We continue our journey north from Oban. The weather has now settled and we have to make the best of it. We never thought that the days here could look like this. We expected rain and fog, typical Scottish weather. What we have now is just wrong. It is bright and sunny and there is hardly a cloud in the blue sky. The water reflects this color and in the sunlight of June, nature also shines in the bright colors of the flowers and the pure green of the plants.
It gives us the impression that we are not traveling in the northern Highlands of the British Isles, but have got lost through a wormhole on a South Sea island. I’m already subconsciously wondering if there’s rum here too. It’s so wrong The impression of Scotland is firmly tied to bad weather. We are so disappointed.
Castle Stalker stands on a tiny rocky island in a sea bay just outside Fort William. The Tower House is known from the final scene of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” as “Castle Aaaaarrrrggghhhh“.
There is not much going on. The season is early and we have the South Seas Highlands to ourselves. Only by one fact do we notice the difference to Polynesia: the water is ice cold.
Fort William is also known as the destination of the “Hogwarts Express“. A railway line winds idyllically through the Highlands and forms the backdrop for the journey to Magic School in the Harry Potter films.
Fort William is the largest town in the West Highlands and the terminus of the West Highland Way. For us, however, only an intermediate destination with an obligatory beer break. After a stroll through the pedestrian zone, we continue our journey north.
In addition, the highest mountain in Great Britain towers over the city: Ben Nevis. At 1345 meters, it towers over every other hill in the British Isles. Few people have ever made it up (reportedly the last people up there were a class of primary school students from Glasgow) and legend has it that the Pictish gods still rule the Highlands up there.
Abandoned villages and/or dilapidated churches keep popping up on the side of the road. Next to the ruins you will find the associated cemeteries. The tombstones are weathered or fallen over. Broken obelisks or crippled angels bear witness to family tombs.
In between, bushes grow and sheep graze. We are fascinated by the fact that the people here let these places weather away and at the same time we feel the breath of the past on our own skin and feel transported back two hundred years.
In Inverinate we spend the night right on the banks of Loch Duich in the house of an old couple. First, the landlord wants to chase us off the property due to a misunderstanding. When we make it clear that we are not on a raid with axes and clubs, but are looking for bed and breakfast with backpacks and Explorer Passes, we are warmly welcomed.
As usual, we spread our stinky stuff around the room, switch to something less stinky, and head to the nearest pub for haggis and whiskey.
The walk to the nearby village is beautiful in itself. On the way back, the sun is already sinking towards the horizon and coloring the country a warm orange. The heat decreases and a jacket does not hurt.
What better way to end an evening than with a glass of whiskey against the backdrop of the lake? Yes, namely when there are no annoying black flies that drive us back into the house after a short time.
The next morning we start our first hike. Beyond Morvich begins the path to the Falls of Glomach. According to Chris’ travel guide, the waterfall in question should appear in just an hour and a half. But that is not the case. We return part of our way. A Highlander, who roughly could have been our grandfather, casually sprints past us while we follow the path in perfect weather. He doesn’t wear a kilt, bagpipes or a claymore sword, so we’re a bit disappointed. But the weather isn’t typically Scottish either.
We ask him about the waterfall and he scratches his head. There is a waterfall, but it’s five hours in the other direction. However, he himself would now be walking a different route for nine hours, and the way he jumped away, he would probably get to Edinburgh safely in those nine hours.
We let the waterfall be and are satisfied with our route and the motto “the journey was the goal”. We drive to the nearby Eilean Donan Castle.
In these mountains lived “Connor Macleod of the Macleod clan” – at least that’s what the film “Highlander” reports. Ever since Eilean Donan Castle flickered across the screens in this cult film, it has developed into a place of pilgrimage for film buffs and Scotland fans. And indeed there is something to the story. It was in this castle that the members of the Macleod clan really lived. However, there are no scientific reports as to whether a member of it is still alive today, let alone trying to cut off the heads of other earthlings.
The current castle is a reconstruction from the beginning of the 20th century, after the original castle was destroyed during the Jacobite uprising. At first she had defied the fire of three English frigates for a day and a half, but finally fell victim to a violent explosion after her capture.
The castle is near the coast. Directly behind is a bridge leading to the Isle of Skye, which lures us with its backdrop and Talisker whiskey. – Chris & Alex