Hello everyone (all three of you)! I’ve got another travel-related post for you, though there’s not much science involved. Instead there’s kilts, whisky, monsters, and sheep! Lots of sheep. A friend from Australia came up to visit, and he wanted to go out to the highlands for a bit of landscape spotting, Nessie hunting, and hiking. So north we went. Loch Ness, Eilean Donan, and Skye, in about three days. My friend had suggested that ‘if the weather turned crap, we could just head back to the city’. What he didn’t realise is that, in Scotland, in the highlands, in late October, the weather is going to be crap. There were some sunny moments…but for the most part, we had very moody hiking.
We didn’t linger too long at Loch Ness, because we wanted to head out and see other things. I did hear word that there is a guy who lives in a trailer along the south side of the Loch, and he’s been tracking Nessie for 20 years, and will tell any visitors about his efforts and the conspiracies surrounding the monster. Part of me was a bit disappointed we didn’t find him and chat to him for half an hour. It would have been interesting to meet that dude.
While working our way out to Skye, we also stopped at Eilean Donan Castle. This is one of Scotland’s more iconic castles, as you have to cross a stone bridge to get out to it. It’s built at the intersection of 3 lochs (two of which are salt water), so historically it served as a gate to more protected inland waters. It is said that Bonnie Prince Charlie hid out here when he was a fugitive, and the castle itself was eventually destroyed. In the 1930’s, it was rebuilt, and outfitted to be liveable. The upshot of this is that it looks old on the outside, but is fairly modern on the inside. It’s filled with memorabilia from Clan Macrae…which would have been more interesting to me if I were actually a member of Clan Macrae. This ended up being our only castle visit because we’d heard through the grapevine that the castles on Skye that were also open to the public were modernised as well.
Out at Skye, we went out on a few short hikes. First up was the Old Man of Storr. Apparently the trees around there are cut down every few years, so we had a clear view all the way up, which was quite nice.
It was easy to get a sense of what the poets and writers were talking about here–when it was sunny, the ground and the water simply glowed. As holiday sites, it’s one I’d definitely recommend, but pack a warm hat and your rain gear!
Up next: The great lighthouse adventure….
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