I got up early in the morning so I could have a look at the castle before making my way to Skye. While I was waiting for the castle to open, I encountered the manager who told me that the castle was closed for the winter and would not be open until next Monday. He also mentioned that they were currently working in the castle - because of the wet weather, the walls inside the castle were getting a bit damp, which meant that all of the hangings and paintings had been removed.
However, he said that I should feel free to walk around the outside of the castle, which I did.
This dog kept following me, so I responded by taking her picture.
Another shot of the castle.
I can't tell whether the steel railing here is a replacement for the missing section of wall, or whether they intend for it to be an internal reinforcment for a restored wall.
After finishing my explorations of the castle, I hopped in my car and headed towards Skye.
I should mention that many of the photos you are seeing here are being taken in brief intervals of clarity. The next picture gives you a more typical view of what my experience for the last few days has been like.
I proceeded to the western part of the island, the location of Dunvegan [pronounced "done-vay-gan"], the traditional home of the MacLeod clan. It wasn't overrun with Highlander fans, at least not at this time of year. However, unless you are a Highlander fan, or a MacLeod, it is not the most interesting castle around, although there are a few items of historical note that are worth seeing.
Also, this is the first castle I have encountered, outside of London, where my Heritage pass was not accepted.
On the advice of the lady at the weavers shop next door to the (closed) tourist information office, I headed out past the castle to see a remarkable spectacle, the coral beaches.
Here's some shots taken on the way to the beach. Fortunately, the weather was pretty good for most of the walk (about half a mile from the roadhead), although the wind was blowing pretty hard.
Here's a shot of the beaches themselves, and a closeup of the coral. It doesn't really feel like sand when you walk on it.
The wind was blowing hard enough that I was able to walk up a 35 degree slope with less effort than it took to walk down it. Once at the top, I was able to jump straight up into the air and land over a foot from my starting point. The scenery was simply gorgeous.
About 100 yards from my car it started to rain, but with a mad dash I was able to make it without getting too wet.
I decided then to take the ferry to Lewis, but when I got to the debarkation point at Uig, I was told that the next ferry wouldn't depart until 3:00 pm the next day. So I drove to Portree (Port Rígh) to find something else to do. (I should note that on Skye, and in many parts of western Scotland, most of the road signs are in both Gaelic and English. Most of the informational brochures are as well.)
The view from Port Rígh.
I accidentally overshot the town as I was driving, which was a good thing because just outside of town was something called "The Aros Experience". Normally, Aros is a large heritage/visitor centre. However, today was the first day of the Celtic Film and Television Festival, which was being hosted in the Aros centre. Members of the public were welcome to see screenings of films at no charge, so I hung out and watched a few short films.
The screenings were being done in this mobile cinema called "The Screen Machine", which is normally used to show movies at towns too small to have their own theatre.
My favorite short film was called "Washed Up", about a pair of impoverished
old Scottish ladies who live by the seaside - impoverished, that is, until
the day when a crate full of cocaine washes up on shore...