Castle Knock

Skye and Ardnamurchan Peninsula, Scotland.  Day 11, 9th July.

Knock Castle

Knock Castle

Before catching the Armadale-Mallaig ferry from Skye to the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, I had time to visit Knock Castle, which you can see on the horizon.

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Abandoned building near Knock Castle

Near the castle is this abandoned building with a damaged roof, probably now a farm building and no doubt with a history.

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Knock Castle

Knock Castle

There is not much left of the castle these days.  Probably not the best choice for a renovation exercise.

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Knock Castle

Knock Castle

The castle is also known as Casteal Camus and there was an iron age fort on this site previously, Dun Thoravaig.

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Knock Castle

Knock Castle

The first castle was built here in the fifteenth century by the MacLeods.  The largest remaining wall fragment is part of the sixteenth century square keep, the heart of the castle at that time.

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Knock Castle

Knock Castle

The MacDonalds seized the castle in the early fifteenth century and they built the keep.  It was also seized for a while by James I (of Scotland) in a campaign against the Lord of the Isles.

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Knock Castle

Knock Castle

The castle was abandoned in 1689 or 1690 and the stone was subsequently used as a source material for local buildings.

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Knock Castle

Knock Castle

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View from Armadale-Mallaig Ferry

View from Armadale-Mallaig Ferry

This is a view from the ferry having left Skye for the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, en route to Mull.

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Mallaig

Mallaig

The village of Mallaig, where the ferry from Armadale calls, dates only from 1840.  It was created by Lord Lovat so that agricultural workers displaced from his estate could take up a life of fishing.

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Loch nam Uamh

Loch nam Uamh

Loch nam Uamh, on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula about fifteen kilometres south of Mallaig, is where Bonnie Prince Charlie arrived in Scotland in 1745 and where he left after going in hiding following the defeat at Culloden.

Less than a fortnight after Culloden, two French ships arrived here carrying arms, gunpowder, brandy and gold for the Jacobite supporters.  About a week later, three English ships turned up and a fierce battle ensued for several hours until the English ships were driven off.    This was to be the last naval engagement in British waters.

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Loch nam Uamh

Loch nam Uamh

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Loch nam Uamh

Loch nam Uamh

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Loch nam Uamh

Loch nam Uamh

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By the way, I am updating the index of posts as I go under the North Atlantic item on the menu bar.

Glenelg to Elgol and Neist Point

Skye, Scotland.  Day 12, 10th July.

Glenelg Ferry

Glenelg Ferry

From Dun Troddan and Dun Telve, I returned to Skye using the Glenelg Ferry.

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Glenelg Ferry

Glenelg Ferry

There has been a crossing here for a very long time because it is the closest point on the mainland to Skye.  After the 1715 Jacobite rebellion, the British Government was sufficiently concerned about the significance of this ferry crossing to build the nearby Bernera Barracks, pilfering stone from the brochs to do so.

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Glenelg Ferry

Glenelg Ferry

The Glenelg Ferry is the last turntable ferry in operation.  As you can see, when it gets alongside the wharf, the whole deck rotates to allow vehicle to embark or disembark.

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Glenelg Ferry

Glenelg Ferry

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Elgol with I think Rhum, Canna and Soay in the distance

Back on Skye, I took a small side road to the remote village of Elgol, which was a lot larger before the clearances.

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Canna, I think, from Elgol

This is closing in on the same view as the previous image.

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Beinn na Cailich across Loch Slapin

Here we are on the way back along the B8083 from Elgol.

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Looking south-east across loch Ainort

This is at a point on the east coast of Skye as I was heading north.

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After pausing for dinner, I headed off for Neist Point.  This image and the next are to each other on the way to Neist Point, perhaps at Loch Snizort Beag.

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Looking south from near Neist Point

This is close to Neist Point, on the northern part of the west coast of Lewis.

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Near Neist Point

Near Neist Point

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Neist Point

Neist Point

Neist Point is the westernmost point on Skye.  It is said to be a good place to observe dolphins, whales, porpoises and basking sharks.  The lighthouse is quite recent, designed by David Stevenson and first lit in 1909.

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Neist Point

Neist Point

It is now after dark.  If you look closely, you ,may see that the light of the lighthouse is lit.

