It had said, “Bollywood meets Highlander” so this was not an invitation I was going to refuse. The wedding was to take place in the banqueting hall of Eilean Donan Castle on the west coast of Scotland, and I decided that I would fly to Glasgow and drive from there.
The road took me via Fort William and Glencoe, past Ben Nevis north through some of the most beautiful scenery.
Starting at the southern end of Loch Lomond, mountains like strings of pearls around the neck of a beautiful woman frame the route. The road hugs the shore of the elongated teardrop of water that is Loch Lomond, sapphire in the brilliant sunshine of early July. If you are driving slowly enough, and few cars seemed to be, the A82 bordering its western shore affords a superb view of the Loch’s wooded islands and the surrounding peaks.
Once past the Loch the landscape becomes more rugged and much more interesting, as the road twists and turns through the Trossachs towards the Great Glen, which cuts diagonally across the Highlands towards Inverness. An hour south of Fort William lies the famous Glen Coe, bordered to the south by the bleak Rannoch Moor sprinkled with small lochs, and with waterfalls cascading down the distant peaks like huge snail trails silver in the sunlight.
As you enter the Glen from the south, standing sentinel to either side lie the towering Buachaille Etive Mhor to the south and Beinn a’Chrùlaiste to the north, rendering an air of foreboding, particularly in the rain when mists swirl around their summits cloaking them in darkness. Highlander 2 Glen Coe is famous not only for its breathtaking scenery, but for the notorious massacre of the MacDonalds by the Campbells that took place here in February 1692. This bloody past, together with the fabulous scenery, makes this place compelling.
I drove on, along the shores of the attractive Loch Linnhe, a sea loch, through the uninspiring Fort William, dominated to the southeast by Ben Nevis, towards Spean Bridge at the junction of the Great Glen with Glen Roy. From here the road hugs the shore of Loch Lochy towards Invergarry, and then it turns west and climbs up along Loch Cluanie through Glen Moriston. There is little sign of habitation here among the rugged peaks.
At the western end of Loch Cluanie, the road gradually begins to drop again down Glen Shiel towards the Shiel Bridge, passing the Five Sisters of Kintail before doglegging north, and then west along the northern shore of Loch Duich. Peaks on both sides hem in the Loch, and it is easy to forget that this is a seawater Loch meeting first the waters of Loch Alsh before finally entering the sea at the Sound of Sleat.
At the confluence of Lochs Alsh, Long and Duich stands the restored Eilean Donan Castle, one the most photographed monuments in Scotland. The castle, crenellations dark against the skyline, stands on an islet at the edge of Loch Duich, linked to the mainland by a narrow stone bridge. It is Highlander 3 an incredibly romantic setting, the castle reflected in the lapping waters of the loch, with the mountains as a breathtaking backdrop. Perfect for a wedding. Keep driving, past the Kyle of Lochalsh the main gateway to the Isle of Skye, along the narrow roads through Duirinish, where you can expect to meet wandering Highland Cattle, and you come to the lovely village of Plockton. Plockton has a small gracefully sweeping bay with seafront cottages, small sailing boats resting in the waters and views of Strome Castle across Loch Carron. Palm trees line the waterfront, and with its flower gardens, and chocolate box prettiness this is a lovely place to spend some time.
The wedding took place in the early evening. While we waited, we were entertained by a sitar player, before the bride in a beautiful, simple wedding dress was piped in on her fathers’ arm. When the ceremony was over, there were canapes and champagne before photographs were taken in the failing light and everyone transferred to Plockton Village Hall.
The hall had been decorated simply and beautifully with a mixture of Scottish and Indian elements. Hessian table runners dotted with little bunches of heather I had seen picked earlier that day, fabric flowers and night lights in reds, purples and oranges on the tables and windowsills, and a beautiful cake decorated with Indian motifs.
The bride disappeared and changed into a beautiful red and gold sari, whilst the groom changed into a kilt, reflecting their respective heritage and the celebrations began.