Friday, 14 August 2015

Scotland Part 2

Jackie, Ian, Helen and Monty dog on Portgower beach

Well I’m starting but we seem to have done loads this week, so may pass over to someone else! First thing to mention is the weather, we’ve had two days on the beach in T-shirt and shorts, while amber weather warnings were issued for the south east of England!

On Sunday, despite all promising ourselves a ‘day off’ the weather was good (and you never know, it might have been the best it was going to be for the week, it is Scotland after all) so we thought we’d walk along the beach the couple of miles to Helmsdale. 
The war memorial in Helmsdale
This was slightly disappointing it has to be said, as instead of the expanse of golden sand we’d envisaged, it was a mass of rounded rocks which were very hard to walk along, for all of us, not least the dog, though he at least could console himself with finding, chewing and rolling around in dead seagulls on the way. What a delight! Helmsdale is a small town but very friendly, we thought we ought to check out the café for a light lunch before heading off to the pub. Once at the pub Helen, Monty and I met George the cat, which was great for me, but not so good for Monty, who thought he should have been allowed to play, rather than watch George parade up and down just out of lead length. George obviously owns the town as we met him another day at the far end of the High Street for him to escort us all the way to the pub.

Owner of Helmsdale George the cat surveys his estate
Monday dawned beautifully clear and sunny, so we headed off to a sandy beach, a gentle walk for us and an opportunity for the ‘zoomies’ (apparently a recognised term in the dog world) and swimming for Monty. Other beach walks have included a huge nest of seals which B and I went closer to look at than the others, though Monty was very interested in the ‘sea dogs’ whose heads he could see in the water that followed us along on our walk.

Beers in the pub garden, fabulous! The only handrawn ale on was 'Puffin', Ian ordered '3 Puffins please' and the barman walked off and out the back. Had we upset him we thought? He reappeared 5 minutes later carrying 3 coffees. Was our English accent that bad? All the other Scottish locals in the pub had a good laugh about it and the barman didn't seem to mind
On the beach - look at that sky - Northern Scotland!
We’ve also walked over the hill to Helmsdale and through woods by waterfalls, as well as through bog to look at non-existent birds and round lochs where at least Monty could swim (properly without his feet touching the bottom for the first time) and the water didn’t taste funny just to ring the changes.

Helen and Ian go out for a jog....
We went on one big driving day out which was very interesting, although we were not allowed to visit Dounreay nuclear site, we had lunch looking at it after a very interesting trip round the Tourist Info in Thurso where we all learnt a lot. A number of firsts there for Monty, his first museum and his first cinema experience! The scenery is beautiful up here, and we really have seen it at its best, though we have also had a thunder storm though only once and we were all tucked up in the house.

While Brian baked scones and brewed tea to eat outside our cottage
We’ve cooked and eaten and drunk a huge amount (next week we’ll be living off a lettuce leaf and half a chicken breast) and had a huge amount of fun. Shame we have to drive home tomorrow, or back to H+I’s anyway, so Ian can go to work on Monday and we can go to Derby to look after ‘TC’ for friends Tim and Jill.

Here I am in the sea!
Hello everyone, this is Monty-Dog blogging! I have had a fantastic two weeks holiday and quite frankly I am ready for a rest back home. Tuesday to Saturday was taken up with looking after Nicky and Tony’s steading with the two Dobermans: Duke and Mia. Generally we got on well and I enjoyed my runs up the hill with them, except when they zoomed off and left me looking like a fat puppy!

And on a rock looking at one of those funny sea dogs (seals)
Week two has included beach walks, some stony and some golden sands. Woodland walks, boardwalks through muddy wetlands, town walking and finding our way back from Helmsdale to Portgower without using the A9. I didn’t like the grass at the side of the big road, so was very unhelpful at keeping tucked in away from traffic as it itched my feet too much.

Look, proper swimming, just like those sea dogs!
My favourite parts have been swimming in the sea, rolling in dead seagull and nearly stealing Brian’s fresh made cake…. Don’t know how I missed it.

Being with mum, dad and Jackie and Brian has been lovely and I have been spoiled lots. Hee,hee! Can’t wait for next year.

Guest writer Ian:

Jackie surveys the dials in the replica Dounreay Nuclear Power plant control room
Lovely two weeks in Scotland – first week with Nicky and Tony with the boys and the girls working hard, and eating and drinking quite hard as well. Really chuffed with progress at the Steading, and have seen more with pictures sent on from Tony and Nicky since we left. The last week at  Portgower has been slightly more relaxing with the continued theme of eating and drinking too much. Some great days out and nights in, a few great games of Balderbash, and a few bits of afternoon baking from Brian as well. And the good news is that Teddy has survived, despite some hours of careful planning from Monty, and a few guerrilla attacks generating screams of terror from Jackie…… and we only broke Brian once!

Outside Dounreay Nuclear Power station (now being decommissioned)
Tea this evening is emptying the fridge of whatever contents are left (including a huge portion of chips left from last nights take away eaten on the harbour at Helmsdale in the company of a couple of seagulls and a swarm of midges), and an obligation to finish off the  wine that is left over as there is no room in the car to take it back home.  Off home tomorrow, will have done around 1500 miles by the time we get back, and looking forward to a proper Brummie curry tomorrow night!
Seals on the beach at Doll.Monty was kept well away!
The sand flats on the sea loch at Tongue on the far north coast of mainland Scotland
Scotlands national emblem - the thistle
The RSPB Forsinard Flows, the largest area of west Atlantic peat bog in the world
Waiting at the railway station in Forsinard. Not really, it was £63 return for 4 for a 25 mile journey so we drove!
Windsurfer on the beach. The green notice on the sail says 'around Britain challenge' - its a long way to go on a windsurfer!
The fabulous green grass and reflected blue off the lochs. Great scenery!
Jackie, Helen and Ian read a message in a bottle washed up on the beach at Brora. Unfortunately it said it was thrown in at Brora in August, so we tossed it back into the sea hoping it makes it further next time!
Look at this classic 1969 Riley Elf we spotted in Brora!

Monty dog runs off with a very large stick!

The castle at Dunrobin. we didn't go in - too busy!

A very picturesque waterfall and forest walk by Golspie

1 comment:

  1. Got to say, this was a fabulous holiday and we really enjoyed every minute (except the lumpy bed). xxxxx