Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Last-but-Not-Least Castles

These last two castles are examples of ruins that are stories waiting to happen for those of us who know little or nothing about their history. But they're also a good case-in-point for castles you pay to get into versus those that you just happen upon.

CASTLE ARMADALE was our last stop on the Isle of Skye before taking the ferry back to the mainland (and before the rains came). It's a castle you pay to see, like Urquhart, even though there are no furnished rooms to walk through (always with photography verboten!). Just ruins. Maybe some ruins are just more important than others. Who knows.

Armadale is of the Clan Donald (when did they lose their Mac or did they never have it to begin with, not to be confused with MacDonald?). Maybe having its own well-kept garden is the secret behind paid admission? Or maybe the clan decides? Again, who knows.

CASTLE INVERLOCHY in Fort William, as we headed back to our cabin from Skye, was one of those off-the street castles we just happened upon. No paid admission. In fact, we were the only ones there late afternoon. But, as things like this happen, it was one of our favorites. BTW, Inverlochy is on Loch Lochy, which I assume is the equivalent of Lake Lakey. "What's in a name?" comes to mind.

So now we've done a loop from Inverness in the north, down the Great Glen along Loch Ness, off to the west to the Isle of Skye, coming back east on the southern end of the Glen at Fort William on Loch Lochy, going northeast till the loch becomes River Lochy, connected to Loch Oich (where our cabin was), just before Loch Ness.

Not bad for 4 days of castling! And just in time for the 3 wonderful, restful days of gentle rain that followed. Just what our souls and bodies needed. (Who knows what other castles we may have seen if it hadn't rained?)

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