On our last morning in the Highlands we woke up to discover that the United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union. While we knew this was a possibility, like many people, we didn’t think it could/would actually happen. Yet, here it was, history unfolding right in front of our eyes… It felt like a bad dream. Watching and listening to the local news we were shocked to hear that so many people felt the same, even those who’d actually voted for Brexit! People, this is proof that there is no such thing as a protest vote!
All day long we kept thinking, this can’t be real, can it? Yet, it was and although we aren’t citizens of either the EU or the United Kingdom we were deeply affected by the outcome of this vote. With the political turmoil in our own country reaching an unprecedented level of craziness it seemed like a dark foreboding…
It’s somewhat ironic, but our plan for the final day of our tour in The Highlands was a visit to the Battlefield of Culloden. A lover of history and a fan of the book series Outlander I’d read about this place for years and was excited for our visit. For those of you who haven’t read Outlander, Culloden was the site of the last had to hand battle to take place on British soil. The battle between the Jacobites, supporters of Prince Charles Stewart, and the English is also considered to be the inspiration behind the famous Scottish song “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond“ . You might be familiar with the chorus:
O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye,
The visitor center, run by the National Trust of Scotland, tells the story of Culloden from both perspectives in a very unbiased way. There are interactive displays throughout the exhibits, which we all found interesting, especially the weapons exhibit at the end. During our visit we joined a guided tour of the battlefields, which of course are mainly grass fields with markers and monuments placed here and there. While I found the tour fascinating, my boys are allergic to grass, which made it less than pleasant for them. Once the skies opened up, that was it for them.
Sitting on a small tidal island where three lochs meet, Loch Dutch, Loch Long, and Loch Alsh, it’s no wonder that Eilean Donan is the most photographed castle in Scotland! The inside is fully furnished and lovely as well, however, photography isn’t allowed inside the Castle. We finished our tour of the island just as those pesky rains caught up to us!
There has been a castle on the island since the 13th century, however the castle was demolished during the Jacobite risings by the Royal Navy in 1719 and stayed that way until it was restored by Lt. Col. John MacRae-Gilstrap in the early 1900s. Keep your eye out for the war memorial located on the island dedicated to the men of the MacRae clan who died in WWI. You might recognize the lines from the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by his relative John McCrae.
Eilean Donan is not only one of Scotland’s most visited castles, but it’s also been featured in a number of films. The many views make amazing backdrops, and if you’re not already married It’s also available for weddings!
The Isle Of Skye
Though it wasn’t in our plans to visit the Isle of Skye on this trip, we saw that we weren’t too far and decided on a quick trip over the bridge.
Unfortunately, we were running out of time and only spent about an hour driving before we had to turn around and head back. The little I saw was beautiful beyond description and these photos don’t even come close to doing it justice. I definitely hope to find my way back to Skye someday…
Though the clouds and rain chased us all day long, there was a silver lining: Elliot counted as many as 11 rainbows on our way back to Inverness!