This week so far! Isle of Skye tours

What a week its been so far,  some wonderful trips to the Isle of Skye, Eilean Donan Castle, and even got to take some pictures looking on to Uig.  We stopped at all the usual places, Kilt Rock and Urquhart Castle,

The weather has been wonderful for the most part, but we have had some heavy showers on occasion,  as usual it didn’t stop us doing anything and it tended to rain while we were driving so we didn’t even get wet.

Here are the pictures enjoy them.

Eilean Donan castle is now on my car

Eilean Donan castle is now on my car

Picnic in amazing scenery

Picnic in amazing scenery

The Quaraing is a wonderful place for walking.

The Quaraing is a wonderful place for walking.

Looking down on Uig,

Looking down on Uig,

Lochness

Lochness

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Lifting out of the Sea near Kilt Rock Isle of Skye

Lifting out of the Sea near Kilt Rock Isle of Skye

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Looking back over the Highlands from the Loch Carron road.

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Guests on the way home

Guests on the way home

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Loch Carron

Loch Carron

Isle of Skye Cuillins are wonderful.

Cuiliins of Skye

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The Heather is in Bloome

The Heather is in Bloome

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Out and about with ionahighlandtours.com

What a start we have had to the new season, out and about with ionahighlandtours.com to the Isle of Skye, Eilean Donan Castle, Ben Nevis, Lochness, Falls of Foyers. Cawdor Castle, Clava Cairns and of course Culloden battlefield too mention just a few of our most popular destinations.

Guests have enjoyed feeding the calves and cattle with carrots, and getting to be hands on with the wild life, we have seen wild goats, white tailed sea eagles,  deer and many other wonderful things nature in the Highlands of Scotland has to offer.

The yellow gorse has been a wonderful reminder summer is coming,  We had such a show this year, the blue bells covering the ground were amazing and gave everything a blue/purple sheen as you looked from a distance.

Having had a dry winter, we found ourselves wet in spring but not enough to spoil anything, it made the waters falls fuller and a joy to see, and all the greenery looked more vibrant because of it.

Many new friends made and how wonderful it is to see so many people enjoying the wonderful sights of the Highlands, I am so spoiled at having the pleasure of taking people around and showing them such beauty.

I bought a new camera, one that I am hoping will picture what I see and will give so much detail it will make everyone want to come and see it for themselves.  I am still very much learning how to use it but I am happy with the results so far, but decide for yourself as you look at the following pictures.

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Gypsy caravan on the grounds of Cawdor Castle,

Black house, Culloden Battlefield with ionehighlandtours.com

Black house on Culloden battlefield, one of the few examples with peat used on its walls,

Yellow Gorse in the Scottish highlands

Yellow Gorse covers the Highlands of Scotland

The cuillins of Skye   with ionahighlandtours.com

The Cuillins of Skye, taken from Eilean Donan castle

Scottish highlands with ionahighlandtours.com

Scottish Highlands

Loch Carron Road looking back towards Skye

Happy Guests on tour with ionahighlandtours.com with scenes like these why go abroad?

 

Surprise visit

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Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns

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Fort George

Fort George

A couple of young guests staying at the guest house hadnt really seen too much of the Highlands while they were there, so we loaded up the car and went for a ride,  it was a grey sort of day but the sun was trying to come out and it even rained a little at points, but each time we stopped the sun tried and the rain stopped.

