Travel Report

1st Club tour to bonnie Scotland

October 18th - 22nd, 2002
Oban, Argyll

day 1 , day 2 , day 3 , day 4 , day 5

Day 3

Today is Sunday and all shops and distilleries are closed. That's why our todays program contains sight seeing and countryside watching. This is an overview of our travel destinations: Glen Garry, Kintail, Eilean Donan Castle, Glenelg, Isle of Skye. To be able to realize this super sized program we sit at the B&B breakfast table at 7:30 sharp. Our yesterdays wish has been heard: the 'Full Scottish Breakfast' is really full now, double value for all.

Shortly after 8 a.m. we sit inside the car. It is another very cold and frosty day: - 7 degree C, cloudless with crystal clear air. At first we visit Obans monument: McCaig's Tower. The car brings us uphill to the car park behind the tower. A short footpath leads towards the entry. Inside this mighty circle building which is similar to the Rome Colosseum there's a nice park, which we cross.

It is a heavenly silence. Opposite of the entry outside the tower there's a viewpoint platform, from where there is an overwhelming view over Oban bay and the islands in front of the bay. Because of the phantasic clear air we can watch the far mountains of the Isle of Mull and to the Lismore lighthouse. David: "Jetzt haben wir's geschafft - wir sind ganz oben in Oban." (german joke :-))
The following 4 photos: the beautiful view over Oban bay...

Southwest view. In the center the ferry terminal with a ferry of Caledonian MacBraine. Left of it the Oban station - Final point of the West Highland Route. At the left side the industrial estate with supermarkets behind.

Western view. In the center the Columba hotel. Left of it the southern harbour. The chimney at the left hand side belongs to Oban Distillery. In the background the southern part of the Isle of Kerrera. In fron of Kerrera the southbound ferry way to Islay.

Western view. Behind the last row of houses there is the harbour street with the 'Coasters' pub. Behind this ther northern harbour of Oban. In the center the northern part of the Isle of Kerrera.
In the background - the mountains of the Isle of Mull with a cloud on top.

Northwest view. In the center one of the Oban churches. The hill at the right hand side is named 'Corran Brae' with Dunollie (hidden behind the trees), left: the northern end of the Isle of Kerrera, behind it the Isle of Mull. At the right background the hill of the Morvern peninsula. Between Kerrera/church , Mull/Morvern the ferry way to Mull and to the Outer isles. (South Uist, Barra).
Then we have no time left go back to the car and start our todays tour. We leave Oban northbound at the A85 and take the same route as yesterday via Connel Bridge, Appin, Ballachulish at the A828 / A82 to Fort William. At Spean Bridge we stay on A82 and go into the Great Glen in northeast (Inverness) direction.

Opposite the southern part of our todays tour route.

At the northern end of Loch Lochy we pass the Caledonian channel. Here we have to wait because the Laggan Swing bridge has been opened for ships.
In Invergarry we turn to the left into Glen Garry.

After a quite long way uphill we have a break high above Glen Garry.
Picture left: Southwest view: The Invergarry road, at the background: clouds in front of the Loch Lochy brae. The water in front of it belong to Loch Garry.
from here you have a phantastic view to the Northwest Highlands. Far below in the glen the waters of Loch Garry are blinking. Loch Garry is the loch with the bridge in its middle, not missed in any Scotland picture book.
In the very background the snowbound mountains of the 5 Sisters of Kintail.
Inbetween such a impressing Scottish Highlands landscape scenery - with this clear air and the possibility so see to far away - we take the time and have a dram of Single Malt. We indeed need some time to assimilate this simply great panoramic view.

To go on we change the driver another time. It is not the first time that Kai drives on the left side and so its no problem for him at all. We have another short stop in Glen Shiel below the Braes of Kintail and go on - passing Shiel Bridge - to Loch Duich.
Here you can see the northern part of our todays travel route.

There we are awaited by the next touristic highlight: Eilean Donan Castle.

At first we enter the new built Visitor Center, where we buy the very expensive tickets. Than we pass the well secured entry gate and now are on the bridge, leading over to the Eilean Donan.


Now we stay outer courtyard of the castle with the quite narrow gate. We are warned here: "Hind your head" is to be read above the door. We enter the castle...


After the visit of the halls and rooms (no photos allowed here) we have a look at the castle walls and the part of the castle that is opposite of the entry.

It is ebb tide. Full of respect because of the age we visit the mighty walls of the castle, which has an exposed place in each Scotland picture book and hass been the location of lots of historic movies.

... and find ourseves surrounded by high walls and lots of steps - in the inner courtyard.