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Eileen Donan Castle

Near Skye, Scotland.  Day 12, 10th July.

Sound of Sleat

Sound of Sleat

I went for a drive off Skye onto the mainland, using the bridge you can see here in the distance.  Skye is on the other side of the Sound of Sleat.

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Eileen Donan Castle

Eileen Donan Castle

One of my main points of interest was Eileen Donan Castle.  the name refers to the Island of Donan, an Irish priest who arrived around 580AD.  There was probably a cell or religious community on the island from around that time but a castle was not built here until the thirteenth century.  At that time it was at a strategic sea-lane position between the Lord of the Isles and the Earldom of Ross.

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Eileen Donan Castle

Eileen Donan Castle

There were four different castles on the site over the years and it was once much larger than it was now.  The area enclosed by walls was reduced to about a fifth of its size towards the end of the fourteenth century, probably to allow easier defending by a smaller number of men.  There have been many sieges and battles of the the course of the castle’s history.

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Eileen Donan Castle

Eileen Donan Castle

There were 46 Spanish soldiers stationed here in 1719 in support of the Jacobites.  They had a store of gunpowder and were awaiting delivery of weapons and cannon from Spain.  However, the English became aware of their presence and came with three frigates to bombard the castle for three days.  The castle still did not fall because the walls were fourteen feet thick in some places but a shore party took it.  The English then discovered the gunpwder and blew the castle up which then lay derelict for two hundred years.  Then in 1911, Lt Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap bought the island and reconstructed the castle using original plans, finishing in 1932.

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Eileen Donan Castle

The keep of Eileen Donan Castle

The castle looks impressive from the outside and I am not able to show you images from the inside because photography there was forbidden.  This is perhaps understandable as it is quite small and there were many people.  However, although it is an impressive example of a small mediæval castle I was less impressed than I was expecting to be at the time, finding things like plastic chambermaids made it a bit too much like a mediæval Disneyland.

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Looking back at Loch Duich on the road to Glenelg

Looking back at Loch Duich from the road to Glenelg

From Eileen Donan I headed towards Glenelg and here is a couple of views looking back at Loch Duich.

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Looking back at Loch Duich on the road to Glenelg

Looking back at Loch Duich from the road to Glenelg; the Five Sisters of Kintail in the background

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Dun Beag

Skye, Scotland.  Day 11, 9th July.

Chilterns

Cuillin Hills

On my way in to Dun Beag, I stopped to take a photograph of the Cuillin Hills.  It probably would have worked better an hour or so later with the shadows at a different angle.  However, I was at Dun Beag then.

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Loch Bracadale from Dun Beag

Loch Harport from Dun Beag

I am walking in to Dun Beag and turn around to see a view over Loch Harport.  There is another broch on top of that headland, Dun Ardtrek.

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Dun Beag

Dun Beag

Turning around again from the same point, this is Dun Beag.

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Dun Beag

Dun Beag

A view inside the broch from atop the walls.  The walls would originally have been ten metres or more higher, it would have been roofed over and there would have been two internal levels, the lower one for animals and the upper for humans.

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Dun Beag

Dun Beag

Another view inside the walls, this time a wider angle and looking in a different direction, towards the door of the broch.

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Loch Bracadale from Dun Beag

Loch Harport from Dun Beag

While I was photographing the broch a sunset was starting to happen around me.

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Loch Bracadale from Dun Beag

Loch Bracadale from Dun Beag

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Loch Bracadale from Dun Beag

Loch Bracadale from Dun Beag

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Loch Bracadale from Dun Beag

Loch Bracadale from Dun Beag

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Dun Beag

Dun Beag

This is the internal stone staircase of the broch, between the two walls.

Dun Beag

Dun Beag

This is a small chamber inside the wall, quite close to the door passage.  Probably a guard post.

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Dun Beag

Dun Beag

Another view of the same chamber.

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Loch Bracadale from Dun Beag

Loch Bracadale from Dun Beag

The sunset continues.

Dun Beag

Dun Beag

And finally a view of the broch, turning back to look at it as I walk away.

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Vaternish Peninsula

Skye, Scotland.  Day 11, 9th July.

Lusta

Stein

The small village of Stein on the Vaternish Peninsula.

Lusta

Stein

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Lusta

Stein

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Cottage near Lusta

Cottage at Lusta, above Stein

A currently occupied thatched stone cottage at Lusta, near Stein.

