If you are going to the Isle of Skye, go to Dunvegan Castle. It’s a must-do on all the hip kids’ travel lists. Besides, the Clan MacLeod is kind of a big deal around these parts, and this castle has been the clan’s seat for over 800 years. In fact, it’s the 27th Chief we have to thank for opening up his home to the public in 1933.
The Castle is located in the north west corner of Skye, just one mile north of the village of Dunvegan. Lucky for us, we were only a 20 minute drive away.
So let’s get started!
I noticed immediately how busy it was, chock full of tourists. Although happy for the clan getting all that entrance money (£12 from each of us for entrance to the castle and gardens), it did mean that I had lots of strangers in my photographs. I am one of those photogs that will wait until the tourists clear the area. Sometimes I am not so lucky. This guy below looking at camera features heavily in a few of my pics.
If I may be honest, I am not a fan of pebble dash. And at some point in this castle’s illustrious renovation history, someone decided to render the exterior in little tiny pebbles. Pebble dash may have been de rigeur at one point, however I prefer my castle exteriors to be clad in big-ass stones. Perhaps this is the working man’s castle. I’m not judging.
The inside was pretty cool. Lots of museum pieces collected over the years, including some Jacobite relics. They were especially proud of their famous visitors. Photographs of Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Walter Scott lined the walls.
I was more excited about what was happening outside. Lochs and more Lochs.
It was at Castle Dunvegan that I learned about my iPhone’s panorama function. I am hooked.
Now, about those gardens.
There are apparently 1 hectare of land to wander. Although I have no way of measuring a hectare in my brain, I can say the gardens were quite compact, with a few different areas to explore from formal gardens to the vegetable garden. I really enjoyed wandering the more wild, natural parts. The waterfalls were pretty neat too. Nice gardens. Five stars.
Considering how hot it was, the gardens did offer lovely pops of shade to hide in.
And little paths to wander.
Oh, and I mentioned waterfalls. My Olympus Pen did the waterfalls no justice.
The gardens lead to the water where, if you time it correctly, there will be a boat trip in your future!
I was filled with glee to discover that they run seal boat spotting trips on Loch Dunvegan for only £7.50pp. And as we wandered up, we found a boat practically waiting just for us.
View of the boat launch from the castle grounds.
The Clan McLeod’s motto is “Hold Fast”, so this salty gent’s tee shirt is appropriate.
The boat was quite small, so if you are squeamish about water or wake or whatever, these little motor boats might not be for you.
All the more closer to the seals, I say!
Oh, and how about a couple of poorly shot videos?
We got pretty close up to these gentle beasts. Obviously they are quite used to the tourist boats. I wonder if they are as excited to see us as we are them?
Something tells me no.
After all that seal excitement, it was time to head back to shore.
Heading back to the castle, I shot off a few choice pics using some of the art scene filters the Olympus Pen has on offer, to varying degrees of success.
And just when I thought I’d got the shot of the day, another tourist photobomb. Such is life in Scotland. It’s kind of a big deal.
Here’s a link to Dunvegan Castle’s website for all their opening, closing and other dealings. Pick up a tea towel in the shop! Super cute and easy to pack reminder of your trip in the north west corner of Skye.
Next time I’ll let you in on one of Skye best kept secrets. What’s that, you say?
You’ll just have to wait and see.