I wouldn't dare bore anyone with the 500 photos we took on our recent trip to bonny Scotland, but here are 12...and they tell some of the story. I made some notes, a brief diary of our trip, every night when we were all snuggled up cosy and warm in Fleur, the campervan. We had the most amazing family holiday. We have some truly great memories that cannot be captured in pictures. Here's the abridged version:-
day 1: Pick up Fleur the van in the Lake District. Drive to Lochmaben. Rain. Sonny loses coat. Chicken and haggis for tea. Howling wind threatens to blow down nearby tree. Jez gets upper body wedged between bed and roof of van.
day 2: Swan and five signets come to say good morning. Fleur won't start. Fleur starts 2 hours later. Lunch at Loch Lomond. Accident ahead of us temporarily halts our journey. Get to Oban as the dazzling sun starts to set. Baked beans for tea.
day 3: Up early to catch Oban-Mull ferry. Problems with Fleur losing power. Miss ferry. Buy replacement waterproof coat for Sonny. Catch ferry. Slow, stressful drive to Tobermory. Discover amazing echo on walk to campsite. Kids dance to Tears for Fears and Cat Stevens. Late night visit from mechanic. He goes home because it's too dark.
day 4: Early morning visit from mechanic. Not good. We'll have to be towed back to England. But first we'll hire a car and see Mull. Rockpooling on Calgary beach. See deer, highland cattle, a black pig, hundreds of sheep, maybe an eagle, buzzards, waterfalls, lochs and mountains. Simply stunning. We eat out - langoustines for me, crab claws for Jez and mussel and smoked haddock broth for the kids.
day 5: Shipwrecks and castle ruins. Ranger led trip to forest hide where we spot 2 white tailed sea eagles. Boat trip to Bloody Bay and back. "Bloody bloody bay" chant the kids. We see heron, seals, porpoise, a salmon farm, another pair of sea eagles. The best fish and chips ever for me and Scout. Boys have fun in the pub. Pick-up truck picks us up and drives us to the far side of island. We see deer, otters, highland cattle, black sheep, and Sonny spots a golden eagle. Spend the night on oily garage forecourt surrounded by sheep in the middle of nowhere. Sonny has a slice of cheese, a scotch pancake and a banana for tea. Jez has nothing. We have nothing else left apart from a packet of biscuits which we save for breakfast.
day 6: Early start to catch ferry. Dropped in Hamilton services for rendezvous with AA. Kids are happy to be rescued by "the 4th emergency service". We mostly eat sweets and biscuits. Arrive in Lake District after 10 hours in the back of a recovery van. We're offered a full refund on the van hire which almost makes us cry. We find a pub, eat some hot food and drive home.
We miss Scotland. We even miss Fleur.