Isle of Skye, Scotland 2018 << CELTIC INVASION VACATIONS

Celtic Invasion Vacations
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Celtic Invasion of Isle of Skye 2018

Whenever I mention, my Celtic Invasions in Scotland, someone says, "You need to go to the Isle of Skye". It's supposed to have some of the most-spectacular landscapes in the world. In 2018, we are going. We'll see castles, stunning rock formations, fairy pools, walk in the hills, watch spectacular sunsets and more.

Once again, we're gonna have a small group of about 8 guests in all. We are already half-booked. So check out the early itinerary and let me know if you'd like to join us on this incredible adventure.

Also don't forget to check out our Celtic Invasion Vacations facebook group.

Tour Contact:

Marc Gunn
Celtic Invasion Vacation
Phone # +1 512 470-4866
Email: celticinvasion@gmail.com

Our Next Celtic Invasion Vacation takes place
June 16-23, 2018

 

SEVEN NIGHTS ON ISLE OF SKYE

BASIC PLANNED ITINERARY

Friday. The trip doesn't officially start til Saturday, but I recommend that you arrive on Friday like I will. We'll get a good night's sleep in Inverness before driving to Skye on Saturday. If you can't make it on Friday, please arrive by 10am on Saturday. That's when we will plan to leave.

Saturday. We will leave Inverness around 10 am. I hope to have a least one short stop on the way to the Isle of Skye at 10 am. It might just be lunch when we take the Glenelg Ferry onto the island.

Sunday. I hope to book a guided Tour of the Isle of Skye to offer a bit of the culture and history of Skye. That'll take up the morning. In the afternoon, we'll go for a walk up Old Man Storr.

Monday. We'll make a big day of it driving to Dunevegan castle and visit a tannery. We might be out late watching the sunset. Think we'll catch the Northern Lights? I hear it's possible to see them.

Tuesday. After a long day on Monday, we're gonna stay semi-local. We will drive north up the coast to visit Kilt Rock official history tour. Then we will take a Stardust Boat Trip to see the White Tailed Sea Eagle and other water life.

Wednesday. We will head into the the Cuillens for a little walking and visit the fairy pools. You are welcome to go swimming there, I hear. In the afternoon, we will get a tour of the Talisker Distillery.

Thursday. What was the place that looked most interesting that we missed? We're gonna go check it out.

Friday. Though trip isn't over, I want to make sure you make it back to Inverness in time. So this is when we will say goodbye to the Isle of Skye. We will take the southern route back to Inverness, eventually driving along Loch Ness for another chance to catch the Monster. I wouldn't mind another visit to Uroqhart Castle but I'll be looking for other destinations on the drive back. We'll stay the night in or near Inverness.

Saturday. The Celtic Invasion comes to an end. Time to head home!

DAILY JOURNAL FROM THE INVASION

I'm very proud how this trip to the Isle of Skye turned out. I did a LOT of planning. It paid off. All of the locations I planned were solid. The timing has been awesome. I don't think I have a single complaint.

SATURDAY

Saturday we drove to Skye. There was a great gift shop before Urquhart I remember seeing from the 2010 Invasion along the banks of Loch Ness. It was just as awesome as I remembered. I bought a bunch of gifts.

We drove to catch the Skye Ferry in Glenelg and stopped at Eilean Donan Castle. It started raining right as we left. It was also around 3 PM. We were all ready to get back to the cottage. So we skipped the ferry and took the nearby bridge heading straight to Staffin. We stopped at the Staffin Co-op for groceries. It was smaller than I hoped. But we got enough to last us. Then on to the cottage.

The cottage location was better than anticipated. It's very close to the ocean. It's a half mile away from the beach.

I made my "world famous" pasta dinner. Then I sang a few songs. One of our invaders, Pace, brought his penny whistle. So it turned into a wee Celtic session with songs and tunes.

The location of our cottage was so beautiful I went closer to the ocean and captured a lot of video and some photos of the glorious sunset.

I also recorded myself singing "Raise a Glass in Parting". I wish I had brought my autoharp out. I would've done more. Alas...

