On our third day in Scotland we drove still further north where the day was even longer and the beauty shockingly stunning. Great spacious
highlands patched with heather and speckled with sheep. It was all breathtaking. I should probably name this post “beautiful things I couldn’t resist trying to capture from my car window” because I obviously couldn’t stop gawking and snapping.
Jeff and I discovered that we like the same kind of beauty. Large open stark beauty. Valleys and dells where you can see for miles. The Scottish highlands reminded us a lot of the wide openness of the drive from Salt Lake to Bear Lake only 100% greener. Instead of sage covered rolling hills and dry straw colored valleys the Highlands are filled with heather covered hills and green dells as far as the eye can see. Until you get up close to a river or a tree farm and then there are large patches of dark dense green trees. It is beautiful.
Here is the old cottage that we decided we want to fix up and live in for a summer. Look at the sheep and the stream and the rock walls. I know I’m an idealist and that the reality of living in that little house wouldn’t be nearly as grand as it is in my imagination, but that just looks so peaceful.
We drove all the way through the Cairngorms and stopped in the middle at a charming little village where we parked and hiked up one of the biggest hills (I think they call it a mountain) in that little area called Craigendarroch. It was 1,000 feet up which doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re doing it with 4 little wimpy kids it’s quite a trek. We gave the kids some serious pep talking before starting and they were fabulous. Even little Emmeline took every step up to the top on her own two legs. When she got tired and started complaining I reminded her of the Little Engine (she had been listening to that story over and over again on the drive up) and she started chanting to her self “I think I can,” or “I thought I can,” or “I think I could” until she made it to the top.
She was pretty proud of herself, especially once we were down and she looked up at that big big mountain.
The hike was beautiful, full of moss covered trees and craggy forest. The view wasn’t bad either. Peter took a spill right onto his face, poor little guy. He bounced back fast though and still wanted to tear around the top of the mountain, free from that crazy baby back pack that can’t be too comfortable to his crotch (our Beco got stolen with the car).
After the big hike and a stop for scones we loaded up to make the drive back. Within 3 minutes all 4 kids zonked out. It was so peaceful and what we were seeing was so sensational that Jeff and I decided to be irresponsible and drive all the way up and around the park on the way home. It made for a late night and kids who weren’t too happy when they woke up to find that we still had ways to go, but it was country I’ll never forget.
Don’t you think those bikers are having the time of their lives? To coast downhill admits all that scenery. It’s got to be worth the huffing ride up.We drove through a few (though not many, there’s not much civilization up there) little villages like this. The kids woke up when we had to slow down for this lot to pass us. It was pretty exciting for everyone, especially Peter. Here’s Emmeline going down a hill. She always raises her hands and says WEEE when we go down a hill and she told us that her tummy was more “wee” than ever in that big old van. Since our ride home was so much longer than we expected we stopped at this little sheep farm to let the kids run amuck. Peter was obsessed with those sheered sheep you see in the back ground and Hazel and Charlie and Emmeline spent the whole rest stop searching for sheep's wool snagged on bushes and trees. They ended up with a whole bag full of wool and spent nearly the whole ride home making plans for how they were going to clean it and dye it and weave it into something spectacular. Really, it was a perfectly glorious day.