Scottish Highlands and Hebridean Islands tours from Inverness
Eilean Donan Castle...
Whether you know its name, the chances are if you’ve thought about coming to Scotland then you’ll have come across a photo of this castle. It is the iconic Scottish Highland castle, standing proud on its small island, surrounded by the sea and connected to the mainland by an old bridge.
Eilean Donan Castle is situated near the western coastline of the Scottish Highlands, only about 12 miles from the Isle of Skye. Inverness is about 85 miles away by road (allow about two hours driving – there are so many great photo stops on the way and the road can be quite winding and slow in parts). In fact, half the fun is the drive over from Inverness which takes you down Loch Ness and past Urquhart Castle, then along Glen Moriston to Loch Cluanie and the stunning Glen Shiel and the Five Sisters of Kintail mountain range.
The castle itself sits on a small island peninsula, near the village of Dornie and is surrounded by three lochs – Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh. Since the 13th century the castle has played a key role in the history of the West Highlands and Islands from the Lords of the Isles to the Jacobite Risings. Partially destroyed in a Jacobite uprising in 1719, Eilean Donan lay in ruins for nearly 200 years until Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the island in 1911 and restored the castle to its former glory. The devotion of Col. MacRae in restoring the castle, according to the surviving ground plans, has ensured that inside Eilean Donan Castle you have a wonderful combination of modern and ancient.
Highlights of Eilean Donan Castle
While there are some richly decorated and finely presented rooms, you also have many of the traditional features that you would expect in a castle, from the imposing portcullis as you enter, to the wonderful battlements and their great views out across to Skye. In fact, just looking at the photos of Eilean Donan Castle (and even when you’re there) it’s always a surprise to most people that the castle in its current state is only about a century old - it looks far older than that to many (a great testament to the restoration efforts of the Macraes).
Eilean Donan Castle is open most of the year from February until Christmas and is well worth a visit at anytime. From April to October, visitors tour around on there own, with castle guides in many of the rooms. Outwith these months, tours are run approx. every hour and are guided.