Beautiful skies over Northern Scotland – Caithness

Some wonderful Shining clouds and a glimpse of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in this time-lapse video taken in Caithness, Scotland on the night of the 4th August 2013.

What a fantastic view it must have been. The clouds are called ‘Noctilucent Clouds’, and if you want to know more about the Northern Lights, you can read about the Aurora Borealis (and Aurora Australis – Southern Lights) here.

There are so many beautiful things to see here in the Scottish Highlands.

Video: Maciej Winiarczyk; Music: Jolanta Galka-Kurkowska

Isle of Skye Time Lapse Video

We’ve found a beautiful video of Skye, which we’d like to share. It was made by David Watson, who recently compiled over 6,000 of his images for this breathtaking video.



If you are interested in one of our Tours to Skye, you might want to find out more about the area, so, here’s a quick primer to get you up to speed.

Some background information on the Isle of Skye

The island has a long history, having been occupied since around 6,000 BC when nomadic hunter-gatherers arrived. The isle came under Norse rule. We have modern day evidence of that because a 12th century Viking shipyard was discovered in 2011. For a long period Skye was overseen by the Scottish Clan MacLeod and Clan Donald. Later on, the Jacobite risings of the 1700s led to the breaking up of the clan system in Scotland and then the Clearances which completely changed the culture by replacing the local communities with sheep farming. Time moved on, people moved in and out, and Skye’s population once over 20,000, was 9,232 by the time of the 2001 census, and is now growing again.

Skye’s key modern-day industries are tourism, agriculture, fishing and whisky-distilling.

A relief map of the Isle of Skye showing the principle locations.

Isle of Skye Relief Map

At around 640 square miles, Skye is the second-largest island in Scotland after Lewis and Harris and it is dominated by the Cuillin hills which are also known as An Cuiltheann in Gaelic.

The Black Cuillins are composed mainly of basalt and gabbro and they include twelve Munros (mountains in Scotland with a height of over 3,000 ft – there are 282 in total!). This is great news if you are a Munro bagger! A complete hike off the Cuillin ridge can take 15–20 hours. The Red Hills, known as Am Binnean Dearg in Gaelic, to the south are also called the Red Cuillins. They owe their reddish colouring to the granite composition of the stone, which has been weathered into rounded hills and has lots of scree slopes.

The geology of Skye brings some very unique and striking features. The Trotternish area has a basalt base which produced relatively rich soils and some interesting rock features. The Kilt Rock is named after the tartan-like patterns in the 344 ft cliffs rising above the sea. The Quiraing is a spectacular series of rock pinnacles on the eastern side of the peninsula and further south is the rock pillar of the Old Man of Storr.

Beyond Loch Snizort to the west of Trotternish is the Waternish peninsula, which ends in Ardmore Point’s double rock arch. Duirinish is separated from Waternish by Loch Dunvegan, which contains the island of Isay. The loch is ringed by sea cliffs that reach nearly 1,000 ft at Waterstein Head.

Want to see the Isle of Skye yourself? Why not try one of our tours?

The above information was taken from:

Introduction to the Scottish Highlands

Welcome to my first podcast! Today I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself, Iona Highland Tours, and the wonderful Scottish Highlands.

 

Later today!!

Later today, I am hoping to move the website forward with a podcast.  For all those of you that know me, you know how I love to chatter and talk.  Lol I have finally found a good place to fulfill my need.

In today’s world we all need to evolve and move forward in business, so with the invention of all the social media sites, the web sites and now pod casting its been a huge learning curve for me, (with the help of Gary Allman)  not that I am complaining in the slightest, I have enjoyed every minute of it, I have thought long and hard about adding a podcast to the site, what will I talk about? would it be of interest to anyone? and I have come to the conclusion, there is more to talk about than I had ever imagined.  I live in a place in the world, that has beauty, and history, it has romance and danger, excitement and never ending stories.

In the Highlands there is nothing people like better than to share a myth or two, to sit and tell you all the stories of the past clan wars, or how the five sisters got its name.  Stories to intrigue you, legends to enthrall you and now I am going to share some of them with you via podcast’s.

