After a very relaxing weekend we bid farewell to our Scottish friends, Cliff and Catriona and continued our journey to the West Coast of Scotland. We headed for Plockton, "the jewel of the Highlands" which sits on a sheltered bay with stunning views overlooking Loch Carron, in the Highlands of Scotland. As it faces east, away from the prevailing winds, which together with the North Atlantic Drift gives it a mild climate allowing the Cordyline Australis palm to prosper. So we felt at home with all the cordylines around.
We've been here in the past it is such a pretty spot. The village was used in the television series Hamish Macbeth, starring Robert Carlyle and for those who can remember it was also used for various scenes in the horror movie, The Wicker Man. Creepy....
Across the water is Duncraig Castle, a nineteenth-century stately home built by the Matheson family, who made their money in the opium trade (as you do!). It was a catering college until recently. We drove by and noticed a New Zealand flag fluttering atop the flagpo - it will open soon as a B&B.
We did a full day tour of the isle of Skye which is the largest of the Inner Hebrides islands. We visited all the highlights including Dunvegan Castle, the home of the MacLeod Clan Chief for the last 800 years. It has a dungeon pit near the kitchen so the prisoners could smell food cooking as the starved to death, nice. On a cheerier note they have stunning gardens around the castle grounds. Skye has an interesting history covering Clan Warfare, Highland Clearances and the infamous ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ and the Jacobite Rebellion. We visited the Museum of Island Life for an understanding of how the other half lived out here. The crofter houses were small stone built structures with thatched roofs.
Near the museum is Kilmuir Cemetery, and the memorial to Flora MacDonald, 'Preserver of Prince Charles Edward Stuart'. Romanticised in the Skye Boat Song (below) for her amazing courage to help protect Bonnie Prince Charlie. She was buried in this graveyard in 1790.
"Speed bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing
Onward the sailors cry
Carry the lad that was born to be king
Over the sea to Skye......"
Driving around the island the scenery was very dramatic especially with the backdrop of the brooding Cuillin's jagged peaks. The weather held out which was very lucky for us as we were able to visit Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls - named after to resemble a kilt, with vertical basalt columns to form the pleats and intruded sills Of dolerite forming the pattern....and the Old Man of Storr which is 719 metres high. Apparently the opening scenes in the Ridley Scott's 2012 movie Prometheus were shot at the Old Man of Storr.
Back at Plocton for another night we ate at the Plockton Inn. Grae had Haggis and I had the Vegetarian Haggis for our dinner. The next morning while having my shower I seem to have flooded the kitchen below, oops!