Hi again everyone,
This week we continue our adventures in Scotland’s Western Highlands in the Lochcarron region. During our stay, we were blessed with really nice weather, only a few sprinkles and the need to wear a jacket or fleece parts of most days. Here’s a couple of photos that show the beautiful clouds and scenery. This photo is taken from the village of Lochcarron looking across the loch towards the mountains.
These photos were taken from an overlook across Loch Carron looking towards to the village of Lochcarron. Confusing isn’t it?!
On one day of our stay, we stopped in the picturesque village of Plockton. It’s a popular tourist destination in the summer where a lot of boating activities take place. As we were wandering around, we stopped to talk to the fellow painting the boat. He said he was preparing for the summer season.
After having our morning coffee and cake in Plockton, we continued towards the Kyle of Lochalsh when we came into the small picturesque village of Duirinish. We saw this sign thinking that the sheep and cows conspired to damage the sign so they could have fun with tourists! Then we saw a small flock of sheep grazing in the town commons, notice the segregation. Then as we were leaving, we saw some people (tourists) stopped on the side of the road. They were taking photos of the Highland cattle grazing or resting along side the road. I have a lot of experience being around cattle and have a great respect for horns of all sizes and shapes. The tourists were getting really close and in my view taking a great risk for harm, intentional or unintentional. Fortunately, no one was injured by those docile looking cows, they are not pets people! The closeup of the cow laying down is by Donna, she had more telephoto than I did!
We had a nice lunch in the loch side village of Dornie as shown below (note that this photo was taken during the low tide).
Then we headed over to the nearby Eilean Donan Castle. The Castle is described as Scotland’s most iconic and romantic castle. The castle was built during the 1300’s and was in use until 1719 when it was partially destroyed during the Jacobite uprising. It lay in ruins for almost 200 years until it was purchased in 1911 by the MacRae family and restored. It is a popular place for weddings and has been used in a number of movies and television shows.
During our tour of the castle, I noticed this memorial to commemorate those members of the Clan MacRae killed in the “Great War”. Of note, the oft quoted poem In Flanders Field was penned by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John MacRae. He died in Belgium during the war at the Second Battle of Ypres.
The Scottish flag flies proudly on the grounds of the castle.
After leaving the castle and drove down the loch, we came across this old church and cemetery that had a high point over looking Loch Dulch. We found it so interesting to stop in the old church yards and wander the cemeteries, so much history to be learned from the tombstones. At the top of the high point was another memorial to the MacRae’s lost during the war.
Our drive that day took us to the end of the road and the tiny village of Gleneig where a small ferry takes vehicles and passengers over to the Isle of Skye. The ferry boat is the last “turntable” ferry in use in the world. The ferry pulls up to the side of the dock and the deck hands “swivel” the deck of the ferry over to the dock so cars and passengers can drive off or on. The border collie is the first one off the ferry greeting passengers as they walk on to the ferry.
The next day, we traveled over the Kyle of Lochalsh bridge to the Isle of Skye. It is very popular with tourists and I’m guessing it can be very crowded during the high season. Here’s a scene from our early in the day on the way to the small seaside village of Elgol.
Here’s a view of Elgol. We had a nice picnic lunch as we watched tourists come and go.
After lunch, we decided to explore the small road that lead out of the village towards another really small village. Donna took a photo of this sign as we often had a discussion about how fast I should drive on the one lane roads!
On the return from Elgol, we stopped in another churchyard by the side of the road.
There were more memorials to those who gave their lives in WWI. Think of the nearly 1 million British citizens killed during this war, nearly every family and certainly every community in the UK was affected.
Among the headstones, the ever present sheep graze and rest.
Another look at the beautiful Isle of Skye, an interaction between humans and nature.
Our last stop on the Isle was at the Talisker Distillery. We hoped to go on the tour and then sample some of the products but the tours were filled. So we had to buy our own “wee dram” for tasting at a later time!
We also explored the Lochcarron vicinity. Like other towns, they had their old cemetery and stone church with the thatched roof long gone but the walls still standing.
We stopped by and chatted with this fellow that ran the woodworking shop and allowed us to photograph him. He moved to Lochcarron from near London to retire but started this business to keep himself busy.
There was also another old Lochcarron church that still sees occasional use. It was very spartan but so beautiful with the light streaming in the windows.
Here are few other photos from our drives around the Lochcarron area.
As I’ve mentioned many times in this series, the scenery in Scotland is so beautiful and the land so picturesque. But like many places that we have visited, it’s the people that one remembers the most. Like the woman at the Beninn Eighe National Reserve who first talked about the Reserve then told us the best place to have coffee in the nearby village and then proceeded to tell us about her upcoming visit with her daughter and grandchildren who live in Australia. Or the gallery owner in Lochcarron who talked about the importance of family and gatherings in the Scot culture. She’s often told the gallery would make more money if it were open longer hours or more days. She said “I have enough to live on and and would miss seeing family and friends and enjoying life.” Something to be learned by most Americans from that notion. She also told us about the affect of the Highland Clearances on Scotland during the 18th and 19th centuries. During the Clearances, a significant number of small holder farmers were moved (many forcibly) off the land by aristocratic landowners to make way for large scale sheep raising. Most had no place to go so immigrated to Canada (Nova Scotia), the US, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world. We were the benefit of their hardiness, thriftiness, story-telling and engaging culture.
And one last look at the sheep that would greet us on our evening walks.
So we said goodbye to Scotland with plans to return for a longer stay and more exploring. And certainly more photographing! Hope you enjoyed these articles.
Til next week,