Monday, July 05, 2004

The Scotland Report: Installment IV 

When we awoke Saturday morning, the pleasant weather that had greeted our arrival in Plockton the previous day was gone. Word on the street was that a gale was blowing in, and we were eager to be over the bridge and safely on the Isle of Skye before that happened.

On our way out of town, we passed through the teeny tiny town of Duirinish (population 21), just west of Plockton. Dad stopped the car so I could get out and get the picture I had been longing for of one of the many longhaired highland cattle that roam freely through the area:

Just after I finished taking the cow's picture, these sheep wandered by:

From Duirinish, we headed south to Eilean Donan Castle:

I stopped on the bridge to take a picture of Dad and the kids with the castle in the background, and a Dutch tourist stepped up and offered to take a picture of the 4 of us:

We had a great time exploring the castle, which is much better preserved than Urquhart Castle. Many of the rooms are set up with furniture, and the kitchen has quite an exhibit of mannequins and fake food to demonstrate castle life of long ago.

I went back and forth with myself over whether or not to put the next part in, but I've decided that I will even though it is a bit of a downer. As we were leaving the castle grounds, we saw the aftermath of a motorcycle accident at the entrance. One bike was standing at the side of the road, another was lying in the middle, and an ambulance was there as well. We saw them loading one person into the ambulance, but the ambulance did not appear to be in a hurry to take off. There was also a tarp near the second ambulance with what could only have been the second rider underneath.

I can't think of anything terribly profound to say about the wreck. I had no sudden insights into the meaning of life, only a sudden jolt of reality to think that one minute you can be cruising through life enjoying the scenery, and the next minute you're under a tarp in front of one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. Also, I felt so sad for the riders' loved ones who were going to get some awful news very soon, news that I already knew.

Within minutes, however, we were paying our toll and crossing the bridge onto the Isle of Skye, about to embark on the most memorable day of the whole vacation.


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