A Day Out in Anstruther

What is there to do in the summer in Scotland? Head off to the seaside, of course!

I’ve been on holiday this week, so naturally I have been itching to get out and explore. Tuesday happened to be one of the hottest days of the year, but unfortunately my other half was working and our little seaside voyage couldn’t take place until the next day. Needless to say, come Wednesday the skies were grey, the wind was up and the temperature was back down to Baltic. Okay, that last part was maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but it certainly didn’t feel very summery when we reached Anstruther.

Anstruther is a little town in Fife, almost directly across the Firth of Forth from our little part of East Lothian. Despite it being so close, I have never ventured there. My partner used to spend his childhood summers there and he wanted to show me some of the places that he used to hang around.

Our first stop was the harbour, which is so pretty.

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The Wallace Monument

Holidays are the best. There’s nothing quite like waking up knowing you don’t have to go to work, that time is your own and you can do whatever you like. Sadly holidays also seem to whiz by. I’ve been lucky enough to have the past week off and I can’t believe how quickly it has passed. I’m really not looking forward to the 6am alarm tomorrow.

On Wednesday we took off to Stirling for an overnight stay. While there we made our way to the Wallace Monument. It dominates the skyline and really does look like a Disney castle. Up close it is both impressive and imposing. For once the weather was on side and as we arrived at the base of the Monument after a short but steep woodland climb the sun was out, bathing the sandy stonework.

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Christmas Lights

Nothing shouts Christmas quite like a trip to a winter wonderland. With lights, rides and music blasting out all around you, it really does create a festive atmosphere that is impossible to resist.

Here in Edinburgh there is quite a lot of festive events. Arguably the highlight is the vast market in Princes Street Gardens. With a range of stalls selling all manner of handmade items, food and drink, it is the place to go if you want to inject some festive cheer into your life.

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Unfortunately for us, the night we decided to go proved to be cold, damp and dismal. Winter in Scotland can be brutal, and this past week has seen one gale after another hit the city. Typically the rain was pelting down and the wind was howling as we ventured out. Were you insane, I hear you ask? Quite possibly, but with our work we couldn’t find any other day to go and for me it isn’t Christmas without a visit to the market.

Normally I love being surrounded by lights and Christmas tunes, but even I couldn’t muster much enthusiasm with my clothes sticking to my skin. Luckily we discovered the Bothy, an indoor bar where we warmed up over hot chocolate. We also managed to get a few almost-good pictures of the lights without having to brave the elements.

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Somehow even on the stormiest nights, the sight of all those lights is still comforting. December would be a bleak month without Christmas. The days are so short and dull, the weather atrocious. Think about the last time you saw a house all lit up. Didn’t it make you smile even though you were having a bad day? It might have been wet and miserable that night, but I must admit that from the shelter of inside the sight of so much brightness and colour did make me feel happier.

We might have ended up like a pair of drookit rats, but we certainly made some memories that we can look back and laugh about. At the end of the day, that is what Christmas is about – memories that will last you a lifetime.

Camping Tales

If you have followed my blog for sometime, you may remember that last summer I went camping for the first time (read all about it here). Having survived the outdoors, and having a partner who loves to camp, I must confess I was surprised when this summer passed by without any camping trips. I should have known that my other half was biding his time. What fun is camping in warm weather when you can camp out in autumn?

My first reaction when he said we were going to spend a night in a tent by a lake in September was one of bemusement. Okay, we haven’t exactly had much in the way of summer weather, but really, why didn’t he think of this in June or July? August wasn’t too bad. There were a couple of warmish days. At least it was technically summer.

His mind was made up, though. Rain, snow, thunder or hail, we were going camping. To say I was dubious about the whole thing would be an understatement. The previous week he had wanted to go, but I had to work, and the weather had been awful; it pretty much rained all day. I had visions of us sitting in a muddy field getting soaked through. Continue reading “Camping Tales”

Highland Safaris, Aberfeldy

This past week I was lucky enough to have a mini summer holiday in Aberfeldy. We spent four days in a lodge and it was an action-packed trip. Some of the activities we got up to included feeding the resident ducks (they have hard, plasticky beaks but it strangely doesn’t hurt when they eat from your hand), visiting an artisan chocolate shop, touring a whisky distillery, a very competitive game of Cards Against Humanity and kayaking, something I tried for the first time. While all of these were memorable in their own right, the highlight of my holiday was our visit to Highland Safaris.

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Located a few miles outside of Aberfeldy, Highland Safaris is a great day out for people of all ages. There are loads of activities ranging from gold panning, land rover safaris, 4×4 off-road driving and meeting red deer. It was the deer experience that most excited us and after paying for our tickets we eagerly waited for our guide to come and collect us. I’ve seen lots of roe deer in the countryside around East Lothian, but I’d never seen a red deer before and I couldn’t wait to get to see them up close.

Our guide, Andy, took us to a little barn where he told us all about the deer. There were lots of antlers on display and he explained how stags grow their antlers for the rutting season and then lose them in the spring. It takes roughly 110 days for antlers to grow, even the big ones! Continue reading “Highland Safaris, Aberfeldy”

Atholl Palace Hotel Gardens

While on our mini-break last week we made a visit to Atholl Palace Hotel for a spa day. Atholl Palace Hotel was named by TravelGround blog as one of the hotels to stay in before you die. It is certainly an impressive sight, all turrets and grey stone. As you approach up the driveway you cannot help but be awed by how grand it is. My wild imagination couldn’t help but compare it to Hogwarts.

As well as arresting architecture, Atholl Palace Hotel also boasts beautiful gardens. After our spa experience we took a wander round them and we were fascinated by how much there was to take in. First of all there are the steps leading up to the hotel from the gardens. As you can see from the picture they are steep. The picture was taken from the bottom of the steps looking up and I appear so tiny!

All along the steps there was a pretty display of spring flowers which I tried to capture in my next photo. They were so bright and colourful and made for a lovely scene.

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Sunshine on East Lothian

I had a rare day off yesterday and for once the weather was glorious. Waking up to bright sunshine is always guaranteed to make me happy and with a whole day at my disposal I decided to get out and make the most of the good weather (because, let’s face it, it can’t last for long).

I’ve lived almost all my life in East Lothian, but without being able to drive I’ve not properly explored the county, something I discovered over the course of yesterday. There are lots of country roads that lead to small, pretty villages and we’re also blessed with some of the most beautiful countryside in the country. Just look at this picture taken from halfway up one of the hills out by the village of Garvald.

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