Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Isle of Skye Trip


I knew the trip was starting off well, when I saw a rainbow on my way down the hallway on my flat (photo is darkened so that maybe you can actually see the rainbow):

Rainbow out window

From here on, I'll just list photos/things we saw.

Wallace Monument
A monument to William Wallace, built sometime in the late 1800s. The guides spent a fair amount of time dispelling lies from "Braveheart".

The view from the Wallace monument
The view from atop the Wallace monument, supposedly you can see seven battle grounds. We had only 15 minutes here, but Thomas and I decided to climb the 67m up anyways

Hamish, the Highlander Cow
Next up was Hamish, the highlander cow (or "hairy coo"). Apparently voted sexiest animal of 2007 (some ingredient from the cow's horn is used in Viagra...)

Glencoe, two of The Three Sisters
Next up was Glencoe (Gaelic for "Valley of Tears" due to the numerous waterfalls)

Glencoe is the site where the Campbell Clan broke the Highlander hospitality rules, and killed the MacDonalds who were their hosts on February 13, 1692. Campbells are still generally disliked in this region.

Ft. Augustus
We stayed at Fort Augustus on the shores of Loch Ness both nights. This photo is of the ferry that gives one hour tours of Loch Ness, along with sonar images taken from the bottom.

Loch Ness at 8pm
The boat departs at 8pm...

Inside the Loch Ness ferry
But tonight happened to be the date of the monthly Loch Ness "Booze Cruise". 4 hours of live music and ferrying around Loch Ness. Once you get on...you can't get off the boat. Our guides noted how dressed up the locals weree; this monthly booze cruise appears to be the event of the month.

Urquhart Castle from the loch
The turn around point was Urquhart Castle (above).


Rainbow over a loch
Saturday started off with another rainbow, seen here over a loch.

Pretty scenery

End of the rainbow
We even got to see the end of the rainbow! It was the brightest rainbow I've ever seen.

Eilean Donan Castle
Next was Eilean Donan Castle, rebuilt in 1932.

Eilean Donan Castle
"The money shot" of Eilean Donan Castle. It appeared in a James Bond film, and was the scene of the "Highlander" movie.

Scenery around Eilean Donan Castle

Bridge over a stream
Then we stopped by a stream that supposedly makes you beautiful, so half the bus stuck their face into it. There was a story associated with it, how a beautiful young Highlander clan princess was to marry a clan prince. When she was rushing to her wedding her horse slipped and she slammed her face into some rocks, losing her eye. When the prince saw how ugly she had become, he determined it was some sort of treason, and he killed her attendants. Somehow everything became right when she put her face into the water.

We stopped for lunch in the fishing village of Portree.

Fairy Falls
Then we walked up Fairy Falls, which is called Fairy Falls because anyone who does not believe in fairies falls on their way down. It was very slippery (all grass and water).

The Old Man of Storr from Fairy Falls
The Old Man of Storr once was an old giant and his wife. The old woman became too old to climb to the top of the mountain and gossip with her husband. When the fairies found out, they turned them both to stone. The Old Woman (which fell a few years ago) had a weak hip, which lead to her crumbling. Now all that's left is the Old Man.

Kilt Rock
Kilt Rock (the formation in the back) is so named because it looks like a kilt. An Irish giant tried to woo a Scottish giant-ess, but when he found out that she had a husband, he decided to fight the husband. The giant-ess had her husband take the place of a giant baby, and hung a giant kilt up to dry so as to make the Irish giant think her husband was much larger than he. It worked, and the Irish giant tore up the bridge he had built and never came back.

Scenery at the Dynamite mine
We stopped at a Dynamite mine, which was very pretty.

Scenery at the Dynamite mine

Sheep scaling the edges of the cliff at the Dynamite mine.

The way back up
The way back. Straight up.

Pretty scenery on the way home
Pretty scenery on the way back to the hostel.

Caledonian Canal Lock
A shot of one of the locks on the Caledonian Canal back at Fort Augustus.

Fort Augustus
The canal at Fort Augustus links Loch Ness with Loch Oich.


Urquhart Castle
Another view of Urquhart Castle.

The moors at Culloden where Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Highlander troops were massacred by British troops.

Burial Cairns
4,000 year old Burial Cairns made of rocks from 25 miles away.

Dunkeld Cathedral
The last stop was at the Cathedral at Dunkeld where I bought myself some honeycomb ice cream and butter tablet (which is like butter flavored fudge. Sort of.)

Dunkeld Cathedral

River Tay
The Cathedral is on the banks of the River Tay, pictured above.

All in all a good but exhausting trip...and despite spending two nights right next to it, I know absolutely nothing about Loch Ness, lol.

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