Eilean Donan

Published: August 16th 2011
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Shiel Bridge - Eilean Donan - Portree

Have I mentioned the midgies yet? We were attacked by them last night when we were bringing in our bags and they got ALL over the room. No one Scotland has air conditioning, because it never gets hot enough, and no one (for some reason) has screens. There are these horrible little creatures...like a cross between a gnat and a mosquito...that are teeny tiny and bite the heck out of you. It doesn't swell up like a mosquito bit, it just feels like someone is sticking a teeny needle into your skin a thousand times. Fun...

Well, we had midgies the night before but other than that, the place was great (and you can't really hold the midgies against the owner). Turns out, the owner was born in this house. He has a picture hanging up of him at like 6 years old out in the backyard. He calls us "girls" with a wonderful Scottish brogue and when he says "grand" it somehow becomes two syllables. He's wonderful and I'm so glad we stayed here.

We head off to Eilean Donan after breakfast and I think Ali and I take at least a few hundred pictures between us. I can't tell you how beautiful it is...it's incredible. There are so many other castles in Scotland but Eilean Donan is the most photographed. I think it's because when it was renovated and rebuilt the outer wall was only built a few feet high...just enough to keep you from falling over into the water. There was no need at the time for a high protective wall so you can see the whole castle...not just a big wall with a few turrets.

After we burn out our camera batteries at Eilean Donan we head up to Kyle of Lochalsh and take the bridge over to the Isle of Skye. Skye is gorgeous. We stop at a little shop on the side of the road where they have hand-dyed hand-spun yarn. My sister is into knitting and, since I can't decide between the silk-merino blend or the cashmere I get her both. There...that's Christmas and birthday present 😊

I have no idea how many times we've stopped on this drive but it seems we're stopping every few minutes. We've decided to stop in Portree for the night. So much of Skye is uninhabited we figure we'll have the best shot at finding a B&B in a bigger town.

Once we get into Portree we discover that almost every place we stop is full. The first place to have a vacancy, he tells us it will be 30 pounds per person, which is the most we've paid since we left Edinburgh (but Heather and Giorgio were worth every penny!). We're a little worried that we don't have any other options so we ask if we can see the room. The view from the huge picture window in the room is priceless...we take it immediately. It looks over the loch and Ali and I are instantly in love with the place. The name of it is An Airidh...which I've translated but can't remember now what it means.

We decide the view is too good to waste so we go into town to get takeout, which we bring back to our room and watch the sun set. The owner grew up in this house as well and the land had been in his family for generations. The original crofters house was further down, closer to the loch, and it had been rebuilt where it was now. He had added onto it years ago to create more rooms.

We slept great that night 😊


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