<< Go Back up to Photos Index
Click on the image to open a larger version. Unless stated otherwise all images are Copyright © Mike Hume.
A hastily-arranged jaunt up to Skye & Lochalsh, somewhere I have long thought about visiting but never seemed to get around to. Situated on the northwest coast of mainland Scotland I was expecting harsh weather, however it was 9C (49F) and sunny up there whilst much of the UK was nearing freezing with snow just around the corner.
The route I took from Glasgow Airport runs up the west side of Loch Lomond, through Bridge of Orchy, Ballachulish and Glencoe to Fort William. From there a short detour to Glenfinnan (by Loch Shiel), more famous these days for the railway viaduct featured in the Harry Potter films. Back to Fort William to head north again before taking a left at Invergarry and eventually making it to Dornie, at the elbow where Loch Duich meets Loch Alsh. This is where the famous Eilean Donan Castle is located and also the location of the Loch Duich Hotel, my base for the trip.
Bealach na Ba (Gaelic for Pass of the Cattle) rises 2,053 feet on its ascent over the hill to Applecross. It has tight hairpin bends and gradients of as much as 1 in 5.
The Carra Brae viewpoint overlooks Loch Duich and affords fantastic views as the sun rises on a winter morning. The view extends to the elbow where Loch Duich meets Loch Alsh, where Eilean Donan Castle is located.
Located in Spean Bridge.
Eilean Donan Castle is located in Dornie, at the elbow where Loch Duich meets Loch Alsh. My hotel (Loch Duich Hotel) looked-out over the bay to the Castle. You'll recognise the Castle from films such as Highlander, The World Is Not Enough and Loch Ness. Although a castle has stood on the site since 1220, the present building is a restoration dating from the 1920s (just don't tell the tourists).
Glenfinnan (by Loch Shiel) lies 15 miles west of Fort William.
The Isle of Skye has some stunning scenery so it was a shame there wasn't much time other than to do a quick trip around the island (much further than I thought!) after climbing to The Storr. Definitely worth a trip back although I can't see me climbing up The Cuillins quite yet...
Strome Ferry ran a ferry service across the Loch until 1970 however the replacement road meant there was an easier route to get to North Strome. Still, the roadsign is amusing.
I have always been fascinated by photographs of The Old Man of Storr, so a trip to the Isle of Skye would not be complete without an ascent up to the base of The Storr to see the rock pinnacles forming the area called The Sanctuary, including The Old Man of Storr. The Sanctuary is a deathly quiet place and on the day I visited there were no sounds bar the occasional bird call and the wind. Quite an amazing place, and the outlook back to the mainland just went on forever.