The Harry Potter and James Bond driving day / by Martha Keyes

While we could have easily spent a few more days exploring all Skye has to offer, we had decided to make seeing Caerlaverock Castle--the seat of the Maxwell Clan for hundreds of years--a priority during our time in Scotland. This meant making the drive back down south where we had come from. And then some. We drove from Skye to Dumfriesshire in one day--over 300 miles. To Americans, 300 miles is a paltry distance for a drive. It's less than the distance between Salt Lake and Saint George. But 300 miles on Scottish roads is another story indeed. Google Maps says it's about 7 and a half hours. It took us more like 10 in the motorhome. But, my goodness gracious, what a spectacular drive it was! We had a couple of short stops planned, but I wanted to give us the time and flexibility to make other quick stops if we felt so inclined. And we definitely did feel inclined to do just that. Early on in the day, we passed by Sligachan Bridge and River, and we all got out to admire the rocky river, the surrounding mountains (the Black Cuillin), the stone bridge, and the cute little town. 

Click these photos for a panorama of this beautiful area.

We passed over the bridge that leads from Skye to Kyle of Lochalsh, and all of us were so sad to say bye to Skye! The views of Loch Alsh were so pretty that I took advantage of needing to let a car pass by us to step out for a little panorama. 
As we continued on, we noticed a Point of Interest sign, and Emily and I got out to see what the castle-turned-hotel might be like. So glad we did--not so much for the hotel as for the wooded walk it took us through. It was surreal, with bright green mossy floors and beautiful trees. 

Our next stop was a planned one at Glenfinnan Viaduct. If you've seen the Harry Potter movies, this is the beautiful shot you see of the Hogwarts Express from above, passing over a stone bridge of arches. We knew we wouldn't make it in time for the real train to pass by, but I'm so glad we went anyway! It was so beautiful. 
Also, as we were parking our motorhome in the car park, a couple in a black sedan was struggling to park (I'm not sure why). When we returned from our walk to the viaduct, their car was there, reversed up a hill. No idea how they did that! They were safe, thankfully, but it created a bit of a spectacle to see the car where it was--I thought that someone had accidentally driven it down the hill. Nope!

After Glenfinnan, we continued south through Glencoe. OH MY GOSH. I loved loved loved this part of the drive. Honestly, I was mesmerized (but driving responsibly, obviously) by it all. I made us stop briefly and then wasn't even a little bid mad when we had to backtrack to use the bathroom at the visitor centre. Glencoe is completely spectacular--a glen surrounded by mountains formed from volcanos. It's also the location of the 1692 Massacre of Glencoe. It is ALSO where Skyfall is filmed--when Bond returns to his family's home for the epic ending battle. 

We continued our drive through such beautiful territory and down into the Trossachs where we stopped at Loch Lomond to admire the misty, still scene there. This whole day was the most beautiful and rewarding (and long) drive I've ever had.