Eilean Donan Castle
On a sunny clear day (a rarity in Scotland), we drove up North towards the Isle of Skye to visit a friend who just had a baby. As we entered the territory of the Weegiland (Glasgow in plain English) it started to rain and the fogged started rolling in, Nate took a turn and said we'd make a stop in Cumbernauld, everyone knows there's nothing out there and I started to worry if my dear American boyfriend had the locations messed up. He ensured me he knew where he was going and within 10 minutes, we ended up on a helipad with a helicopter waiting. By the time we got there the weather had already gotten so bad and the visibility was less than 200 yards, Nate took out the champagne and chocolates he'd prepared the night before but the pilot told us it was way too foggy to fly. Nate was so upset, he'd been planning this for months but our notorious weather let us down. I had a feeling Nate was planning to propose to me in Scotland, with his family in the US and the majority of mine in Taiwan I couldn't have my dream castle wedding in my beloved Scotland, so Nate knew it'd mean the world to me if we got engaged there.
We couldn't let that dampen our spirits but the detour we took really slowed us down and the roads up North are bad, we rented a tiny little car and every time the wind blew we felt like we could get blown away. After 6 hours we were finally on Skye but it was so dark and we had to watch out for the cows and not falling into a ditch. We were staying at a shepherd's hut which was super cute and cosy but probably not the best accommodation in the middle of the winter. It was tough having to get up to go to the loo at 3 am holding an umbrella in the rain and wind. The next morning our drive way was blocked by two curious donkeys and it took us at least 15 minutes to get them out of the way, they were adorable though.
We finally caught up with my friend Bryony and told her about Nate's jeopardised proposal. She told us the Eilean Donan Castle is the most romantic castle in Scotland and we should check it out. We also visited Bryony and her husband Paul's jewelry shop 'Love from Skye' and got our beautiful wedding bands there.
I grew up seeing photos of this castle on postcards but never had a chance to visit until that day. We rang the bell and entered the castle, had a little look around, spoke to a member of staff who was not impressed by the over enthusiastic Outlander fans and when we headed out Nate took me to the other side of the castle, overlooking the point where three great lochs meet. Still in awe of the beauty of the Isle of Skye I had no idea what he had in store for me. He went down on one knee and I said no (because he's proposed to me jokingly in front of a Macdonald's and many random places at least a dozen times during our trip) until he reached into his pocket and took out a box. He went on and open the box (wrong side up), dropped the ring, we both panicked and as he uncovered the ring I said yes. It was one of the best days of my life.
Followed by our romantic trip to Skye we headed back to Edinburgh to celebrate Christmas with my family. Driving a tiny weeny car on the wrong side of the road (for Nate) in such horrible weather conditions, we were both surprised by how well we've coped so far. We pulled over to fill up petrol just as that thought crossed my mind, it was still raining hard so I sat in the car and wait for Nate. When we were back on the road again we drove for a few minutes and all of the sudden all the lights went on and the car stopped in the middle of the road. Turned out Nate had put in diesel instead of fuel and we were stuck in the middle of nowhere in the Scottish highlands without phone signal. We managed to get the car just off the road and waited for help, a car came by and a young couple took us to the nearest hotel in Crianlarich to get help. A couple of hours later, a man drove up from Glasgow to help us and after hours of waiting we finally got it fixed. He could only gave us 10 pounds worth of fuel so we had to get more on the way back to Edinburgh, it was almost midnight and most petrol stations were close. There was only one petrol station before we entered the National Park and it didn't take credit cards. We didn't have a choice so we kept driving and keeping our fingers crossed that we had enough fuel till we hit a town. We drove through the Trossachs National Park in pitch dark night and in pouring rain, not knowing if we'd make it out of the park. Well I guess we were extremely lucky to have made it to a petrol station that accepts credit cards 3 minutes before it closed. Phew! Finally we made it back to Edinburgh in one piece after this ordeal. It was really quite an adventure and an awesome story to tell our kids and grandkids.