Friday, August 24, 2018

Eilean Donan and Over the Sea to Skye - Magic Hour on Kilt Rock the Quiraing

Somewhere along the Scottish coast
And emerald island lies
And I will steer my sailing boat
Unto the Isle of Skye
~Andrew Peterson

Eilean Donan Castle

We'd left Inverness that morning and had already been to a highland games and driven through beautiful Glen Shiel. We were almost to the Isle of Skye but had to make one last stop! It's one of the most famous images of Scotland ... Eilean Donan.

My Travel Journal

The tide was high and so was the sun, so it wasn't exactly the optimal time for photographing the castle but still ... 

From their official website:

"The name Eilean Donan, or island of Donan, is most probably called after the 6th century Irish Saint, Bishop Donan who came to Scotland around 580 AD. There are several churches dedicated to Donan in the area and it is likely that he formed a small cell or community on the island during the late 7th century.

The first fortified structure was not built on the island until the early 13th century as a defensive measure, protecting the lands of Kintail against the Vikings who raided, settled and controlled much of the North of Scotland and the Western Isles between 800 and 1266. ...Over the centuries, the castle itself has expanded and contracted in size.

...Eilean Donan also played a role in the Jacobite risings of the 17th and 18th centuries, which ultimately culminated in the castle’s destruction…For the best part of 200 years, the stark ruins of Eilean Donan lay neglected, abandoned and open to the elements, until Lt Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap bought the island in 1911. Along with his Clerk of Works, Farquar Macrae, he dedicated the next 20 years of his life to the reconstruction of Eilean Donan, restoring her to her former glory. The castle was rebuilt according to the surviving ground plan of earlier phases and was formally completed in the July of 1932."

It was a warm afternoon by Scotland's standards but even so we stopped for coffee in the visitor's center. There was also a good size gift shop. Not a bad view, eh?

My dad took this of me up on rock ...

It felt so nice walking out in the sunshine after being in the car and having a bit of crazy weather in and around Inverness.

If the castle seems familiar, it's been in many films including Highlander, James Bond-The World is Not Enough, Elizabeth the Golden Age and others. I believe it's also been on a whole host of items including cookie tins and postcards. You can tour the inside or even have a wedding there! Can you imagine?

We left the loveliness of the castle and went round a bend expecting that that was our last stop but then ...

Yet another beautiful view! I took probably 80 photos from this vantage point of the castle!  That would include this selfie with my iPhone -in my Edinburgh hat and Clan Cameron Scarf! (It was my Christmas Card last year.)

What could be more fitting music than the Skye Boat Song? Some of you may know the tune as the theme to Outlander but with different words. It's actually an old song about Bonnie Prince Charlie going "Over the Sea to Skye ...!" In fact, when I first watched Outlander I thought that sounds familiar. Well, I'd played the song on the harp when I was a wee lass! Well, maybe 11 or 12. 

This version is without lyrics but is so beautiful and gets me a little weepy. It also goes perfect with the scenery!

The weather on Skye as we drove onto the island was dreamy and magic hour seemed to stretch on and on! After you cross over the big Skye Bridge and drive along the main road you will come upon two smaller bridges side by side. The first you drive over ...

And if I recall correctly, most people just walk over the second.

As you can see, our first views of Skye were stunning!

Look at the beautiful heather!

Because we had such beautiful skies we took advantage of the moment! I'd seen the forecast for a blustery following day so I didn't want to take a chance on losing out on this glorious light! So, we blew past the town of Portree and our little AirBnB and continued on the little road north.

We stopped at Kilt Rock which is named for the sea the cliffs that look like pleats of a kilt! I couldn't quite see the bottom of the falls without falling over the rail so I stuck with this view! Not bad!

Across the road from the cliffs and sea ...

We then hopped back in the car to see if we could make it to the Quiraing before the sun went down! I had seen photos of it, films of it, and even helped a student who brought a Googled image do an acrylic painting of it!

We found a sign for the Quiraing and got on a rather small one lane road. "Are you sure this is right?" my dad asked. "Um, I don't know but ... let's see!"

We met some fuzzy friends along the way but the Quiraing is famous for its incredibly beautiful geological formations.

I love this photo below and had a few friends remark, that because the plant life look like miniature trees, the sheep looks enormous!

This next shot is out the windshield.You can see the road going up up up! We were hoping we were almost there and also hoping no one was heading back down!

Oh, hello.

And then .... tadaaaaaa!!! 

It was everything I hoped for. It was magnificent.

At this point, after taking in one of the most gorgeous views on the planet, we remembered we had a dinner reservation and had to get back to Portree. The summer is very VERY busy on Skye and so are the restaurants. On top of that, don't expect to find a last minute place to stay in the summer months. Many months ahead all the hotels were booked (except for some very swanky 5 star joints). We were lucky to find our AirBnB. So, plan ahead unless you want to just spend the day ... or bring a tent.

Our dinner was at Cuchullin Restaurant down in the main little square.

By the way, the Skye Red Ale was delicious. I think I had mussels and a fish cake. I remember whatever we had was great but I had such anticipation for my hike the next morning that it's a bit of a blur!

OH! And I've been so busy I forgot to mention I'm getting ready for a solo show in December! It's called "Over Time and Place: Five Decades." The latter part of the title referencing my birthday I'll be having exactly one week after my show. 

Anyway, I've gotten started on this piece which, coincidentally, I worked on last night and today! More work to do but the bones are there.


That's it for now! I can't believe I was in Scotland a year ago! Yep, I left for Scotland in August. Right now I'd be heading to Inverness. 

My next post is of my hike up to the Old Man of Storr! Definitely one of my biggest highlights of that trip ... or any trip!

Hope you are all doing well!
Blessings and light!


donna baker said...

Lucinda, your painting, journal and of course, you, are so beautiful. I have heard how beautiful Scotland is, but it is even more beautiful than I had imagined. I definitely have to go there. Maybe, a whole summer around GB, which would be a dream. Wonder if I could see it all in a summer. Or even, if I could afford it...

Candy said...

Wow! Lucinda, thank you again for sharing your trip with us. You've gotten a great start on your painting. I'm looking forward to seeing it when you finish it. What a magical trip!

electricwave said...

i was there last year..... your pictures and your paintings are really great,i hope to return in Scotland in the future....tanks for sharing! ew :)

Rick Forrestal said...

Always enjoy your posts, your travels.
What an interesting and beautiful part of the world.
Love your pics, your sketch book, your journal.
Such artistic adventures.
Great selfie. Cute knees!

Loree said...

The beauty makes me speechless. I just can't get over it. You have certainly captured some beautiful shots.

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isabella kramer - veredit said...

WOW!! WOW!! WOW!! Such a gorgeous journey, Lucinda. Your photos simply blow me away. Everything is absolutely perfect, the angle, the sky, light and colors. One can see the eye of a painter in them. Many thanks for sharing your wonderful memories with us. Scotland is very, very high on my bucket list.

And I looovve your cute selfie!

Huge hugs.