Hated to leave the lovely town of Oban. The only consolation was that my next stop was the Isle of Skye!
It took me all day to drive from one place to the other. Not because it was such a great distance, mind you, but because the landscape I passed through was just so darned gorgeous! I had to stop the car and take pictures every mile or so it seemed.
Not too far from Oban was my first stop, Kilchurn Castle! Can’t think of a better way to start the day – explore a new castle right after breakfast! This one was a hidden little gem too. The only reason I knew about it was because my new friend Jonathan had told me. There weren’t any signs or mention of it along the road, just a very small car park off to the right side of the road and a trail to follow.
Although I managed to drive right past the car park the first time, I turned around and found it. Very insignificant looking and still I wasn’t real positive I had the right place. Still I followed the path, and after walking under the train trestle, this view appeared!
Let’s get a bit closer and check it out!
Soooo, it is another clan Campbell castle, like Inverary! I will have to do some research later to find out if any of my Campbell ancestors had anything to do with this place…
Quite the setting! I really enjoyed walking around this place, and because it is so obscure there sure weren’t very many people here besides myself! Made it really, really nice actually.
As I started my way back along the pathfinder to the car park, a pair of swallows, looking for food to feed their babies in a nest back in the castle, were swooping around me back and forth, back and forth. I had to take a gagiliion pictures to get these two shots…
After I walked back under the train trestle I drove a bit further up the A85 road intending to take it to the A82. A short distance from the junction however, I came upon an alternate route heading the same direction, so I turned up the single track B8074 road which followed the Orchy river flowing through a beautiful glen… am I glad I did. What an absolute delightful, and surprising route!
The road hugged the rivers edge most of the way and offered up so many opportunities to view simply breathtaking views of this meandering waterway. First there was this tranquil spillway…
I no more got back in the car and drove around the next bend when I came upon these gorgeous waterfalls!
Also along the river were more wild orchids! Then there MORE waterfalls!
Mile after mile I drove through this paradise complete with fly fisherman casting their lines…hoping to get a bite!
Although it was really only a short distance, that beautiful glen I had just passed through, and stopped to look back upon, seemed like a magical eternity!
I then turned my attention in the other direction – northward toward the next glen I would be passing through… the dramatic Glencoe. Words cannot begin to describe the majestic beauty of this glen… just look at the pictures and drool…. this is Scotland personified!
I stopped along Loch Eil, just north of North Ballachulish, stretched my legs and ate a picnic lunch Loch side in the sunshine. Even had the Scottish Saltire appear in the blue sky of the sucker hole in the clouds before I travelled further north toward Fort William. What a wonderfully perfect Scottish day, wouldn’t you say?
After lunch, I continued north on A82 until I came to Spean bridge and the Commando memorial and then continuing on to the junction of A87 heading west at Invergarry.
I contined to drive along through this gorgeous Invergarry Glen until I came to another junction at Shiel Bridge called the old military road. My friend Jonathan, from Oban, had told me about an alternate way to get to the Isle of Skye, via a small village called Glenelg and by which I could take a very short ferry crossing.
I am oh-so-glad I followed his advice! I had yet one more very fascinating glen to explore on this portion of my journey! I meandered down the old military road until I came to a junction. One way led to the ferry; the other way led to the village itself. Since I had to catch the ferry at some point, I thought it best to go there first, check the schedule and plan my explorations of Glenelg accordingly.
I found the ferry easy enough – at the end of the road! There was this cute little lighthouse with self-serve coffee and snacks and other assorted souvenirs with a basket for honor payments. Had to wait for the ferry to come back across the Loch to answer my questions about when their last crossing would be (6:45) and made friends with the ferry dog.
What a unique ferry it was too! It’s a “turn-table” ferry which holds as much as 3-4 cars at a time! What a cutie!
After finding out the necessary time schedule of the ferry, I headed back the 4 miles to the junction that I could take to the village of Glenelg and beyond. Jonathan had told me about the “brochs” that I definitely needed to find and explore beyond the village that he promised would be well worth taking the time to find and enjoy.
So I drove past the village, along the Loch, up another river into another glen and voila, there it was just yards from the road!
There they were! Amazing, ancient dwellings like nothing I had ever witnessed! Very unique, double walled dwellings of people from long, long, long ago! Absolutely fascinating!
After walking around this first one, I had to drive up just a short distance further up the glen to find the second one – Dun Trodden!
There were also contemporary dwellings in this valley, unique in their own right with grassy sod covered roofs! So cool! I really enjoyed this glen of unique dwellings, both old and new.
It was getting to be late in the afternoon however so I headed back through the village and headed to the ferry to make the necessary crossing over to the Isle of Skye.
I arrived just I now time to catch the next ferry crossing and drove onboard. As soon as the cars were loaded, the one ferry man lifted the loading ramps and then began pushing and turning the bed in a clockwise manner to be straight on the ferry again.
I got a big kick out of the two dogs. They watched intently every move the two ferry men made and reacted accordingly.
Once the guy got the revolving table set in place, the younger of the two dogs started tugging on the rope that was holding the ferry to the ramp, pulling the slip knot free.
Once the rope was free and the ferry started to drift away, the two dogs jumped aboard with the ferry man and took their positions. One on the deck, the other in front of the steersman! Those dogs knew just what to do and exactly when to do it!
It took no time at all get to the other side and off I went, driving up, up, up the hill on the other side. As I crested the hill, I could see the town of Broadford just off to left along the waters edge, where I would find a nice, cozy bed, with a view of the harbor from my window in the hostel!
Before I laid my head down for the night however, I found a wonderful harbor side place to eat dinner which featured some of my favorites: scallops, crab, some deliciously wonderful coffee and a dessert consisting of strawberries, meringue and mango ice cream at Claymore restaurant.
What a perfect ending to a perfectly wonderful day of driving through deliciously delightful gorgeous glens in Scotland. It just doesn’t get much better than that!