Saturday, November 4, 2017

Fall Scottish Trip, Part 3


Misty Mountains

We still hunt for fall or autumn colours, but in the far north and on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides fall most often shows up in rain puddles and brown heather and bracken. Still we search. 
Before we headed north we got a chance to play one of our favorite golf courses, Crail Balcomie about seven miles from St Andrews.
Anne is dressed for a cool windy day on Crail Balcomie GC.

The 14th green at Crail.

The day was lovely, but the course was well defended by the Scottish sea breezes. Weather service reports forecast winds of 30 mph with higher gusts and,
It was so windy I had to lay up on the relatively short par 3 16th. 

Good friend and Crail Head Pro, Graham Lennie, wished us luck as we headed out into the wind.

as they are more times than we like to admit, they were correct. It was a fun, strategic round of golf in a lovely location.
Crail Harbour


The roofs of Crail.

After getting blown around on the course for three and a half hours, we still had enough energy to wander one of the prettiest little harbours in Scotland, Crail.  
Our first stop on our trip to the north was a special two night stay—self-catering in a lighthouse keeper’s cottage at Buchan Ness Lighthouse. 

Our car sits in front of our cottage at the lighthouse.

As the Northern Lighthouse Board has automated the lighthouses, the staff cottages and outbuildings have become redundant (a good British term). Many are now being converted to apartments for long or short-term hire. 
Anne steps out of the kitchen onto the deck of our cottage.

Skerry Cottage was the Head Lighthouse Keeper's cottage.

The Buchan Ness light was completed in 1827 under the direction of Robert Stevenson (author Robert Louis Stevenson’s grandfather) and then converted to electric in 1978. The light was automated ten years later. 

A peat fire doesn't add a lot of warmth, but it is cheery on a stormy night.

Now, two cottages are available for rent. We stayed in the Skerry Cottage for two nights. 
From there it was a four and a half hour drive to the Cluanie Inn among the Five Sisters of Kintail (see last post). We took the north route along the Aberdeenshire and Morayshire coast with a stop in the small village of Portsoy. 


Portsoy was established in 1550 when the first harbour there was developed. A stone harbour was built in 1692 and a new harbour was completed further out in 1825 and had to be rebuilt in 1839 because of storm damage. 


Many of the buildings surrounding this complex date back to the early 1700s.  After a night in the Cluanie Inn, we ventured on to the Isle of Skye.
Between the Cluanie Inn and Skye we found plenty to grab our attention—mountains,
Small waterfalls were all around on a rainy day.

waterfalls, 
An unnamed burn near the Five Sisters.


castles, 
Eilean Donan Castle


and dramatic scenery, 
Houses built along a Highland loch.

A memorial to local lads lost in World War I.

The Isle of Skye is made up of four peninsulas (Sleat, Duirinish, Waternish, and Trotternish). Before checking in to our B&B in Portree (Trotternish), we wanted to explore Sleat in the south. 

On the recommendation of the owner of a leather shop in Armadale we drove a narrow and tortuous single-track loop road


Took its time getting out of the road and then stared us down.

from the east coast of the peninsula to the west and back. With no real villages (or services) on the route filled with blind hairpin turns and road summits where you can’t see what’s beneath your wheels until they land, this is not a road for the inexperienced UK driver.
Just an everyday hazard on most single-track roads in Scotland.


The loop, though, was absolutely filled with fall colours and grand views. Worth the effort, if you’re brave enough.
From the Sleat Peninsula it was a forty minute drive to our home base in Portree for four days, Duirinish B&B.


NEXT: Isle of Skye, Auto Adventures, and the Highlands, but that will have to wait until we are back home and recovered from jetlag.