 

We went to Clava Cairns, Culloden Battlefield, Lochness, Urquhart castle and Fort George, not bad for a short tour of four hours.  Just a few of the pictures of the day

Easter 2014

What a great Easter weekend it was, a full day trip to the Isle of Skye with a family of six, two of which were extremely well behaved children who renamed me miss Wendy, a nickname I think I will keep.  We had a windy day but the sun was shone on us all and we covered a lot of ground and saw the wonderful views that the Highlands has to offer.  From Inverness to Eilean Donan castle and up to Kilt rock.  The next day (Sat) we went to Ben Nevis to allow the children who were from India to play in the snow, We havent had a lot of snow this winter so Ben Nevis was one of the few places I could think of to fulfil this wish.  I do so enjoy fulfilling the wishes of my guests.  The little man aged 4 brought me a snow ball from the very top of Ben Nevis all the way down to the car park, his poor hand was freezing carrying it all that way.  The smile on his face was so heart warming when I received what little was left of it.  Thank you Rohan I promise to not call you little man anymore.

 

On the Saturday evening I received a call from guests wishing to spend as long as was possible on tour and see as many sights as we could allow given what time was available, we did the run round Lochness, up into the mountains where the sights were again wonderful, mountains all round us, pictures to take home and made memories for all of us.   We stopped in some wonderful places for more pictures and again we went to Ben Nevis, the views from the top of Ben Nevis were breathtaking, a real must see.

 

It gives me such pleasure to show the sights the Highlands has to offer, there may be places all over the world that are wonderful and beautiful and some may even look similar but as my guests said there is nothing like the Highlands of Scotland, the setting, the air everything about it is unique for no other reason than it is the Highlands of Scotland.

 

Packaging photograph of Glenmorangie - The Original

Glenmorangie Distillery, Scotland

The Glenmoragnie Distillery is another of the popular destinations in our Highlands Distillery tour. The Glenmorangie distillery produces a range of very well known (and loved) Single Malt Whiskys – at the time of writing 12 different variations ranging from the original ten year old to a twenty-five year old. Different casks are used to subtly amend the flavors of the various offerings.

Packaging photograph of Glenmorangie - The Original

Glenmorangie Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky – The Original

History

In 1738 production of alcohol started at the Morangie farm with a brewery which used the farm’s water supply, the Tarlogie Spring. The farm was acquired in 1843 and the brewery converted to a distillery using a couple of second-hand gin stills. It was shortly after this that the distillery was named Glenmoraninie.

In 1918 The distillery was purchased by it main customer Macdonald and Muir.

Macdonald and Muir retained control of the distillery for almost ninety years until it was sold to the French company Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2004. Since then the brand has been overhauled with new variants and a packaging update.

To meet demand the number of stills increased from two to four in 1977. In the eighties it was decided that the distillery’s water supply needed to be protected to ensure both quality and quantity, and, land surrounding the Tarlogie Spring was purchased. In 1990 another four stills were added. Two new fermentation vessels were built in 2002 and a further four stills were added in 2009, bringing the total to twelve. It’s surprising to learn that over all this time and with the expansion from two to twelve stills that the staff responsible for the distillery, the ‘Men of Tain’ as they are known, remains constant at just sixteen people. The ‘Sixteen Men of Tain’ are responsible for keeping the distillery operating 24×7 throughout the year, with breaks only for Christmas and essential maintenance.

In addition to Glenmoragnie the company also produces the Ardbeg single Islay malt from its distillery based on the Island of Islay.

Visiting the Glenmorangie Distillery you’ll notice a unique feature, which began with the purchase of the second-hand gin stills. The stills are the tallest in Scotland at 26ft 3in (8.00 metres) tall, with 16 ft 10.25 in (5.1372 metres) necks.

The Stills at Glenmoragnie. Photograph: Jack Shainsky

The Stills at Glenmoragnie. Photograph: Jack Shainsky

Map – Glenmoragnie Distllery, Tain, Scotland


View Glenmorangie Distillery, Tain, Scotland in a larger map

Google Street View of the Glenmorangie Distillery


View Glenmorangie Distillery, Tain, Scotland in a larger map

Links

Glenmoranigie Distillery Website Note. You have to confirm you are over 18 years of age before you can enter the website.
Glenmorangie on Wikipedia

changing Seasons

How wonderful it is to hear the Geese as they chatter away leaving Inverness for their winter homes, I love to hear them but it also makes me a little sad that the warm sunshine is also almost over.  Then I remember its being replaced with all those wonderful colours of Autumn.  I do so like to go up into the Highlands and see the trees changing colour, the reds and orange’s turning to golds which will soon be lining the footpaths and roads.

