Dornie and Eilean Donan

Eilean Donan Castle

In July, we spent a week in an apartment within walking distance of Eilean Donan, arguably the most romantic and most photographed of all Scotland’s castles. It’s a bit of a cheat though – originally established in 1230, it was destroyed during the Jacobite uprising in 1719 and what you see today was rebuilt between 1912 and 1932 by a British army officer, John MacRae-Gilstrap. The MacRae clan has ancestral links to the area and its war memorial is below the castle walls (see gallery below).

We took a stroll round the exterior after we arrived late on Saturday afternoon, and returned a few days later to look inside. No interior photography was allowed, but I think the exterior is the spectacular part anyway.

In the last picture above we are looking down from the castle onto the remains of a medieval tower (more or less obscured by a tree). Beyond it, immediately before the northern end of the road bridge, you can just make out our apartments. To the right of the bridge is the village of Dornie, and we finished our afternoon / early evening by following the dead-end road through the village to its termination at the small settlement of Bundalloch (just over a mile each way). We could again see our apartments on the other side of Loch Long.

In the last image above, the windows just above the fence belonged to us. I can highly recommend Eilean Donan Apartments which are operated by the same trust which owns the castle. The building was initially constructed as a hotel in the late 19th century, but has been extensively refurbished over the last few years into eleven self-catering units for 2-8 people. We loved it!

We settled in for our first evening, but the view across Loch Long to Dornie kept distracting us from making plans for the next seven days. These pictures were taken around 10pm – it’s wonderful when it stays light so late.

Spoiler alert: we did make some plans. What would the next day bring? Coming next – Applecross.


  1. I can see why people think that’s the most romantic castle in Scotland! Although living in a country that has no castles, I have to admit that I’m impressed by most castles I see. Still, this one is gorgeous and so is the surrounding village. Thanks for sharing the photos!


  2. You have excelled yourselves with the photograhy in this post, especially the first one of the castle. What an absolutely gorgeous spot. I’ve put the address of the apartments in my “forward travels” notebook just in case.


  3. The mention of John McCrae caught my eye, as he was born in the Ontario town where I grew up. I went to John McCrae primary school, and we used to mark Remembrance Day in the memorial garden of his little stone cottage. Lovely to see he has a connection with Eilean Donan castle.


  4. Oh my goodness. If it was that light at 10pm in central Queensland we’d be dying from the heat. It is frequently still in the high 30s (or worse) until after dark and often doesn’t drop below 30 all night. It’s one of the reasons Queensland voted against daylight saving. What a difference to the UK. I’ve been in Scotland in mid-summer and it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Although going to bed while it’s still light is something I haven’t ever got used to.
    Looking forward to hearing about your plans. And putting them into action.


  5. Just back from there. Good you got the weather for it as that makes any trip more enjoyable. A handy base for touring fantastic scenery. Outlander was mostly filmed within the central belt/ east coast castles I think as it would have been very costly to put a large film crew up in Highland hotels/B and B’s when most of the location scenery for that is also available within a day’s shooting of the Cumbernauld HQ. Less rain on the Scottish east coast as well which was a big advantage for day to day outdoor work.


  6. Your photo of Dornie reflected in the loch is just beautiful. We went to Eilean Donan in August 1999 and Mr ET was caught out doing his imitation of the Highlander from the movie of the same name on the bridge, when some other visitors arrived just as he was swinging his pretend sword. It was so funny.