This was a purely magical day beginning with the ferry from Mull to Ardnamurchan. The crossing was magnificent with dramatic clouds over the mountains on the islands. First stop was Mingary Castle for a cup of coffee and a quick look around. This is a completely restored castle that is now a hotel and restaurant. In 1265 the MacDougall’s rebuilt the castle but did not have long to enjoy their fortress. Inasmuch as they opposed Robert the Bruce in his ultimately successful bid for the Scottish crown they lost their lands to Bruce’s supporters the Clan Maclain.
Next stop was a hike along the coast with some of the most amazing views you can imagine. Trekking all over this area and imagining what it must have been like in medieval times is rather humbling. After our hike we stopped at an old church ruin, St. Comghan’s Church, and grave yard in which there were two of the grave slabs we are always seeking out. The two oldest slabs in the graveyard are Maclain and part of the Lordship of the Isles. From the church we headed to Acharacle and a meeting with Fergie Macdonald, a descendant of Clan Ranald and a well known Scottish musician. Spent a lovely couple of hours with Fergie and a young man named Angus Macdonald who has a wealth of historical knowledge and who is a direct descendant of John of Islay, first Lord of the Isles! Lo and behold also discovered that the great Somerled, the first one to unite the isles in the 1100’s fought a famous battle with the Vikings in Ath Tharacaill” (Acharacle, the town where I am staying), “the ford of Torquil,” and is the place where the Viking warrior fell under Somerled’s avenging sword.
After they left us we went over to Castle Tioram and explored. I fell in love with this castle immediately – it is pure magic. Perhaps it. was the setting, perhaps it is the history, but it is magnificent and was the highlight of the day. Tom and I shared a wee dram as we explored the castle. The stunning beauty of the entire area of Ardnamurchan adds to the magic. My B&B in Acharacle is the Innes House and is a perfect place to land at night. More exploring tomorrow.