face reputedly turned towards Norway.

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Back on the road to a drier part (thank goodness) to Urquhart Castle. The current ruin dates from the 13th to the 16th Centuries, although it was built on the site of a much earlier medieval fortification. Played a part in the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th Century, was held as a royal castle and was frequently raided by the MacDonald clan. The castle was given to the Clan Grant in 1509 (can still see the Grant Tower). It was mostly abandoned in the middle of the 17th Century. It was partially destroyed in 1692 to prevent it being used by the Jacobite forces . Now one of the most commonly visited castles in Scotland.

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And here was a trebuchet with stones found inside the ruin.  The boys are trying to pick them up in this photo.

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Grant Tower.image

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And right as we arrive a piper was playing.  Wearing a Shaw tartan no less.  Kris asked him and it’s his wife’s family.  He just liked the look of it.  He’s a Clark.

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Right out front of the Castle is Loch Ness. In fact the deepest part is there too. Nessie was sleeping, we didn’t see her. We did look though.

After a long and partially wet day it was nice to see our hotel. Dinner down the street was walking distance so I could have a beer or two. I did 😀 A nice dip in the pool and we’re in bed.

And finally a road sign we’ve seen alot of.  They are everywhere (sheep that is).

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2 comments on “Day 8, Castles and Monsters

  1. Janet Reid says:

    Doug and I did this tour back in ’87 and went on the ‘Whiskey Tour’. If you’re around Edinburgh I highly recommend it!

  2. Grace Shaw says:

    Good pics. Nice to see Skye Bridge…new to me…like PEI bridge. Fun to see Eileen Donan and Urquhart after so many years. IMAGINE FINDING THE SHAW TARTAN…A FAMILY OF MACINTOSH NOT A CLAN…ASK YOUR DAD. Love to all, Mom

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