A Wee Road Trip Through Scotland
Collin and I were itching to see western Scotland as we had been told it boasted some incredible sites. We decided to rent a car in Elgin and make a day trip out of it - a 12 hour day trip.
We picked up the car around 10am on a Sunday and settled into our Renault for our journey west. We drove about an hour and a half west and made our first stop at Urquhart Castle.
The ruins date back to the 13th to 16 centuries and was built on a medieval fortification. The castle, which overlooks Loch Ness, is one of the largest in Scotland.
We couldn't have asked for a better day. The sun was high above us and we were even able to ditch our coats for the day.
We made our way around the ruins taking in every possible angle of Loch Ness below. The water stretched out before us and had an air of magic about it. Unfortunately we weren't able to catch a glimpse of the infamous Nessie.
Hopping back in the car we took a moment in the sun to enjoy a snack of bread and cheese which has become a staple of any journey - train, car or otherwise - that we've taken in the past five months.
We hit the road again for our next stop, Eilean Donan Castle.
What we enjoy most about renting a car is the freedom it allows. We are able to stop on a whim and snap a few pictures of the impressive landscape.
I felt like I had stepped into James Bond's Skyfall as we made our way further into western Scotland.
We may it to Eilean Donan Castle and were struck by its majesty. It sits as if floating above the water.
You feel as if you are walking onto the set of Outlander as you make your way over the bridge to stare at the castle above.
The castle was destroyed during the third of the Jacobite Risings in 1719. The Macrae Clan has long been associated with Eilean Donan Castle and Lt.-Col. John Macrae-Gilstrap purchased and rebuilt the castle between 1912-1932 and it is now the most photographed castle in all of Britain. The Macrae's still hold an annual reunion each year in April at the castle.
Unfortunately no photography was allowed inside the castle. We were amazed at how well the castle had been rebuilt and refurbished. The great hall was the most impressive, boasting a long table and beautiful stained glass windows. We took our time in each room admiring the history of it all.
We grabbed a quick coffee and enjoyed it under a tree looking out over the castle.
After fueling up we made our way to the Isle of Skye. The journey itself was enough to make you want to visit Scotland. Each twist in the road brought new landscapes to admire. We enjoyed every hour that ticked by that day.
Driving over Skye Bridge we drove to the town of Portree on the Isle of Skye. We parked the car (free parking on Sunday!) and walked around town, pausing just long enough in a sweet shop for Collin to buy his favorite - salted, black licorice.
The town is very small and we were able to walk the perimeter of the main town square in minutes. The Portree Harbor is the most famous area the town has to offer as each building on the main harbor is painted in vibrant colors welcoming boats into its bay.
We had worked up an appetite by this time and found a beautiful restaurant called The Granary on the town square. Collin and I sat in a cozy little room, all to ourselves, amazed that we are able to be on this adventure at all.
We shared a beautifully displayed fish platter, chips and relaxed for a bit before hopping back in the car.
We drove back to Elgin through the Black Isle. Collin wished he had a nippy sports car that day as the roads were perfectly winding and curvy through the mountains.
A few minutes from home the sky decided to play its final piece of the day.
We don't often witness such an amazing sunset but this day ended with a painted sky.