We woke up this morning in the picturesque village of Tobermory. We started the day with a pre-breakfast photo walk, leaving the Lord of the Glens at six o’clock in the morning. On our way, we were welcomed by the only local up at that time, Toby, the famous orange cat of Tobermory. A children’s book is based on this 15-year-old friendly creature. He made sure to say hello to each of our guests. We then took off to tell the story of Tobermory with our cameras. After breakfast, we met with Seamus, a local geologist. He took us on a great hike along the coast to learn how to see this volcanic landscape through a different lens. Right after the hike, we walked back into Tobermory and straight to the distillery. Here, we toured the facilities to learn how one of the best whiskeys in Scotland is made at the only distillery on the island of Mull. We made our way back to the Lord of the Glens for lunch and continued our journey to the island of Eigg. This tiny, community-owned island offered us a lovely hike along the coast. We accomplished so much in just one day here in the islands of Scotland.
Lord of the Glens
Fort Augustus presented a charming backdrop as we prepared to descend the flight of five locks down to the entrance to Loch Lomond. Everyone watched from the deck, fascinated as the lock-keepers operated the hydraulic gates while Captain Tony and his crew maneuvered the ship delicately from lock to lock. Once at the bottom, traffic on the public road came to a halt, the swing bridge opened, and we made our stately progress out into the open waters of the loch. At twenty-three miles long and over 1000 feet deep, Loch Lomond holds an enormous volume of water which belies its relatively narrow breadth. Halfway along, Urquhart Castle came into view; this magnificent ruined fortress is strategically placed to dominate the region. On an ancient site, the present walls date from about 1320, and were destroyed during the Jacobite uprising of 1691. The final stages of Thomas Telford’s Caledonian Canal glided peacefully by, and we arrived at the top of the Muirtown flight of locks at Inverness. Then it was on to the bus to explore the sights of the area. The ill-fated Jacobite rebellions came to their climax in April 1746 at the battle of Culloden, when the weary highlanders were overwhelmed by the superior government forces; the impressive museum at Culloden presented this story with compelling effect. In bright sunshine we strolled around the site of the battle, imagining the highland charge and the answering report of the Hanoverian guns. A group of Highland cows were on hand to pose for photographs; their function at Culloden is to conserve the landscape with their judicious grazing. Finally we visited the Clava Cairns, a remarkable set of well-preserved early Bronze Age monuments dating from about 4,000 years ago. These subtle and complex stone structures are focused on the midwinter solstice; prehistoric farming communities erected them as a ritual expression of their beliefs about ancestors, life, and death. Our evening, and indeed our entire voyage, was rounded off after dinner with a delightful performance by the young students of the Elizabeth Fraser School of Highland Dancing. It was a fitting finale to our exploration of Scotland on board Lord of the Glens.