In May 2017 we had a long-desired holiday in Scotland. Now, after more than one year and a half, I managed to sort out the photos we took and here’s the first part of our trip: the first day with a few intermediate stops and the wonderful place we spent the night at – Laggan, and Isle of Skye.
Once landed at the Edinburgh airport, we took the shuttle and picked up our rental car from the closest Arnold Clark Car Hire – we can’t reccommend them more, we were very satisfied with their services.
The first stop was Blackness Castle – being a fan of the Outlander series, I couldn’t have missed the castle used in the TV show to represent Fort William!
It is really impressive and its gloomy beauty was enhanced by the cloudy sky.
Next – still driven by my Outlander obsession – we headed to Hopetoun Estate, where we wanted to see Hopetoun House and Midhope Castle. We didn’t visit the inside of Hopetoun, but ended taking a stroll in its beautiful gardens and seeing a great variety of flowers, plants, ducks and some pheasants.
I was a bit disappointed by Midhope Castle, my expectations were high, and when we got there it wasn’t open to the public and under renovation, with plexiglas in the windows. But, all in all, it was worth the ride!
After Hopetoun and Midhope we drove to our first Airbnb, a charming modern house you’ll see further on. Liz and James, the hosts, were wonderful and they gave precious indications for places to see in the surroundings, as well as for restaurants.
Following their advice we saw one of the places we loved the most in Scotland: Loch Laggan, a lake with a light sandy beach, with these green-oh-so-green bushes of some kind of very high grass in sharp contrast with the bright sand, the stormy sky and the surrounding woods in a shade of darker green.
For the first time, on this beach, we wrote on the sand the gender of our baby, it was meant to be a “gender reveal” or something like that, but I didn’t have time to work on the photos and in the meantime Olivia was born and she’s now one year and one month old.
The next day, afer taking a walk in the surroundings, seeing the rock which marks the “Centre of Scotland” and greeting our hosts and the family of hares living on the premises, we continued our journey towards the Isle of Skye.
On the road we took some breaks, to see things that seemed interesting, even if they were’t on our list. That’s how we ended in Eilean na Moine and Loch Eilt, Lochaber where they shot some important scenes from Harry Potter, it’s the resting place of one of the characters – I confess I don’t know exactly what this is about, since I neither read the books, nor saw the movies.
Afterwards, we drove to Arisaig, passing through Fort William, and then to the White Sands of Morar, where, unfortunately, we had only 15 minutes to spend before heading to Mallaig to catch the last ferry to Skye. Not being able to stay more at the white sands is one of my regrets – I hope to go back one day!
In Mallaig we ate an ice-cream and took a quick walk while waiting to board the car on the ferry and then, then we where on the ferry, full of excitement and enthusiasm and great expectations for our next destination: Isle of Skye.
We weren’t disappointed, the Isle of Skye is a super duper amazing place. We were very lucky with the weather during the whole trip, it was almost always sunny and pretty warm.
We had a day and a half to take the tour of the island and we managed to do it – we didn’t climb to the Old Man of Storr, we just looked at it from a distance, but we saw so many other incredible places and filled our eyes with the out-of-this-world views and the greatness of nature on this island.
I think my favourite picture from Skye is the one we took just as we arrived with the ferry. While driving towards Kyle of Lochalsh where we had our accommodation, turning our heads, we saw something magical: the sun was slowly going down and to our left there was a hill with a group of white typical Scottish houses and in this open space on the top of the hill a few horses were grazing, playing and hanging around.
It was like a scene taken out of a movie, I couldn’t believe my eyes!
That’s how Scotland is: surprising and deeply enchanting at every step.
Once we arrived at the Airbnb, we freshened up and went out to eat – we ate take away fish and chips, enjoying the sunset on the shore of a lake in the company of a seal which swam just in front of us.
The last view before going to bed was the Eilean Donan Castle in Dornie. We took some quick snaps of it, a bit hiding, a bit ashamed, with our hand-held cameras among all the other photographers with their huge and fancy tripods, waiting for the best moment and the best light.
In the morning we drove over the bridge to Skye and started our tour. Everything was beautiful and we promise that when we get back there we’ll take our time and stay at least 3 or 4 days on the island to explore it better.
We loved Portree’s colourful houses and then we loved a small (unknown) village we stumbled upon in our search for a nice place to eat our sandwiches.
Also, we were amazed by the wonderful Claigan Coral Beach, which we probably visited only because when we arrived at the Dunevegan Castle it was after 5.00 PM and the castle was closed to the public. The 4 km walk to the beach (and 4 back!) was one of the best decisions we took during this trip.
It didn’t look like Scotland at all, it looked like being on a tropical island. And the seals playing together and making a show in front of the beach – well, that was certainly worth seeing!
In the evening, once in our room in Kyle of Lochalsh, we dropped dead, we were incredibly tired.
But in the morning we woke up fresh and ready for new adventures.
While heading towards Dornie, to take a better look at the town itself and at the castle, we stopped to visit a cemetery we had noticed the evening before.
I could say we developed a passion for the Scottish graveyards! I grew up close to a cemetery in Romania (with Dracula and all the other legends) and I often played inside it, so I don’t see anything strange about visiting them, and well, the Scottish ones are awe-inspiring and real great meditation spots. I love them, as I love evertyhting about Scotland.