Duntulm Castle Ruins – Isle of Skye, Scotland

It was a long and winding drive on mostly one lane roads to get here and to be honest there isn’t a lot of “it” here but the views were spectacular.

Looking at the map below, our journey took us from Mallaig (at the very bottom) on a ferry over to Armadale.  From there we drove up to Sligachan and then all the way to the very top where it say Duntulm Castle. We did stop at some of the other sites listed on this map but that’s for another day.

(Map from http://www.whiteheatherhotel.co.uk)

Image result for map of isle of skye

The ruins of Duntulm Castle are fenced off for the safety of the ruins – which have been crumbling away with time – and the many visitors but while I was there I did see a few “selfie squad” folks go over the fence and disappear into the ruins.  I was tempted a voice behind me said it wouldn’t be a good idea to 😉

This cairn in front of the ruins has a plaque on it that says:  This cairn is to commemorate the MacArthurs.  Hereditary pipers to the MacDonalds of the isles during the 18th century. Their school of piping stood at nearby Peingown.  It is also written in Gaelic.

Standing here I believe we were as far north on earth as we’ve ever been and it was amazing.

Teri 📷

 

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Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel

Three miles outside of Oban, Scotland lies the Dunstaffnage Castle and chapel.  It is a partially ruined castle that sits on a conglomerate rock at the entrance to Loch Etive surrounded on three sides by the sea.  It is one of Scotland’s oldest stone castles dating back to the 13th century.  And you can go inside of it too so let’s go!

The castle and nearby chapel were built by a Duncan MacDougall some 800 years ago; the castle to protect his family back when places like this were needed and the chapel for private family worship.  It was a highly prized and strategic fortress in it’s time.

I had already run up the narrow well worn steps to get inside of the castle when DH took the photo below showing the way inside.

Once in I could see just how much of a fortress it was built to be what with those 11.5 foot thick walls.  I had a great time standing at the top looking over the walls and shouting “Get the boiling oil ready, lads!” I don’t think they ever said that but they did use guns.

This is the gatehouse which was built by the Campbells after they were given the castle in 1470.  The captain of Dunstaffnage lived there.  “Traditionally, an officer called the Hereditary Captain of Dunstaffnage is responsible for the castle and its defense. The office still exists, and to retain the title (now rather a sinecure without military significance), the incumbent is required to spend three nights a year in the castle. No other responsibilities or privileges now attach to the post.” wikipedia

Plus, the castle has a ghost known as the Ell-Maid of Dunstaffnage – a gruagach or household spirit – whose appearance is associated with events in the lives of the hereditary keepers.  Didn’t hear or see the wee rascal… darn!

The chapel, one of the finest of its time as the plaque inside of it states, has some amazing detailed stonework as you can see; very narrow windows though.

It was such a thrill to experience this amazing history and be able to say that I was inside of a medieval castle.

Teri 📷

 

 

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Oh the castles I have seen!

Besides the glorious landscapes in Scotland, I wanted to see as many castles as I could get to… and a few of them took some getting to!  I have a preference for the really old castle ruins but there were some splendid intact ones as well.  In one case, there was one where I enjoyed the surrounding gardens more than the castle itself.  And in another, a castle ruins I was so hyped to see was totally engulfed in fog the day we visited.  Oh well.

This is Castle Stalker, a four story tower house or keep, 25 miles from Oban, Scotland.  It can only be reached by boat if you are lucky enough to be able to book a tour.  It is thought to have been built around 1446 and it has quite a history.  It also appeared in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail; the “your mother was a hamster” scene.  The water was wonderfully calm that morning which made for great reflections.  Too bad that boat was there that day as well.

Teri 📷

Zoomed and cropped view

 

 

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Lys-Na-Greyne B&B – Aboyne, Scotland

When I chose this B&B for one of our stops in Scotland I was very excited about staying at such a beautiful place.  It wasn’t until we arrived that I found out how much of a gem I booked!  This Edwardian granite house was built in 1912 and is nestled in a conservation area that over looks the Dee river and valley.  In the first picture below, the set of four windows second floor on the left was our room.  Wonderful view especially at sunset.

Lys-Na-Greyne is a luxury B&B in every sense of the word.  The owners, Garry and Joyce Welsh, welcome you into their home for a stay in one of their six en-suite bedrooms.  When we drove up Joyce gave us a warm welcome at the door and showed us to our room before taking us on a tour of the house.

Ours was a large room with a king size bed, sitting area, writing desk, tea service with cookies (or biscuits if you prefer) and bottled water, a bathroom with double sinks, separate shower and a double stand alone tub.  That tub was quite the respite after a long day of exploring the Aberdeenshire castle trail which is easy to get to from here.  The room also included the fluffiest robes and comfy slippers for when it was time to settle down for the evening.

The home sits in over three acres of mature gardens that are so peaceful and beautiful; even more so when there’s afternoon tea with cake on the terrace.  If you are offered the lemon cake, take it!  You will thank me later.  While located in a secluded area, you can easily walk into town for dinner.  Joyce made dinner reservations for us at the Boat Inn Restaurant in Aboyne where we had some of the tastiest lamb steaks ever.

You can lounge in the sitting area where there are magazines to read, a piano if you are so inclined to play, whiskey and sherry for a night cap and a telescope for viewing the scenery.  In the dining area for breakfast it can be quite an international scene.  On our visit we broke bread with couples from Germany, Australia and France.  Mentioning bread, it’s homemade and delicious as are the rest of the breakfast offerings.

On the buffet table you are offered juice, yogurt, fresh fruit, cereals, porridge (heather honey on porridge is so good), breads and pastries if you want a lighter breakfast.  Wanting more for your morning fare?  There are a couple of fish and egg dishes and the full Scottish breakfast to choose from which Joyce brings out to you along with your tea or coffee.

By this leg of our journey around Scotland I had gotten quite hooked on the full Scottish breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs, haggis, black pudding, baked beans, mushrooms and tomatoes.  Don’t be fooled by people who’ve made a horrible face at the mention of haggis, it’s good and in this case made local.  On the other hand I never took to the black pudding and always asked for the beans to be held.  I just can’t with beans for breakfast…

I really hated leaving Lys-Na-Greyne but we had to make our way to the next stop on our Scotland road trip. Thank you for being such a wonderful hostess, Joyce.  We loved staying with you and Billy says hello 🙂

Teri 📷

 

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Blue Angels

They are such an amazing group and I’m glad I finally got to see them.  Now the song Highway to the Danger Zone is stuck in my head 😉

Teri 📷

 

(There is more to share from this airshow but I miss Scotland and need to get back to sharing that road trip with you before we head out on the next one.  So goodbye for now airshow and hello again Scotland.)

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Happy 4th of July

United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team

Teri 📷

 

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Impasse

“I’m not talking to you!”  “I’m not talking to you either!”  Even in the bird kingdom there are disagreements.  Or maybe they are just looking out for that pesky photographer creeping up on them from between the trees 😉

Teri 📷

 

 

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