Leaving Ben Nevis behind, we drove north through the Highlands, our destination the Isle of Skye. On the way, we stopped to explore Eilean Donan castle.
The island of Donan, at the meeting point of Loch Duich, Loch Alsh and Loch Long was settled by Irish Saint, Bishop Donan in 634AD. The first fortified castle was built in the mid 13th century to protect the area from Viking invasion.
It was partially destroyed in the Jacobite uprising in 1719 and then lay in ruins for nearly 200 years. Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the island in 1911, restored the castle over the next twenty years and added the bridge.
The scenery was breathtaking, even on an overcast day.
Entering through the majestic doorway,
we spent some time wandering through the restored interior, I photographed these Viking sculptures before realizing photography wasn’t permitted.
The exterior has been lovingly resurrected, I can see why it took twenty years.
The castle is still owned by the MacRae family. The Clan MacRae War Memorial commemorates the 423 members of the Clan MacRae who died in World War l, including Lieutenant Colonel John McRae who wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.
In stark contrast to the castle’s history, there was a sense of serenity about the misty waters.
The bridge across Loch Long, built in 1990, connects the nearby villages of Dornie and Ardelve.
Scotland’s national flag, The Saltire, stands proudly at the perimeter of the castle. The patron saint of Scotland, St. Andrew, was apparently crucified on an X shaped cross, hence, the white saltire on a background of azure blue sky.