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Scottish Road Trip Chapter 2: The Road to Skye and Eilean Donan Castle

Scottish Motorhome Trip - our first family road trip around the Scottish Highlands and islands. Eilean Donan castle was a magical stop on route to Skye.

Eileen Doran Castle, Scotland

Skye was the part of the trip I had been most excited about, but also the part I had most trepidation about. Everyone had warned us the weather could be unkind and with only 2 nights in the island it felt like a risk. I didn’t want to be let down, to spend it soggy in the motorhome. I kept saying to Mr A I regretted not buying waterproof trousers.

‘It will be fine,’ he kept telling me. Our marriage thrives on my desire to pack and prepare for every eventuality vs. his desire to travel free of the encumbrances that are plans and gear.

We left Loch Ness with heavy hearts, what we had expected to be a bit of a novelty, a check off the bucket list, had turned out to be a really moving adventure. Staring at the mist rising over the mountains I felt in awe of Loch Ness’s beauty. Could somewhere this stunning really be part of the island I am lucky enough to live on?

We drove the other length of Loch Ness, down to Fort Augustus. Quietly stunned by the scale of the water, the mist and rain continued, it wasn’t looking promising. But the views were spectacular, loch, mountains and crashing waterfalls, Mr G took his turn in the front seat and counted them, while L and I played Uno and I snuck glances out the window.

Map of our Scottish Family Road Trip

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan castle, shortly before the road bridge to Skye, is Scotland’s second most photographed castle after Edinburgh. Despite the rain it was beautiful, and it was the perfect pitstop for the kids to run wild.

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The castle has been a defence against Vikings and rival clans, before it was brought to ruins in the Jacobite risings. It was restored in the early part of the 20th century. There are lots of artefacts indoors and knowledgeable staff who are happy to talk and tell stories, we especially liked handling the canon balls and hearing stories of attacks on the castle, which is in a strategic location at the head of three great sea lochs.

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I wish you could take photographs, the kitchens are a real highlight as they are set out with models, food and all the workings of a castle kitchen – including the chef’s glass of red wine in a small window overlooking the loch. At this point my camera died a death anyway, a reminder to look and not just snap!

Eileen Doran Castle, Scotland

There are four generations of the MacRae family past, present and future who are still the Constables of Eilean Donan Castle today. Elsewhere there are fully furnished bedrooms, dining rooms and family photos. It’s very much alive with history.

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Outside we couldn’t resist some photos on the rocks, with my iPhone, Mr G, who was trying to build up brownie points so he could go in the gift shop, insisting on making us kiss. It’s probably one of my favourites photos from our trip.

Eileen Doran Castle, Scotland

Eileen Doran Castle, Scotland

The food was good, I ate a cheese and caramelised onion pie and salad and the kids had lunch boxes. The gift shop had lots of great souvenirs.

Soon we found ourselves over the road bridge to Skye, another twist in the road and a breathtaking view of lochs unwinding in front of us. Still misty, and raining, but magical. We passed little on the road after Broadford, skirted the edge of Portree. The remoteness was evident and the mist thick. We were beginning to wonder what we had got ourselves into.

On the road to Skye Camping and Caravanning Club site

Skye Camping and Caravanning is at the top of the island. At the edge of Loch Greshornish. It is a working farm, we were greeted by horned cattle. It felt incredibly remote and a little desolate, but we shouldn’t have worried. The site was just waking up from the Winter, the owner’s puppy helped guide us to the pitch, the kids were smitten.

Skye Camping and Caravanning Club site

The rain suddenly stopped and the mist cleared and we stepped out of the motorhome.

Skye Camping and Caravanning Club site

We enjoyed a walk along the loch: old boats, beautiful colours, yellow tufted grass, black rock, green and red seaweed, such striking combinations.

On the road to Skye Camping and Caravanning Club site

On the road to Skye Camping and Caravanning Club site

On the road to Skye Camping and Caravanning Club site

On the road to Skye Camping and Caravanning Club site

On the road to Skye Camping and Caravanning Club site

We snoozed, cosy in our motorhome, ate macaroni cheese and played Yahtzee, watched the rain and hoped the forecast for Monday stayed true. L thrashed me and Mr A.

The site was clean, had beautiful warm bathroom facilities and made a great base for our explorations.

See our day in glorious technicolour…

 

In the next post read all about the Skye we woke up to, Skye in the sunshine is something else entirely…

On the road to Skye Camping and Caravanning Club site

Need to Know

We travelled in partnership with Visit Scotland and stayed at Skye Camping and Caravan Club Site, on Loch Greshornish on the North of the Island, in a motorhome hired from Bunkcampers. Eileen Donan Castle Family Ticket £17 (2 adults, 3 children)

Read about our first stop at Loch Ness Shores or carry on to Skye and Glencoe.

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16 Comments

  • Reply Melody

    Aawww what a stunning place to got for a trip. Lovely time has been spent, I Your photos are so beautiful. xx

    07/05/2016 at 11:12 pm
    • Reply Penny

      Thank you Melody!

      11/05/2016 at 3:18 pm
  • Reply Jen Walshaw

    Eileen Donan Castle looks like something I would imagine in a Scottish romance novel! What stunning pictures. I am not sure that I could manage so many miles in a motor home with two boys and a man!

    11/05/2016 at 3:01 pm
    • Reply Penny

      Thanks Jen! So many people have said that about sharing a small space, but being outside all day makes for a really relaxing time, you also learn really quickly that you can’t argue in such a small space and you really work as a team – promise!

      11/05/2016 at 3:19 pm
  • Reply Cal at Family Makes

    This is such an amazing post! We love Scotland and are really jealous of your epic trip! Your images are beautiful, even if the weather was not too kind. Really looking forward to reading the rest.

    11/05/2016 at 6:12 pm
  • Reply Otilia

    Scotland! i really want to visit it one day! That picture with the two of you kissing is just fab! I need to learn how to make fabulous videos like you too!

    13/05/2016 at 7:20 pm
  • Reply Susan Mann

    This looks truly amazing. I know I live here, but I’ve not done Eilean Donan and it’s top of my list to do this year. I love Scotland and really proud to live in such a beautiful country, but it’s posts like this that make you aware just what it’s like. We take it for granted. What an adorable picture of you two kissing, love it. And what a great trip xx

    14/05/2016 at 6:42 pm
  • Reply Elizabeth

    Thanks for this informative post. We are headed to Scotland in July. My husband has a conference and we’ve decided to turn it in to a proper vacation by adding a road trip. I can’t wait to read your other posts as this one was packed with info. Thanks so much for sharing! #countrykids

    14/05/2016 at 9:35 pm
  • Reply cass@frugalfamily

    What an amazing adventure – I’d love to do something like this with my lot!

    Your photos are gorgeous, especially the first one x x

    15/05/2016 at 4:57 pm
  • Reply Trish @ Mum's Gone To

    Really enjoyed reading both posts about your trip to Scotland. Brought back so many memories of similar visits over the years.
    Beautiful writing, Penny x

    15/05/2016 at 7:36 pm
  • Reply Stephen

    I think I just said wow over and over again throughout this post, what an amazing adventure and what amazing scenery you have in these photos!

    16/05/2016 at 11:06 am
  • Reply Kara Guppy

    It looks so beautiful there. I long to explore Scotland and hadn’t thought about doing it in a Motor Home

    16/05/2016 at 8:40 pm
  • Reply Sonya Cisco

    Wow what absolutely stunning scenery! I would love to go to Scotland – just not sure I can face the drive from here – maybe we could fly up! Love the picture of the two of you!

    19/05/2016 at 10:25 am
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