Scotland: HighlanderEilean Donan Castle: Seat of the MacLeods
Perched atop a tiny island and connected to the mainland via a curved stone bridge, Eilean Donan Castle is the epitomy of a Scottish Castle. The first fortified structure was built here in the early 13th century as a protection against raiding vikings. In 1719, the castle was caught in the crossfire between its garrison of Spanish soldiers, who supported the local Jacobite rebels, and three English frigates sent out to attack them.
For the next 200 years, the Eilean Donan Castle lay in ruins until in 1911 a Lt. Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap bought the island and, over the next twenty years, restored the castle to its former glory.
The unique setting has attracted a number of film productions. Even the world's most famous secret agent visited in James Bond – The World is Not Enough (1999). Yet still, the castle owes its cinematic fame to the movie Highlander, released in 1986. Despite only grossing US$12 million at the box office, the film has become cult.
A gift and coffee shop are available on-site, and all the opening hours and admission prices to the castle are displayed on the official website.
Eilean Donan Castle is the family seat of the main protagonist - highlander Connor MacLeod, born on January 1, 1518 "in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel".
In 1536, the MacLeods are at war with the Clan of the Frasers. The castle features in a memorable scene that shows Connor and his clansmen as they leave the castle to meet the Frasers in battle.
Connor does not survive the battle. Fighting against an immortal warrior known as Kurgan, he suffers a deadly wound. Connor's clansmen retrieve his body, but he later comes back to life, not knowing at the time, that he is also immortal. Suspecting black witchcraft, Connor's relatives attempt to execute him, but his cousin Angus MacLeod succesfully advocates for his exile.