second home

For those that don’t get just how much we consider Scotland our second home….

our house in Belgium. note the car

our home in Scotland. again, note the car. what are the chances that the google cars would capture us in both places? it’s like it was meant to be!

You should also be aware that Harry considers Scotland our “true” home, and this our home during school time only. Make of that what you will. And plan your future visits accordingly 🙂

Scotland 2012

Just some nice shots from our most recent trip to Scotland to share with you. This is the first time we went so late in the year – it was stunningly beautiful. But, not surprisingly, everything “touristy” was down for the season. We spent a lot of time gazing at the beautiful scenery and playing UNO!

Scotland 2010

Sorry for the delay. It’s hard to slog through 400+ pictures, and choose the top few that epitomize our trip. And once I’d finally done all that, and uploaded them to the blog, they wanted to display in reverse order. So I’ve now painstakingly added them, one by one, for your viewing pleasure. APPRECIATE!!

This year’s trip took us to Tomintoul, in the Cairngorms of Scotland, rather than to our usual home-away-from-home of Fort Augustus.  It was nice to try a new spot and get a change of scenery.  The setting was absolutely spectacular.  We did a lot of geo-caching, which the boys call treasure hunting.  When you’re traveling with a six year old and a not-quite three year old, museums and castles give way to exploring the countryside.  It was a nice, peaceful time, although by the end we were all more than ready to get home.

I’d give you a play-by-play to accompany the pictures, about the sites we saw and the trips highs and lows, but I’ve battled with WordPress and this post for as long as I can stand it.

The boys enjoyed the trip over.  I did not.  I pretty much puked from one side of the North Sea to the other.  You're welcome.

The boys enjoyed the trip over. I did not. I pretty much puked from one side of the North Sea to the other. You're welcome.

The guys on the way to our first cache.

The guys on the way to our first cache.

Remains of Drumin Castle.

Remains of Drumin Castle.

Liam and Harry spent lots of time conquering this rock pile outside the cottage.

Liam and Harry spent lots of time conquering this rock pile outside the cottage.

Liam *mountain climbing*, getting in touch with his Highlander roots.

Liam *mountain climbing*, getting in touch with his Highlander roots.

Had a lovely lunch in this hotel in Grantown-on-Spey.

Had a lovely lunch in this hotel in Grantown-on-Spey.

Site of another cache, an old lum.

Site of another cache, an old lum.

The resemblance is uncanny.  As is there determination not to smile and look directly at the camera.

The resemblance is uncanny. As is there determination not to smile and look directly at the camera.

Harry loved these oven mitts!  He'd put them on and run around being a butterfly.

Harry loved these oven mitts! He'd put them on and run around being a butterfly.

Highlight for the boys: the steam train trip!

Highlight for the boys: the steam train trip!

Leaving Broomhill for Boat of Garten.

Leaving Broomhill for Boat of Garten.

Rebuilding of an authentic blackhouse at the folk museum.

Rebuilding of an authentic blackhouse at the folk museum.

On the playground at the folklore museum.

On the playground at the folklore museum.

Harry's plunder at our final cache.

Harry's plunder at our final cache.

Chives in the cottage garden.

Chives in the cottage garden.

The remains of Lecht House, on the half mile drive from the road to our cottage.

The remains of Lecht House, on the half mile drive from the road to our cottage.

By the end of the trip, this is how we all felt

By the end of the trip, this is how we all felt

catch up post #4 — Liam’s photos

This year Liam went to Scotland armed with a camera.  He got a lot of pictures of the coffee table, and his shoes, et al.  But he also got a few really nice shots.  Here are the cream of the crop!

catch up post #3 — around Fort Augustus

Most of the time we spent relaxing in and around Fort Augustus.  As always, we wish we’d taken more photos.  I wish I had some better pictures of our cottage from the outside, so you could see the whole thing, as it was beautiful.  Guess we were too busy enjoying ourselves most of the time to lug out the camera!

catch up post #2 — Jacobite Steam Train trip

On Wednesday the second came the highlight of Harry’s trip to the Highlands — we took the steam train from Fort William to Mallaig on the coast.  The chugga chugga noise was at times incredibly loud!!  Not the soothing background noise you might expect from watching too many movies.  A great time was had by all.  And the view!

Warning: there are many near-duplicates posted here.  We had better seats for taking pictures of the viaduct and the sea than the people across the aisle, and we promised we post them to share.  Since they put up with out at times fractious youngsters, I’m more than willing to oblige!

catch up post #1 — Harry’s Birthday in Scotland

Sorry for the delay in getting photos up and detailing the trip.  It’s been a hectic week, what with unpacking, catching up on laundry, taking care of lots of house business, and getting school underway.

We drove all day long to get from Hull to Fort Augustus on Saturday.  We had expected the trip to be long — 7 hours, we supposed?  Not even close.  It took us ELEVEN hours, people.  Eleven hours.  With a two year old.  In a car.  All I can say is portable DVD players, which I used to scorn and detest, do have their uses!

Harry’s birthday was Monday.  We kept it low key, but it was perfect.