After spending a few days with Ross and Gill, I set off on my three-day, two-night Isle of Skye & the Highlands Tour. I caught the train into Edinburgh, met the group and off we went in a mini bus.
As our journey began, we passed Castle Hill atop which sits Stirling Castle, where the crowning of Mary, Queen of Scots, occurred in the 1500s. Then we stopped at Doune Castle, which was originally built in the 1300s. We didn’t go inside, but I took a stroll around the perimeter. The walls could be described as imposing due to their height, but somehow the sand-colored stone used to build the castle gave it a happy demeanor. The castle has been used as a royal hunting retreat and was featured prominently in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Next we briefly stopped in Callander, a small town commonly called the “Gateway to the Highlands.” The town had one main street and with quaint, yet touristy, shops. I picked up a rain jacket on special and some snacks for the trip. Still having a bit of time, I roamed about taking photos near the River Teith.
A brief stop at Loch Lomond for photos was next on the itinerary. The lake is so big that there are little islands scattered throughout it. It’s also the largest lake by surface area in all of Great Britain and marks the division between Scotland’s central lowlands and its highlands. The area around Loch Lomond was rocky and completely beautiful, especially because the weather was nice.
We also stopped off at Bidean nam Bian, a lush mountain range with many peaks. It is famous for three ridges known as “The Three Sisters of Glen Coe” and is a popular spot for hikers. This area reminded me a lot of New Zealand’s rolling green hills.
After stopping for lunch at Fort Williams, we drove by a cloud-obscured Ben Nevis. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Britain and a popular site for rock climbing and mountaineering. Nothing could be seen as the weather was turning bad the closer we got to our destination.
As the clouds gathered and the rain poured down, we made our way closer to Skye and passed heaps of lakes along the way – Loch Lochy, Loch Garry, Loch Loyne, Loch Cluanie, Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh. Finally, our driver welcomed us to Skye by singing a song as we crossed over the Skye Bridge. At last, we made it!