Jan Kraus
17 May 2020travel6 min read

Memories from Scotland

A photo from Scotland

In October 2018, we went for a short trip to Scotland. It was our first visit there, and we were eager to find out what it’s gonna be like…

Our itinerary was packed with many places we wanted to see, and the trip was already highly anticipated. We already had to move it from earlier dates in Summer because we were both sick at that time.

I never had actually had a chance to process all the photos and wrap the trip into the story. Only now, a one and a half years later, I’ve managed to do so.

Enjoy!

Destination Edinburgh

We started by hopping on the Virgin Trains East Coast train, departing from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh. The journey was only 4,5 hours, so it didn’t feel long.

A view from a train window, running from London to Edinburgh
A view from a train window, running from London to Edinburgh

This was our first visit to the capital city of Scotland, and it greeted us with sunny weather.

Since we were staying here for one night, we unpacked our stuff in Airbnb apartment and left for a short afternoon tour of the city with our friend.

Panoramic view on the south side of the city, seen from the Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, UK
Panoramic view on the south side of the city, seen from the Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, UK

We’ve finished our walk on Calton Hill, right after the sunset, to admire the city skyline from this iconic location.

Dugald Stewart Monument on Calton Hill overlooking Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Dugald Stewart Monument on Calton Hill overlooking Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Fort William

In the shadow of Ben Nevis lies a town called Fort William. This was our next destination. With a car rented in Edinburgh, we reached it after a few hours of driving.

Checked in at admirable Airbnb location - The Achintee Farm - located at the outside of the town, with some lovely views of the nearby valley and the sides of Ben Nevis.

A view on the side of Ben Nevis
A view on the side of Ben Nevis

The Harry Potter Train

It’s not really called that. It’s actually The Jacobite Steam Train - a steam locomotive-hauled tourist train service operated by West Coast Railways. The route covers a distance around 40 miles between Fort William and Mallaig.

Steam locomotive getting ready at the station in Fort William, Scotland, UK
Steam locomotive getting ready at the station in Fort William, Scotland, UK

Unfortunately (but somewhat predictable), the weather was very typical… It was cold, and it was raining. We could expect something like that when traveling in late autumn.

Look at the canal, close to the track in Fort William, Scotland, UK
Look at the canal, close to the track in Fort William, Scotland, UK

Most parts of the ride, we were sitting and looking trough foggy, rain covered train windows. Nevermind the weather, though! This ride was a fantastic experience!

21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct, the iconic location from Hogwarts Express route, Scotland, UK
21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct, the iconic location from Hogwarts Express route, Scotland, UK
Views on Loch Eil, near Fort William, Scotland, UK
Views on Loch Eil, near Fort William, Scotland, UK

The train stops at a small port town, Mallaig. Then you have about 2 hours to eat something or wander around and head back to the station. We had there a great lunch at a local restaurant called The Cornerstone.

Port in Mallaig, Scotland, UK
Port in Mallaig, Scotland, UK

The last minutes were spent on a short walk through the docks, trying to catch some local pokemon and admire lovely views of the harbor.

Driving through Scottish Highlands

Somewhere in the Scottish Higlands, UK
Somewhere in the Scottish Higlands, UK

The next day we left Fort William and drove further north towards Loch Ness and then west, with a plan to reach Isle of Skye by the end of the day.

Driving through Scottish Highlands, UK
Driving through Scottish Highlands, UK

In the morning, we also took a detour to see nearby Glen Roy National Nature Reserve. After driving for about 7 km through the narrow road, we’ve arrived on a viewpoint to can admire “Parallel Roads” - marks left by the glaciers covering the area long, long time ago.

Glen Roy National Nature Reserve, Scotland, UK
Glen Roy National Nature Reserve, Scotland, UK

We spent the rest of the day driving, occasionally stopping by to admire nearby Lochs, bridges, and canal locks, allowing for the transportation of the vessels between lakes on different levels.

