Today was the big travel day of the trip. We left Keswick shortly after 9:00 am and headed North. Driving pretty much non stop to Kyleakin on the northern tip of Skye. Door to door it was 311 miles (500 km). We drove around Glasgow, briefly getting tangled in some construction and once off the motorway we made our way through some very dramatic landscapes. After being in England, Scotland particularly the farther north we traveled became more remote and desolate. Towns were much further apart and the landscape changed from rolling hills to more rocky and rough terrain. It was beautiful, just very different.
We got to MacKinnon Country House Hotel, our home for the next two nights and went for a walk to stretch our legs. We in a small town called Kyleakin. It’s just on the tip of Skye just after the bridge. There isn’t much to be seen other than a harbor, a few houses a couple of hotels and restaurants. After the throngs of people in the lake district, this was very quiet and peaceful. We had a decent meal at the King’s Arms Hotel. We had a nice conversation with a retired couple who were visiting family in the area. (They were from just north of London). They asked about our travels and about Canada. They had spent their 40th wedding anniversary in Vancouver a couple of years ago. They knew all about the Calgary stampede and asked if they were to come back to Canada for a visit where we would recommend they go. Very nice people.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel and crashed for the night. I’ve introduced Deanna to Fawlty Towers one of my favorite British comedies. It’s available on U.K. Netflix so we watched a few episodes.
We started our day with breakfast in the charming breakfast room at the hotel. It looks out over the gardens and is filled with light. I had some traditional Scottish porridge and Deanna had smoked salmon and eggs. We didn’t have much in the way of plans for the day and given the amount of driving we did yesterday, a long trip around Skye didn’t appeal to either of us. We did pass castle Eilean Donan yesterday and decided to head there in the morning for a look at it. We haven’t seen any castles yet and this seemed like a great opportunity to tour one. It’s very stunning, sitting on an island whereLoch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh meet. The castle has a long history and was mostly destroyed in the Jacobite risings in the 1700’s. It was rebuilt in by Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap when he bought the island in 1911 and proceeded to restore the castle to its former glory. After 20 years of toil and labour the castle was re-opened in 1932. This castle is found in many T.V. shows and frequently is referred to as one of the most picturesque castles in Scotland.
After spending some time at the castle, we headed back over to Skye and drove to the main town on Skye called Portree. Enroute, the rain started to fall. And fall it did. This was our first real taste of British rain. We wandered around town for a bit, got some lunch and then headed back to the hotel. It rained for the rest of the day and into the night. We did plan on doing a walk that the couple we met the night before recommended but the weather didn’t break so we unfortunately didn’t get a chance. It would have been nice to drive around Skye but two days wasn’t enough time and if the weather had been nicer. Oh well, another time perhaps 😉