Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 13 Leverburgh to Fort William

Sunday 3 May. We were blessed with smooth water on our Sunday morning crossing from Lewis to North Uist to Skye. Almost everyone on this tour is a knitter. Here is the knitting party on the Leverburgh ferry. You really have to hustle on the drive between ferries from Berneray on North Uist, to Lochmaddy. Our driver, Andrew, showed off his expert driving skills

Skye welcomed us with green rolling hills and lush vegetation on this peaceful island of white cottages and waterscapes We stopped at Slighachen. This is a point between the Red Cuillin and the Black Cuillin mountains, a popular spot for climbers and hikers.

Eilean Donan Castle at Dornie was our next destination. The castle sits on a small little island, making a picturesque view from every angle, especially from a viewpoint above the castle at Carr Brae. Castles have stood on this site for 800 years. The site was a monestary until the 8th century. Vikings ruled here for 450 years. Alexander the 3rd evicted the Vikings and the MacRaes owned this castle from the 1300’s until today. In 1719 the building was destroyed as the castle was a stronghold of support for the Jacobites. The castle stood in ruins for 200 years. In 1912 they started rebuilding the castle and completed the present building in 1932. The renovation was based on the 16th century version of the castle.

As we continued, snow was evident on the Ben Nevis range. We saw just the lower part of Ben Nevis. At 4480 feet, it is the tallest mountain in Scotland. Typically, only 52 days of the year is Ben Nevis visible.

We lodged in Fort William and enjoyed a fine meal at The Lime Tree restaurant. This B&B has an unusal feature in that as a former church, one part has been converted to a private gallery space that has exhibitions of highland artists and also shows work from the National Art Collections. The current exhibit is Andy Goldsworthy photos of his nature installations.

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