When we left Comrie on the morning after our hike to the monument, I spent the few hours during the drive in a sort of mesmerized daze. The scenery is so beautiful, the heather covering the hills so purple, the rain clouds so puffy and dramatic that I couldn’t look away.
For about four hours we drove through countryside that looked like this, sometimes passing a village or a town, sometimes winding up or down through the glens. It’s so wild, and so peaceful at the same time.
I thought I was looking at some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland, which is why I gasped with surprise when we came upon this view:
Un.freakin.believable. I didn’t think it could get better, but it did. This is Eilean Donan Castle. The picts built a fort here as early as the 500’s, and there has been a series of fortified camps and castles here ever since then.
This castle is brand spankin’ new. The previous castle was left in ruins in 1719 when the Royal Navy destroyed it after a battle with the Spanish supporters of the Jacobite rebellion. It was rebuilt in the early 1900’s by the Macrae family who used it as a summer home.
Of course we had to stop. We grabbed a bite to eat in the cafe before buying our ticket and crossing the bridge.
The castle is beautiful, and it was so fun to walk around the ground imagining the children from the Macrae family playing on the rocky shore, climbing on the rocks and walls, and hiding in all the (many) little blind corners inside the buildings.
The sunshine broke through the clouds while we wandered the grounds, and the birds came out to play.
Once we got past the entrance of the smaller building, which houses a brief historical display, we weren’t allowed to take photos inside. I wish I could show you the great hall! Or the 1920 era furniture and photos in the apartments upstairs, or the fireplaces and family heirlooms. You can see some of it on their website here.
The restoration wasn’t a replica, so the design of the castle is only loosely based on what was here before. The kitchen and living quarters were modern for the 1920’s and 30’s, there is some electrical wiring (they had a generator) and hot water heating, along with lots of photos on the walls.
Inside it was an odd mix of family living spaces, and historical displays. There were a couple of outer rooms that I could shoot, so you can see the portcullis mechanism above, and an old Scottish flag below.
Castles, fairie glens, rugged mountains, heather covered hills, waterfalls and charming little towns.
Brian and I agreed that it’s a good thing the weather here is so regularly bad, or the amazing beauty would be ruined by the hordes of tourists who would flock to these places just to see them. Scottish weather is terrible! But if it keeps the huge crowds away, we can live with it.
On the map: Click here to see this location on our Google Map.