Well, I made it through the first day — the flight was good, my rental car is cute (a bright-blue Nissan Note??), and the driving is….interesting! I left Glasgow around 9 and arrived in Oban at noon. I had to stop several times to take pictures of the dramatic scenery along the way…and for a cup of very strong tea to keep me awake!
Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe
It is just so cool — you drive around a bend and there it is! So many places like that in Scotland — little surprises along the road.
I’m staying at the Barriemore Guesthouse (and moving to the Glenburnie Guesthouse tomorrow – long, stupid story for another time!) and just around the bend in the road from it is this:
Ruins of Dunollie Castle
This castle, along with nearby Dunstaffnege, belonged to the MacDougall clan and the current clan chief (and former MAID OF LORNE) live in a much more modern house on the grounds of the ruins. I knew it was nearby, but had no idea until I went exploring around the bend that it was so close.
After going to bed, aka collapsing into unconsciousness, at 7pm Scotlandtime last night, I slept well until about 4am here. I had a lovely breakfast and then headed into downtown Oban to catch the ferry to Mull and a bus and another ferry to Iona – the site of St. Columba’s monastery and the center of Celtic Christianity for centuries. The weather doesn’t want to cooperate — storm clouds rumbled overhead and rain threatened at every moment. It pelted us as we left the bus and ran for the ferry from Fionnphort. But soon, the abbey came into sight and the rain was forgotten!
Abbey on Iona
I took the informative guided tour through the abbey, the cloisters, the smaller temporary chapel built and used while the larger one was being built, the St. Oran’s church (from the 1200’s) and the Cemetery where dozens of ancient Scottish, Irish and even some Pictish kings are buried. And I tried with all my self-control not to go into the Iona Bookstore….sigh….some things are just impossible to resist!
Then, just as the time drew near to leave — the sun burst through the clouds making the trip back to Mull spectacular! The heather is in bloom and the sunlight lit up the purple mountainsides as we passed. And, though it showered again in Craignure while we waited for the ferry — we were gifted by a fabulous rainbow that seemed to touch the water in Craignure Bay —
Rainbow in Craignure Bay
Everyone ooh’d and aah’d and took photos as the ferry seemed to pass right under the archway of light on its approach. It was a wonderful ending to a wonderful day!
So, early-ish to bed after a lovely dinner at a downtown restaurant and after catching up on hundreds of emails _ I couldn’t get online last night so I’m behind. Tomorrow? I’m going back to Mull to see Duart Castle and Tobermory and some standing stones, stone circles and cairns near Dervaig. Yeppers, driving onto the ferry boat…and off again! My next driving in Scotland challenge. . . one of many in the coming days. . .
Keep checking back — Kilmartin Glen is in my plans before I leave for Dornie and Eilean Donan Castle on Friday. I’m going to a MacRae Clan gathering at the castle and cannot wait…. Hopefully, the elusive men-in-kilts will be seen there! Surely they will ?!?