Panoramic view of Loch Lochy,Scotland, UK
Panoramic view of Loch Lochy,Scotland, UK

Finally, late in the evening, driving through rain, fog, and darkness, we reached our stay on Skye. Completely unaware of what will expect us, we went to bed, getting ready for the next days of explorations.

The Isle of Skye

Next day welcomed us with somewhat acceptable weather, it was cloudy and windy, but it wasn’t raining. Our plan was to drive through and around the isle to see as much as possible.

We were staying in the Airbnb room in Staffin, a small village in the northern part of the island.

A panoramic view of Staffin Bay from the road leading to An Corran Beach, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
A panoramic view of Staffin Bay from the road leading to An Corran Beach, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK

First, we visited a small beach location nearby - An Corran Beach - but the weather got bad and forced us to get back to our car quickly.

A view from An Corran Beach overlooking Staffin Bay and the Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
A view from An Corran Beach overlooking Staffin Bay and the Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK

The Quiraing

After the beach, we drove south, crossing the Trotternish, northernmost peninsula of the Isle of Skye.

Its major attraction - the Quiraing - is an amazing land formation with stunning views!
We stopped a few times in the middle to admire its beauty.

Some views over the Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Some views over the Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK

Amazing views over the Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Amazing views over the Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK

The weather was kind enough, allowing us 15 minutes walk to take some pictures. Still, the rain came quickly, and we’ve again found ourselves running back into the car.

You could actually see the waves of rain approaching us!
You could actually see the waves of rain approaching us!

Beautiful views of The Isle of Skye

We’ve spent the rest of the day driving to the western end of the island and then circling back to our stay. The views were amazing! Just take a look at these few panoramas I took in a couple places we stopped!

Loch Pooltiel, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Loch Pooltiel, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
A panoramic photo somewhere in the Duirinish peninsula, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
A panoramic photo somewhere in the Duirinish peninsula, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Panorama photo from middle of the Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Panorama photo from middle of the Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Another panoramia shot somewhere in the Duirinish peninsula, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Another panoramia shot somewhere in the Duirinish peninsula, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK

As the weather cleared towards the evening, on the way back, we captured stunning, golden sunset overlooking the ridges stretching across the whole peninsula.

Golden sunset near Lealt Fall View Point, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Golden sunset near Lealt Fall View Point, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK

The Isle of Skye was such a beautiful place. Writing the report now and remembering those fantastic places and views makes me really want to go back there and see more of it.

We had only two days there, I feel like I would need a full two weeks just to hike all the places I wanted to see and thoroughly enjoy them.

Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK

We left the island on the next day, stopping to admire the fabulous view of the Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls, located on the cliffs along the A855 road.

Eilean Donan Castle

On the way back from the Isle of Skye, we’ve visited one of the most iconic Scottish castles - Eilean Donan Castle.
Built in the mid of 13th century, stood guard over the lands of Kintail.

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland, UK
Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland, UK

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland, UK
Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland, UK

The beauty of Scotland

I was moved by the beauty of the surrounding nature, mountains, and forests. Even though harsh autumn weather wasn’t welcoming, I wholeheartedly enjoyed every minute of the time we’ve spent there.

Ending with verses from The Skye Boat Song, which I countlessly listened to, I invite you to see a few more photos from our trip.

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone
Say, could that lass be I?
Merry of soul she sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye

Billow and breeze, islands and seas
Mountains of rain and sun
All that was good, all that was fair
All that was me is gone

All photos in this story were captured with iPhone XS cameras.

Scottish Highlands Landscapes, Scotland, UK
Scottish Highlands Landscapes, Scotland, UK
Scottish Highlands Landscapes, Scotland, UK
Scottish Highlands Landscapes, Scotland, UK
Ruins of Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness, Scotland, UK
Ruins of Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness, Scotland, UK
Eastern shoreline of Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Eastern shoreline of Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Views from Milovaig, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Views from Milovaig, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Loch Alsh and Loch Duich seen from Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland, UK
Loch Alsh and Loch Duich seen from Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland, UK

Entry published on 17 May 2020 in travel, memories, photography, Scotland, Isle of Skye, Edinburgh, UK.
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