Full of character and most probably able to tell many a tale…. “Ramshackled” is perhaps the best word to describe their charm. Patched against the elements these Highland Barns have stood for many a year…..I wouldn’t like to guess just how many years, dare I say centuries? Despite their outward appearance they were still in use when last seen. Walk by them and you feel as if you are walking in history.
Located on the shores of Loch Hourn, by the village of Corran, at the mouth of Glen Arnisdale, North West Scotland. A wild location so you can be very sure they have endured the very worst of weathers, and no doubt will continue to do so for many more years to come.
© David Oakes 2014
This is Scourie Bay when last visited in the summer. Today it will be far from tranquil. Whilst storms are lashing the whole of the U.K. the very North West of Scotland seems to be getting battered the worst. The Met Office tells us that a very deep depression is centred possibly just above Scourie with cyclonic winds of over 90 mph predicted plus of course heavy rains and some snow.
It is always hard to balance in ones mind the calm peaceful ambience of a place with the toil and turmoil of a winters storm…….whilst it is easy to say that they are used to winter storms on the North West coast of Scotland, it makes them no less dramatic or dangerous for those living there.
Location: Scourie Bay, Scourie, North West Sutherland, Highland Region, Scotland. Whilst Scourie is now considered just another small West Coast village, all be it one of the most beautiful, it was once the stronghold of Clan Mackay a fighting clan of some historic significance and distinction.
© David Oakes 2013
Although you may never have visited this Highland castle, I reckon it will still be a familiar view for many of you.
It is of course Eilean Donan Castle. No one can fail to be impressed by the Castle and its dramatic location on the shores of Loch Duich. Thankfully for the current owners a great number of visitors pause in their journey to the Scottish Isles and take a tour, if you have the chance do just that. Whilst much of to-days visitor experience centre arround the Jacobite Rebellion’s it’s history goes much deeper and is much more complicated (and for those who would like to know more then the following link is a start http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eilean_Donan )
On a calm peaceful morning it is hard to imagine the violence that the castle has seen and some of that violence inflicted by English warship whilst the castle was defended by Spanish Military who were supporting the Jacobite ‘Old Pretender’. But the castle is perhaps an indication that there is much more to the area than just a castle
Two miles south of Donan is an equally important site which people on the ‘Road to the Isles’, heading for Lochalsh and the Isle of Skye must pass.
Glen Shiel may well be passed un-noticed, unaware of the bloody battles that took place there. Even more will pass by this church an not know of its existence…..yet for me its location is equally dramatic and its historical connection much more poignant than the clinical Visitor Centre experience at the castle.
Clachan Duich (or church of stone by the Loch Duich) is its name to-day. In times gone by it has also be known as the Church of Saint Dubhthac. Whilst the roofless building has foundations that go back to the 11th century experts say there are records that the site has religious connections going back to the 3rd century.
It location is hard to beat, on high ground above the Loch, in the shadow of the Five Sisters of Kintail in a relatively sheltered valley at Morvich and on a clear day are evocative views to the Islands. For years it has been the Clan Burial ground for the Clan MacRaes of Kintail and many Clan warriors are buried here, for feudal wars were much apart of those early years. But others who fell during the Jacobite uprisings are also here. Step inside the roofless walls and you will find a simple, but very large and rusty iron cross together with a memorial to all who lost their lives at the Battle of Sheriffmuir.
So pause for more than just a few moments on this special spot….enjoy the beauty, peace and the tranquillity of the moment but reflect upon the fact that you are standing on and amongst REAL history….a history of passion, believe and much bloodshed.
© David Oakes 2013