We bid farewell to Plockton a wee bit unsure of our plans for the day. Our itinerary sent us back to the Isle of Skye and south to Armadale Castle, and then across the bay to Malaig.
However, we'd been cautioned that due to high winds, the ferry schedule might be scrubbed, which would send us back the way we came by bus before we could head to Fort William. Quite the long way 'round.
As you can see from the photo, the day moved from a bit dreary to brilliantly blue, though the winds remained a cause for concern. But they did not hinder our visit to Armadale Castle, the spiritual home of Clan Donald.
Clan Donald takes its name from the grandson of the 12th century Gaelic hero, Somerled. The Donald clan ruled the western coast of Scotland for nearly 400 years. Known as the Lords of the Isles, they were almost completely independent of royal control.
MacDonalds arrived on Skye in the 1400s, settling various parts of the island. Originally a manor house, Armadale House became the Donald's favored residence in about 1650. This house was located a bit farther west than the current site, and a new house was built in 1790, where it remains today.
In 1690, the house was burned down in an effort to force Sir Donald Macdonald of Sleat to submit to the government. The navy bombarded the house for some time, but the walls resisted the shelling. Later, a fire ravaged the house--either by accident or design.
In 1790, the new mansion was built and remains today as estate offices and a wedding venue. You can see it in the photo below as the white building to the far side of the castle.
A Scottish baronial style castle was built in 1815 mostly for show, not defense, and abutted the original house. A fire gutted the central portion of the castle, and it was rebuilt in 1858.
In 1925, the family moved to a smaller house, and the castle was left to wind and rain until it was purchased in 1972 by the Clan Donald Lands Trust.
The visit wouldn't be complete without a trip through the gardens. The pathways wind past trees that are hundreds of years old, and date back to the original gardens of 1790. Much has been done to restore the gardens to their former splendor.
Toward the back of the property (to my way of thinking, anyway) resides the Museum of the Isles, considered (for its size) one of the most significant museums in Scotland.
If you look for it, you'll find the castle laundry, a small, rectangular ruin of stone and ivy. Because Armadale Castle is not accessible due to its current instability, the laundry provides a great spot for photos.
How did the crossing to Malaig go? Check back tomorrow and find out!
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This is where I talk about things in my life outside of writing. Mostly gardening and dogs.
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