My tour of the Highlands continued as I enjoyed the second day on the Isle of Skye, an island off the north-western coast of Scotland. Along the ride, we stopped several times–to explore a small town called Portree, to climb mountains in the Highlands, and to hear Scottish folktales about clans, Scottish fairies and the formation of the mountains. One of our stop was the scenic Creag an Fheilidh, or the Kilt Rock; this tremendous cliff appears to be designed (naturally!) in the pattern of a tartan kilt. The night we stayed at the Broadford Backpackers Hostel in Broadford, on the Isle of Skye. On Day 3, we set out for Loch Ness. Our tour guide told us many myths of sightings of the Loch Ness monster and informed us of various searches for Nessie. Unfortunately, I didn’t spot Nessie this trip, but maybe next time!
Next we drove through the northern Scottish city of Inverness, we stopped at Culloden Battlefield, the sight of the violent battle on April 16, 1746. In this battle, the Scottish loyalists led by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland brutally defeated Charles Edward Stuart and his Jacobite army, which was predominantly composed of Highlanders; in the timespan of about an hour, between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded by the loyalists, who suffered much lighter losses of 50 dead and 259 wounded. After we walked the battlefield and saw the Culloden Monument, our Haggis Adventures yellow bus headed south for Edinburgh. One of our last stops was at the Tomatin distillery, where we learned about the whisky distilling process and were given free samples of Tomatin whisky.
I really enjoyed the three-day tour of the Scottish Highlands. The Highlands are beautiful, and much traumatic history lies in the northern areas that I saw; the Highland Clearances in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries encouraged the emigration and also forced the migration of Scots to many places, including the Americas and Australia. I was able to enhance the information I had learned in my Modern Scottish History course at the University of Edinburgh with this weekend of sightseeing. During the weekend, I learned a lot about the plight of Highlanders, sustenance farmers, and numerous clans during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the Scottish elite committed all efforts to creating profit and urbanizing Scotland.