Monday, November 2, 2009

Scotland: Road to the Isles . . . .

After spending 3 nights in Glasgow (which I will write about along with my plans for Edinburgh in a later post) I will train over to Fort William (Road to the a town located at the base of the highest mountain peak in all of Great Britain, Ben Nevis. Here I will pick up my car and drive the very scenic and famous Road to the Isles which starts in Fort William and ends in the fishing port of Mallaig. A total of 45 miles.

The Road to the Isles was the famous route taken by Charles Edward Stuart (aka Bonnie Prince Charlie) who fled from the British forces after his defeat at Culloden in 1746. The battle of Culloden (which changed the ancient Clan system in Scotland forever) was the final fight between the French supported Jacobites and the British in their cause to restore the House of Stuart to the throne of the Kingdom of Great Britain. After his defeat, Prince Charlie fled to the Island of Benbecula where he met Flora MacDonald. They say that the Prince disguised himself as Flora's maid, "Betty Burke", and they both fled to the Isle of Skye. He eventually left Flora and Scotland and returned to Rome where he died under the alias 'Duke of Albany'. Not a very romantic ending. Flora was eventually imprisoned in the Tower of London for her part in his escape. Yikes! For more on this History of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites ~ Scottish History On-Line

Now back to my trip. For me, the "Road to the Isles" will offer me some great scenery and famous landmarks on my way to my final distination (the Isle of Skye). I will be passing by the towns Glenfinnan, Lachailort (this is where the little white church called Our Lady of the Braes was used in the movie Local Heroes ~Undiscovered, Arisaig (where I will based for three nights), Morar and ending at Mallaig.

I'll spend some time in the very small town of Arisaig, exploring this part of the Highlands,including the beautiful Silver Sands of Morar where they filmed several of the beach scenes in the movie Local Heroes which was recommended to me by AnnieNC (Thanks so much Annie). They say that the sunsets here are very beautiful and I hope to be able to see it in person.

If I have the time I might try the Silver Sands of Morar walk recommended by the Walking Highlands website. If you plan to visit the Highlands and do some hiking this website is an excellent resource and it comes with great directions and a detailed map. You can even download the routes to your GPS.

From the fishing port town of Mallaig, I'll be taking a ferry (with my car) over to the Isle of Skye. During the winter months their Hebredian and Clyde Ferries have a modified schedule and they recommend making a reservation. The service is operated by the Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries and you can book on-line HERE. I just booked a one way trip to the Isle because I plan on returning to the mainland by taking the Skye Bridge from the Kyle of Lochalsh. On my return back to Fort William, I plan on stopping near the small town of Donrie to visit the most photographed castle in the world, the Eliean Donan Castle.~Wikipedia And for you movie buffs, this castle was used in the movie, Highlander.

The Romans call it "The Winged Isle", in reference to the peninsulas that reach like crooked fingers into the waters of the sea. Others call it the "Misty Isle". Next up, the Beautiful Isle of Skye where I will see a couple of castles, see some magnificent landscapes and lochs and where I will get to taste a "fruity" single malt Scotch whiskey at a local distillery near a town called Carbost. Here, I will also hopefully photograph some beautiful Scottish sheep and Highland cows, something that I am really looking forward to! 9 Days to go! Stay tuned . . .


  1. Kathy, this all looks so interesting, and exciting! The isles of Muck and Rum intrigue -- I wonder how many people visit there just to see what an Isle of Rum would look like?

    The history of "Bonnie" Prince Charlie is so interesting, as well. He sounds like a right little criminal who led the clans to be slaughtered. It would be interesting to see how his memory is treated today.

    It sounds as if this is shaping up to be a fascinating trip!

  2. Hi Kathy, looks like your planning is going great and you have found some wonderful resources. Walking the Highlands of Scotland is on our list of to do, so I have bookmarked your site-thanks!!!

  3. Hi Sandra, you're so right. The Road to the Isles sounds so cool and so I thought his story would be such. It was the opposite. He actually fled to Rome and became a drunk and also sadly beat the women in his life. Shameful. And to think Flora went to prison for him. It would interesting to see how they still view his memory in present day Scotland when I visit there. Very interestng.

    I'm downloading my notes as I write my blog entries and it is definitely helping me to organize my thoughts.

    Hi Maya, since you and your husband love to hike, from what I've been reading, I think the Highlands would be a great future destination choice for the both of you. If the weather isn't too bad, I've identified a couple of walks I could do so I can get a good enough view to photograph a couple of the more popular scenery. If not I'm coming up with some back up plans to try to get my shots in. :)

    Thanks so much for your comments Sandra & Maya. Have a great evening!

  4. Oh, this sounds so great! I can't wait to see your photos and hear your stories about this.

    It is going to be a fascinating trip!

  5. Only a few more days - I'm ready. Your entries prior is leaving me wanting more (said with a Boston accent/Scottish brogue) = to get more into the 'feeling'. Your route sounds romantic, challenging, engaging and wonderfully exciting. Since visiting England, I've been hooked on historicial fiction - in which the Tower of London figures dominantly...poor Flora - but she was imprisoned along with others prior and after her who feel in love with tyrants. Got a little nervous when you said you purchased a one-way ticket!

