Monday, 6 January 2014

A trip to remember

My first post of 2014, Happy New Year! This year we went away for the limbo period between Christmas and New Year. Perth was our destination (Scotland, not Australia).
The holiday, which we shared with very good friends, was not without it's share of mishaps. However, as seems to be so often the case, in many ways they added to the fun we had.
Our destination was the Log Cabin Hotel, part of the Nae Limits group offering adventure breaks. We did not book any adventure activities, but seemed to end up having some of our own anyway. The drive took us to the tiny village of Kirkmichael, which was very remote (think Blair Witch Project). Our room, although quite spacious, did feel a bit Waltonish every bed time, as all 6 of us said our good nights and tried not to wake each other in our side by side beds. There were often bumps in the night as one child or another rolled off their bed, or onto someone else. There were no bears in the woods surrounding the hotel, but a grizzly in the form of my husband snoring next to me. No spare room to escape to, should have packed some ear plugs. (On the subject of bears, I loved this tweet by @HonestToddler:
@TheBerenstains This is good time of year to start hunting. Most adults walking around taste like baileys and ferrero rocher you'll like it)

Back to the holiday, the family we were with, for various reasons, had to move rooms a few times. Inconvenient certainly, but in the end, their room was an upgrade... they escaped what I like to call "the stethoscope shower." In case you are as confused as I was, each sucker attaches to a tap on the bath...with no chance of staying attached, and doing a better job of washing the edges of the bath than anyone trying to wash themselves with it. Maybe I'm too spoiled and used to modern day luxuries, my parents saw the photo and said they used to shower this way, thank God things have moved on! Similarly, the men found the 15" TV's in the rooms unbareable to watch, saying they needed binoculars. What have flat screen and giant TVs done to us?

So, not exactly the lap of luxury, but the staff and the lounge with roaring log fire made up for any disappointment.

The first night we drove to the village to find somewhere to eat. We were surprized to see a fire engine arrive immediately after us. We were even more surprized when we realised it was responding to a call from the pub we were literally just about to step into. There was a problem with the chimney, so we decided to try elsewhere for some dinner, a little doubtful there would be another option in such a tiny place. Luckily, there was another Inn very close by, and by the time the 10 of us were seated, there was little room for anyone else. The food was very good, and we were entertained by a customer at the bar in an extremely festive outfit...head to toe in reindeer pattern. This strange individual was proudly showing off an expensive looking leg of parma ham, encouraging people to try it. We resisted the temptation of trying meat from a random stranger at a bar, and left feeling a bit queasy from watching other customers (and staff) put food in their mouths for a dog to take out. Just seemed wrong, and asking for trouble in my opinion.

Arriving back at our hotel and enjoying a few drinks in the lounge, we watched none other than Mr Christmas himself with his trusty parma strolling up to the bar. In a fit of the giggles we watched as he tried to tempt more fellow drinkers to sample his delicacy. Next, he had the bright idea to try and cook some on the log fire. Surely this defeats the whole purpose of buying an expensive meat which is meant to be eaten raw...but I guess he was curious. My husband (a fellow Groupon addict) happened to notice a random offer on a leg of parma ham, and couldn't resist telling the poor guy how much cheaper he could have bought his ham for. To his credit, he defended his purchase and was still clearly delighted with it. Mr. Christmas was clearly enjoying himself, to each their own. It was also a little surreal as we watched the local police doing their rounds to check everything was OK in our hotel, and leaving with a mouthful of parma ham.

The next day was sunny, and we decided to make the most of it and visited Pitlochry dam and Fish Ladder. The Fish Ladder allows salmon to migrate up and over the 86 metre high dam, it's very interesting although you can only view the salmon between April and late September. The views were quite spectacular, and it was great to get some fresh air. I suspect the tourism to Pitlochry Dam may be on the increase. My son and his friend were photobombed by a mysterious old lady, on the slightly unstable bridge. The photo appeared on Facebook with the suggestion that she could be a ghost (of course she wasn't), and a few people believed it. We all had a good laugh at the prospects of it going viral and people hunting the Pitlochry ghost...the joke will be on us if it turns out she actually is!

We'd visited Aviemore on a very scenic drive to let the boys try skiing and sledging. Little did we know we could have saved ourselves a 1.5 hour trip by going to Glenshee, which was only half an hour away. This time we all intended having some fun in the snow. However, as we drove higher up, the snow started coming down pretty heavy making driving very difficult. Our 4*4 could cope, so my husband dropped me and the kids off at the top to go back and pick up our friends. Unfortunately, by the time he headed back, the road had been shut off, and we couldn't get back to them.  We agreed to meet up with them later, and bought ourselves a very overpriced sledge. My first attempt, sharing a sledge with my son, was not a great success. Unable to stop as we were going so fast, I managed, despite my best efforts not to, to crash us into a fence. I was forgiven, and my husband had to make sure he stopped us on future attempts. My husband, incidentally, although technically able to stop his sledge, did only slow down by traveling past the fence and into the path of beginner skiers and snow boarders. Could have been a few candid camera moments there, but thankfully not.

Glenshee was amazing that day. The sky with it's continuous blizzard, was as white as the snow we were standing in. Looking around, you could not tell where mountain finished, and sky began. Beautiful, yes, but also bitterly cold. The kids (and I), had had enough after about an hour. We headed back to the car and put the heating on full blast. We noticed the petrol tanker and a few cars in front were stationary as we got onto the road. My husband went to investigate and was told the road was still closed as so many cars had got stuck on the drive up. We sat for half an hour wondering what to do. The police kept saying snow plow's and gritters were on the way, but nothing seemed to be happening. My husband battered the elements and went to help push some of the cars that were stuck. I wasn't too worried about him, his fluorescent ski trousers could be seen from miles away. Here's a tip, if you are not really ski people like us, but fancy giving it a go, Lidl does great ski clothes. They've moved on from Burberry horse coats to ski equipment...essentials for every supermarket I'm sure you'll agree.

I think that's the highlights of the trip, the older kids had a ball being scared out of their wits on a
walk through the woods at night, as well as roasting marshmallows on the log fire. In summary, we had a great holiday and I'd go back to the Log Cabin Hotel, they offered me a discount which hopefully they won't revoke if they read this :) My only advice if you decide to go...avoid the mulled wine.


  1. I'm in tears, Carolyn, can't stop laughing, it's all so vivid you can picture every bit of adventure. We should definitely do it again. -:))

  2. Thanks for the good post. I love Scotland, have visited, and would like to visit again. I have some Davidson ancestors.

    1. Glad you enjoyed my post Ann. Hope you had a few rain free days on your visit to my home country :)