Friday 9th February 2024

A walk in Plockton to Duncraig Castle (4.2 miles).

Mairi came with us for a lovely day out arriving at 8.15. We picked up diesel for my old Fusion at Tesco in Dingwall and the drove out to Achnasheen. We stopped here at the ‘Midge Bite’ cafe. Mairi treated us to a cake and drink. She supplied all the food for the day! It was like Siberia in Achnasheen with a lot of snow.

We then followed the road to Lochcarron and branched towards Kyle of Lochalsh just before Loccarron. We then branched off to Plockton and parked in the village. We left the car at about 11.00 walking back up the way we had come in, up Innes Street.

This ‘iron’ cockerel was on the gate-post at the house beyond the old Church of Scotland.

We passed the Free Church and then came past the Primary School. I did not photograph the Free Church as the Primary pupils were being marched into it. That is fantastic. Good on the school. But what a bonny building the school is.

The light was poor for taking photos. This sign is pointing to the War Memorial on the rise.

On the other side of the road is the Open Air Church.

This is from the Scotsman – 24th Sep 2018.

The open-air preaching place at Plockton, Wester Ross, was one of several set up in the north west Highlands following the Disruption of 1843, when the Church of Scotland split over the rights of parishioners – rather than landowners – to choose their ministers. (That is putting it crudely. It was really over Christ’s headship over His church.)

The divide ultimately led to the creation of the Free Church of Scotland, but as land owners refused to give over property for the new church buildings, alternative homes were sought.

At Plockton, a natural amphitheatre to the south of the village was seized upon. The slopes were dug out with terraces so that worshippers could be seated. A rubble wall and archway were built to form an entrance.

A corrugated iron shed was put in place to protect the minister from the elements, his little wooden ­pulpit standing inside and ­hundreds of people came from across the surrounding countryside for services.

Although the Free Church was quickly able to raise funds for a church in the village, the open-air church remained in use until the mid-1930s. In recent times, ­weddings have occasionally been held there.

Shortly after that we turned off on the path to Duncraig Castle. It followed the shore.

And then it followed the railway line, the Kyle Line.

This is where we would rejoin the walk later on. Meanwhile we went down through that gate.

We passed this ruined house.

Mairi found a Geocache in the ruined fireplace. We are not ‘Geocachers’ and were not hunting for it.

We passed the remains of a railway hut. All that was left was the brick chimney.

We diverted slightly to get this view. People live or holiday in this building here, I think an old boathouse.

We eventually arrived at the castle. What an amazing building.

I found this information on Facebook.

Duncraig Castle is a mansion in Lochalsh, in the west highlands of Scotland. It is situated 1 km east of the village of Plockton, on the south shore of Loch Carron. It was built in 1866 for Alexander Matheson, a Scottish businessman and Member of Parliament. It was built in the Scottish Baronial style, to designs by Alexander Ross. It is served by Duncraig railway station, on the Kyle of Lochalsh Line. This was originally opened in 1897 as a private station, though it is now open to the public. Duncraig Castle was bequeathed to Ross and Cromarty County Council, and became a home-economics college after the Second World War. It is now a luxury bed and breakfast accommodation.

It is amazing you are permitted to walk so close to it.

One day! In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14: 2)

It definitely is still winter!

Just look at the height and girth of this tree which I think is a Wellingtonia.

Plant name:
Sequoiadendron giganteum (synonym: Sequoia gigantea)

Commonly known as:
Wellingtonia; Giant/Sierra/California Redwood

Sierra Nevada, California

Tall growing evergreen conifer, with dark green foliage on down swept branches. The bark is red in colour, having a unique spongy characteristic. Cones are small and hard, to 4cm long.

The trees were initially given the name Wellingtonia gigantea, which was in reference to the Duke of Wellington who passed away in 1852, although this name was botanically incorrect and was corrected to Sequoiadendron giganteum some years later following much debate and re-classification. However, that first name has held, and in this country at least it continues to be commonly called Wellingtonia.

Fancy sign to the castle.

Mairi found the back of a house.

After walking a bit down the road to the castle we came to our path to Plockton.

It rejoined our outward path shown in an earlier photo.

When we reached Plockton we had a wee diversion to see the lovely cottages at the sea front. I think most are holiday homes now.

We passed this ancient boat. I wonder where it sailed to and who sailed in it?

We arrived back at the car at 1.00. A really beautiful walk on a very windy and cold day. There was a lot of shelter, though, for most of the walk. Lovely to have time with Mairi.