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12. In the footsteps of the McLeods (Isle of Sky, North West Highlands)

Big day of driving today, following in the footsteps of the McLeod Clan, to reach the fabulous Isle of Sky. A magnificent route, in the heart of a wild and powerful Scotland.

Route : 250 km to make Kylesku-Oban, 4 to 5 hours of a road sometimes on a single track, with the crossing of a mountain range. More dreamscapes and still a few nuggets encountered along the way.


15 minutes from Kylesku, our first stop was for the ruins of Ardvreck Castle, just off the road. There isn't much to see, but the view is magnificent. According to legend, the castle is haunted.

A little further on, you will see the ruins of Calda House, the mansion built by the Clan MacKenzie, which is hardly more standing than its neighbor. A few parking spaces are available along the road.

Built in the 15th century by MacLeod of Assynt, the history of the castle is unclear. The MacKenzie clan took it over, then built Calda House nearby, a more modern mansion, which later caught fire. Both buildings are nothing more than beautiful, romantic ruins today. The castle must have been very simple in construction.


The route alone is a visit in itself, particularly when passing through Knockan Crag Nature Reserve. As the kilometers go by, you will discover incredible landscapes. Each turn has its share of surprises. For our part, it was the birth of a little lamb. Plan to stock up before hitting the road and take something to eat with you. There are very few villages, even fewer restaurants.

This reserve is where tectonic plates overlap, hence these images which seem timeless. The vegetation is rich, the birds are numerous and if you are lucky like us, you may come across a family of red deer, the largest of their species. If you don't disturb them too much, they will easily allow themselves to be photographed at a shorter distance.


Once on the Isle of Sky, don't miss the old Sligachan Bridge, at the crossroads between Dunvegan, Portree and Broadford. Built in 1810, it is located at a starting point for mountaineers who set off to climb the Cuillin. There are also many tourists there to photograph this mythical place, which is said to be a portal to the world of fairies... Legend says that if you dip your head in it for 7 seconds, you will gain eternal beauty! Want to try your luck? The water is freezing and it is forbidden to dry your face afterwards; for the spell to work, the water must dry naturally.


Home to the chiefs of the Clan of MacLeod for more than 800 years, a visit to this Castle on the Isle of Sky is essential. An old fortress, enlarged several times, the castle forms a successful and unified whole, although very austere. Inside, on the contrary very warm, you will discover several objects from the Clan Mac Léod allowing you to trace the history of many generations. The museum is well laid out and through half-open doors, it allows you to discover the old parts of the castle, such as the walls, the keep, etc. Plan your visit carefully, depending on the period, there are very many visitors.

Info : the entrance fee is 16.50 pounds per adult, for the castle and the French gardens which are grandiose. Depending on the season, you may even see seals there. It is open from April 1 to mid-October.


Arriving on the Isle of Sky is very easy, via a nicely rounded bridge. Once you cross the bridge, you enter another dimension. Time seems to have stopped and the landscapes are completely different.


For our first night on the Isle of Sky, we chose Edinbane Lodge, well located and not far from Dunvegan Castle, to rest from the day's long drive. The hotel, a former 16th century hunting lodge, renovated in 2018, is easy to access, with ample parking and a very warm welcome. As for its gourmet restaurant, it is the first in the Highlands of Scotland to have been awarded 4 rosettes by the AA in 2022. The Lodge was named restaurant of the year at the Scottish Excellence Awards 2023.

What more can I say, except that you absolutely have to try it! The menu is imposed by chef Calum Montgomery and entirely based on local products that he sources from friends and family. Outside the tourist season, you will only come across locals there, a sign that the address is good. The gastronomy is... Scottish, do not compare with French gastronomy. The tastes are their own, cooked finely and bread, a non-existent commodity here, is an integral part of the menu. It is also served with ceremonial. But the trip is worth the detour. On the downside, there are numerous desserts (3, including cheese) and the piece of meat for the main course is only one bite.

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