Leaving Invergary we drove along Loch Gary, and noticed large swaths of clear cutting of the forests on the far side of the loch. They dragged the logs to the loch where they were floated to large frames to be towed to the ends of the loch for processing. This clear cutting, we found, was to remove tracts of non-native species planted after WW I, so that native species could be planted. It seems that during WW I, a large amount of timber was harvested and sent to France to be used as reinforcement for the trenches. Later the cleared land was planted with pine. This restores Scotland’s forests to their natural habitat.
Eilean Donan is the site of an early Christian settlement, created by “St. Donan”, an Irish monk who created many early Christian settlements. It was also where Msr. Donan met a grisly end, and an impenetrable fortress was established, which is now Scotland’s most photographed castle. It’s very spectacular perched on an island in a salt water loch. We toured the castle, and nearby Plockton, Scotland’s “cutest” town, and we certainly can’t disagree with that. To get to the town you drive 5 miles down a windy steep “single track” (one lane) road, with occasional pull-offs to allow oncoming traffic to pass. This experience no doubt led to the Scottish custom of the “wee dram” … a shot of whisky, necessary to calm one’s nerves after driving on a single track. They wouldn’t be that bad if they weren’t so narrow, or if they had any shoulder at all, which, alas, they lack.
In the town we talked to one long-time resident who bemoaned the loss of the young people, who are moving away because of a lack of affordable housing; it seems that retirees from “other incomes” are buying up all the available houses escalating prices.
After Dornie and the magnificent castle we drove on to the Isle of Skye. “Skye” is an old Norse word meaning “misty”, so this is really the “Misty Isle”. On the day we arrived, though, we were greeted with partial sunshine. We hiked the Storr trail, one of the most popular trails in Scotland, and met two veteran hikers who recommended a part of the trail that was officially closed. We hiked that part and were glad we did as we were greeted with some spectacular scenery.