» Scotland – A Trip to Inchcailloch Island and Kilchurn Castle
Scotland – A Trip to Inchcailloch Island and Kilchurn Castle
On this day we set off to central Scotland, to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Loch Lomond is the largest Scotish lake with the area of 71 square kilometers, the maximal depth of the lake is192 meters. There are over 30 small islands and we strive for visiting one of them.
In the morning, we arrive at Balmaha village on the eastern lake shore. A visitors' center, a boat rental which allows you to reach other islands around are both situated there. In our case, we take a ferry. It doesn't have firm operating hours, it works upon agreement (but not earlier than at 9:30 a.m. and even later on cold days). Moreover, you may rent here fishing equipment. For 5 pounds we buy a return ticket to the small island of Inchcailloch (the Island of an Old Lady), one of Scotland's great nature's treasures. Upon arranging a time of our return with the ferryman, with couple of fishermen we set sails to the island. It takes mere an hour and half to walk through the entirity of Inchcailloch which is why we decide to take the longest circuit showing all the island offers. Through mysterious forest we ascend to the highest hill on the island reaching up 85 meters above the water surface. There we enjoy amazing vista over Loch Lomond, islands, and hills in the distance. Wonderful.
We go further down the trail. There is no other ascending terrain along our trek. We frighten some does by accident on the way to a small beach where are toilets and picnic tables. Apart from signposts these are the only traces of civilization around these part. By going back towards the forest we reach an old cemetery and 14th century chapel ruins (Inchcailloch Burial Ground). St Kentingerna, an Irish sait, was burried here in the 8th century. The entire place is magical. In twenty minutes, we get to the wharf again. A boatman lift us up and take back t Balmaha.
Upon our visit to Inchcailloch island, we are about to travel for several hours to other place. The night will we spend at Fort William which is means we will be much clsoer to Skye island. We cross the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, and the northern we get the often we see snow-caped mountain range. What a beautiful scenery. In the middle of the way we turn off the main road and take a half-an-hour detour. Temped by its photos we wanted to see Kilchurn Castle. Well, it is more of a ruin of what once was a castle by Loch Awe. Built in the 15th century, Kilchurn Castle is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. It is fully open only during summer. We reached the castle from outside via a pathway.
However, the castle is the evidence that adjusts it very well and changes the reality. Unfortunately, don't expect any wonders. It is a beautiful ruin with sheep running around it. When looking towards awy from the lake you may enjoy a maginifcent vista in good weather conditions. Something really unusual in Scotland. Kilchurn Castle disappointed us slightly, on the other hand we were pleasantly surprised by snow-caped mountains, waterfall, and furry "Scotish cows" around there.
GPS: (national park) 56°04'55.0"N 4°33'05.6"W
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
Near the famous Lake Ness, there lies at the mouth of the river of the same name into the sea and the ancient city of Inverness. Today it serves as a natural center for the entire Highlands of Scotland. But the city itself is worth a stop and a little exploration.
Our Slovenian adventure full of knowledge continues. After visiting the Kranjska Gora, which is surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery, we move on to another natural gem - the Vintgar Gorge (Blejski Vintgar, Vintgar Sotesque).
It is time to leave the landscape of lakes, mountains, and long valleys in the center of Scotland and head through the inhospitable wasteland to the north to Thurso in sight of the Orkney islands. Instead of the highway A9, leading along the coast, I also chose deserted roads through endless moors and wetlands.
The mountains in the north-west of Scotland rarely exceed 800 meters and roads usually run along rivers or coasts. Therefore, I would not expect here to be as beautiful and high as Applecross pass. Let's go to there!
My visit to Scotland was coming to an end, but I still had about 2,000 kilometers to go home. But Scotland is beautiful, so why hurry? So I stopped at several places on the Isle of Skye and gradually reached the highest mountain of Ben Nevis.
The Hogwarts School of Magic is located somewhere in the Highlands, so it's no wonder the landscape is literally interwoven with references to Harry Potter books. J. K. Rowling, who wrote the books, was inspired mainly in the streets of Edinburgh, where she lived at that time. On every corner you can find some unobtrusive reminder from the books, be it street names that look strangely reminiscent of the names of the key characters, or the places where the books themselves were written.
In connection with Scotland, everyone will surely recall the fierce people fighting for independence throughout the history of this wild country, be it the Norman and Viking raiders, or the English and Irish usurpers. For the first time, however, the Romans attempted to penetrate the area at that time inhabited by the wild tribes of the Picts and the quieter Britons under the command of Agricola. However, they soon found that the land was not profitable enough for the long-term stay of the soldiers, so they decided to leave the north of Great Britain again and leave the newly built roads, fortresses and ramparts lying fallow.
When I first went out into the world at 18, it was Scotland. I still remember the moon in it, when I almost traced it all to this day. For 7 years I wanted to go back and finally it was time. I got on a motorbike in Prague and set off for about 2000 kilometers long way to the northwest.
We leave the Aviemore summer resort and travel down to the south to Perth. There we intend to spend our last night in Scotland. We are about to travel for hour two hours by car.
Autumn is an unusual time of the year to travel. For a long time, we were thinking if to even set out despite less dayilight time, winter, often rains yet Scotland captured us with its beauty and we would eventually buy our flight tickets. There is a regular connection between Prague and Edinburgh. Glasgow is about an hour of car ride from Edinburgh. Yet first we would travel bit further to the west and make a trek in the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.
In the morning, we set out to beautiful Highlands situated in the northwest. On our way, we pass snow-caped mountains veiled in morning mist. This tempts us to stop and take a beautiful picture. This time we are heading to a place to what we are looking forward the most to – Skye island. A road bloc complicates our travels. It absolutely confuses our GPS which frighten us a bit. We are running of fuel while gaining kilometers and there are not many gas stations around. Eventually, everything works out well and we continue in our journey.
Early in the morning we set out to explore the beautiful Scotish island of Skye. Today, we are about to expect the rain whole day. We are disappointed by that because the place is beautiful. However, as rains are quite common around here it is nothing easy to plan your trip accordingly.
After we leaved the beautiful island of Skye we go back onto the land. We travel over 100 miles to the east to Aviemore summer resort where we would spend two nights.
Upon our walk around Loch an Eilein lake, we return to have quick lunch in Aviemore village. Then we set out back to snow covered Scotish nature. This time we walk through a 5 kilometer trail in Ellan Wood, close to Carrbridge village which itself is situated about 20 minutes of car ride from Aviemore.
The Orkney Islands are located on massive cliffs north of Scottish shore. There are 70 islands and only on about 20 there is some permanent settlement.
Near the village is Yesnaby, perhaps the most popular cliffs we just had to visit. A look from above on wild waves made took one’s breath. After we explored the surroundings we headed to mysterious stones.
Already in the summer of 2011, I was in Scotland for a few days visit. But this time it was different. And maybe even a little crazy. At this time I was a fresh adult student, only with a flight ticket to home, about three hundred pounds in his pocket and an overnight stay for the first night.
After a half-an-hour ride I get off in Aberdour, a fishermen town in the Forth Bay. I have no idea where to go so I just follow arrows of the Fife Coastal Path. The reason is perhaps that it goes along the railway (and thus along the coastline as well).
Cold and raindrops hitting a side of my tent wake me up. It would be better if there was no thermometer for knowing that it is just 1 degree above zero is not very encouraging. Fortunately, the wind got better. I quickly pack my tent hoping that my hands will not freeze.
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