July 22, 2005

Lisa: UK trip, day 8

On Saturday morning, we got up early so we could meet at the Haggis tour office by 8 am. The wonderful Jimmy made us a bag of ham sandwiches, fruit, and juice to take since we would be missing breakfast, and we took a taxi over to the Royal Mile, where the office was.

There were a whole bunch of tours leaving from there at once, but they got us all sorted out and assigned to the right buses. We met our guide, Frazer, who was the driver for the tour as well. He talked quite a lot while he drove, which was fun. He explained to us right away about Scottish weather. It was gorgeous and sunny on Saturday morning (and sunny and HOT when we were back in Edinburgh), which he said was "miracle weather." The other two days of the tour were what Frazer called "sexy weather": drizzly, with misty clouds covering the tops of the mountains.

Our first stop on Saturday was in a little village called Killin. Apparently, the little cascade of waterfalls there (the Falls of Dochart)

is very famous and has been painted a lot. We walked to the tiny grocery store to get some food for lunch, and talked about how fun it would be to retire to Scotland.

Our next stop was in Glen Coe,

where we heard the story of the massacre and got off the bus for a little hike.

It was raining a bit, so we ate our lunch on the bus before setting off for the Great Glen.

Frazer had us practice our guttural sounds by reciting the names of the four lochs in the Great Glen: Loch Linnhe, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, and Loch Ness. We actually turned off the road before reaching Loch Ness, and instead headed over to Loch Garry. Loch Garry is vaguely Scotland-shaped, and so is on a lot of postcards and calendars of Scotland.

Then we drove through Glen Shiel, but it was too misty (in other words, the weather was too sexy) for us to see the Five Sisters mountains.

Our next stop was the Eilean Donan Castle,

which is famous to us because it was the castle in the Highlander movie. The owners still live in part of the castle, but we got to tour most of it.

It was all furnished, and was quite fun to see. I especially liked the bedrooms, which had all sorts of crazy nooks, stairways up to windows, and cute little fireplaces.

The castle itself is on an island with a bridge built over to it.

The tour guide told us that the causeway was actually the last thing to be built--they had to bring over the building materials for the rest in boats!

After seeing the castle, we piled back on the bus and headed to Plockton, a "tropical" fishing village with the Scottish version of palm trees.

From there, we headed over the Skye Bridge (supposedly shaped to suggest a pair of seagulls in flight) to the village of Kyleakin. The village is tiny, with two restaurant/pubs and three hostels making up the main part of the town. We checked into the hostel, named the Saucy Mary after a Viking princess who supposedly flashed her chest at passing fishing boats. Our room at the hostel was tiny--barely enough room for a bunkbed, a twin bed, and a sink--and we had to share a toilet and shower facilities. The horrors! I guess we were a little spoiled after the B&Bs.

Anyway, after we dumped our luggage we had some dinner at the restaurant that wasn't in the Saucy Mary, and set off to walk around the town.

First, we walked out onto a little tidal peninsula and hiked up to the ruins of a tiny castle that was supposedly the residence of Saucy Mary herself.

(That's part of the Skye bridge you can see through an opening in the ruins.)

Then we walked up another little hill on the other side of the port where there was a monument to the local soldiers who died in World War I. The monument was in the form of a Celtic Cross--so pretty!


Posted by lisa at July 22, 2005 11:54 AM

Yeah, but did you learn what "Haud Yer Wheesht" means?

Posted by: AC on July 29, 2005 12:38 AM


Posted by: lisa on July 29, 2005 08:46 AM
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