The first one a brief introduction to the Highlands will be added to the site later today, and then I plan on doing around one a week, covering some of the history and myths on the local areas,

This is not to take place of the pictures and stories of our tours that we already have but to enhance them.

The Heather is in bloom!!

How pretty the heather looks as a purple wave of colour crosses the Glens in the Highlands of Scotland.   I have noticed on the Isle of Skye it is further along and seems to have more colour.

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Heather on the Isle of Skye

As we went to Eilean Donan castle I looked at the plants growing on the side of the pathway from the rear car park to the main entrance. The colours were fabulous.

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The flowers on the garden at Eilean Donan Castle garden

I love looking at all the colours, the different greens of the trees and grasses in the glens and on the mountains and hills, the flowers on the houses of streets and the flowering tubs and baskets in each village in the Scottish Highlands as a lot of the villages compete for Britain in Bloom.

 

Summer Nights

I went for a drive this evening to Rogie falls, I went to try to get a picture of a salmon.  I spent about an hour there waiting, I saw two salmon the first I didn’t get on camera the second I got on video but it was too poor a quality to show.  I enjoyed the evening run stopping to take pictures of things that show me summer is here.  Fields that have already been harvested and left to dry.

www.ionahighlandtours.com Ullapool road by Dingwall

Hay bales in the Highlands of Scotland

Tick box

Today we went to the Isle of Skye on our private tour.  There were four of us including myself, Helena, Mariana and Lars.  When I get in the car I always ask people for their ‘tick box’ list, although we often go to the same places, each person has an expectation, something they particularly want to see, or enjoy during that day, these are the things that make it special.

www.ionahighlandtours.com Isle of Skye tourWe started at Lochness, the sun was just breaking out.

 

 

 

On today’s tick box list was a Highland cow, wonderful scenery, and a few surprises if possible.   I knew where there we some cows of course, its a common ask. so off we went, the first two farmers has moved their cows, so  it wasn’t until we got onto the Isle of Skye itself we found them .

www.ionahighlandtours.com Isle of Skye tour

Highland Cow

There was quite a herd of them and they are usualy up the mountain and away from the cameras but today they were close to the road, and easy to photograph.

Of course the next ask was easy, wonderful scenery, We went to Portree, and then on to past the old man of Storr, and did the loop, taking in Kilt Rock, at Staffin and the Living museum close to Uig.  the scenery on Skye is amazing.

We continued towards home, on the Locharron road,  where there were some wonderful photos opportunites and by then the sun was making it all so much better.  We continued home through Garve and decided as we were passing to go to Rogie Falls, I had heard the salmon were jumping at Shin Falls so there was a good chance they were at Rogie Falls as well.   Well there came the last of the tick box’s the few surprises, we had only been watching about five minutes when the first salmon jumped, we stayed watching for quite some time, unfortunately we just weren’t quick enough to get a picture no matter how hard we tried, but we all were more than happy that we saw it and created a new memory.

1st July

The highlands are just starting to come alive for the summer,  the heather is blooming slowly, the salmon are jumping at Shin Falls, whales have been spotted of the Orkney coast,  the flowers in the gardens of all the Castles are in wonderful colour.   I like looking at the bed and breakfasts with all the hanging baskets and bedding plants in every garden.  The schools are out for the summer holidays so there is life everywhere.

inverness islands www.ionahighlandtours.com

inverness islands

The Official Start of Summer

Today is officially the first day of summer and the longest day of the year, so I hope you’re all enjoying it. Off to Skye again tomorrow, three times in one week and every day it changes and is more beautiful. I don’t think I will ever tire of it.

Welcome to my blog

Well here goes,  my first blog, on any site let alone my own web site.  This is going to be Interesting, firstly to see who reads it, and secondly to see how long I can keep up finding something to say that is worth saying.   I told my son I was going to do a blog he thought it was very funny,  he asked me what is the blog about, to which I replied I really don’t know.  So I have spent most of today thinking about the blog and what to write than actually getting on with it.   I think I will just write what comes naturally and see what develops and where it takes us.   Any suggestions are always welcome though.

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Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle

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