Friday, September 5, 2014

Isle of Skye

Sunday 17 August
 A bus tour of part of the Isle of Skye was organised for the morning and it was our turn to sit at the front of the bus. Lots of photo opportunities. It rained.
Initially we drove to a lookout for a view of the region.
Through the raindrops we saw views over the water
and of small communities on the banks.
Out on the road again the purple of the clumps of heather contrasted with the bright green grass.
We drove past the Skye Museum of Island Life which shows how the crofters lived before the Clearances.The museum is on the Trotternish Peninsula.
More striking scenery at the Kilt Rock
and flowers everywhere as we ended our tour of Skye and returned over the bridge to the mainland.
The next stop was the Eilean Donan Castle, which is situated at the meeting point of three lochs - Loch Duich, Loch Alsh and Loch Long. Our notes stated that under a clear sky there would be a perfect reflection of the castle in the surrounding water.
However on a cold, wet, windy day the scene was not quite so picturesque.
At different locations throughout our exploration of Scotland Michael, our tour director, had said that if we felt particularly drawn towards a stone by a loch, for instance, then keep it for later in the trip when all would be revealed.
On the road to Fort William we stopped, in the rain, at a spot where people have left stones - 'the stones to bring them home'.
The stones are meant to keep a connection between travellers, when they return home, and Scotland. I have been watching too many episodes of the children's program In the Night Garden where Makka Pakka collects and polishes stones.
On the way to Fort William we stopped at the Commando Memorial dedicated to the commandos who trained in the area during the Second World War.
Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the British Isles, is one of mountains that can be viewed from this area.
After a short stop at Fort William, which because of the weather we spent having a warm drink and checking out tourist items for sale, the bus then proceeded to the Valley of Glencoe where the Campbells murdered the MacDonalds in 1692.
The history of the area may be gruesome but the scenery is magnificent.
One advantage of the rain was the number of waterfalls descending the slopes.
We stayed overnight at the Caledonian Hotel, Oban. Once again there were good views from the hotel windows.

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