Today we took a tour to the Isle of Skye. We were on this tour all day--and I'm not kidding--from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm. It was the longest stinking beautiful bus ride I've ever taken in my whole life! Vomit.
We started out of Inverness and headed North. Our first stop was to see a mountain range called The Sleeping Maiden. You can see her feet, knees, boosom, and face. I didn't think it was worth getting out of the bus to photograph, but many people did. Our bus driver, Allison, had this to say about the mountain's name and those who named it: "Personally, I think they had a wee bit o' whisky."
We headed on up into the highlands. The tour bus had a narration as we drove along, and it was talking about the main industry in the area. People could be in four areas: 1)Farming, 2)Tourism, 3)Walkers, or 4)Stalkers. He went on to explain all of the industries, with walking being catering to those people who like to walk and hike through the highlands. He then went to say, "And when I say stalking, I don't mean obsessively following celebrities. Stalking refers to hunting and killing the 50,000 of the 300,000 red deer population in the area." So, basically, stalking is hunting, but it was funny nonetheless.
Speaking of stalking, our next stop was at a hunting lodge/hotel in the middle of nowhere. It was a beautiful place where the walls were decorated with stag busts from the 1920's to the 1930's. Out back, there were a couple shetland ponies who fascinated the Asian tourists that were with us. They were even more fascinated with the fact that I got the ponies to come up to me and let me pet them. My secret? An apple core from my breakfast snack. That outside adventure didn't last long because, surpise, surprise, it started to rain. The rain here is such a fine mist, you almost mistake it for snow. But, it's wet and cold and constant, so we hopped back on the bus.
The house in this next picture is the old ferry captain's house for the Strome Ferry. This ferry was in operation until the current roads were built, but is no longer. The sign says: Strome Ferry (no ferry). Go figure. Anyway, this house is apparently seen in many pictures and paintings throughout Scotland.
This bridge, the Skye Bridge, connects the Isle of Skye with the mainland of Scotland. It was built with the same architecture as the main bridge in Sydney, Australia.
The next picture is of a shell of a castle called Armadale Castle of the Donald clan, also known as MacDonalds (not the food chain!). From what I read, most of the castle was destroyed by a fire, but they are working on eventually rebuilding it. In the meantime, the ruins are being overtaken by beautiful plants.
Next, we stopped on a beach where there were also ruins of a castle. Here I am on the beach with the ruins behind me. On the beach, we saw a lot of mussles and some type of red squishy snail like creature, but without the shell. I asked our driver what they were, and she said she didn't know and proceeded to squish one to find out. Yeah, it was just a squishy red something. I'll have to google that later. She wanted everyone to take a small rock with them or something from the beach. She said she had this vision of a piece of Skye all over the world, but I was not carrying a stinky piece of rock in my bag. Nope, not doing it. I told her I had photos. She eventually let me on the bus.
We had a bus of photo-happy tourists. Seriously, we had to stop so everyone could take pictures of this Heilan cow. We probably spent ten minutes there with people taking pictures of this cow. Me? I stayed on the bus. Shelley asked me to take a picture, so I used my handy dandy camera zoom and took this picture. Moo.
The roads were so narrow! Most of the way, it's single lane with a passing place every tenth of a mile or so. We had a couple scary passing places with a few other vehicles!
I was amazed at how far the tide had receeded from high tide to low tide. Here we are at another stop, Isle Ornsay. It's known for its whiskey distillery and art gallery. Here is a picture of how drastic the tide change is during the day. Also, one of Scotland's oldest lighthouses, built by the family of Robert Lewis Stevenson.
Next, we stopped at the famous-most-photographed Eilean Donan Castle. The castle is mostly ruins and has been rebuilt sometime during the 1900's. Basically, I don't know much about it, but I do know that it was beautiful.
Then, we stopped at some old abandoned bridge and saw a stone gazebo, bridge, and a raging river. I don't know exactly where we were or whatnot because I may or may not have been sleeping. Remember? Bus=vomit.
Then, to end the day, we drove along the shore of Loch Ness. That's right. The one and only. Here is a picture of the beautiful loch, and if you're still reading, I think you should be rewarded. Don't worry, I saved the best picture for last. Now, I know it's been rumored that this is hard to photograph, but it's actually true! I had to grab my camera so fast! Here she is: Nessie the Loch Ness Monster. Have a look. Cool, huh. You can see the body at the bottom and the neck to left.
Just another day in Scotland.