The bagpiper boy at a 13th century castle in the village of Dornie in Scotland. We met this young and earnest person bagpiping away like he had done it all his life during Easter break three years ago.
In the conversation that ensued once he had stopped for a break, it turned out that his surname was Mackenzie. “But a cannae tell ye for sure that a am fae yon family that lived in the castle,” he added in his soft burr. He was referring to the Clan Mackenzie who had long held the castle as their domain along with their allies, the Clan MacRae which owns the castle today.
His backdrop possibly could not be more dramatic as the castle of Eilean Donan, named after a Gaelic priest called Donnán who is supposed to have established a church on this island before he was martyred. The castle was built upon the small tidal island with the scenic Kintail ranges in its backdrop. Its main purpose was to be a fortification against Viking raids in those early times, but after, it went through the turbulent Jacobite rebellion period that haunts Scottish history and was abandoned for 200 years post the rebellion.
How to Get There: The preferred mode of travel is a car. Hire one from Glasgow and drive down to the castle via the A82 or A9. You are looking at a time span of roughly 4 hours. There are bus tours that bring you to the castle too from Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow. For train journeys, you can start with a train from Inverness, take another train to the Kyle of Lochalsh and finally a taxi or bus to Eilean Donan, because if you did plan to walk from the Kyle of Lochalsh, you would be on the road for a couple of hours. I repeat, a car would really be your most hassle-free option.
Best time to be there: Sunset. You see why?
Entrance price: £7.50. Worth it. The MacRae descendant who bought and restored the castle in the 90s has done a bang-up job. You will see life recreated as it must have been once inside the castle.
Opening Times: Between 10am-to 6pm during high season (March-October). Otherwise it is open between 10am-4pm.
Have you been to the dreamy Eilean Donan?