Castles in the Sky(e)
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be allotted a space on Arcadia’s excursion to the Scottish Highlands and Isle of the Skye. The weekend started around 9 a.m. on Friday, when a few other FYSAE students and I were greeted by a coach full of students from London, Ireland, and Scotland.
Our first stop was Doune Castle. Built in the 13th century, Doune is popular for being used as a filming location for Game of Thrones, Outlander, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Two closed highways and three hours later, we stopped in Glencoe to stretch our legs and take in the amazing scenery. Then, after a quick stop at the visitor center and a dinner of haggis and scones, we headed to our hostel and called it a night.
Our first stop on Saturday was Armadale Castle and the Museum of the Isles, where we learned about the history of the highlands and the clans that used to occupy them. We then visited a little fort called “Dun Beag Broch,” which appropriately translates to “Little Fort.” The history of which is a little fuzzy, but dates back to between 100 BC and 100 AD. Next we took a short drive to one of the most iconic places in the Highlands, Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock. It was windy, wet, and cold, but the view was completely worth it.
On Sunday morning, we woke up bright and early to visit arguably the most iconic place in the highlands, Loch Ness. With no monster sightings or strong winds, the loch made the perfect backdrop for the medieval ruins of Urquhart Castle.
We then made our way to Culloden Battlefield, where a major battle of the British Religious Civil War took place. After a history lesson, tour, and lunch, we headed to our last stop, Blair Athol, a whisky distillery founded in the 1700s, where we ended our Scottish Highland experience with an unforgettable tour and tasting.