You know that any country who claims the unicorn as its national animal is going to be magical. As we left the Borders behind, heading north into the Highlands, it was easy to set logic aside and firmly believe there were unicorns, hidden in the deep shadows pooled beneath stately forests.
Because of the courage and skill of my sister, Debbie, we journeyed by car. The further north we went, the more wild the countryside became.
These additional photos capture some of the rugged beauty of the Highlands.
The Highland Coo (cow).
Mysterious Loch Ness
The ruins of Castle Urquhart overlooking Loch Ness.
Heart piercing beauty outside the car windows.
There are numerous waterfalls cascading down the Highland slopes.
Sitting pretty, Eilean Donan Castle, near the Isle of Skye.
From the hotel room window, Isle of Skye.
Near the Fairy Pools on Skye.
Since my return, I have been watching episodes of Outlander, a story of survival, challenges and romance, set in the Scottish Highlands in the 1700s. The breathtaking scenery captured on film is familiar and brings me joy, while it simultaneously stirs the desire to return to Scotland.
The female star of Outlander, Caitriona Balfe, who portrays the heroine Claire, said, “The Scottish Highlands are incredible. There seems to be magic and poetry everywhere.”
I so agree. I have experienced the magic of the Highlands and the poetry found there roots around my heart, waiting to be born through expression.
This morning we left the charming city of Stirling behind and headed north into the Scottish Highlands. This region is so wildly beautiful that it makes my heart ache and brings tears to my eyes. It has been a tremendous advantage, having a car. Debbie continues to excel at navigating through Scotland’s villages, cities and rural areas. She seems quite comfortable with driving on the left side of the road and from the right side of the car!
Our journey today was planned, but flexible, and naturally divided into three areas of the Highlands.
We drove through Inverness and then headed west along Scotland’s most famous loch, the supposed home of a sea creature that has been sighted for hundreds of years. Affectionately known as Nessie, the existence of this water beast has never been proven, absolutely, but that doesn’t stop hundreds of people from stopping by the loch each day, hoping to be the one who captures the Loch Ness monster in a photo.
Monster or no monster, the loch is hauntingly beautiful with its murky waters and miles and miles of rugged shorelines. The ruins of Castle Urquhart add to the mysteriousness of the region.
We stopped for Scottish tea and bowls of homemade soup before arriving at Loch Ness. Loved the thistle tea set.
Ruins of Castle Urquhart
Eilean Donan Castle
From Loch Ness we continued west and north toward our ultimate destination, the Isle of Skye. The Highlands captured our attention and drew forth our appreciation as we drove between towering hills covered in the last of the blooming heather and a variety of trees. We marveled at forests so thick that the ground beneath was shrouded in darkness. We exclaimed over cascading waterfalls and flocks of freshly shorn sheep.
Just before we arrived at the Isle of Skye, one of Scotland’s most picturesque castles appeared…Eilean Donan. For the third day in a row, we toured a castle! This 13th century medieval structure is situated on an island where three sea lochs meet. We enjoyed a tour of the grounds and the interior of the castle. This was another Scottish bucket list item for me that I got to cross off today.
The picturesque Eilean Donan Castle
The castle bridge was the perfect spot for today’s group pic.
The waters surrounding the castle.
Isle of Skye
Our last stop for the day was the remote and breathtaking Isle of Skye. The only way to access the island is by ferry or by crossing the solitary bridge that connects the isle with the mainland. We crossed the bridge. After settling into our hotel rooms and enjoying a quick dinner together, the five of us got back into our rental car and drove to the Fairy Pools of Skye.
The pools are in a very rural location, down narrow, winding roads through gorgeous mountains and narrow glens with the occasional sheep wandering about. My heart almost couldn’t take in the beauty of it all. Because it was getting dark and the paths to the pools are not easily traveled, we elected to remain on the road high above and take pictures. The curious sheep were so cute that we wanted to pet them, but we only succeeded in talking to them. I crossed the pools off my must see list as well.
Isle of Skye, near the Fairy Pools
Looking down the glen toward the pools. There is one of the sheep in the foreground.
Although we didn’t hike down to the Fairy Pools, I did snap a pic of this beautiful little waterfall near where we parked the car.
Tomorrow we travel south back through the Highlands, to Scotland’s second largest city, Glasgow. It will be our last full day in Scotland, before taking a train into England the following day.
Today I wore another T shirt from Solgave Clothing that captured my thoughts well.
“You are not a drop in the ocean but an ocean in a drop.” Rumi