Berlin was wonderful and flew by far too quickly. And after a quick, $50 snack in Stockholm's finest food court we were in Edinburgh. First and foremost, a giant thank you to Mark and Dawn for hiring our car and chauffeuring us around the entirety of Scotland! So glad we could meet up across the pond, and so thankful to have been in the passenger seat!
Following breakfast in Peebles, we spent much of our first day on the beautiful drive toward Skye. The Scottish highlands are breathtaking and rather difficult to describe: they're like the Colorado Rockies lush with greenery; like Norway's fjords without the sea; like Alaskan wilderness stuffed full of charming villages, venerable whisky distilleries and castles too numerous to count.
We spent three nights in Dornie, an idyllic village just short of Skye and a short walk from Eilean Donan, one of Scotland's most picturesque castles. We were rather far north--the photos below were taken around 11:00 PM.
I'm not entirely sure what drew me to Skye, but I'd been hoping to visit for some time. It's a quiet place at the busiest of times--sheep outnumber residents year-round--and though I've visited some remote locations in the past, Skye seemed altogether more distant. It might have been the scenery, alien and yet somehow familiar. Perhaps it was the weather, veering quickly and unpredictably from rain to shine. It might simply have been the vastness of it all: the rolling valleys, sheer cliffs and endless vistas, with only sporadic signs of civilization in between. Whatever the reason, Skye is otherworldly.
Thank you to my gracious travel companions, who endured a lengthy drive with minimal rest stops in order to reach Neist Point before sundown. It doesn't get much more spectacular than this.
Eilean Donan Castle was constructed in the 1200's, with numerous expansions and renovations spanning the centuries. The castle was essentially destroyed in the Jacobite rebellion of 1719. It lay in ruins for two hundred years, until the MacRae family began restoration work in 1919. It is now one of Scotland's most recognized sights.
In Scottish folklore, Skye's bizarre landscape is often attributed to the work of battling giants. Geologists have since proved otherwise, though the explanation still seems apt.