Alan & Alison's Scottish Adventure

View up Glen Nevis with Sgurr a' Mháim
Rannoch Moor and snow capped peaks.
Looking down into the deep chasm of Glen Coe from the Lost Valley.
Eilean Donan Castle on the way to Skye.
Fishing/crofting Village of Stein. The inn here is the oldest operating inn on Skye. We stayed here two nights.
Alan went in for a kiss but found her too hairy.
More of the famed Scottish Highland cattle. Even their eyes are protected from the cold and rain.
First day's "walk": Buachaille Etive Mor, Stob Dearg 3,352 feet.
Coire (gully) na Tulaich, our access to the main ridge of Buachaille Etive Mor.
What conditions on the ridges and summits looked like — blowing snow, sleet, and hail with 50 mph winds.
Half way up to the summit ridge.
The final rocky push to the ridge.
Incoming snow squall! Alison battens down the hatches. Sorry! but no more photos after this. Conditions on the ridge were brutal. We could barely stand up and walk. We did what we had to do and got the hell off.
Second day. Trotternish Pennisula on Skye and climbing the Storr (and Old Man of Storr).
Alison patiently waits (sheltered from the rain) for Alan to make a last minute equipment/clothing adjustment.
Alan in front of the pinnacles of The Santuary. One can see why it is the "misty" Isle of Skye.
Alison in search of the coire to the ridge. No, we didn't find it but took a very scenic and longer route to the ridge.
Our usual luck with the weather. As we attained the summit ridge at over 2,000 feet, we hit total whiteout conditions (no freeking view again!) and 40 mph winds. Visability was so poor, we navigated to the summit 2,358 feet using our GPS. You can get some idea of the windspeed from the cord for our map case. Again we used the GPS to find the steep and narrow coire off of the summit.
Our favorite part of the day, a pub lunch after hiking. Vegetarian haggis, neeps and tatties with a pint.
The start of our second hike on day two. The guide book actually says to start hiking at the phone booth. Who would think of putting a phone booth here?
Our hike went through some deserted and very, very boggy moors of Meall Tuath out to the northern most point on Skye, Rubha Hunish. We took a delightful nap in the heather watching the clouds move over the Outer Hebrides. We were so accustomed to the rain at this point that we just slept harder under the gentile precipitation.
A ruined crofter's village in forground and the ruins of Duntulm Castle on the rocky bluff in the center.
Alison walking to Duntulm Castle for a closer look.
Alan on the ramparts and hundreds of feet above the Atlantic catching a great view of the Hebrides.
Alison on site.
A short delay on our way to the next point of interest.
Flora MacDonald's grave. She saved bonnie Price Charles (disguised as a maid servant and put on a ship to France) and spent a year in the Tower of London for her efforts. Her funeral was said to have been the largest in Scotland. Also the only woman to spend a year in the Tower and also live in North Carolina!
Alan reliving his mother singing the "Bonnie Prince Charlie Song" to him.
Day three: the crux of the trip. Cuillin hills the most rugged mountains in the UK. Our summit, Bruach na Frithe 3,143 feet. Its up there somewhere in the mist, snow and clouds.
The start of the walk. We followed this stream for a couple of miles and saw some spectacular water falls — five of 'em. We had a real challenge fording this stream.
The duo ready to ascend a beautiful grassy (sometimes boggy) Fionn Coire to the cloud covered summits.
Alison on her way down from the summit ridge of Bruach na Frithe. Yes, we are batting 1000 on summit weather. We actually did get a good view for about 60 seconds.
Alan doing what he loves best. Second time of the trip he needed a GPS to find his freeking way off a mountain. These "hills" may not be high but add Scottish winter conditions and it is no picnic.
View on our way back down Fionn Coire.
Alan and Alison doing the only thing they like as much as hiking, a pub lunch in front of the hearth. This is the major climber's hangout for the Cuillin Hills, the pub at the Sligachan Hotel. Here we enjoyed the comarderie of others who had braved the Cuillins on this wintery May day.
Eilean Donan Castle on the way from Skye and back to our favorite hiking locale, Glen Coe (We made a decision that we were doing too much driving and blew off the Cairngorms).
The fabled Loch Ness. Alan and Alison search for Nessie.

Is this Nessie, or did Alan take leave of his senses and take a dip in the 45 degreeLoch?

Starting the Lost Valley hike with snow capped mountains in the background the whole way. This is the path taken by the MacDonald Clan in Glen Coe who escaped massacre by order of William III. Unfortunately, all 400 of them died of exposure along this path.
Another picturesque view from the Lost Valley path. You can probably tell now why Glen Coe won "the favorite hiking spot" award.
Although the water looks tropical, the gear gives away the 45 degree weather that stayed with us the entire trip.
Not much of a trail into the Lost Valley. Alan carries our trusty map in its waterproof holder. Actually, everything we had with us was waterproof or wet.
Alison elated at figuring out the British grid system (although she still refused to go near that GPS thingy).
Alan thinking how much it would be to climb the ridge behind him.
Our heroes taking one last photo before heading to the pub.
Later in the afternoon, and refreshed by pub food and drink, we took a stroll into Glen Nevis to see this spectacular waterfall despite the many signs warning us to be *very* careful.
A single track Scottish road (Alan was the better driver on these roads).
Drive from Glen Coe to Edinburgh. Self explanatory photo.
A quick stop for another castle -- this one Doune Castle, late 14th century.
Arriving Edinburgh. The famed Edinburgh Castle. Alan went for a closer look and saw The Honors (Scottish crowned jewels), the Stone of Destiny, and St. Margaret's chapel. This one is old, 12th century.
Sir Walter Scott memorial erected in 1840 for a whopping £16,154. A total of 287 vertigo inducing steps (and 200 ft) up and the same down. Alison needed a few moments of quiet when this was over.
Alison resting atop the momument before starting the 287 deadly step descent.
New Town, Edinburgh where the wealthy fled once the inner city got too crowded, dirty, and poor (Alison being fascinated by the urban planning of Edinburgh). We wanted to hob nob so decided to stay here.
View of Arthur's Seat (big hill in background, 820 ft, that is an extinct volcano) and medieval Edinburgh. North bridge stands out front and was built in 1772, main route connecting old and new town.
View from Arthur's Seat at 5:00am sunrise.
Early morning travelers getting blown over at 820 ft. The camera blew over seconds after this photo was taken.
View of medieval old town from Arthur's Seat. Left to right, Edinburgh Castle, Toll Booth Kirk, St. Giles Cathedral (High Kirk of Edinburgh).
Up at 4:30am, Arthur's Seat at 5:00am, showered and had a proper English breakfast in the Conservatory at 7:30am
A proper Scottish garden was the last thing we saw in Edinburgh.