Monday, May 3, 2010

Kyle of Lochalsh - Skye

Some years ago I took the train from Inverness to the Kyle of Lochalsh on a cold rainy spring day and ever since, I have wanted to return. It might be helpful to look at a map.

If you click on the map you can see a larger version. We start off in a clockwise direction from Kiltarlity near Beauly on the eastern side of the map. We proceeded south to Loch Ness (covered in a future blog) and turned off to the Kyle of Lochalsh about three quaters of the way down Loch Ness. From the Kyle, we proceeded over the bridge to Skye where we went to Elgol on the western side of Skye. Coming back from Skye, we took the northerly route that follows the train line.

Urquhart Castle on the north west bank of Loch Ness.

Looking south west along Loch Ness. The loch is not all that wide.

After you leave the loch to head over to the Kyle, the terrain becomes quite rugged. Most of the mountains still had snow on top.

The wind apparently causes the white streaks on this lake formed by a dam.

The highlands as you have always imagined it. Lakes, mountains, heather and mist.

Little streams pouring down the mountainside.

Eilean Donan Castle. As romantic a view as you could wish for.

Just around the corner from the castle. The wind at this spot was quite impressive, and cold.

Finally a bit of weak sun to light up the yellow of the gorse bushes as we head down into the Kyle. The houses are actually in Kyleakin which is the small town on Skye across from Kyle of Lochalsh. I have driven many roads over my lifetime but this road across the highlands is surely one of the most spectacular.

The train station at Kyle of Lochalsh. Last time I was here, the rain was pelting down, it was cold and it was windy. I did a brief walk around town, took the ferry to Kyleakin and back and then was glad to get back on the train which was dry and warm.

The new bridge to Skye that replaced the ferry.

Skye itself looks just like the mainland. We took a road over to Elgol and this drive is quite an adventure since the road is basically a single lane with passing spots for when you meet up with another car. I would not want to be on this road in summer when it was busy.

Towards the right of the picture you can see how narrow the road is. Sheep and lambs are everywhere so car drivers need to be constantly aware.

It's an impressive landscape.

From what I understand, this all was carved by glaciers.

So at 1pm on Monday, 26 April, I sat there eating lunch looking at this view of the islands further west. Subtracting 5 hours, I realized that the time was 8am and in my past working life, I would have been arriving at Cecil or Montgomery ready for another week's work. This is what I retired for and it feels good.

The beach at Elgol. This area is very picturesque, but I wouldn't say that the weather or beach were inviting.

A ramp leading to the water.

New lobster traps.

We went into the small shop at Elgol to look for possible souveniers. Well I didn't actually lokk but the others did. What I found amazed me. Bundaberg Ginger Beer all the way from Australia. I asked the girl behind the counter about it and she said it was a big seller. The price was probably lower than what you would pay for it at a shop in Australia. I like this stuff and this is what I usually drink in Oz if I am not having beer or wine.

A small stream above Elgol.

We wended our way back to the Kyle and then proceeded to take the northerly route home which follows the railway line. This is Plockton.

It's a pretty little town with some good views over the water. The town is protected from the cold west winds and the climate is a little milder.

A fishing vessel in the Plockton harbour.

I would thoroughly recommend this trip. The southerly route is more spectacular than the north but is more difficult to drive because of the narrow roads and mountainous terrain. The height of summer would not be a good time to come here because the extra traffic would make some of these roads an absolute pain in the neck.

1 comment:

  1. Stunning photos - am I repeating myself? How many did you take to get that many gorgeous ones??? Oh, long live digital, eh!?!