Good morning Scotland. Warn the west coast we’re coming! Day 5 and we’ve plans to head to the west coast to visit yet another friend I’ve made on the Twitter.
I’ve to say all the walking upon old stone streets and stairs has me terribly sore. Yet I must push on. There are far too many amazing things to see.
The roads to the west coast ARE NOT for the faint of heart. The drive reminds me of the coast highway in Northern California. Twisty, turny, narrow, and confusing. We did get terribly lost once because the map on my phone stopped responding.
I have a new way of describing road travel in Scotland. Scottish Miles. They are like country miles in the US. Far longer than a standard mile ought to be to travel. At this point we are at about 750 road miles traveled. Scottish Miles take a bite out of time and the behind sitting in the car. The landscape is so gorgeous that every extra minute ends up being quite alright.
Finally to our destination we make. My friend is waiting. Now 3 for 3 in online friends being great in person. I shall refer to him as L.
Our first Standing Stones. Oh so very exciting. These stones are in Kilmartin (St. Martin). They are thought to be land boundry markers as they are all in a row not in a circle.
Across the field we reach the Temple Wood Stone Circle. It is unknown exactly what the circle is for and over time people have stolen the standing stones so the smaller ones are replacements. Walking around and in this circle is a very surreal experience. Pagans today still use it for observance. How I would love to be able to witness that in action. Why is it here? to what end? How were the stones erected? I have so many unanswered questions.
Next we head to Dunadd the place of the original kings of Scotland. The Scotties became the Scots. We hike to the top to see the king’s seat where the first coronations took place. My kids run up and down. Truly remote and gorgeous. As early as 683 this location has been noted. Their were fights for power between the Celts and the Picts. This hill is very important to the already rich Scottish history. In the time of the first kings water surrounded the entire hill and was only accessible by boat. Now I wonder if there was a great quake to change the course of the sea. A clear day, we can see far in all directions. I am really piqued about this part of history now. More exploration is required. Oh yes, I put my foot where kings have upon the stone!
Next Castle Sween is on the agenda. It is the oldest modern built castle in Scotland. Now only a ruin on the harsh coast, it must have been a sight to behold in it’s hey day. By other castle standards it seems small. I can see generations enjoying the beauty of the ocean. On a clear day Northern Ireland can even be seen. Likely there was much activity between that edge of Ireland and Scotland. I am utterly fascinated by how earls, lords, dukes, and kings lived. Scotland has more castles than anywhere else. The -dom no matter the size evidently was of great importance.
Our final stop on the west coast was to the Kilmory Knap Chapel built in the 11th or 12th century. It is possibly associated with The Knight’s Templar fleeing persecution. A breathtaking location. Quiet reverence. A tooth was even found in the rocky ground. We are told if one digs inside the chapel many a bones can be found.
We say goodbye to my friend and the sheep dotting the, well, everywhere, and take the 100 mile drive back happy and full in heart.
Tomorrow is yet another friend and many adventures.
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