Lower West Coast of Scotland

We begin this journey on the Isle of Skye. I had booked a tiny house called a “wigwam” – not really like the wigwam I had as a kid, but it was very cute.

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and had the odd bit of quirkiness in the garden.IMG_5940

We had an amazing view over the moors and the skies were gorgeous at various times. This was nearly 10 o’clock at night.

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We had a couple of “must do” activities, the first of which was visiting the distillery on behalf of our son, Tom.

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It was lovely and we did buy a bottle of whisky, but I confess the rest of the trip interested me more.

We visited Skye Weavers where the looms are operated by pedal power.

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And yes, I had a go, and even worked up a bit of a sweat! My foot is off the pedal as I struggled to reach it as the normal operator has much longer legs than mine. I had to sit right on the edge of the seat to reach both pedals.IMG_5975

I also visited a silk weaver and had a go at that too. I learned a few things during this visit and can’t wait to get home and have a go.

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Mark, of course, managed to find Skye’s oldest bakery, and lovely food was consumed here.

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Looking out over Portree. So pretty!IMG_6020

We spent a couple of days driving round Skye and thoroughly enjoyed the scenery. We saw many mountains and sometimes a little castle or other old building would be tucked away to delight us.

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Off the island again and the best view of it is had from Kyle.

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As we’ve driven around Scotland we notice all the purple rhododendron which is a pest. It is everywhere and it’s easy to see the threat it poses to native flora. This is one of several photos of it that I took. I love rhododendrons so felt sad when I first heard of the eradication programme, but I totally understand it now. IMG_6053

Plockton was on our list of places to see and it was lovely.  It is ranged around the edge of the loch and it is truly idyllic. This village was the location of the TV series Hamish McBeth. IMG_6063

I was particularly taken with the little gardens (allotments?) that were cultivated between the road and the water. They took all forms from very manicured and obviously designed for relaxation as the one above, to vegetable patches, with all interpretations in between.

At the end of the village on the other side of the loch is this gorgeous castle-like building. It is apparently being restored and will be a function spot. At least it’s being kept in good repair and lots of people will be able to enjoy it.

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Another spot, another castle seems to be the order of the trip. This castle is at Dornie and it’s connected to the mainland by a rather good bridge. We didn’t visit the castle as we’ve been getting rather tired of shelling out vast sums of money to see a ruin which looks similar to the ruin before. It didn’t stop me enjoying the outside though.

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We spent the night at Kilmartin Glen which was a bit of a treat. This place is rather magical and is the location of one of the biggest concentrations of prehistoric sites in Scotland. There are burial cairns, standing stones, stone circles, and cup and ring marked rocks littering the countryside here.

We walked to them from our B&B and crossed a bridge to get there.

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The burial cairns do look like a pile of stones, and so it was that they were raided by farmers to build walls before anyone recognised their historical significance.

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and you can even see inside one of these cairns to the burial chamber contained within.

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Kilmartin is considered to be part of the Kingdom of Dalriada. Dalriada was the name given to the Irish and Scottish Kingdom which 1500 years ago contained both Argyll and County Antrim in Ireland, which were near neighbours. I was quite interested in this as my friend Janet lives in a house called “Dalriada” and it’s her Instagram handle. 

This is one of the stone circles, with a smaller inner circle in the centre.

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The cairns are fenced off from the livestock, and Mark and I spent several delightful minutes watching lambs chase each other round one way and then the other. I’ve never seen anything like it and fervently wished that I had made a video but I couldn’t tear my eyes away to get organised.

The standing stones are also in farmers’ fields but they are completely unprotected. Here a lamb is using one as a shelter from the wind.

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Mark is leaning on this one in defiance of all we’ve learned from Outlander!IMG_6112

The standing stones were originally arranged in an X shape, but some didn’t survive. A local told us that his neighbour had taken one to make a bridge to cross a burn (stream).

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I am so pleased that the bluebells are hanging on and there are great swathes of them here. IMG_6094 2

This purple carpet was up on the hillside.

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A shortish drive away is Inverary, which is an historic planned village and it is pretty much all black and white. There’s no colour at all and it is rather fabulous.

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Inverary is set on the shores of Loch Fyne and was built by the Duke of Argyll.IMG_6129

the Duke’s descendants still live in Inverary castle, which is quite fairytale like set in rolling grounds. IMG_6148 2

The whole thing is crowned by a tiny watch tower on top of the highest hill.

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I got rather excited when I saw the Woollen Mill, but I have to say that I was rather disappointed when I went inside and saw it was full of tourist tat!

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This was our last stop before Glasgow, which I shall be reporting on next time, so bye for noo! Yes, I’m almost bilingual, although I have to confess that I keep asking Mark what language people are speaking and it’s nearly always English!

Fadanista

13 thoughts on “Lower West Coast of Scotland

  1. What a great trip! I;m glad your husband was not sucked into the past from touching a stone. I visited Inverary and several other places last fall. I recommend Islay if you like whisky! They also have an old-fashioned but real woolen mill that turns out beautiful fabric for Saville Row. I bought a few meters and need to get up the courage to use it.

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  2. Don’t you love being able to get up close to the standing stones, somehow much more satisfying than visiting Stonehenge? We also visited Dunadd Fort and placed our foot into the stone footprint on top, where the ancient kings of Scotland were inaugurated (crowned?) and NO tourists…besides ourselves of course! Thank you for sharing your adventures. I have really enjoyed seeing the photos and reading your stories. I know it’s quite a big task to keep up with while on the road, so really appreciated. Not to mention your amazing participating in MMM…craziness…
    kerrysview xx

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    1. When I was a kid we could get close to Stonehenge, but I suppose they needed to be protected. I am constantly amazed that these are just out in the weather with sheep rubbing up against them. I didn’t know about Dunadd Fort – next time! Thank you so much for you comment, this really keeps me going!

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