Ardmore Bay

Ardmore Bay

Ardmore Bay.  Site of the massacre of the MacDonalds in 1578.

Trumpan Church

Trumpan Church

In 1577, the MacLeod clan had massacred 395 MacDonalds, trapped in St Francis Cave in Eigg.  The next year, a couple of galleys of MacDonalds landed at Ardmore Bay and surrounded this church, full of MacLeods, who all burned except one girl who escaped.  She raised the alarm at Dunvegan Castle and a party of MacLeods sallied forth.  The MacDonalds found their galleys had been stranded by the fallen tide.  They were all caught and massacred.

Trumpan Church

Trumpan Church

A very old gravestone behind the fence at Trumpan Church.

Trumpan Church

Trumpan Church

Rachel Chiesley or Lady Grange was buried in this church though her grave was never marked and there was another funeral in a different church as a smokescreen.  She was kidnapped on orders from her husband, a leading Scottish Aristocrat and held in captivity, mainly on the remote island of St Kilda, for thirteen years.  More on this when I post on St Kilda.

Trumpan Church

Trumpan Church

The large stone in front is the Trial Stone, used in mediæval justice.  There is a hole in the rock, I think the one at middle top.  An accused person was blindfolded near the rock and then set free.  If they were able to immediately put their arm through the hole they were innocent, otherwise guilty.

View of Harris across the Minch

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This is taken from Vaternish Peninsula, probably a view of Trotternish Peninsula.

Duntulm Castle

Skye, Scotland.  Day 11, 9th July.

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Looking south from the Kilt Rock viewpoint, on the western coast of the Trotternish Peninsula.

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Duntulm Castle through the fog.  It is near the northern tip of the Trotternish Peninsula on Skye.

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There was a sign on a gate discouraging access to the castle and the pedestrian gate next to it was locked.  A pair of young women turned away on seeing this, everyone else climbed the fence.  There seemed to be no cause for concern though a large chunk of masonry did fall away in 1990.

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A section of the castle and Tulm Island.  Originally a MacLeod residence, the castle was taken over by the MacDonalds in 1539.  Previously it had been a Norse stronghold and there is a strong possibility of an iron age fort underneath.  A great ball was held here in 1715, for those setting out on the Jacobite rebellion.  The castle was abandoned around 1732 and much of the stone plundered for a replacement MacDonald residence five miles to the south.

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From the castle, this looks north to a small peninsula filled with lazy beds.  You can just see the rectangular outlines of some of them.  I could have increased contrast to make them more visible but this is how it looked at the time.  These would have been common lands at the time and this agricultural method is no longer in use.

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A view of Tulm Island through the hole in the wall (probably an old window).

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Looking back at the castle in the fog.

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Not far from the castle, this is a souterrain, an underground storage tunnel probably for storing dairy products.  It would date from between 300BC and 300AD.  There would have been an iron age farmhouse beside it at the time.

Coral Beach

Skye, Scotland.  Day 10, 8th July.

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On Skye I was staying at Grasmhor run by Tim and Grace Wilcock.  Tim is a photographer and this is his web site.  On the first night, he recommended I visit Coral Beach.

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Here I am walking in.  Coral Beach is the white beach in the distance.  As I was walking along there were a couple of harbour seals swimming along in the shallows, checking me out.  You may not be able to see it, but there’s one here making a bit of a splash in the water.

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Coral beach is based on the bleached skeletons of a red coral called maërlMaërl occurs only where there is significant current and is a kind of underwater tumbleweed, bouncing along on the sea floor.

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Many of these images are quite similar but I retain them here because they show somethig of  the way the light was changing.  They are in chronological order.

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The island must be Isay.  We are looking across the Minch to the islands in the Strait of Harris.

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Here we are looking off to the side, across Loch Dunvegan.

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The sea fog is slowly building up, especially in the loch.

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When it got dark and it was time to return to my lodgings, my car GPS took me back along a selection of side roads.  The problem with this was that the sea fog had moved onto the land so I was driving in heavy fog.  Sometimes the narrow dirt roads had white marking at the sides.  When they did not, it could be difficult to tell where the edge of the roads was, especially on rises where there might be passing bays.  It took me a while to get back.

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