A weekend away with friends.

About our weekend away:

1) We’re all full of excitement as we journey north-west through the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, then up past Crianlarich onto the remote Rannoch Moor, through the stark beauty of Glen Coe, and on towards Ballachulish on the shores of Loch Leven, before crossing Loch Linnhe on the Corran Ferry. A journey through a particular stunning part of Scotland.

2) We arrive, and the first thing the kids want to do is jump in the swimming pool. They swim twice a day for the remainder of our stay. We swim, and enjoy the sauna.

3) Saturday brings a challenging hill-walk to the summit of Garbh Bheinn. It’s a tough 885m walk, up steep mountain sides, with an equally steep descent down the other side. We’re so proud of Aidan and Megan – I wouldn’t have believed they could do it, and the views from the top – from the Isles of Mull, Rhum and Eigg, and on round to Skye, then the Highlands, and Fort William, and stunning views of Ben Nevis, Glen Coe, and Loch Leven. So beautiful.

4) Evenings filled with good food, good wine, good company and fun games.

5) The weather holds the entire time we are there.

6) On Sunday we explore a beach beside an Iron-Age fort on the shores of Loch Sunnart. We see flowers, and shells, and seaweed, and scramble up rocks, and skirt around fallen trees. We visit the Garbh Eilean wildlife hide and eat our lunch as we watch the seals playing on the rocks nearby.

7) The kids have a go at playing snooker, and Freda (a crazy game which involved much running around a snooker table), and have heaps of fun.

8) Monday brings a slightly busier day as we pack up, before heading to Loch Doilet north of Strontian, for a walk through the forest, a river crossing, and a wander back before the lovely drive back to join our friends in Strontian.

9) I glance out of my bedroom window, high under the eaves of the house, and spy a huge silver-pale moon hanging low in the sky, framed by the crags shadowing the shores of Loch Linnhe.

10) We catch the last ferry back, and then the roads are pretty clear as we drive home. A fantastic weekend.

Ardnamurchan – a beautiful day out!

Today we visited the beautiful Ardnamurchan peninsula:

1) Beach-walking at lovely sandy Sanna, while the kids built sandcastles and dams and tunnels, practised turning cartwheels and played in the sunshine.

2) Driving through the Great Eucrite – visible from space, this huge ancient volcanic crater remains a dramatic and compelling place.

3) The incredible view from the top of the lighthouse at Ardnamurchan point – we could see the Isles of Mull, Treshnish, Coll, Rum, Muck, Eigg, the Cuillins on Skye, and further afield, we could even see all the way across to Barra and South Uist in the Outer Hebrides… glorious!

Our Easter Holiday

Some beautiful things from our holiday last week…

1) From our cottage conservatory, we could see the sea, and the lighthouse on the north coast of Lindisfarne, the Holy Isle.

2) From the back garden, without the glare of Grangemouth, star-gazing became, once again, a favourite occupation.

3) At Cocklawburn beach, we clambered over the Skerrs, ambled along the beach, and built sandcastles and moats

4) We spent ages watching as the birds dive-bombed the sea, fishing.

5) Megan learned to knit, and both kids spent some time working on knitting their blankets for their special teddies.

6) We picnicked on the Bamburgh Dunes, watching the river of sand drifting along the beach. A and M pretended they were on Mars, and went exploring leaving “flags” to mark how far they got.

7) At the beach at Seahouses, we explored and walked and scrambled over and around the sand dunes.

8) We walked through the wind to Linhope Spout, a spectacular waterfall in the Cheviot Hills; and were blown back to the car on our way back.

9) We ate dinner together every evening.

10) At Bamburgh Castle, we loved seeing the castle in its splendour, and playing games from “days gone by”…

11) One of my lovely cousins came for tea…

12) The kids had a ball running around and climbing at Lindisfarne Priory – they learned a fair bit too!

13) At Spittal Beach, we found a fab play park, ate ice-cream and wandered along the promenade.

14) We visited Cragside House, ate lunch at the top of the estate, explored the rhododendron Labyrinth, were fascinated by the house and all its inventions, walked through the rock garden, and crossed the Iron Bridge. We loved it.

15) We went to visit my aunt and uncle. The kids had lots of fun playing at the park with my cousin, whom they haven’t seen in over two years.

16) We stopped for another walk round the Formal Garden at Cragside on the way home, followed by a delicious afternoon tea.