Sunday, 30 September 2012

SLEAT PENINSULA

In an earlier post, I described Skye as looking like a lobster in shape; the Sleat Peninsula forms part of the lobster's tail. There are several castles on the peninsula. On the north coast of the peninsula lie the ruins of Dunsgaith Castle, where, as legend has it, the giant Cuillin chained his dog before striding across to Northern Island. Armadale Castle, in the town of the same name, is also a ruin, but has beautiful gardens which are open to visitors. A few miles to the north-east is Knock Castle, also a ruin and accessible by foot. The peninsula is known as the "garden of Skye" thanks to the richness of its landscape, with its lush gardens and forests. Wildlife enthusiasts will find plenty to look out for on a Sleat walk, including otters, dolphins, basking sharks, deer and eagles.

Armadale is an alternative point of entry to Skye from the mainland, with a ferry service linking it to Mallaig. I am happy to note that the ferry service now runs all year round. Many years ago when we visited Skye in late October we turned up at Armadale hoping to get a ferry across to the mainland, only to be informed by a local, with barely concealed relish, that the next ferry would be in April the following year! There are plenty of reasons for people arriving at Armadale to resist the temptation to go rushing away elsewhere. The castle, as well as its wonderful gardens, houses the Museum Of The Isles, which tells the story of the powerful Clan Donald. The Rubha Phoil Forest Garden is located on a 16-acre wooded peninsula adjacent to the ferry terminal; here visitors can learn all about organic gardening and permaculture, and there is an eco-campsite for overnight stays. Whalespotting boat trips are available at Armadale Pier for fans of cetaceans, and there is a variety of other water-borne activities.

Map of the area.








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