Friday, September 15, 2006

Over the sea to Skye - 29 August 2006

A North Sea rig moored in Cromarty Firth
We left Inverness in the rain, but soon reached sunshine in Dingwell. This is a very attractive town and next door is Strathpeffer, a Victorian spa town.

Typical loch-side bothyThe road wound up into the mountains and we stopped at another waterfall to see the salmon jump again. We had heard about this, seen it on the television etc but nothing compares to seeing it in the wild, the athletic feats of the salmon are simply amazing. However, the next waterfall would have been a challenge for even the most energetic salmon, 50m straight up! The Falls of Measach plummet into Corrieshalloch Gorge, a deep, narrow, box canyon spanned by a 200 year old suspension bridge built by the same chap who co-designed the Forth Rail Bridge.

Although we were often driving though showers, the sun shone brightly at every stop. We drove past small towns and attractive lochs to Inverewe Gardens. Inverewe GardensThese were developed from 1865 onwards on a bare hillside next to a loch. The gardens are extensive, and the walled garden is full of colourful flowers. Considering all the topsoil was carried to the gardens in baskets it is a real achievement in such an inhospitable environment.

Eilean Donan CastleOur last stop for the day on mainland Scotland was Eilean Donan Castle. Allegedly the McKenzie Castle, but this one is a fake and less than 100 years old. So we only took photos and had a coffee in the car park before driving over the new Skye Bridge, apparently the biggest single span bridge outside Australia.

Portree, SkyeThe Island of Skye is much more rugged and much bigger than we expected. It took us an hour to reach our B&B at Portree. We would thoroughly recommend this very attractive town: the harbour is just like a picture postcard.

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