Finally we take the official club photo: WE WERE HERE !
At the visitor center we call the ferry company Caledonian MacBraine to ask for the departure time at Armadale. We had planned a Skye round trip with return by the Armadale - Mallaig ferry and than via "Road to the Isles" back to Fort William. At the phone we get to know that CalMac has opened its winter season this weekend and therefor all weekend services have been closed ! So we have to change our plans very quickly: As there won't be enough time to visit Portree and Trotternish as planned originally, we will go to Elgol, a very small and quiet harbour at the southwestern part of the isle. To return we only have the Skye Bridge and the very far way via Kintail and Invergarry. Good the at least the small 6-car-ferry Glenelg-Kylerhea still works. So we use the main road to go back to Shiel Bridge and turn to the right there to catch the Single Track Road, which winds in serpentines uphill the brae opposite Loch Duich.

Theres a really strong tide current in the Kyle Rhea (right: the northern view in Kyle of Lochalsh direction) and the small vessel drifts to far away. Only with full motor power the vessel catches the main land harbour.
At the other side of the summit we see lovely silent glens with nearly no population but with extended swamps. Speed increasing we reach the small ferry harbour near Glenelg. The ferry is on the other side in Kylehrea and so we have to wait. We take some potos like the one at the left hand side - in the background the Isle of Skye. After waiting some time we let our car blow the horn, which caused violent action on the other side.

The ferryman smiles as we reach Kylerhea. We pay the bill and have island ground below our wheels. The small Single Track Road leads towards another summit trough the unpopulated Glen Arroch. Above at the summit we have another landscape panoramic view. We can nearly oversee the complete east coast of the Isle of Skye.
above: The view to the north: Skye with the Isle of Pabay in front, very far in the background the Trotternish peninsula with Kilt Rock.

A cyclist is the only "content" that the ferryman brings. The speciality of this small 6-car-ferry is that the car platform is moved and turned by the ferryman himself without any mechanical help !! This should be visited. Now we really go "Over the Sea to Skye". As the small vessel reaches the strong tide current it drifts again to far away. The motor becomes noisy and is very humming now. The whole vessel is shaking.

above: The view to the west: The Black Cuillins with the town of Broadford in front.
left: a detail map (please click to enlarge)
Now it is not too far to reach the A 87 that brings us to Broadford town. Broadford is the second largest town on Skye with a big and expensive petrol station, lots of B&Bs and hotels, some different restaurants and a tourist information nearby the petrol station.

After passing some small villages containing 2 ... 4 houses and after a suddenly occuring strong slope we reach the small Harbour of Elgol, where the road ends. To left over the sea we can see the "Small Isles" Rhum and Canna. A fisherman repairs his boat. From the south come dark clouds, harbinger of the bad wheather that has been announced by the forcast.

There's a heavenly silence at the harbour - only the sea roars and from far away some sea gulls cry. A perfect place to "let the soul go" - and to have a good Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Because of the not longer existing ferry connection Armadale-Mallaig we have to shorten up our Skye trip. in Broadford we turn to the Single Track Road B 8083 to Elgol (map at the left hand side). The road takes us through a little populated area. In front of us we can see the Black Cuillins coming closer to us. As we reach the small village of Torrin and have to go around Loch Slapin, the road goes directly below the southern brae of the Cuillins.

Straight on the other side of Loch Scavaig we can see the southwestern part of the Black Cuillins, that are climbing from the shore. (pictures left and below).

We walk al little bit along the shore of Loch Scavaig and intend to build a small dam from stones lying around :-))
Agaun and again our view goes around the sae and we are another time more excited about this beautiful countryside.

Now it is time for the official club photo "We have been to Elgol on Skye". Meanwhile it has become late and, knowing the long way back our old speech can be heared "We have no time left !" and so we start our "Skye rallye". David demands everything from our car. We go the same Single Track Road B 8083 back to Broadford.
Between the rocks we find a very large crab, that died shortly before (picture left).
There we keep going along A 87 to Skye Bridge where we pay the bridge toll. Another time we pass Eilean Donan Castle on Loch Duich and speedy we go the same way back that we came this morning. There's nearly nothing more to tell about this day except that we arrived quite lately in Oban. We start a small pub tour that takes us to the only Irish Pub in town. In the "Oban Inn" Pub we fortuitous become witnesses of a rough show fight between 2 drunk scots, that causes mixed emotions. We think that most of the crowd doesn't know tomorrow morning what has happened here tonight.

(C) Single Malt Whisky Club Württemberg e.V. - Jens Burkhardt - Chairman
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day 1 , day 2 , day 3 , day 4 , day 5