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The Nevis Range and a trip to the west coast: Glenelg and Plockton

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Thursday 13 March, the Nevis Range and a trip to the west coast: Glenelg and Plockton

Glen Roy Ben Nevis range cable railwayToday we go west. The sky is clear and the day starts quite cold with a temperature of minus 2. Where we can, we take small side roads, often dead ends, to fill in all the empty spots on our 3-years old battered map. The map is covered with adhesive tape, but we still use it because we mark all the roads we take, so we can see where we have been and where not. We haven't been in Glen Roy, for example. Then we continue to the Nevis Range, an area not far from Fort William where we take a gondola onto the Anoch Mhor, with view on the Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland (and all of the UK).
On Anoch Mhor On Anoch MhorThe temperature is much better now (10 degrees Celsius) but there are still many skiers on the ski runs. This area is also a perfect place for long hikes. Thanks to the clear sky we have a nice view and inside the restaurant we take a warm cup of soup.
Treasuses of the EarthThen we take the road towards Malaig and visit the Treasures of the Earth museum along the road. It has a beautiful collection of gemstones, minerals and fossiles. When we go out, a busload of tourists arrives, so we have been just in time.
Ben Nevis range Loch ArkaigNow it is time to drive around for a while and enjoy the sceneries. Driving on single track roads we are feeling as if we are travelling through beautiful paintings.
The combination of the snowy mountains, white clouds in the blue sky, the many shades of green on the hillsides and the many lochs that reflect the sceneries, make this country into a live painting. And, after every turn of the road, a new painting shows itself. The land is rough and desolate, but at the same time charming and sweet, because of the soft curves of the mountains and the vegetation.
Loch Arkaig Loch ArkaigAlmost every 15 minutes we stop to take a picture, to just sit and enjoy the view or to take a short walk.
Loch ArkaigEvery loch has its own colour, depending on the colour of the vegetation, the place of the sun and the colour of the clouds gliding over the loch.
Loch ArkaigUnexpected lovely places can be found everywhere in Scotland, and often one finds them when driving on a dead end road. Sometimes one can drive as far as 30 kilometers before the road ends and one has to drive back the same way. To the right Loch Arkaig, a bit north of Fort William.
Reindeer DeerAlong one of these narrow dead end roads we come across two herds of red deer. The first herd is walking in the garden of an inhabited house. They look at our car when we drive by but they don't flee, so we can take some nice pictures.
At the Chia-Aig waterfall At the Chia-Aig waterfallNow and then we pass some falls and rockformations and every time we have to take a closer look, even if it means that we have to climb steep hills.
Fort WilliamWhen we return at the end of the day to Fort William, to have something to eat and drink, we are very tired and we can feel all our muscles in our legs. Fort William is a touristic and pleasant village to stay for a few hours.
Old Inverlochy CastleWe take a look at Old Inverlochy Castle (see also on the Scottish castle page) before we return to our castle. It has been a long day and we are glad we have a nice place to relax. It has been a wonderful day and we still have the images in our minds of all the sceneries we have seen. One doesn't need whiskey in Scotland, it is possible to get drunk by inhaling the nature here!

Friday 14 March 2003, a trip to the west coast: Glenelg and Plockton

Old Inverlochy Castle Old Inverlochy CastleThe weather seems to be improving every day! Today we want to visit the west coast. Through Glen Shiel we drive to Glenelg where a ferry goes to Skye, normally. But it starts only in April, so we cannot cross to Kylerhea and we decide to explore this peninsula more extensive. Naturally, there are plenty of splendid views and we drive around for hours, with only now and then a break for a walk. In the distance we see Skye and the hazy sky over it, like we had seen often last year when we stayed a few days on Skye. The word Skye is derived from a Celtic word for cloud or mist.
Old Inverlochy CastleNear Glenelg there are some remains of old settlements like this fort (broch) from the Iron Age. The remainders of towers (with an original height of about 10 meters) lie a bit apart. The towers (Dun Telve on the picture and Dun Troddan farther on) were build 2000 years ago, probably to protect the surrounding settlements against robbers. More pictures on the antiquities-page.
Elisabeth near Glenelg Skye on the backgroundWe can take off our coats when we go for a walk in the afternoon, the temperature is very pleasant. We won't need our coats anymore throughout the rest of our holiday.
When we leave the Glenelg peninsula we take a late lunch in a pub in Dornie. The same where we have been last year and the year before. We feel quite at home visiting places like this where we have been before.
PlocktonWe pass a few times Eilean Donan castle, but we have visited it already twice, so this time we just enjoy the view and continue our way to Plockton, just to have a look at the Scottish palmtrees. Next, we take all different roads where we haven't been before: slowly more and more roads can be marked on our map.
Our castle in the duskThe sun still shines on our castle when we return from this long trip. It is the last night we spend in the Gate Lodge and after tomorrow it will not be 'our' castle anymore.


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