My trip to Scotland (Part 2)
I woke up to Big News: Diana Gabaldon's announcement of the title of Book 9, GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE. (For more on this title and what it might mean, look here.)
We left Inverness in mid-morning, heading for the Isle of Skye. It was a pretty challenging drive, complicated by the fact that it was raining most of the way there, but the scenery was gorgeous! Here are a few photos we took on the road.
This is the area around Kyle of Lochalsh. Some of you may recall that Kyle of Lochalsh is mentioned in THE FIERY CROSS as Roger's birthplace, so I was very eager to see it. We stopped for lunch at a little cafe in the town. I bought a guidebook to Skye at a gift shop nearby, which turned out to be pretty useful. Then we drove "over the sea to Skye" <g>, via the Skye Bridge.
We encountered a number of single-track roads for the first time on this drive. They were tricky at first, but before too long, my brother got the hang of driving on them. Even on narrow, winding mountain roads, they have "passing places" every few hundred yards so that you can pull over and let other cars go by.
The scenery in this area is spectacular: high hills, some with little waterfalls coming out of the rocks, and small bodies of water almost everywhere. It's very, very green, even on the mountains, but there are few trees.
Eventually we made our way to the hotel, located near Greshornish. The location is pretty remote, about two miles down a single-track road, and there were sheep grazing by the roadside. After driving much of the day in the rain, we were delighted when the sun came out just as we arrived!
We went out to dinner at a restaurant called the Stein Inn and had a good time. Here I am with my brother by a lovely little loch just across the road from the restaurant.
Wednesday, July 6
We had a good breakfast at the hotel, then drove to Dunvegan Castle, which my friend Judy Lowstuter had recommended as a must-see location on the Isle of Skye.
The castle itself is not very accessible, but I managed, with some help, to climb the staircase to the first floor. I was glad I made the effort to go upstairs! Here we were able to see all the public rooms and many paintings and artifacts belonging to the MacLeod clan.
The photo above, showing the dining room, comes from theskyeguide.com.
We saw the famous Fairy Flag, which dates from 400-700 AD. There are a number of stories and legends surrounding the Fairy Flag. Look here and here, for example.
After we finished touring the castle, we went outside to walk around the gardens, which are magnificent!
My favorite part was the Water Garden, with a stunning waterfall in the middle.
After lunch, we drove to Kilmuir, in the north of Skye, to visit the Skye Museum of Island Life. I thoroughly enjoyed our visit there, despite the fact that it was raining the whole time. What can you do but adopt a Scottish attitude toward the weather? "Oh, well, so it's raining. <shrug> Put the hood of your jacket up and grab an umbrella, and let's go see it anyway!" It certainly didn't slow us down at all.
The Skye Museum of Island Life is a small outdoor museum consisting of half a dozen little thatched-roofed stone cottages, containing exhibits and artifacts about all aspects of traditional life on Skye. It really gives you an appreciation of how difficult their lives were back then (not all that long ago, either; some of the exhibits date back only to the 1920's), and how much time and effort it took just to provide the basic necessities like food and clothing.
Here are a couple of photos of things I thought would be of interest to OUTLANDER fans. First, a display of plant-based dyes in various colors. (Click on the photo for a bigger view.) I could definitely see the women of Lallybroch and Fraser's Ridge making use of many of these!
Here are some quern stones (the ones shown here are about a foot wide), used for grinding grain when no mill was available.
I would definitely recommend the Skye Museum of Island Life to any OUTLANDER fans who happen to be visiting the area. I thought it was very interesting.
By the time we were done exploring all of the buildings, I was soaked to the skin and freezing cold, but I didn't really mind. We went back to the hotel to change and rest a bit before dinner. All in all, a very successful day!
Look here for the other posts in this series about my trip to Scotland.
My trip to Scotland (Prologue)
My trip to Scotland (Part 1)
My trip to Scotland (Part 3)
My trip to Scotland (Part 4)