In a few days we are getting married… at the top of a mountain in the Scottish Highlands. After our January trip to Stac Pollaidh (brrrr) we thought we should get ourselves acclimatised with a family holiday.
Watch out for weather
Of course you can’t guarantee the weather wherever you choose, least of all in Scotland, but we’d hoped for something springlike for our family holiday. ‘Wa ha ha ha’ laughs the weather god, for it seems we are more likely to see snow than sunshine. It’s -1 outside and as I sit and type this inside the b&b, I can see my breath in steamy puffs.
Of course that might be because I picked a slightly random place to stay – a mobile home in the garden of a b&b. Why not in the b&b I hear you ask? Where the air is warm and the windows don’t rattle? Where the en-suite has a real shower and not a caravan cubby shower? Where the bedrooms are not a weird crossbreed of tiny Japanese sleeping pod and generic nan’s house; excessive cupboards over the bed and ceramic decorations stuck to the walls?
All I can say is there was method to my madness – I don’t want to go to bed at the same time as a 5 year old because we’re all squished into a family room; I like to enjoy my holiday evenings when the kids have gone to bed. Staying in a mobile home meant separate bedrooms, a living room and somewhere to cook. It’s so flipping cold though we have to huddle like penguins to keep warm. Never have I wanted to spend so much time with the children on top of me!
Scots like to do food big. In Inverness we ordered 2 giant pizzas between 4 (our 7 year old eats adult portions and the 5 year old is not far off) and could actually see the pizza chefs laughing at us. They had to pull an extra table over to accommodate the 2 wheels they had baked for us. Just to prove them wrong we ate it all. Now who’s laughing – the chefs or the fatties drowning in cheese grease?
Margaret, out b&b lady, made us enormous breakfasts too – croissants, scotch pancakes, full English, cereals, yoghurt, fruit,toast. She had a look of fear about her – like she though we might kill her if she didn’t serve us what we wanted. We felt so full afterwards that I couldn’t physically have raised a chubster arm to do the deed…perhaps that was her plan.
But it’s a lovely part of the world for a family holiday…
Everywhere you turn in Scotland the view is phenomenal; rough, wild, windswept and empty. What the houses lack in architectural interest, the scenery makes up for a million times over. Just a couple of miles from our funny little caravan was the most stunning beach. White sands and blue seas – almost deserted apart from a couple of dog walkers.
It’s a great place for kids. We spent hours pootling around at Oldshoremore, collecting stones to paint for the wedding trail up the mountain, scrambling over rocks and climbing out to the headland to spot seals and dolphins (of which there were none!). The sun started to set and if you’d turned the heating dial up a few notches you could easily have been somewhere far-flung and exotic. You can’t though – this is Scotland and you just have to accept the weather. In fact it wasn’t long after it started to snow!