After visiting the mesmerizing fairy pools, I leisurely drove further north up the west coast of Skye along the A863 through Struan, Ose, and Roskhill. Still basking in the colorful waters of the pools and falls of the fairies I delighted in the continual beauty around every turn or hill the road took me up, over, or around. Before I knew it I had arrived at my next planned stop, Dunvegan.
Why Dunvegan? Because Clan MacLeod castle, Dunvegan, is there!
According to Scotland/Alba: Built on a rock in an idyllic loch side setting, Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years.
On display are many fine oil paintings and clan treasures, the most famous of which is the Fairy Flag. Legend has it that this sacred banner has miraculous powers and when unfurled in battle, the clan MacLeod would invariably defeat their enemies.
Another of the castle’s great treasures is the Dunvegan Cup, a unique ‘mazer’ dating back to the Middle Ages. It was gifted by the O’Neils of Ulster as a token of thanks to one of our most celebrated Chiefs, Sir Rory Mor, for his support of their cause against the marauding forces of Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1595.
And for all my fellow Outlander fans, there was also have a impressive collection of Bonnie Prince Charlie related items on display including: One of the Prince’s waistcoats, a Jacobite amen glass, a lock of the Prince’s hair etc., which were of particular interest to me. As I admired the collection and read the descriptions, I noticed one thing in particular, the date that Flora MacDonald and Prince Charlie had narrowly escaped the British forces under disguise after the battle of Culloden on June 29, 1746. The day I was at Dunvegan, looking at the memorabilia from that event was June 29th; exactly 271 years later! Hmmmm…
Unfortunately however, photography was not allowed inside the castle! Not unusual especially when a castle is still occupied by inhabitants for obvious personal identity reasons, but dang! (Perhaps I can find some photos available online to include here so you get a glimpse of what I saw.)
It was fabulous! In the meantime, here are pictures I took on the outside.
Below is the sea gate. Originally this was the entrance to the castle; the only entrance!
These are the photographs of the inside taken from Images of Dunvegan Castle interior on google.F
I was also too tired and hungry to tour the gardens (can you believe it?) so here are some photos of what the gardens have to offer via google images.
The gardens were very pretty but my phone had run out of ‘juice’ at this point, and so was I. It was getting late in the afternoon, I was getting mighty hungry and I needed to find my hostel in Portree so off I went in search of it.
I drove along back toward Portree and found this old house and old bridge further down the road that I couldn’t resist not getting a photo of. Luckily the phone had charged just enough in the car as I drove to be able to take a few more pictures again!
When I arrived in Portree I practically drove right to the very nice hostel I would be spending the night in and, again it was located quite picturesquely across from the waters edge!
What a view right across the street from the hostel!
After getting checked in, I headed down to the harbour, found a great little restaurant, and settled into some absolutely divine seafood, a nice whiskey and another scrumptious raspberry dessert pudding to top it off.
Boy did I ever sleep soundly that night after such a delicious dinner! Good thing too because the following day had a lot in store for me!
The only portion of Skye I hadn’t explored yet was the northwestern tip, so from Portree I followed the A87 toward Uig and spent the day touring the northern tip in a clockwise manner.
Uig (below) was a quaint little village tucked snugly in a cove. Just outside of the village I turned at the junction of A855 and the road turns sharply right in a tight hairpin turn which pulled me up and over the top of the hill urging me to explore further along the coastline looking out to sea over pasture lands on the left and the rising mountains on the left as I meandered along the mostly single track roadway.
I drove along enjoying the views until I arrived in the village of Kilmuir. There is the most interesting and well restored thatched roof community of crofters houses called the Skye Museum of Island Life! I spent a good deal of time meandering through each of the quaint cottages all the while catching a glimpse of how the people lived, loved, fished and farmed in this remote location near the headlands of Skye.
Join me here as I take you around with pictures of just a smattering of what the museum offers building by building. I think you might like this!
First, the blacksmith shop…in one end of the building and the local ‘shop’ at the other end….
Ceilidh means ‘visit’ in Gaelic, and often is used to refer to a small gathering of friends and neighbours. Long ago before television and radio, neighbours would meet in a house to make their own entertainment; play music, sing, dance and tell stories around the fire. This ceilidh house is filled with old photographs and documents covering a wide range of subjects regarding Skye and offers a great deal of information about their local heroine from the Jacobite cause and Bonnie Prince Charlie – Flora MacDonald!
Further up the road up the road near the headlands I stumbled upon yet another castle, although quite ruinous, Duntulm Castle. Duntulm Castle stands ruined on the north coast of TrotternisH near the hamlet of Duntulm. During the 17th century it was the seat of the chiefs of Clan MacDonald of Sleat.
Duntulm was originally a Pictish fortress, forming one of a chain of duns, or forts, stretching along the north coast of the Isle of Skye. On the arrival of the Norsemen the fort became the residence of a powerful Viking leader who gave it the name David’s Fort.
Trotternish often changed hands. It was not until the 16th century that the Lords of the Isles finally seized the territory and Donhall Gorm (Blue Donald) the chief, took up residence there and carried out considerable improvements to the fort. In 1730 the MacDonalds moved away from Duntulm and stayed for a time at Monkstadt before building their new castle at Armadale.
Duntulm is home to a clach-ultaich, a lifting stone. It is said to weigh a ton.
After Duntulm, I was looking forward to seeing the massive peaks and land slip of the Quiraing and the Old Man of Storr but it was a misty day with clouds hiding the peaks.
I did, however, get to see Kilt rock!!! (below) Wowsers!
It was only about 1 o’clock in the afternoon when I returned to Portree and I was supposed to spend another night in the hostel there, but… a thought came into my head!
One of my favorite parts about visiting Scotland is returning to Dingwall, my ancestral home where my great grandfather, William Rose Frew, emigrated from. I was only about a 3-4 hour drive from there, and although I wasn’t expected until the following day, I thought “Why not?! Pack up and start driving Claudia, there is no time like the present!”
That’s exactly what I did! I could feel the tug of Dingwall’s magnetic pole pulling me ever closer as each mile effortlessly passed beneath my wheels! It was as if the car knew the way home just as I did and before I knew it I was coming down the hill at Strathpeffer and rolling down into the town I love in Scotland the best and where two of my very best friends in the whole world live, Pat & Ian MacLeod!