OK, I never really understood it when Paul said "Seattle doesn't even compare to Scotland" (in terms of weather) until our trip in September. And, well, that's also why I was so silent in September. We were teaching in the UK (London and Edinburgh) and Ireland (Dublin) for the first couple of weeks and then we were off to Paul's sister's wedding (in Helensburgh) and some sight-seeing in Scotland (Glencoe/Kyle of Lochalsh/Portree and all around Skye). We put over 1000 miles on our rental car… And, I could go on for hours about how many castles, sheep and highland cows we saw but I'd probably spell everything wrong. So, for this post, I thought I'd just pass on a few of my favorite shots (including Paul in a kilt!).
(click-through if you want to see a 1024×768 image)
This is Paul and his Father Garth – just before the wedding festivities started… no, they don't look alike at all??! WOW!
And this is Stirling Castle – which we saw on our way from Edinburgh to Helensburgh…
On a free day between arriving in Helensburgh and the wedding, we took a long day drive around Inveraray and Kilmartin and ended up driving through Oban and then back to Helensburgh. We saw a couple of cool things – lots and lots and lots of sheep:
and the shores of Loch Fyne around Inveraray were stunning:
and, Castle Sween (which is now apparently owned by [not all that friendly] people that run a trailer park… and they won't let anyone park near the castle (even though there seemed to be plenty of spots…). Instead they want you to park about a mile away and walk to the ruin. But, the good news is that there are great viewing spots up the hill as well:
Then, after the wedding, we took off for Kyle of Lochalsh and Skye. We drove past Lochcarron and this shot is across the loch from the church and [the new and old] burial grounds at Lochcarron.
Then we went up to Strome castle:
And then heading up the coast from Applecross:
And, Eilean Donan Castle which really hit more as a drive-by/stop-quickly-photograph because umpteen tour buses has just arrived and the one thing neither of us likes is sight-seeing crowds. We did go into the Dunvegan Castle and we were there with only 20 or so people (in the entire castle) so that was a bit more our speed:
And one of the hightlights of our trip was taking the Glenelg Ferry to Skye. The turntable ferry driver (pictured there straightening/turning for the second row of cars – yes, it can only take 6 cars total!) was excellent. Once we got to the other side (and there were no cars waiting on either side), we all chatted for a few minutes… great guy – and even though the Glenelg Ferry isn't the main transport to Skye (there's a relatively new bridge that's just by Kyle of Lochalsh), it's really worth the drive. The drive is BEAUTIFUL and there are some excellent places to stop along the way. And, once across, there's a "hide" on the other side (about a 1/4 mile walk) that allows you to view the small lighthouse, seals, sea otters, and all sorts of sea birds, etc. And, the bridge is right where we were staying but we still went out of our way to take the Ferry over (yes, we took the bridge back).
And, I have a soft spot for highland cows………. (ok, Paul wanted to kill me after our 50th cow. "Can we please stop so I can take a picture" probably still haunts him.)
And, Dunvegan Castle on a notably miserable day that this picture doesn't even begin to show:
And, there are just tons and tons and tons more… but, that's a fairly good sampling. Oh, and a final place to go – Neist Point:
In fact, if (no WHEN!) we go back for a few days, we're planning to stay/dine at the Three Chimneys (we heard amazing things about the restaurant but just didn't get a chance to go because our hotel was 30+ miles away…and a nice dinner needs a nice bottle of wine (and not 30 miles of single track roads to drive)). So, a night (or two) at the Three Chimneys and at least another road trip to the lighthouse at Neist Point. Apparently, you can even stay there. The lighthouse is on the other side (45 minutes by foot – but worth it):