We had a lovely meal at the pub before going back ‘home’ to get organised for leaving next morning. Vehicles were packed with all the climbing ropes, metalwork – what a collection of implements climbers carry up these rock faces - and other things that would not be needed again , and a start was made on leaving the cottage tidy and clean. Next morning the job was completed and we all set off on our routes home. The others made for the Skye Bridge and Kyle, while I was returning by ferry from Armadale to Mallaig. I caught up with the others briefly in Portree doing some shopping for a local speciality – Irn Bru sausages! Irn Bru is a Scottish fizzy drink! Hmmm! I decided I’d have to try some so found the butcher’s shop and bought the last 6! I have to say I haven’t tried them yet. They’ve gone into the freezer for now!
Then back on the main road again, I continued south turning off to Armadale once more. The view to Doune seemed clearer, so I stopped! I could see the boat shed and the White House quite clearly, left of shot; Liz’s and Mary’s houses more like white dots; the dining room long house and the Stone Lodges long house on the shore; Jamie’s house on the hill, and very vaguely in the shadow, the wooden lodge where I will be resting my head in September, on the annual, and much looked forward to, Lacemakers’ Week! You can see more of Doune here.
When I arrived at Armadale I realised I was much too early for the ferry I had booked so drove on to the end of the road, at Aird. Linda had had a holiday here, in a cottage called Half Seventeen! I think this is it! It certainly has the nameplate!
It was in Aird that I found the artist Peter McDermott whose picture of the Old Man of Storr I used in the first blog post from Skye – the one where all the photos turned into black boxes!. You can still see the pictures if you click on them, but I think Blogger was having problems that day! This is a view southwest to the island of Rum – never been there yet! Lots of high peaks and a castle there too! One day!
The croft where the grass was being cut for hay, took my attention. Its position on a bit of a promontory, the little fields, gave it rather an interesting look. I preferred the other photo though this one showed the position it was in.
The views around here are wonderful. The shot on the right was of the mainland, the peaks to the left being the mountains of Knoydart .
and here once more, Sabhal Mor Ostaig, (Saul More OSTaig), the Gaelic College, that we look across at when we are in Doune, and next door, Janet’s house. What a stunning position!
This time, on board we had some music to set our feet tapping! A trio of young lasses had their fiddles out, and were playing for us! Reminded me of the choirs on the ferry back from Mull last year. In fact I think the other passengers were more bemused than anything else last year!
Back at Mallaig I was sure one of the Doune boats would be in harbour, but there was no sign of them – and on asking I heard that the ‘Mary Doune’ had just recently left. I might have seen her if I hadn’t been enjoying the music!
Just in the last few years the twisty narrow road from Fort William to Mallaig has had a lot of work done on it, cutting the journey time between them to little over an hour, but it cuts off some of the coastal villages and beauty spots, so if you are not in a hurry it is nice to detour onto the bits of old road that still serves them. Loch Morar is another of the lochs (besides Loch Ness) that has a ‘monster’ story associated with it. I fact it is well documented that some young local lads nearly had their boat tipped over by some very large creature – and that wasn’t THAT long ago – as I knew one of them!
The River Morar that flows from the loch to the sea is only half a mile long and enjoys the distinction of being the shortest river in the country. Here where it joins the sea over the waterfalls are two bridges – the concrete Highland railway bridge at the back, and the old road in front of it. The third bridge, at the top of the picture is the bridge carrying the fast new road over the sea inlet!
Further along ‘the road to the Isles’ as it is called, though I was going on the road FROM the Isles side, is another inlet of the sea Loch nan Uamh (Oo aav) which is crossed at its narrow end by the Highland railway again. On the left of the photo you might see a small cairn or pile of stones. This is to commemorate the landing of Bonny Prince Charlie, his arrival on the Scottish mainland in 1745. Read about it here in English and Gaelic!
Further down the road, at the head of Loch Shiel, is the supposed spot where he raised his standard to enlist the army that was to make a last attempt to restore the throne of Britain to its rightful heirs, after the monarchists had brought a German protestant relation to oust the Roman Catholic James (VIII), who had gone into exile. Charles was the grandson of King James VII, II of England. After a successful start to the campaign, everything was finally lost at the battle of Culloden in 1746. Charles went into hiding and eventually escaped to France to end his life in exile in Italy. The rebellion had a long lasting effect on the Scots Jacobites, which is still felt in some ways to this day.
Anyway, the Highlanders’ Monument stands as a reminder of the rallying of the Jacobite troops and is a popular visitor attraction. Behind me in the distance is another more recent attraction, the mighty railway viaduct – the first concrete bridge ever built – but better known as the viaduct crossed by the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films.
Onward, through Fort William, having spent as hour or so with Essie, Janet’s mum, a sprightly 90 year old, and then to Glencoe village where the light was just beginning to go. The glen, or valley in English, has quite a history to it, which you can read about here and here. This is a picture of The Pap of Glencoe at the northern end of the glen, and the village below it – an ancient village, at the end of the old road through the glen. It was to be my last photo as the light was fading. I still had to drive through the glen itself and then cross Rannoch Moor before eventually reaching Stirlingshire and finally the last section into the Borders region. it may have been the end of one holiday, but I was only to be home a day before the next adventure began.
Talk again soon.