More holiday giddiness for those crazy masochists who asked for it –
I’m not going to assault you with a blow-by-blow account of the whole time – instead I have condensed it into a sort of smoothie full of goodness where you don’t notice the unpleasant green unidentified bits because they are disguised by the yummy red bits. Have at you!
Ceud Mìle Fàilte – A Hundred Thousand Welcomes
There was a lot of driving on this holiday. When I say ‘there was’ what I mean is – my partner did a lot of driving. I can’t help out because I drive like a maniac and the DVLA very sensibly declined to let me have a licence after what I did on that roundabout a few years ago. So, well done to my long-suffering other half for concentrating for so long all up and down the country and around much of the Scottish west coast and all the islands whose roads we wore down. You can rest that clutch leg now; sshhh, it’s all over. (Sob!)
Northumbria had much to offer –
I don’t know how we made it out into the sticks because when we tried to continue our journey from Northumbria the signal for the Sat Nav was harder to find than the legendary red squirrels in Kielder Forest.
I had to get the map out like someone from the 1990s. Luckily, I enjoy a good map and soon I was immersed in this new vintage reading material. The possibilities were endless – a coastline you simply MUST see and this road is stunning and that road takes you through some fascinating historic…
The west coast of Scotland is all wiggly and rural and hence rather beautiful in a ‘the nearest shop is 50 miles away and all we’ve got is digestive biscuits’ kind of way. That was pretty much the situation we found ourselves in once we’d located our secluded island cottage fairly late at night. Cue a mad dash to the nearest town and a swoop around Tesco because it was the only place open. And – relax.
Take a deep breath and inhale that lungful of midgies. AHHHHH!
“Scotland – the auld country.” (A line from my favourite film – Local Hero.)
So much to see and do. We visited a different island each day, thus making good use of the variety of ferry services around the coast.
Some were big.
And some were small.
Some were challenging to get dogs onto.
And sometimes there were already other dogs on there.
Following his initial reluctance to gain sea legs, our dog became a natural and by the end of the week he was boring us with his tall tales of kraken and other mythical sea monsters.
Our other dog was less concerned with floors that moved up and down and more worried about the laminated one in our cottage, which really hated her arthritic legs and sent them sprawling in all directions. We have the same problem at home though so we had come prepared. With DOG SOCKS. Which are worth their weight in comedy gold. Honestly, even if your dog has no problem with slippery floors, just get some. Even if you don’t have a dog – get some and put them on your kitchen utensils, they are hilarious.
The weather on the west coast was plentiful and constantly changing. Whatever clothes you wear, they will be suitable at some point during any given day.
We were relieved to be missing what sounded like a violent heatwave in the south of the country. Each time I spoke to my dad on the phone (when I managed to find a phone signal for 5 minutes on our travels) I could hear his eyeballs melting as he talked. One particularly memorable day we had just returned to the cottage from a beach and a conveniently timed thunderstorm threw itself at us with force. We happened to have the radio on and heard the newsreader say the words –
Oh, we did laugh but not in a malicious way, you understand. The timing was just so perfect.
Our cottage was a cosy getaway with a wildlife haven of a garden. Although it was a joy to observe voles scurrying and birds flurrying, the dogs were unable to roam freely as the whole area was made entirely of sheep. Hardy Scottish sheep at that, with tattoos and piercings. Some evenings we got home to find them trying to break in and claim squatter’s rights.
(I honestly did see a sheep wearing a shawl of bracken like this.)
For a further flavour of the mood please see ‘Whisky and Haggis (if you haven’t looked already) – my attempts at painting with Inktense (‘Cos, like, I’m on holiday and I’m gonna be all arty, man) which can be found Here.
If we learned only one thing during our Scottish break it was about ourselves –
Meanwhile, back at home –
Finally, bagpipes. You know you want to hear some. I only saw one wee boy busking with a set on the waterfront in sunny Oban but I recklessly mentioned Radiohead in the comments of my last post so here you go – enjoy.