Part 2 - http://anotherdayforgrace.blogspot.ca/2017/03/next-stop-edinburgh-scotland.html
Part 3 - http://anotherdayforgrace.blogspot.ca/2017/03/72-hours-in-city-of-edinburgh.html
Part 4 - http://anotherdayforgrace.blogspot.ca/2017/03/a-real-introduction-to-history-and.html
Part 5 - http://anotherdayforgrace.blogspot.ca/2017/03/the-haunted-graveyards-and-underground.html
Part 6 - http://anotherdayforgrace.blogspot.ca/2017/04/a-tour-of-edinburgh-castle-and-solo.html
Part 7 - http://anotherdayforgrace.blogspot.ca/2017/04/farewell-edinburgh-hello-highlands.html
I slept very well during that first night of my grand tour of Scotland...and ate like a Queen the next morning! I'd never experienced a complimentary breakfast that large before. I ate so much, I almost had to be carried out to the sidewalk. Every time I finished, more food would be laid before me and boy was it delicious...and homemade too! I waited out front for the bus to arrive and while I waited, I noticed something peculiar; there were no cigarette butts or wads of gum on the sidewalk or anywhere else for that matter. Back home, roads and sidewalks are littered with crushed butts and gum.
I was the first one picked up that morning and when I got on the bus, Andrew told me he liked to give everyone a chance to sit up front so he offered the very front seat to me. I felt bad taking it from the lady who had been sitting there the day before but I also liked the idea of being able to see more through the front window. The woman who had been sitting there the day before, didn't seem to mind that I took her seat because she just took the seat next to me. At first I was a little annoyed that I had to share my seat with someone but after we got to talking, I realized she was good company and we had a lot in common.
Once we had everyone back on the bus, we made our way to the port of Mallaig to catch a ferry to the Isle of Skye, stopping at various points-of-interest along the way. One of them was a place called Glencoe, a beautiful area featuring a large valley (or glen as it's known in Scotland) where, in 1692, a massacre occurred. The victims of this massacre were members of the MacDonald clan attacked in the early morning by men under the command of Captain Robert Campbell. Most of those men possessed the surname Campbell and to this day, The Clachaig Inn in Glencoe displays a sign that very obviously indicates that Campbell's are not welcome and will not be served.
After we passed Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the United Kingdom, we arrived in the town of Fort William where we were booked in for a tour of Eilean Donan Castle. Once used for defensive purposes and now open for tours and special ceremonies, the 13th century castle is one of the most visited (and photographed) in Scotland. In North America, most of our buildings are from the 1800's and 1900's with a scattered few from the 1600's and 1700's. As I walked through the halls of that spectacular building, I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that parts of it were built in 1200's.
When we arrived in Mallaig, the first thing I noticed was the famed Jacobite Express parked at the train station. Had it been earlier in the season, a ride on that train would have been part of our itinerary. I settled for a photo op instead. The ferry to the Isle of Skye had not returned yet so we had an hour to kill before boarding. I set out to explore the little town and when I was done looking in the shops and taking pictures, I found a grocery store where I picked up some snacks to eat on a bench by the boat docks.
It was a short sail to the Isle of Skye and by the time we arrived, the weather had changed for the worse and it was time to settle into our accommodations for the night. I was dropped off at a cute little B&B on top of a hill with an amazing view. Hillview B&B would be my base for the next two nights. I settled in and left again on foot in search of something to eat. The weather was much worse by this time but I was so hungry, I decided to tough it out and get the most out of my stay in the town of Broadford.
Because I packed so lightly, I didn't have much in the way of rain gear, although I know now that I should have because I had heard that September is a particularly rainy month in Scotland. I set out into the damp, foggy, windy evening and walked down the hill to the main road in search of a restaurant, pub or grocery store. I made the mistake of assuming that there would be a take-away place nearby. I walked for 45 minutes in those dreadful conditions before I found a place that was open and willing to prepare me something to take back to the B&B. At first, the woman who greeted me said they didn't plan to prepare anything from the takeaway menu that evening and it would be a very long wait if they did. I think she and her coworkers must have felt sorry for me when I thanked them anyway and turned to leave. They also must have noticed I was soaked to the bone and traveling on foot so she asked me to take a seat and within ten minutes, an order of chips and macaroni pie was brought out to me. I thanked them profusely and ventured back out into the rain storm and returned to Hillview to enjoy my meal. By the time I got back, I and my container of food were completely waterlogged. Disappointed, I opened the container, expecting to see an inedible pile of mush but found a perfect meal untouched by the sogginess of its container.
Once again, I slept like a baby in a beautiful, comfortable room that didn't fit the budget tour I had booked. And I wasn't complaining one bit!