15 August 2012
Iconic Castles of Scotland
Sunday was the day for seeing two of the iconic castles of Scotland. The first was Eilean Donan Castle. We stopped at this location just long enough to take some photos of it across the water on our way to the bridge to Skye.
It was lovely and grand to see it sitting there.
Later in the day, we headed back and had a closer look. By this time, the tide had gone out.
What I didn't realize, was that the castle had been a ruin and was mostly reconstructed fairly recently. We didn't tour the interior, but it is my understanding that they tried to do a good job of keeping it similar to how it would have been in the medieval age.
Here I am, standing on the banks of the Loch with Eilean Donan in the background and that wonderful bridge!
On the Isle of Skye, we visited the small town of Kyleakin. The Skye Bridge has eliminated the business from the ferry there but the little waterfront is beautiful and seems well cared for. Loved seeing the fishing boats.
The ruins of Castle Mol are not large, but stand impressively on a knoll jutting into the sea.
The bridge to Skye brought better accessibility to the Isle of Skye, but I can't help feeling that something was lost by adding it. The little houses on the island on the right are where Gavin Maxwell, author of "Ring of Bright Water" lived and studied the otters.
Our next stop was Urquart Castle on Loch Ness.
From all the photos I've seen of it in the past, I had no idea that the ruins were so extensive. Up until the Jacobite uprising in the 1700's, this was a large powerful castle, but was destroyed to prevent the Jacobites from regrouping here.
Just fragments of walls are left today and a couple small portions of towers.
It's impressive, no matter which direction it's viewed from.
On three sides there are views of Loch Ness.
When done with our tour of the castle, we boarded the Jacobite Queen for a trip down Loch Ness.
Though there was a brisk breeze, it was a beautiful ride! No sightings of the Nessie though!
At the end of the Loch, we entered the Caledonian Canal for the last leg of the journey back to Inverness.
At this end of the canal, there is only one loch to go through with a change of about 3 feet.
Love watching the mechanics of the locks in action!
Further along the canal, there were many boats moored from small masted ships such as this lovely one...
to barges, complete with hanging laundry!
And then we were back at Inverness, at the same place we had passed just a couple days before!
White Sands National Monument has one of the prettiest visitor centers. An old adobe building with lovely wooden vigas and timbers. Afte...