Our spirits were a lot higher leaving Dundreggan the morning after our gas issues. We had saved money by wild camping and it was just up from Loch Ness on a river that feeds into it. We woke to the sounds of the bubbling creek and had high hopes about the rest of Scotland. We wanted to get back up to the top pretty quickly but made a stop at Eilean Donan Castle first.
Way back in the planning stages of our trip I saw a YouTube video that struck a cord and made me think. “Yes. Definitely. Done. We are definitely doing this because that place is calling me”.
See it here: https://youtu.be/mOO5qRjVFLw
We had a pipe band at school that practiced every morning so I heard constant Scottish music through my teen years.
I remember Mum dropping us off one morning excitedly saying “Are they bagpipes?? Isn’t that wonderful!”
And we were like “…It is…??” because we heard the pipes and drums every single day. Which I appreciate now as an adult if I didn’t back then.
Eilean Donan Castle
It was stunning. A bit more touristy than I had expected but all that meant was we were able to get a coffee and some Scottish shortbread beforehand.
I was waiting in line to order when I heard the familiar wail of an angry and out of control three year old. People around me were murmuring and I joined in with “hmmmm yes…. I wonder who that is…” and ordered. I went outside to find a tear-stained Angus sobbing about his car… that was in Daddy’s pocket because he had launched it at a lady’s head and connected. When I told him I wasn’t getting his car back for him he threw himself on the ground in disgust and continued his protest. Miraculously the car was forgotten when I pulled out the shortbread. And everyone could have watched this all unfold in real time if any of you had been awake! Entertainment plus.
Angus had a great time in the castle with all of the staff falling over themselves to make sure he was having fun. They pulled out a treasure map and I had flashbacks of Alnwick Castle but he responded really well and was able to follow the instructions and find everything much to our delight. It was things like how many canon balls are in this room? and where is the deer head? They even took him out into the passageways and let him peek through the spy holes at us! Apparently that was where the servants kept an eye on things like when to serve courses for dinner or who was at the door. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take any photos inside as it is a privately owned castle but I did snap this one discreetly ?
They had an enormous collection of Scottish history books with the clans and the linage but they were all really old and behind glass. I could have easily spent all day in there just looking at their books. We ran into some Californian tourists, 2 couples, and they had 9 children between them! Not with them though. As they pointed out, they weren’t crazy enough to bring them along and gave us high fives for how brave we are. One of the couples were saying they had a four year old and was so thankful he was out of the ‘Suicidal Terrorist’ stage that engulfs them at 3 years. As I watched Angus attempt to take out another woman with his flying car game I thought to myself ‘you mean Homocidal Terrorist’.
The next few days were spent traveling up the west coast of Scotland to attempt to get back to Durness.
We went through Applecross and over some VERY narrow and windy roads. It is always a gamble when we take those roads because they have off putting names like “The Cattle Pass” and usually have signs saying “No caravans”
…. but… we aren’t a caravan…. do they mean us??? do they mean motorhomes as well??
Oh well let’s find out!! Fortunately all was well and we had no problems even if it did get a bit tight in some spots.
We camped at Gairloch at Big Sands caravan park which was stunning. I’ll give it to the Scots. They are tough. It was freezing yet they all put their big girl panties on, threw on some snow gear and headed for the beach for a swim! Committed ??
We decided to not go all the way up to the top again due to how remote it really is. We headed for a ‘town’ called Laxbridge. But when we got there it was literally… a bridge…. So we went as high as Scourie and on the way back down we did some wild camping.
Next stop was Isle of Skye!