A Stroll at Kinloch
Our walk on
the grounds of Kinloch Lodge brought us to an old, moss-covered woods.
We could scarcely tell whether some trees were living or dead, but we could
easily imagine them having witnessed centuries of Gaelic
history and the Lordship of the Isles. We enjoyed our stroll, and drove
the following morning to Armadale Castle, stopping a few places along the way.
Ramblin' by the Cuillins
Hills formed the backdrop for these photos. We admired them only
from a distance, which did not truly reveal the magnificent, rugged terrain that
attracts so many climbers. The Black Cuillins, composed of basalt
and gabbro, present the most challenging climb in Great Britain. The
Red, composed mainly of granite, have weathered into more rounded hills.
The Sound of Sleat
The Sound of Sleat (pronounced Slate) flows between the Isle of Skye
and the mainland. Here we stood on the eastern shore of Skye
and looked toward the mainland. After his dreadful defeat at
Culloden and flight to Skye in 1746,
Bonnie Prince Charlie may have stood just so,
grieving over his failed bid for the
Charlie's Cave, where he hid for a time from the English, is near
here on the southwest corner ofthe Sleat Peninsula.
From there, he escaped to the island of Raasay and sailed thence to
France, never to return to Scottish soil.
The Teangue Promontory a few miles south of Kinloch was once the site of
an ancient fortress, the remains of which formed the foundation for a
century keep built by the MacLeods. Also known as Caisteal Camus or Chamius,
captured by the MacDonalds and remodeled in 1596.
By 1689, it was abandoned,
the Green Lady or "Gruagach." According to legend, the Green Lady
was a portend of the fortunes of the castle owners. A happy ghost
meant good fortune, but a weeping one was an ill omen indeed.
Perhaps the Green Lady wept a great deal, for the castle fell to ruin and
most of its stone was removed. A few miles more, and we
arrived at last at Armadale Castle.
Armadale and The MacDonalds
a simple, small white mansion was erected on the east coast of Skye for Lord MacDonald of Sleat. In
1815, when it had become popular to build manor houses resembling castles,
the larger, more elaborate Armadale Castle was built at one end of the
mansion. Some remodeling was done
after a fire in 1855, but in 1925, the family moved to a smaller house
several miles away and abandoned Armadale to the elements.
In 1971, the Clan Donald Lands Trust purchased the 20,000-acre
Armadale Estate and set about restoring part of the castle
and creating the Museum of the Isles, a Study Centre, and a Visitor
Centre. The castle is surrounded by a beautiful
40-acre garden, the restored remains of a formal garden that dates back
two centuries. The main staircase and
landing of the castle, seen through the facade, are graced by a pink clematis.
Elsewhere on the estate, we saw a European Robin
and another patch of Bluebells.
John barely caught
the little red-breasted bird
as it was taking flight. Ayrshire birdwatcher Kevin Waite
later told me this interesting bit of trivia ~ "Mary Poppins" was
written by an English author and set in London, and the robin to
which Mary sang was not America's plump, red-breasted herald of
spring but its smaller, European cousin. We'll understand if Brits
are a bit put off by Hollywood's miscasting of the role of this
abound in Scotland in the month of May, including here on the Isle of Skye
where they contrasted
beautifully with a small red-leafed tree.
Our visit to Scotland being in May, John and
I enjoyed having the grounds of Armadale to ourselves. Too soon, we
left for the final leg of our journey, stopping for photos at the west end
of the town of Broadford, on the Inner Sound.
The Inner Sound
The waters of the
Inner Sound separate the Inner Hebridean Isles of Skye, Raasay, and South Rona
from the mainland of Scotland. At Broadford, we gazed across the Sound to the mainland's Applecross Peninsula,
then stood on the shore at the head of Broadford Bay. Finally, we drove back to the Skye Bridge and
the mainland, where more adventure lay in store.