May 22, 2009

I'll put my telephoto on

The day of rain. It was bound to happen - we can't just travel through Scotland without a full day of rain. Fortunately for us, the rain stopped and the sun came out around 6pm. Since the sun doesn't start to set until 10pm in May in Scotland, we still had plenty left of the day to enjoy the sunshine.

Isle of Skye

We spent the day exploring the Isle of Skye. We ended up driving around the entire perimeter of the isle, which was good because there wasn't much else to do on the island in the rain. And this way, we could all enjoy the beautiful and dramatic scenery from the comfortable, warm, and dry car.  

Driving around the coast of Skye

We did make a few stops, though. Our first stop was at the Giant Angus MacAskill Museum in Dunvegan. A real dude, born in the outer Hebrides of Scotland in 1825, made the Guiness World Book of Records for being the world's largest "true" giant that ever lived. He was 7'4" and weighed over 500lbs. They had built a model to his exact size and scale inside the museum. I'm 5'9" and finally felt short! Except when I stood next to General Tom Thumb. There was actually a picture taken of Angus and Tom standing together in the mid-1800s. Now there's a picture of Angus, Tom, and Kat taken at the beginning of the 21st century. Angus was born in Scotland and he died in Nova Scotia, so he came full circle from old Scotland to new Scotland. My mother had been to Nova Scotia and saw where he was buried. If you looked closely at the model of Angus, you could spot a teeny tiny Canadian flag pinned to his lapel.

 Angus, Tom, and Kat

Our next stop was at Dunvegan Castle. Inside you could see the ripped, torn, faded, and disintegrating fabric that was left of the Fairy Flag. There were many versions of the story that told how the flag came to be in the possession of the MacLeods and what its powers were. But the general idea was that the flag could be used to summon help in a time of desperate need, perhaps even to summon a Fairy Army. 

Dunvegan Castle

Next, we pulled over at the Kilmuir cemetary where Flora MacDonald was buried. She's famous for hiding Bonnie Prince Charlie during his last stand during the battle of Culloden. She dressed up the prince to look like an Irish Spinning Maid which granted him safe passage off the island of Benbecula to the mainland where Prince Charlie could escape.  Her twin sister Fauna MacDonald was buried on the Isle of Earth near the Castle Sand... well, I thought it was clever. 

Flora MacDonald's grave

By this time we had become experts at getting animals to pose for us. I think it helped that my mother always remembered to put her telephoto on. I know what a telephoto lens is, but I'm still not exactly sure how to put it on. But what I do know, is that it's fun to say with a ridiculous British accent. Way more fun than saying "I zoomed in".  

Highland Cattle

We stopped for lunch in the town of Portree, Skye at a pub called MacNabs. Then we drove past Knock Castle on the Sound of Sleat (which is just about the coolest name ever, and I feel obligated to write an entire story about it now) down to Armadale Castle. Armadale was castle ruins surrounded by beautiful gardens. There was a wedding going on inside. Normally it would be outside in the spectacular gardens, but it was raining. But that meant that we could explore the castle ruins without disturbing the ceremony. And we all know how much I love to explore castle ruins!  


Back in Dornie, across the road from our B&B was the Dornie Hall Car Park, right on the waters of Loch Duich. So I had my mom take a picture of me strategically covering up parts of the sign. "Dorney Park and Wild Water Kingdom!" Of course you have to say it in that voice that they use when your log flume is pulling up to the gate at the end of the ride and they say: "Enjoy the rest of your day at Dorney Park AND Wiiiiiild Water Kingdommmmm" (and they get all low on the water park part). Can you tell that I miss PA?  

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