Our OE - Scotland                                          
FEBRUARY 2004
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includes...
Scotland - Highlands & Isle of Skye:
Loch Ness
Northern Highlands
,
Eilean Donan Castle
,
Isle of Skye,
Fort Augustus,
Glen Coe,
The Trossachs and Loch Lomond

Sun 15-Feb 04	Drumnadrochit  - day trip through Scottish Highlands and to the Isle of Skye  
This morning greeted us to an absolutely brilliant sunny day, after the semi-overcast of yesterday and rain of Friday.  We had no idea how much ice and/or snow there might be further north, but we decided to try the high road we'd planned anyway, before heading across to the Isle of Skye.  Therefore we headed back along the foggy Loch Ness (so that 'Nessie' can hide!) to Inverness, around Beauly Firth and up to Garve before then starting to head west across the Highlands (A832 & A890 roads).

This road was absolutely amazing - lots of tall steep mountains, (with tiny patches of snow), lots of perfectly mirrored lochs, many varied colours, a nice fine day and very little other traffic.  It just kept getting better around each turn.  A brilliant drive and a brilliant day to be doing it on.

Map of Scotland

Loch Ness

One of many reflective Lochs on our drive through the Scottish Highlands

 The Scottish Highlands

After our drive across the highlands (did I mention it was amazing?), we doubled back quickly to see Eilean Donan Castle while it was full daylight and then across the bridge onto the Isle of Skye.  We headed up the main road through the island up to Portree, seeing some more amazing views along the way (lochs, coastline, mountains, other small islands) and lots of very hairy, Hairy Coo (Highland Cattle).

Map of The Isle of Skye

At Portree we started an anti-clockwise loop of Trotternish peninsula, with more stunning views, steep rocky cliffs and even a waterfall into the sea (at Kilt Rock)!  Finally we also did a loop of the next peninsula over, including a wander around Dunvegan Castle gardens.

Eilean Donan Castle & Loch Duich
(as seen in the movie 'Highlander')

The Isle of Skye

Hairy Coo with a great view, Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye

Kilt Rock, Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye

Dunvegan Castle gardens

At the end of the day we headed off the Isle of Skye and down through Glen Shiel (in the twilight although still very pretty) and back to the Great Glen (Loch Ness etc) where we had a tasty pub meal in the cute little village of Fort Augustus.  Finally we had a quick look at Urquhart Castle lit up in the dark before heading back to the B&B in Drumnadrochit.

Mon 16-Feb 04	Drumnadrochit - Dublin

Today was our final day in Scotland unfortunately.  It was overcast again this morning, so we had certainly been very lucky with the weather yesterday.  We left Drumnadrochit heading west along Loch Ness for the last time, stopping at Urquhart Castle briefly again.  It was hazy and foggy along the loch again, but it was still very pretty with some more great reflections like we'd been seeing all weekend.  No sign of 'Nessie' (the Loch Ness monster) though.

We stopped in Fort Augustus to have a look at the Caledonian Canal and locks in daylight - a very picturesque little town/village.  The Caledonian canal connects the coast at Fort William in the west to Inverness in the East, through the various lochs along the Great Glen.  

Map of Scotland

Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness

Loch Ness, Near Fort Augustus

Caledonian Canal leading into Loch Ness at Fort Augustus

Caledonian Canal Locks, Fort Augustus

Leaving Fort Augustus we followed the canal for a little while and then Loch Oich and Loch Lochy (i.e. along the Great Glen).  We then detoured off the main road to Fort William to follow the canal route instead (on the B8004 road) for some more spectacular views.  In Fort William we did another detour into Glen Nevis (with more Hairy Coo, and an extremely loud waterfall!).  

From Fort William the road followed Loch Linnhe and on to Glen Coe.  This country is amazing.  Just when you think you've seen it all and it can't get any better, you turn a corner and discover something new and better then what you'd seen before.  There is some much variation also.  Glen Coe was the best scenery we had seen - Alpine snow-capped peaks, steep valleys, more lochs, absolutely breathtaking.  This then flattened out a little into Rannoch Moor (bog land) which was almost as stunning as well. 

After lunch in Tyndrum we continued our travels south through into the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, which despite the weather finally packing it in for the day (very misty with intermittent showers), was still very beautiful also.  We detoured off to Dumbarton to view the castle there (that effectively encloses an entire hill) before crossing the River Clyde and following the coast roads down to Prestwick Airport (near Ayr).

Glencoe

Shores of Loch Lomond, The Trossachs, Scotland

Loch Lomond

Dumbarton Castle, Dumbarton, Scotland

We had had another awesome day in Scotland.  We had covered about 800 miles in the last 3 days and it was amazing, as were our 2 days in Edinburgh before that also.  We highly recommend visiting Scotland!


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