North Coast 500 – Big, big ✔️

Today we completed our NC500 journey. Technically we should have completed the circuit by crossing Scotland back to Inverness. But we have a plane to catch in Edinburgh in a few short days (Yes, we are actually heading home!), and we still have one or two things to do before returning our car to Edinburgh airport. So, after spending most of the day exploring Skye, we veered south and are now in Fort William, in a converted loft, with views over Loch Linnhe to Ben Nevis.

Loch Linnhe

But first things first.

Our little cottage on Skye was snug and solid during a howling wind last night and we woke to clear skies and very crisp air!

From the lounge room window

Brigitte had prepared the most amazing breakfast for us. An “Enough to feed an army” style breakfast. We didn’t even put a dent in it. And we tried. But we were also keen to make the most of the nice weather, so we packed up and planned to leave.

That’s if we could ever get away from Bess the rescue collie and Filou, the very opinionated and jealous cat. They kept pushing each other away to get more pats!! Grahame was kept busy sharing his affection.

Glendale

We headed to Neist Point Lighthouse perched on the most westerly tip of Skye. The light house is hidden from view when you arrive in the car park.

It’s way down behind this headland

The path was steep, the sheep were plentiful and the scenery magnificent!!

Neist Point Lighthouse

Around the time the lighthouse came into view and we were equidistant from shelter, a lovely rainbow tricked us into ignoring the big black clouds hiding behind it.

And then the rainbow disappeared! We got hit by Scotland’s infamous sideways rain, or tiny sidewise hail in this case. We got smashed on our right side while our left side stayed dry. Having tiny pellets of hail fired into one side of my face was one experience I could do without!!

As quickly as the squall came, it went and once again, the sun was shining and the birds were singing. Almost.

We wandered around the lighthouse til we could no longer feel our fingers. Time to go!

The walk back up to the car was more difficult than the descent, given that frozen limbs don’t work as well as unfrozen ones. It was hard not to walk in circles.

We put the car heater on high and defrosted the frozen half of us while the other half roasted!

We had been told of the Fairy Pools and they sounded enchanting. We were reasonably close, so off we went! This time we took our wet weather gear and an extra layer!!

We parked in the closest carpark and headed in search of Fairies. We were unsuccessful, but we did find lots of little falls with crystal clear pools and plenty of tourists.

The walking trail was a bit hairy in places and involved a little bit of rock hopping. In other places it was a big mud slush puddle which was kid heaven for the little boys wearing Wellington boots. (Not sure Australian customs will be as happy when they see my boots!)

More tourists

Dunvegan Castle was to be our next stop off point but despite their website saying they were open, we were met with locked gates and a notice saying it was now closed til April 2020! Too bad Dunvegan Castle, you missed out on us!

Sadly Eilean Donan Castle suffered the same fate. We arrived at 3.02 pm and new winter closing times, instigated today, meant they closed at 3 pm. Too bad Eilean Donan you too missed out. (But we did wander around outside and take lots and lots of photos).

We arrived at our Airbnb in Fort William just on dusk (so it was probably a good thing those two castles were closed). Doesn’t look too shabby!

And this is Ben Nevis right in our front yard.

After meeting our hosts, we walked into town to find some dinner and realised we were within coo-ee of the Caledonian Canal running from Fort William to Inverness. Of course we had to check out Neptune’s Staircase, a series of 8 step locks. At the base are two swing bridges, one for cars , the other for trains. It hurts my brain to even try to work it out.

Maybe tomorrow. After I climb Ben Nevis!!! Hah! Joke!!

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