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08(01)
10(01)

Mon, 04 Jan 2016
day 09 in braveheart land (0 comments)
being the only guests, our host had not much to do today in the morning. the usual scottish and continental breakfasts for the two of us. and again, an amazing sunset at guest house[001-007], but this time the view is from our room. with a cute sheep[005] included this time. isn't that lovely? after checking out we drove a few kilometres, had a few random breaks to take pictures of the landscape[009-013], or another fluffy sheep[013].
next stop was a little burial ground near cill chriosd[014-052], right next to the road. i was pretty amused by the sign "passing place", which usually refers to the broader spots on the roads on the pretty common single track roads here in scotland. so for two cars to pass, there are the passing places, this one was for people too. as most grave yards we have seen so far, this one was very green too, with very very ancient tombstones, dating back many hundred years, and the almost always present ruin of a chapel; seems obligatory.
then we had a short stop on the east side of loch slapin[053-064] on the outbound journey. we found a message in a bottle, opened it, but could not make much sense of it. seemed like a love letter. so we stuffed the sheet back in, and put it back where we had found it.
a short while later, we reached elgol[065-071], another small, sleepy fisher village, that seemed more like a ghost village. looks like they heavily rely on summer tourism, thus off season everything is closed, and everyone is gone. but we spotted a few people here and there, some lights in the houses, and... even two cats. isn't that amazing? unfortunately they were too far away to cuddle, but at least we saw some. since there was nothing to do in elgol, we drove on to strathaird[072-089], where we parked our car, and had a little hike. lots of sheeps were around us, but they were also pretty shy, and ran away if you got closer than a few metres. i managed to sneak up from behind on one sheep who was so absorbed in grazing, it did not see me until i was about one metre away from it. for half a second it gave me a surprised look, then ran away. so cute.
on our return journey we stopped again at loch slapin[090-116], but this time on the west side. we parked our car somewhere, and walked off road[095-102] over very soft moss, and had quite the nice view on the nearby mountains.
back in the car, we soon spotted a lot of little birds that flew in large groups of around 50 or more. but they were also pretty cautious and shy. only three birds[114-116] on one leg were courageous enough to wait for us to get as close as 50 metres (approximately). then they also fled and flew away.
at kyle of lochalsh[119-135] it was time to bid farewell to the isle of skye, as we got back again on the "mainland" of scotland. we had a coffee break at a small cafe, and when we left, we were very lucky as sunset[119-147] had just begun, and turned the mountains in a wonderful red, sometimes even pink. that was really a fascinating combination of colours and contrasts, especially with the bridge[126-128,130] to the isle of skye or the ones with the light tower[131,133,135] in the foreground. wow, that makes parting even harder.
while driving on, nina insisted on another stop, as the sunset was still going on. so we did not get very far, and had another stop at balmacara[136-147], where we also found big shells[140-141,143] on the beach. we took a few of them as a souvenir with us, because they really were big and looked amazing.
it only took us 15 more minutes to get to the very famous, and often photographed eilean donan castle[148-159]. of course it was closed already (and we do not know if it would have been opened anyway), but at least the bridge was open, so one could walk straight to the castle. surrounded by the waters of loch duich, the bridge is the only access to the castle (during high tide). the reflections on the water really looked amazing. too bad we could not see it from the inside.
well, then it was time again to make headway, as the gps navigator estimated the drive to fort william with three hours. driving past loch lochy (best name for a loch we thought), we finally arrived, almost three hours later, at "the willow" hotel, where we checked in, and went to bed early. track for day 09.

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