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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The rain suddenly stopped and the mist cleared and we stepped out of the motorhome.
We enjoyed a walk along the loch: old boats, beautiful colours, yellow tufted grass, black rock, green and red seaweed, such striking combinations.
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…
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)