  6. Hi Candi, thanks so much for your comments. I hope to come back with some descent photos to share and it'll be interesting how I'll do with the drive especially in the single track roads and rain....At least there I don't have to worry about LA drivers.

    Hi M, yes poor Flora. She took such a risk helping Prince Charlie and then didn't even end up with him which is actually a very good thing for her. Thank you so much for continuing the mood with your "Boston/Scottish" Brogue. And don't worry about the one-way, I shall return. :)

    Thanks Candi and M for your comments and have a great day today!

  7. Kathy, I loved reading this very interesting post about your almost-here trip. You are going to have such an awesome trip because you are so well prepared and ready. I'm going to look at a map of Scotland to locate the places you're traveling to; I want follow along your route.

    Nice video. The music and the scenery are so serene and peaceful.

    Wishing you a great day!

  8. Hi Maria, thanksso much for your comments. Marta posted a link on Twitter about the flooding problems in scotland. Not sure how bad it is in the west and highlands but ithas changed my packing list a lot. I'vedealt with the elements before and will adjust accordingly. The only scary part and concern I have is the driving and possible poor visibility. I've never driven on the left and in poor visibilty. But I'll say a prayer and hope for the best. I read articles and feel very bad for those who have suffered losses. One person actually diedin a car crash. But I'll still carry on with my plans and I'm excited about seeing Scotland rain and all. The people there seem so wonderful.

    Thanks so much for your comments and encouragements and have a wonderful day today .

  9. 9 days! That is so exciting! And your plans just sound so wonderful. You've really done your homework and have some great sites on the agenda. I'm so excited that you are going into "Local Hero" territory and can't wait to read all about it and see your photos. I loved that little white church - I remember the scene when they were sneaking out the back door. That priest was a cool guy!

    We'll all say a prayer for safe driving for you. I still think that it will be fine since you have LA Freeway driving experience!

    Thanks for all the previews and good luck with the packing and the last few days of your countdown!

  10. Kathy, your trip plans sound fantastic, I'm so excited for you!!! How cool that you'll be driving the Road to the Isles, can't wait to see your photos and read your stories of that journey. And I would LOVE to see the Eliean Donan Castle, am a huge fan of Highlander (the original movie, not the sequels.)

  11. Hi Annie, now its 8 days! :) I'm excited about seeing where they filmed some of the scenes in Local Hero. I remember in 2005 after watching Under the Tuscan Sun my friend and I were determined to vist Tuscany and you know about my SOM obesession. Somehow I seem to be inspired by movie scenes!:) If I can find that church (I researched and actually found the name and location on the internet) I will definitely post that photo when I try to blog while on the Isle of Skye. My hotel there has free wi-fi.

    Thank you for the encouragements, I think I should be fine with the driving too. And yes my LA freeway driving experience will come in handy. :)

    It's so much fun reading some of the new things I'm learning about and I'm enjoying posting about what I have learned. Thanks so much for your comments and have a great evening!

    Hi Anne, thanks so much for your comments and encouragements. And I'm excited for me too. :) That Road seems very cool. I even burned a great CD filled with great driving music. I have several Cool One songs, several Adam Lambert Songs, and a few other favs. :) Isn't that castle cool! I liked the original movie too and it will be so wonderful to see this castle and all the castles I'll be seeing in person! Tonight I'm going to lay out a few things on my packing list and will start to check things off. Luckily, I am off next Monday and next Wednesday. But I'm really trying hard to have everything organized and done before Wednesday so I can just relax and catch up with all my blogging friends blogs before I leave the next day. Thanks again and have a great evening!

  12. This is going to be such a wonderful experience (for all of us) through you. I'm learning so much already. It's clear that all the research is a joyous aspect of trip planning. The journey has begun already. So exciting.

  13. Hi Barb, thanks so much for your comments. Yes, I am totally enjoying learning about the history of the places I'll be seeing. I have a little more research left to do and then I should hopefully be prepared. When I know what I'm looking at it really makes me appreciate seeing it more. I'm glad you enjoy reading my posts and hopefully I can do these places justice in my description when I am there.

    Thanks so much for your comments and have a wonderful day today!

  14. Just over a week now! I am sooo excited for you. I am in awe of your plans to drive all that way, and on the left side of the road! Are you going to have a gps? It sounds like you are very prepared. The Scottish people sound very friendly and helpful which is good (I am a bit Scottish myself). I am looking forward to your stories and photos :)

  15. Hi Girasoli, yes less than a week and as of this morning 6 days....yikes! I've driven a couple of times in Euorpe before but it was only for a very short distance and never on the left side so this will be a brand new experience for me. The good thing is I'll be driving on country roads and not the City. I'll be using the trains to get out of Glasgow and into Edinburgh so that'll help.

    I invested in a GPS after my 2006 trip when I saw how useful it can be. I used it last year to help me find two locations while in Seville. I'm still taking a map and downloading (to my i-touch) directions as well. Covering all my bases.

    You're a bit Scottish! That's very cool. Maybe one day you will visit Scotland and also drive. I bet it will be a fantastic trip.

    I'm slowly starting to layout things for me to pack. My goal is to finish by Tuesday and have Wednesday to just relax. I leave next Thursday. Whoo hoo! :)

    Thanks so much for your comments and encouragements. Have a great day today. Hope the VOG has finally lifted for you.


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.