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  • Jul8

    Good bye to Skye

    July 8, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    I had to leave Skye today and start heading home. These next 4 nights all involve my trip home. I guess that is what happens when you travel to remote places. That said I still had one more adventure on Skye. I decided that I still wanted to do the hike that I had missed yesterday. Round trip it was about 2.5 hours and it was only moderately difficult. It was called the Camasunary Bay hike and afforded a wonderful view of the Cuellin mountains on the south of the island. The night before I had wandered around Portree which had been absolutely packed with tourists from a Viking cruise liner. The hike to Camasunary Bay could hardly be different. I was at the trail head by 7:30. No one was there. I hiked up and over a significant rise which commanded a beautiful view of the bay a farm house and a bothy. A bothy is a building sometimes maintained and sometimes not for people to stay in overnight when out wild camping. This one was supposedly maintained, kind of like an alpine but. It was at the far end of the beach and I figured I didn't have to check it out. There were some tenters on the beach but all was very quiet. I snapped a few photos and then walked back to the car.
    I had a 2.5 hour drive to Glencoe which is 30 minutes on the far side of Fort William. I guess I booked this B and B to allow me to explore the Glencoe valley. The drive was very windy and busy with traffic. When I did get there I was quite tired so I don't think I'll be exploring that much. The hike also tired me out. On the West Highland Way I also came through the valley so I had seen a fair amount of it alread,y. Perhaps returning the car to Fort William and staying there overnight would have been easier.
    The one fun thing I did on the drive down was stop at Eilean Donon, castle of the McRaes. It had been totally destroyed by the English in 1719 during the first Jacobite rebellion. The had learned that it was harbouring Spanish soldiers. Upon capturing the castle they used Spanish gunpowder found in the castle to blow it up. Fast forward 200 years and the castle was bought by a John McRae-Gilstrap who was married to the English heiress of a malting empire. They spent 250000 pounds rebuilding a better castle then filling it with antiquities that they bought to fill. It was opened to the public in the 1950s and it is the quintessential Scottish castle. It was featured in the Highlander series and was in a James Bond movie. I think there is still hope for the McLean castle. The McLean chief merely needs to marry into some English money to rebuild the castle.
    I am now at my BnB in Glencoe. I went for a walk after supper and just behind the BnB I happened upon Glencoe House, a huge mansion that had been converted into a swanky hotel. When I googled it I learned that this was the summer residence of Donald Smith also known as Lord Strathchona, founder of CP rail, last chief factor of the Hudson Bay, the person Old Strathchona is named after. The BnB was the gardeners and cook's residence. Small world.
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