Pictures from Doug and Pat Ross on their trip to Scotland 2007
Cuillin Hills, Eilean Donan Castle
Our tour group
headed back towards Broadford taking in many views of the
Cuillin Hills, which are divided, visually and geologically
into two distinct groups, the Red Cuillin and the Black
Cuillin. The Red Cuillin are lower and, being less rocky, have
fewer scrambles or climbs. Generally they receive less
attention than their higher neighbours, and consequently the
word Cuillin without a colour prefixed is often taken to mean
the Black Cuillin. The Black Cuillin are among the steepest
rocky mountains in the UK and include 15 peaks above 3,000
feet (914 metres) so they are classed as Munroes.
Since we were
ahead of schedule and the weather remained good, our Tour
Director (Gordon Tait) determined that we could stop at Eilean
Donan Castle on Loch Duich near Dornie. Eilean Donan Castle
was built in the early 7th century and has been in the
possession of the MacRae clan for most of the time. It has
been restored from ruins many times.
Built into the
walls at the ceiling of the great hall are openings to the
rooms above. The saying, "The walls have ears", is very true
here, because every word spoken by diners could be heard
upstairs. Visitors love the smells from the kitchen with its
real-life imitation of a medieval banquet.
We learned a
quaint origin for the phrase "saving face". Ladies of fashion
used cosmetics laced with wax on their faces not too many
centuries ago. We saw some embroidered screens near the
fireplace, which we were told could be raised or lowered so
that the heat wouldn't melt the wax on their faces. Thus, the
expression arose . . . "saving face".
Pat asked about
an antique oak item standing in the floor displayof the great
hall. One of the guides identified as a skeining wheel or
"weasel" and allowed pictures to be taken in this one
instance. This implement has a screw on the inside with a
piece of wood attached. After so many turns of the skeiner,
the screw will have pushed the slat of wood far enough for it
to pop out and make a popping sound which let you know you had
wound a skein of 300 yards. [The skeining wheel is 90 inches
in circumference and goes click on every revolution, and on
the 120th revolution goes pop.] That's the origin of the song,
"Pop Goes the Weasel".
The tartan fabric
carpets in the bedrooms on the third floor, have been featured
in many a Highland saga, such as Highlander and Braveheart, as
well as movies such as Loch Ness and James Bond 007: "The World
is Not Enough".
It was a short
walk to the pub at Dornie before the drive back to Broadfield.