I am still doing tours into the mountains and the usual runs so please don’t hesitate if you want to come share it too!!  I am also hoping to go exploring some other places to go like the south end of the isle of Skye.  I will take my camera and try to get some wonderful Autumn pictures to share with you all.

 

 

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

A photograph of the award winning 'The Singleton of Glen Ord' whisky. Photograph: Cognis PR. - www.ionahighlandtours.com

Glen Ord Distillery, Scotland

The Glen Ord Distillery is one of three distilleries we visit on our ‘Distillery Tour’. The distillery has passed through several hands since it started life in 1838. It is now owned by Diageo Distilling, which was formed when former owners Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan in 1997.

A photograph of the award winning 'The Singleton of Glen Ord' whisky from the Glen Ord Distillery, Scotland. Photograph: Cognis PR. - www.ionahighlandtours.com

The Singleton of Glen Ord only available in Asia – or the Glen Ord Distillery visitor centre in Scotland

The distillery specializes in providing whisky for blending, and specialist brands to the Asian markets. If you are a fan of The Singleton of Glen Ord, the distillery visitor center is the only place outside of Asia where you can buy it! If you like ‘a wee dram’ you’re in luck. The £6.00 price of the guided tour of the distillery itself includes a sample (price checked August 2013).

History

The history of Glen Ord is entwined with Scottish lore and the MacKenzies of Ord. The Glen Ord distillery was founded in 1838 by Thomas MacKenzie. Originally called Ord, the distillery was re-named Glenoran in 1882. It finally became known as Glen Ord in 1923, when it was sold to John Dewar & Sons. Dewar’s are well-known for their blended whiskies, and still use Glen Ord whiskies in their blends to this day.

The current distillery has an annual production capacity of five million litres. Six new copper stills are being added to the distillery in 2013/2014 to double the production capacity to ten million litres a year. The remainder of the whisky, not used for creating blends, is marketed as single malts exclusively in south-east Asia and Japan.

Notes

For health & safety reasons, children under 8 years old are not permitted in the production areas of the distillery.

A full list of opening hours and prices is given on the distillery website

[dacallout type=big]Due to construction work ‘mini tours’ only are available between August 20, 2013 and November 18, 2013. Admission is reduced to £3.00. The good news is you still get a sample![/dacallout]

Map – Glen Ord Distillery, Scotland


View Glen Ord Distillery in a larger map

Google Street View of the Glen Ord Distillery, Scotland

Interestingly you can ‘drive through’ the distillery with the Google car in Street View! There are lots of signs of the impending construction to be seen.

View Glen Ord Distillery in a larger map

Links

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:

Urquhart Castle on the banks of Lochness. Scotland. www.inonahighlandtours.com

Urquhart Castle – Loch Ness

Urquhart Castle on the banks of Lochness. Scotland. www.inonahighlandtours.com

Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness


Urquhart Castle (pronounced ‘Ur-kert’) is a popular destination on our 4 hour Loch Ness Tour. The castle is in a very picturesque position on the northern shore of Loch Ness near Drumnadrochit. An area famous for its sightings of ‘Nessie’ – the fabled Loch Ness monster.

Urquhart castle started life as a Pict fort, and legend has it that St. Columba visited the area in the sixth century.

First formally documented in the thirteenth century, the castle has a long history of battles, skirmishes and sieges. It finally fell into disuse around 1690 when the gatehouse was blown up – the remains of which can be seen today. The roof of the Tower – ‘Grant Tower’ collapsed after a severe storm in 1715.

The visitor centre includes an audio visual presentation, tea rooms and gift shops.

Links

Map – Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness


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