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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.

Return to Doug and Pat's Trip Index Page


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