Then the midges arrived. They're the U.K. equivalent to mosquitoes. They're small and nasty buggers.

SUNDAY

Sunday was our day to explore Quiraing. I woke up early and made custom breakfasts for our group. We left at 10 am for the Quiraing following the GPS on my iPhone. Big mistake.

We got some nice landscape shots nonetheless. Then we skipped the GPS and drove north looking for places to get out. We found a nice one up by Flodigarry. I dropped off Invaders and drove back to the cottage to get my actual map.

I studied it a bit after I had my own little run around of Flodigarry. Then we headed to a location deeper in the Quiraing. It was a gorgeous view. I got out my autoharp and shot a couple videos of me singing. Then I ate my sandwich lunch under the inspiring mountains.

We drove back and took a short break before driving at 2 PM to Edinbane Inn. There was "Celtic session" listed. It was two musicians, a fiddler and a guitarist/mandolinist who also sang. They sounded fantastic! Two hours of great music and conversation.

Afterward, we ate dinner there. The lamb was AMAZING!. The mussels were really good.

We drove back to the cottage. I took a short walk in the rain. When I got back, Pace was already playing music. So I joined in. We played a good hour before bed.

MONDAY

Monday was the "tour" day with Skye Travel Heritage Tours. Mairi Ann drove us to the Fairy Pools.

When I get tour guides, I usually ask for history and legends of the area. I did not with this one. I regret that. While our driver was a delight, there wasn't much in the way of stories... at least that I could hear in the back of the van.

She pointed out some spots on Trotternish and said, "you should see..."

Mairi Ann was from the Trotternish area (the peninsula where we are staying). So I assume she probably had more to say about this area. But I really wanted someone to take us to the Fairy Pools and Talisker Distillery.

The Fairy Pools were a rough start. The ground heading into it was marshy and wet. There's a stream you have to cross to go see the Pools. A couple of our group had trouble getting down there and didn't go further. I almost didn't either. I slipped and fell on my butt twice. I wore the wrong shoes for that hike.

However, I finally crossed the stream and had a great time. It's an easy hike for most of it. I got a lot of great video and pictures again. I even made a fun video for my girls back home.

Afterward, we drove to Talisker Distillery. It was very close.

I'll be honest. Distilleries are not my favorite. It turned out it would take 2 hours to get a tour. None of use were interested in more than buying whisky. So we bought some and then headed to Portree for some shopping.

When we got back to the cottage, many of us hiked down to the Staffin Beach Slipway to look for dinosaur tracks. There are several on the island. We thought we found them. But there's a museum we planned to check out to find out for sure.

Back at the cottage, I sang a brand new song. And then we finished up with another session of tunes and songs.

TUESDAY

Pace rented a bike. So after breakfast, he hit the road. The rest of us visited the Dinosaur Museum to confirm our suspicions about the tracks we found. I think the consensus is that we found the tracks. They were just very eroded and hard to see.

We drove next to Kilt Rock. Then we drove to Old Man of Storr and joined the "broken down cars".

That's the joke we made because every time we drove by this incredible peak there were dozens of cars parked on the side of the street.

The hike was pretty steep. But I climbed up through the third gate. I'll be honest. I just didn't want to do the whole thing. So I captured some more video on the way up and then headed back down to join the others who could not make it as far. I ate my sandwich and vegged.

We drove back to the house for a restroom break. Then we headed north to some single lane roads. At one spot, we turned down a tiny lane and ended up in Kilmaluag Bay. It was beautiful.

Then back to our other one lane road until we came to the remains of Duntulm Castle overlooking the ocean. We hiked around for an hour. Then we got in the car and headed back to the cottage.

I was wiped. I lay down for a good 40 minute nap. I wasn't alone. When I got up, I walked down the hall and saw more than one person napping. I broke the lot of us. hehe

We headed down to Portree for dinner at The Isles Inn Pub. It was nice pub fair. The haggis starter looked nice and tasted good. The fish and chips were okay.

