Isle of Skye

Our one full day went fast on the Isle of Skye. We stopped at a distillery (tour times were already over an hour away), then on to a castle, to a tannery and then by a local yarn shop where they dye their yarn with their plants in their yard. After that we headed to the scenic part of the island. There aren’t many towns at all on the island so you can go a good hour before seeing anywhere you can stop for a restroom, food or gas.

We had a nice view from our B&B window. My favorite part about the place was how remote it was. You drive through a cattle guard that says “beware of bull” and then on to the house. You can hear the goats when you sleep and there are a ton of bunnies running around. The Isle of Skye was a first for me ordering fish & chips. I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I didn’t really think I could tell the difference between the fish or the chip. The majority of the road around the island was a one lane road with passing areas. It was usually OK but I didn’t like some of the blind corners or summits. Also, sheep and cattle are allowed to walk around freely so you had to watch for that in the road.

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Green, Green & More Green

The Isle of Skye is a beautiful green island. I don’t think I have ever seen so much green in one day. It was great weather most of the time. My automatic windshield wipes haven’t came on many times which has been very surprising. The locals actually say how great their weather has been. Usually July and August are their worst months for rain. Last summer, some of the isle’s ran out of water and had to import enough water for drinking.

We drove a good route around the island. It took us all day to get around. Here are some of my favorite green pictures from the day. I have one too many favorites, but I just like how green everything is.

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Hike on the Isle of Skye

There are plenty of hikes to do on the Isle of Skye but I don’t think I picked the right one at the right time. I didn’t know what kind of walk it was so we started up this muddy trail. Once we realized that it was steep and rocky, I kept going on my own. We thought it was just a short walk up a hill. I’m not sure how long I hiked, but I don’t think I ever saw what I was supposed to. I hiked until I was in the fog and rain before turning around. Besides it was just me and a bunch of goats up there.

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Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye

We spent our day driving around the Isle of Skye. One of our many stops was to see the Dunvegan castle. Dunvegan castle is the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland. They had the inside fixed up but you aren’t allowed to take pictures. I enjoyed walking around the many gardens they had. We were pretty lucky that it rained some while we visited inside, and then there was a break in the weather when we walked around the gardens.

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Driving on to Isle of Skye

We left Oban today to go to the Isle of Skye. Our checkin time was pretty limited to between 4:30 and 6:00 so we wanted to make sure we stayed on track as it was a 3 hour drive. I didn’t realize how long drives are in Scotland but since most of the roads are just country roads, things go a little slower. The speed limit is 60 mph on these very windy bumpy roads.

We stopped at one of Scotland’s ski mountains. I’m sure they don’t have many but we took the gondola up to the base of the mountain where skiers would have to then catch another chair lift up. You can see there wasn’t snow left. In fact, we had rain. They do have one of the more difficult mountain biking trails and they just recently had a competition here. Didn’t really look like a trail I would want to walk down yet alone ride.

We made it back down a little wetter than when we started but it was nice to see the nice green hills. I think they said the tallest mountain in Britain is 5,000 feet high. We then had an extra hour before our checkin so we stopped at a castle along the way. It was used for a 007 Bond movie in 1999. They remodeled the castle in the 1930’s, and it is now owned by a family. You are still allowed to visit the castle and see how it used to look.

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Isle of Iona

From Oban, we took a day tour to the Isle of Iona. It started by taking a 45 minute ferry ride from Oban to the Isle of Mull. Then we had an hour and fifteen minute bus ride to the other side of Mull to catch a 15 minute ferry to the Isle of Iona. There wasn’t much on Mull with the exception of one scary bus ride. There was only a single lane road and the traffic flies up and down the road. Our bus driver hit the brakes hard a number of times.

Many people make the journey to the Isle of Iona because it is believed that either the Book of Kells was written here or started here. We spent our two hours walking around. It was very windy but still warm enough to not need a jacket. I was surprised how nice and blue the water was. I never thought it would look that nice in the north.

Only residents are allowed to have cars on the island. There are places for people to stay but you have to leave your car on Oban or Mull. The island is a very cute place to walk around and relax. I didn’t take any of the free eggs but people were curious.

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Oban, Scotland

We made it to the west coast town of Oban. It was a charming town right on the Atlantic ocean. We stayed at a cute Victorian house and my parents had a nice view of the ocean. I had a nice view of a ton of wallpaper. Even my duvet cover matched the wallpaper. Since we had nice weather when we arrived, we had a nice sunset. Not often do we get to watch the sun set on the Atlantic.

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En Route to Oban

We left Glasgow for Oban which is located on the west coast. We made a couple of stops along the way. We stopped at a loch first and walked around for a bit. The public toilet was very fancy as you pushed a button to enter and then you went in and followed the instructions. Once you finished and exited, the door shut and cleaned the entire place. The next person had to wait 2 minutes before they could enter.

We saw some locks with some very big boats that went through. Guess you need to have more than one person on your boat as you had to open and close the locks on your own. After the locks, we were driving when my dad pointed out people on top of a hill. So I turned around and headed back to the hill. I decided to climb to the top to see the view.

The last stop we made was at an old church which had carved tombstones from the 1600’s. As you can see it was a beautiful day for Scotland. I think we have been very lucky with our weather so far. Hope it stays that way.

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Pollok Park, Glasgow

There was a park near our B&B that many people go to from around the world. Most of them are going there to see a famous art collection, but I’m happy just walking around the park. The park is larger than we anticipated so we ended up walking a couple of hours in the park. We were too late to see the Clydesdale horses but an employee was very nice (everybody in Scotland has been extremely friendly) and opened up the barn so we could see the horses. Not only did we get to see the horses but we got to feed them sugar tablets. I was pretty shocked at how gentle they were when they would eat them out of your hands. We did come back to the park Thursday morning to see the horses in the field.

(I know I should have picked one horse photo as I have picked too many. Too hard for me to pick since I’m blogging after midnight so bear with me.)

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Glasgow

Not sure where to start. We did and saw so much that it is hard to remember everything. We got there pretty late on Tuesday. We walked to a nearby hotel and had dinner. It was a beautiful hotel up on a hill. We started Wednesday pretty early by taking the train into the city and hopping on a hop-on-hop off bus tour. It was our first sight of the Scottish rain that everyone keeps telling us about, but I was determined to sit on the top part of the bus in the rain. The 2014 Commonwealth Games are in Glasgow and they start next week. This made the city pretty busy with a lot more traffic. It took us almost an hour just to get half way on the tour. We decided to get off and see Europe’s top museum in 2013. It had everything you ever wanted to see about transportation. There was a boat located outside that you could walk around. I think it is pretty interesting to know that one of its first voyages was to Portland, Oregon in 1896.

After visiting the museum we caught a very full bus and we were stuck standing for awhile. We headed back to the main square and grabbed some lunch before heading up to the Necropolis. The Necropolis is a Victorian garden cemetery with huge monuments and sculptures. It also offered a nice view of the city.

We ended the night by walking to a park near our bed & breakfast. Glasgow is a large city but you are able to escape the city life into their wonderful parks. I have never seen so many runners in my life out exercising. I’m not sure if it was the nice evening weather or if they exercise rain or shine. At one point, one running group of at least 50 people went by us.

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