travel

Over the sea to Skye (and then back again to Glencoe)

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During my final morning on the Isle of Skye I made a point of visiting Old Sligachan Bridge on my way back to the Skye Bridge. Technically speaking you can’t miss the bridge as the main road off the island runs right through Sligachan… unless you’re me. Because I missed it. Twice! The old bridge sits quite close behind the new bridge (which is also the main road) and somehow I just couldn’t see it as I was driving but eventually, after I had turned my car around for a second time, there it was.

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Despite the cars zooming past over the modern bridge, I still found a real sense of quiet peace standing on the bank of the river. The sounds of the water rushing under the old stone bridge combined with the looming view of the Cuillin mountains is quite something.

After that I said my goodbyes to Skye and started the drive off the island and down to Glencoe. One thing this road trip has taught me is that I could never visit Scotland again without having a car to drive. You just get to see so much beautiful scenery driving from place to place, I couldn’t imagine missing out on it all.

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Once I hit Fort William I head out west again for a while until I reached Loch Eilt and there I saw this little tree-tufted islet called Eilean na Moine… which is where they used in the Harry Potter movies for Dumbledore’s burial site. Unfortunately I couldn’t seem to find the right angle to get a ‘movie moment’ type shot. I think I should have carried on driving round the loch some more but by that point the rain was getting pretty heavy and I was in dire need of a cup of tea.

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After I check in my bags at my b&b I took a little drive through the Glencoe Mountains (as mentioned in my last post) and came across the Clachaig Inn. It looked like a wonderful place to stay or at least spend an evening but I wasn’t in the right mood to deal with a lot of people that evening and when I was passing it really did seem full to the brim. It’s definitely on my list to visit properly when I go back.

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On my last full day I had a ticket for the Jacobite Steam Train, which takes you all the way out to Mallaig and back. The train was gorgeous and it’s certainly a nice experience to ride on a steam train. I had a seat booked in a compartment, which I shared with five other people. They were friendly and it was an enjoyable experience, but it did make me sad to find that I didn’t have a window seat. I wasn’t able to take any photos of the passing scenery and I couldn’t even enjoy the moment we went over the Glenfinnan Viaduct. I was really excited to have my ‘we’re on the train to Hogwarts’ moment and it never really happened.

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However, Mallaig was a really enjoyable visit. I bought a ticket for an hour long boat trip which takes out of the harbour for a bit so you can see the small isles of Eigg, Rùm, Muck and Canna and hopefully do a little seal spotting. Pretty much as soon as it was over and I was back on dry land I had to grab a sandwich before heading back to the train.

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As I left Fort William I just had to take the gondola up the Nevis Range. When I visited the year before, up there was still being used for skiing as the snow was still really deep on the ground. I remember my friend and I were not prepared at all and there was even a panicked moment when we couldn’t see the main building during a very sudden snow storm! But this time it was all clear and I had just enough time to snap a photo before taking the very last gondola back down again. I was up that mountain for maybe 5 minutes in total… and only because I promised I wouldn’t go wandering. It was actually really spooky, knowing that I (and the one guy still manning the gondola station) were the only ones up there.

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I want to go back already.

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