When we finished, we got groceries and headed back to the cottage. Unsurprisingly, bed time was a bit earlier than usual for everyone

WEDNESDAY

We had an early start. We drove across the Quiraing to Uig for a boat trip. It was nice hitting the top of the Quiraing. We got to see where it was suggested to go walking up there.

I think I chose wisely on Sunday. But now I want to go back up there and take more video.

The trip was quick. Google Maps said 23 minutes. That was pretty accurate. We arrived early for our boat trip. Got to look into a couple shops. But there were not many: a pottery shop, hieland coo (highland cow) pottery show, and a Skye Brewing Co.. The last wasn't open.

Twenty minutes til departure, the Skipper and partner arrived. So too did Danny Faught and his wife Christine. Danny is one of the producers of the Renaissance Festival Podcast. They also perform together with their kids as Green Man Clan at faires.

Danny emailed me a couple weeks earlier when he realized that I too was going to Skye. I gave him our itinerary. They joined us on the boat.

The Skye Cruises offered a three-hour tour of the area around Uig. We saw a castle, sailed past a Scottish salmon farm to an island with some beautiful seals. How I wish I had more than my iPhone as a camera. There were some pretty ones.

Then we sailed on to an island with puffins. It was great seeing those since on the CIV boat trip, the puffins didn't come out. They were beautiful, flying around (didn't realize they did that). I got some videos recorded.

Happily, I brought my autoharp out on the boat. I played music out on the water, kicking it off with "Mingulay Boat Song". Pace joined for a couple tunes. I had a song request too. It was awesome.

The weather turned out PERFECT. It was supposed to rain, according to the forecast. It did for about 10 minutes. The rest of the time, sunny skies. Incredible. We couldn't ask for a better boat trip.

They allowed us to use binoculars. They gave us tea, chips and beer. We had a wonderful calm morning out on the water.

We got back to land and had dinner at the restaurant on the pier. I called Gwen and caught up for a few minutes while she was in rush hour traffic in Houston. Then I ate langoustines for lunch. Now if I can just remember that those are a middle-size between lobsters and crawfish. I never remember.

From Uig, we drove North along a single-lane road. We stopped at an Iron Age Round House in Kilmuir. There was an underground place where food was stored that was still in semi-decent condition. Chris put on some wellies (rain boots) and waddled in. It's about 4 feet high and was filled with water.

Our last stop was the Skye Museum of Island Life. There were a bunch of croft houses. These are thatched cottages from the 18th century that were restored. It also told the story about the crofters and the story of Flora MacDonald who was buried there.

Flora MacDonald was the woman who sailed Bonnie Prince Charlie, dressed as a woman, to the Isle of Skye after the Jacobites were defeated in the Battle of Culloden.

We finished up the Museum and headed home. I picked up some groceries and made dinner again. All in all, a grand day.

THURSDAY

Thursdays are the big trip day. Most of our vacation, we can reach our "destination" in about 30 minutes. Today, it was a good hour and half to get to Dunvegan. We stopped several times on the way for pictures along a new route.

We left earlier than anticipated. So we arrived in Dunvegan about 11:30. It seemed like a big castle and garden. So I gave us until 4 PM to explore.

The castle was actually pretty small. I wasn't super interested in a lot of the stuff in the castle. So it only took me about 40 minutes. I took my time in the garden, filming lots of short videos of flowers and the various gardens. So I think all told, I was done in about two hours.

I went back to the cafe and waited. I wasn't alone. Three others were already there. I overestimated how long it would take.

It wasn't too bad for me. I ate lunch and chatted, quite relaxed, for a long while. I also called my wife for a wee bit. It felt nice to be off my feet. It was very relaxing.

We spread through the word-of-mouth that we would change the departure time to 3 PM. Everyone made it back quite easily.

We drove back into the town of Dunvegan. I thought we could shop. But I overestimated also how much there was to see. Fortunately, we were only there about thirty minutes.

Now comes the giant oopsie.

