We had actually ordered this morning’s breakfast last night. Eloise thought it was hilarious ordering breakfast the day beforehand. Eloise kept saying last night she was not sure what she felt like yet, a real conundrum, so she decided to order a bit of everything. Eloise was thrilled cousin Xavier joined us all at the breakfast table.
With full stomachs, we hit the road and got a reasonable amount of miles under our belts before we took a special detour towards Applecross. There was a particular stretch of road we had to thrash at. As we soon as we turned off we started the climb, luckily we did not need to worry about snow this time of year. The views were spectacular, rivaling Skyfall Road. The roads got steeper and more windy until we reached the hairpin bends at Bealach na Ba. Darryl was screaming to be released into his natural environment. What a road!
The kids had been cheering on the whole way up the windy road and had enjoyed being thrown around the back.
This is probably the best video Darryl has ever shot.
Luckily we had to head back down the same route towards our next destination.
Bealach na Bà is a winding single track road through the mountains of the Applecross peninsula, in Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands. The Bealach na Bà is just one feature on this road, being its highest point and site of several corries. The historic mountain pass was built in 1822 and is engineered similarly to roads through the great mountain passes in the Alps, with very tight hairpin bends that switch back and forth up the hillside and gradients that approach 20%. It has the greatest ascent of any road climb in the United Kingdom, rising from sea level at Applecross to 626 m (2,054 ft) in about 6 km (3.7 mi), and is the third highest road in Scotland. The name is Scottish Gaelic for Pass of the Cattle, as it was historically used as a drovers’ road.
We kept up a good pace heading south. Super Mum’s custom Dinosaur & ballerina playlist had the backseat happy.
We had almost it to Lochcarron when a couple of shops caught our eye. Eloise has recently been watching a lot of pottery YouTube shorts, she loves the thrill of guessing if they are making a teapot or a vase. She was amazed seeing pottery being made in real life.
There was an impressive display of tartans in the Lochcarron Weavers Heritage Shop. We kept a close eye on Nali.
We moved on without purchasing any tartans. It was just over half an hour until we arrived at one of the “10 great Scottish castles”, a special castle we had been looking forward to for a long time, Eilean Donan Castle. Another one for James Bond fans, “Eilean Donan Castle has an unforgettable cameo in The World is Not Enough when it serves as the Scottish headquarters of MI6. The film’s producers fully embraced the Scottish connection, with Q giving Bond a demonstration of bagpipes that double as a machine gun”. While Lachlan was having a well timed afternoon nap, Eloise got in the mood by smashing an Irn-Bru before we headed across to the castle.
Lachlan must have been able to sense he was missing out and as we climbed the tower he popped up just in time for a sneak peek.
Just like that, Eloise clicked her fingers and Uber Grandpa DAVE appeared.
MI6 was equally impressive inside, we were strictly not allowed to take photos but with the amount of Scottish tourism we have influenced we thought we could sneak a few.
Eilean Donan Castle certainly lived up to its hype, sadly we had other places to be though so Lachlan dashed off.
Eilean Donan is a small tidal island situated at the confluence of three sea lochs (Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh) in the western Highlands of Scotland, about 1 kilometre (5⁄8 mi) from the village of Dornie. It is connected to the mainland by a footbridge that was installed early in the 20th century and is dominated by a picturesque castle that frequently appears in photographs, film and television. The island’s original castle was built in the thirteenth century; it became a stronghold of the Clan Mackenzie and their allies, the Clan MacRae. However, in response to the Mackenzies’ involvement in the Jacobite rebellions early in the 18th century, government ships destroyed the castle in 1719. The present-day castle is Lieutenant-Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap’s 20th-century reconstruction of the old castle. Eilean Donan is part of the Kintail National Scenic Area, one of 40 in Scotland. In 2001, the island had a recorded population of just one person, but there were no “usual residents” at the time of the 2011 census. Eilean Donan, which means simply “island of Donnán”, is named after Donnán of Eigg, a Celtic saint who was martyred in 617. Donnán is said to have established a church on the island, though no trace of this remains. Back on mainland Scotland, the kids used their last bit of energy with a good ol’ game of rolly polly before strapping into the car.
Nali and Grandpa DAVE were then really excited when they bumped into their first Highland Coo.
We eventually arrived at our seventh accommodation in as many days, cabins on the Isle of Skye where we will be based for the next couple of nights. Lachlan was fast out of the starting blocks.
The kids loved this accommodation as it had a playground, their first for the trip.
We went for a stroll through Portree in search of some takeaway dinner. Nali had a pizza craving.
We headed back to our cabins for an alfresco dinner on a perfect night, however, the sky went dark as the swarm of Midges closed in, these things are a billion times worse than mosquitos. Not even our Midges suits would keep them out.
Thankfully the man with the key arrived and the hub was opened for us to eat dinner in peace.