Monday was another gloomy day as we set off north for Eilean Donan castle. Jeff had been wanting to visit this castle for some time as it used to be owned by the McKenzie clan, from which I descend on the maternal side. I was like, ho hum, another castle, but you know how we play along with each other's whims, so I went along with good humour.
The roadside never failed to entertain. This little area was filled with imaginative cairns. I love serendipitous stuff like this. I always wonder who stopped and took the time to build them.
And there it is. The pictures are not spectacular due to the lack of sunlight, but it is still an impressive sight. Eilean Donan means Island of Donan, and there have been fortified structures on this tiny piece of land since the 13th century. The size of the castle fluctuated over the centuries (for unknown reasons) and played its part in the Jacobite uprisings of the 17th and 18th centuries. It was finally destroyed by the British in 1719 when they were bombarding Spanish supporters of the Jacobites who were occupying the castle. The castle remained a ruin for almost 200 years until it was bought by Lt. Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap. He, along with his Clerk of Works, Farquar Macrae, spent the next 20 years restoring the castle to its former glory, building it according to the surviving ground plan.
The castle is still owned by the Macrae family, who have a clan gathering every year and also use it for family holidays. I am glad that we toured the castle, as it was full of interesting history and intriguing stories of the family. I wouldn't mind having this place for a family getaway, although the heating bills are probably pretty horrendous! The family seems to managing it rather well, as all of the tourism pays for the upkeep of the castle.
This video came out a month or two ago. I was tickled when I recognised the castle and couldn't wait to show it to Jeff.
This was our last planned stop in Scotland, so we wended our way back down to Glasgow in the afternoon. Our last airbnb night was in a very lovely flat in Dumbarton, hosted by a very voluble lady who seemed to think that conversation between host and guests was mandatory, so we complied, or at least Jeff did. I was tired. But she did feed us hot chocolate and some fancy biscuits, so there was that!
The next morning we headed off to a mall to buy some last-minute presents for grandchildren. We found just what we were looking for and then headed back to the airport to return the car. I was very curious how many miles we had driven. The total was 1,650, which doesn't count all the miles we drove with Lynne and Richard. Of course, I wasn't driving then, thankfully. Considering that the entire length of the island is only 600 miles from top to bottom, I think that was a lot of driving! I was just grateful that I hadn't killed or maimed us, because some of those roundabouts are really treacherous for the inexperienced.
We felt very sad to leave Scotland and England and the people who are dear to us, but were excited to be going home, because look what happened when we were gone.
Little Scarlet Honor, grandchild number twelve, born to Sam and Charlie. And she is delicious.
Thank you for reading along with our adventures. I mostly blog for myself, but it does tickle me when people tell me they enjoy reading about our travels. And the best part is that as I write I get to relive it all over again.