I create these Celtic Invasion Vacations with a lot of room for flexibility. As a result, they are never perfect. My biggest imperfection happened at this time.

I planned for us to eat at a restaurant in Dunvegan. However, I did not make the reservation beforehand. And when I got to Skye, I had a LOT of trouble with internet and cell reception. So the reservation was never made.

We drove to the restaurant to try and make a reservation before heading to Neist Point Lighthouse. It was 4 PM. They couldn't accommodate us until 9 PM.

Alas, the group didn't want to get back to the house at eleven. So we skipped it and decided to wing dinner. I will soon figure out my mistake.

From Dunvegan, we drove to Neist Point Lighthouse. It was a beautiful drive. There were a bunch of craft shops on the way. Sadly, we didn't stop. But we made the Neist Point in about 30-40 minutes.

I walked up the hill to get a great view. There were some magnificent views for cliffs and rocks and the ocean. It was fabulous. I decided to record a couple videos while I was up there.

The recordings went okay. But it was REALLY windy. There's a lot of wind noise on the recordings. I decided to share them anyway when I get home. I may limit some time to Gunn Runners Club-only though. We'll see...

I also walked along the cliffs away from all the people. The open sea was fantastic. I recorded another video out there.

Unfortunately, I ran out of time. So I never made it TO the lighthouse. But I got lots of pics and vids.

We left Neist Point and headed to Portree. The new plan was to get dinner there. But after checking three restaurants, I realized there was no way we would get a spot for 8 people, let alone two tables of four before 9 PM.

Everyone was tired. So I quickly adjusted. We drove to the Co-op. I bought tortellini, broccoli, and lamb. We drove back to the cottage. I quickly made dinner. It was fantastic.

After I cleaned up the dishes, I hiked outside to an empty field and recorded three more videos. Again, it sounded a bit windy. But maybe it'll work...

FRIDAY

We got up early on Friday because we wanted to catch low tide at Brother’s Point. What’s there?

About three months ago, Selena posted on the Celtic Invasion Vacations Facebook group that dinosaur tracks were discovered there. After finding the tracks by Staffin Beach Slipway, we wanted to find these too.

First step was to find Brother’s Point. It’s not easily visible from the road. The sign is faded. Even if you can read it, it’s in Gaelic.

We walked down a path to the ocean. Sheep were all around the surrounding fields.

The tide was out when we arrived at about 8:45 am. The first step was to look for sedimentary rock. Mind you, it would help if we knew with sedimentary rock was.

I was able to figure it out for my part because I was pretty sure all the other rocks were igneous rocks. There was one giant fractured slab of sedentary rock right there by the ocean.

It was difficult to get to. There were a lot of slippery rocks all the way out there. Then came the tricky part. What do dinosaur tracks look like?

The ones we found in Staffin Bay were a little more than a foot in diameter. But these were sauropods. The ones at Staffin Bay were Ornithopods.

I spent the next thirty minutes staring at the rock looking for impressions that didn’t look entirely natural. Pace described what he had read. And Selena had pictures.

From that, I looked for puddles and then bent low to catch a good angle. That’s how we found them.

The main one was about a foot in diameter. You could almost make out the toes.

I’ll be honest. I wasn't convinced. But Pace seemed confident. He also had a good but scary idea. We could take it to the dinosaur track experts at the museum. That’s what we did.

We were rewarded to learn that we found dinosaur tracks!

Fridays are open days on my Celtic invasions, meaning we wing it. Usually during the week, we hear about something cool. This time it was the Fairy Glen just south of Uig.

We drove across the Quiraing to Uig, hung a left and found the Fairy Glen just off the bay.

There are a couple dozen small protruding hills. They are beautiful and green and covered with sheep.

I didn’t sleep much the night before. So I did not explore all of the Glen. Instead, after walking around for about 30 minutes, I found a nice spot with little wind under a tree. I shot a video of me singing a song... before getting attacked by midges.

Then I climbed up on the windy hill and shot a couple more.

We went back to the house. I took a 45 minute nap. Then I took a couple folks into Portree to do some final shopping.

