Sunday, November 30, 2014

Day 16 - Leave the Isle of Skye to Fort William

We leave the Dunollie Hotel,

with mixed emotions, we are heading off for a new adventure
, yet leaving our beloved Isle of Skye.

One stop required prior to driving over the bridge that separates Skye for the Mainland.

We drive a short 20 minutes on the Strathaird Peninsula, guarded by the infamous sheep, ready to attack at any moment,

to find Garth Duncan

and see his knives, swords and jewel creations.

Strathaird is a peninsula on the island of Skye, Scotland, situated between Loch Slapin and Loch Scavaig on the south coast.

It is the smallest and least populous of Skye's main peninsulas, containing only the hamlets of Elgol, Kirkibost (where we find Duncan), Kilmarie, Drinan and Glasnakille. The ruins of the Iron Age hill fort Dun Ringill are east of Kirkibost on the shores of Loch Slapin.

The Strathaird peninsula was historically a heartland of Clan Mackinnon and tradition holds that Dun Ringill was once the seat of the clan. The Strathaird Estate was bought by Ian Anderson - a musician in Jethro Tull - in 1978. Anderson started a salmon farming business at Strathaird, which expanded throughout Scotland. The business was reportedly worth over £10 million by the mid 1990s, though much of it has now been sold off.

Garth Duncan is a Master Jeweler and Owner of Duncan House: a Gallery and Workshop ( He once said, ”The objects that our ancestors created and left behind become an inspiration for me. With no written history, the artefacts must speak for them. It’s a direct physical connection to our past, better than words, it’s human hands that created, struggled, lived, and Loved. . I do my very best to honour their memory in every piece I make.“

Back on the highway we leave Skye via the Bridge.

The Skye Bridge (Scottish Gaelic: Drochaid an Eilein Sgitheanaich) is a road bridge over Loch Alsh, Scotland, connecting the Isle of Skye to the island of Eilean Bàn. The name is also used for the whole Skye Crossing, which further connects Eilean Bàn to the mainland across the Carrich Viaduct.

Leaving Skye, we soon reach Eilean Donan Castle and a coffee, etc...break.

Eilean Donan (Scottish Gaelic: Eilean Donnain) is a small tidal island where three lochs meet, Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh; since the castle's restoration in the early 20th Century, a footbridge has connected the island to the mainland. A picturesque castle that lies about 1 kilometre from the village of Dornie.

Eilean Donan, which means simply "island of Donnán", is named after Donnán of Eigg. It is possible that an early Christian monastic cell was founded on the island in the 6th or 7th century, dedicated to Donnán of Eigg, an Irish saint who was martyred on Eigg in April 617. No remains of any Christian buildings survive, though fragments of vitrified stone, subjected to very high temperatures, have been discovered indicating the presence of an Iron Age or early medieval fortification.

The castle was founded in the thirteenth century, and became a stronghold of the Clan Mackenzie and their allies the Clan Macrae. In the early eighteenth century the Mackenzies' involvement in the Jacobite rebellions led in 1719 to the castle's destruction by government ships. Lieutenant-Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap's twentieth-century reconstruction of the ruins produced the present buildings.

Now it's down the highway to Fort William and overnight at the Alexandra Hotel. On the 2 hour drive from Eilean Donan Castle we drive along side the following Lochs; Loch Duich, Loch Cluanie, Loch Loyne, Loch Garry and finally Loch Lochy
(translation Lake Lakey), I think they were bored when they came to naming this lake.

We enjoy a wonderful meal in the Hotel, try a dram or two and off to bed.

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