We came back to the house. I got ready, and we had our final dinner at Skye Restaurant in Flodigarry with an absolutely brilliant view of the ocean and mountains.

SATURDAY

We woke very early on Saturday. We packed up the van and hit the road, even before we had coffee.

We drove for about two hours before we found a café that was open very close to the banks of Loch Ness.

We arrived in plenty of time to deliver Pace to the airport. I dropped off my luggage at the guesthouse. Then I took the van back to Arnold Clark.

I walked back in town. I found a grocery store. I bought and ate an entire carton of Scottish strawberries. Then I begin my search for a shirt that would go with my kilt.

I was a bit disappointed with the selection. I found the specific shirt I wanted. But they didn’t have my size.

But since mine are falling apart at home, I bought a shirt.

I took a walk along the River Ness. If you head southwest, there is some gorgeous greenery along the banks. It makes for lovely walk.

At 6 PM, I had dinner with Jan, Jim, and Debra at the Hootananney Pub. It was typical pub grub, but with lamb for me. We talked a little more about what we liked and didn’t like about this Celtic Invasion of the isle of Skye. I think I’m ready for 2019 already.

SUNDAY

I’m flying home today. Since I’ll be sitting on my butt all day, I decide to go for a walk. I finally walked up to the castle here in Inverness. Now I am walking along the banks of River Ness, enjoying the amazing weather and sites.

ABOUT THIS JOURNAL

I didn’t plan to journal on the Celtic Invasion of the isle of Skye. I wanted to make videos and share those.

But almost immediately on arrival, my Internet went to hell. Skye just does not have good Wi-Fi, at least if you’re using Verizon or AT&T.

This journal was started because Gwen found a journal she kept from our last trip to Cambridge. I wanted something like that. It was short. It just listed the facts about what we saw each day and anything special that happened. It was a great memory jogger.

So I started writing this in a little red notebook. But my handwriting sucks. It was easier to type. Or dictate.

So halfway into the trip, I started writing this journal in Evernote. Michael again was to keep it short. But I am lousy at sticking with goals!

So each day, the journal got longer.

I think it still serves it’s purpose. It will refresh my memory about how wonderful this trip was. I hope you enjoy it as well!

RESERVE YOUR SEAT TODAY

Reservations are now open for the 2018 Celtic Invasion of Isle of Skye. If you want to join us, here's what you need to do.

1. Copy the form at http://celticinvasion.com/application/ and paste it into an email.
2. Answer all the questions on the form, then email it to celticinvasion@gmail.com
3. Mail a check to the address listed with your deposit.

That's it. Right now, I will accept a total of eight people. It's first come, first served. Your application will serve as an announcement of intent. You'll then have 7 days to postmark your check or send paypal payment to actually reserve your spot. If there are more submissions than the 8 allotted slots, then I will put you in the queue in case someone drops out or if I can open it up to more people.

If you are in the queue, your money IS fully refundable. However, if you pay by paypal, then I will refund everything minus the paypal fees.

HOW MUCH DOES THIS TRIP COST?

BASE PRICE = $2,400

PAYMENT PLANS AVAILABLE
You can pay for next year's invasion through a payment plan of your choosing. Just break your full payment up into 2-4 different payments. It's up to you!

EARLY-BIRD DISCOUNTS
- Past invaders save $25 per trip (up to $200)
- Save an additional $25 if you make at least 50% of your final payment by October 31st.
- Save an additional $25 if you make your final payment before December 31st.

If you'd like to join us and see the magic and mystery of Wild Brittany, then complete the application fast. The trip is already half sold out. We only have room for 4 more people.

 

A few special notes about this year's invasion

  1. I highly recommend that you arrive on Friday. If you want to share a room on Friday night, you can talk with other invaders to save money.
  2. If you have anything in particular that you would like to see, then please talk to me as soon as possible. I'm happy to try and include as much or as little as we can to make this a supreme experience for you.
  3. If you want to join Marc Gunn on a Celtic Invasion Vacation, subscribe to the mailing list.

 

 

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