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Sunday, 3 March 2013

Scotland 2013

Day 1 - travelling most of the day - took 6 hours of driving to get to Ayr by about 5pm. Did B****r all for that evening!

Day 2 - spent at Rosie's - Johns great niece and 3 of his great nephews came to visit. Great fun playing, reading and cuddling.

Day 3 - A walk on Ayr beach with the dogs. Sun shone - it was a glorious day. Dogs loved it and I relaxed.

Fish and chips from Marco's chip shop highly recommended - tons of grub and 2 for a fiver!

Day 4 - headed north for another 6 hours drive to Noss Head, Wick, in Caithness. Lovely cottage! GORGEOUS kitchen and oh I so want the kitchen table and chairs (down you green eyed beast!)

Clouds came in when the sun went down so no chance of seeing the aurora.

Day 5 - walked a couple of miles around the area the cottage is in. Went as far as Noss head lighthouse (closed) and then Sinclair Castle (open, free and AWESOME!).

I was incredibly brave I think, went very close to the cliff edge. Faced the fear! Kept dogs on a tight lead though as most of the edge is unprotected.

How lucky are we with the weather!?!

Clear sky at night. Took dogs out a few times after dark. Moonlight sooooo pretty and so many stars visible. Makes you realise how much light pollution we usually put up with. Very peacful outside, some birds fussing and other unidentified animal noises, proper countryside.

No sight of aurora, although I did see a shooting star so that was some consolation.

Day 6 (Monday) - Another absolutely glorious day. Warm and sunny, very unexpected at this time of year and at this latitude. I saw baby lambs in fields, and the gorse is in bud.

We went to the beach in Sinclair bay. Dogs enjoyed it so much! Charlie has slowed down a lot at his age, but Arnie just does not stop. This sand was pristine when we arrived:

Then we went to John O'Groats and had a walk along the coast path. (john's shadow looks like he has wings; either red bull or he is being an angel)

Just look at that sky!

I was hoping for clear skies this evening, but a fog has come in from the sea. Cloud is forecast for the rest of the week sightings of the aurora are increasingly unlikely.

Day 7 - A lazy lazy morning. Charlie certainly has mastered the art of relaxation:

Beautiful morning, so warm and sunny I was sat in my nightie in the garden with my morning fag. Sunbathing in February yay!

Eventually we got off our butts, and had a good scramble over the rocks at Staxigoe harbour. A word of advice; avoid seaweed looking like this:

It's pretty, it's red, and it's very very slippery. *rubs arse and deals with the embarrassment*

Me and Charlie slipped over a couple of times but nothing more than a couple of bruises. Arnie had no such problem, chasing sea birds all over the place, though I wouldnt't want to tangle with those cormorants - they look evil! Also saw guillimots, but no seals.

The water was so clear, and some of the pools were really deep. Arnie's antics were making my heart jump, but he stayed safe. Thank goodness Charlie has calmed down a bit, 2 of them would give me a heart attack!

When we arrived back at the cottage, there was a buzzard sitting on our rence post. Felt like I was in a Stephen King book :-p.

We left the dogs at the cottage and went into Wick for a mosey round the shops - there were loads of charity shops and I got some bargains. Home happy ready for a nap. Blissful day. Rainy night so no sightings but I expected that. Lit the fire just for the atmos, but was so hot we had to open the windows. Might have to return all the thermal clothing I bought lol

Day 8 - Oh am so glad of the thermals and windproofs today - what a change in the weather

Arnie all windswept and interesting looking

So we stayed in doing jigsaws and generally chilling until late afternoon
But then we decided to go for a walk - and the sun came out within minutes - Off to Dunnet beach hoorah!
Then, tired but happy, we all went home for tea and yet more relaxation

Day 9 - Thursday? Losing track now!
Well, at 1am this morning the skies cleared so we went out in all our thermals and a couple of blankets; sat on a bench watching the stars in a biting easterly wind. Was flipping feezing! Shows how dedicated we were cos we stayed there for an hour and a half before giving up and going to bed. No luck at all with my primary mission!
Woke about 10ish as a consequence so didnt even get out of the house till about 2, although it was another sunny day. Looks pretty but oh that wind!
 Tried the beach at Keiss today. Amazing sand dunes and we had the place to ourselves. Bliss.
Sooooo cold though - we didn't care what we looked like as long as we were warm - as you can see lol
About midnight we went out for our last look at the sky. It was clear as can be; amazingly beautiful with the quarter moon and millions of stars. Unable to get any pics though cos the moon made the sky too light.
No idea why we didn't think of it before, but we drove to the headland and sat in the warmth of the car this time. Better view and MUCH more comfy. Felt a bit stupid that we didn't think of it before, but at the same time so glad that we thought of it at all! (My idea natch!)
Still no sightings though so feel a bit sad. Gave up at 2am; the sky clouding over plus I was so tired  that the stars were jumping around lol.
Day 9 - SHOPS!!! This is the local supermarket:
I say local, but it is at least 2 miles away!
Guess what time I got up today?! Go on, have a guess.  ELEVEN o'clock!!! Those that know me will understand the shocking nature of this revelation.
Before going out, John finished the jigsaw.

OOh, see what I mean about the GORGEOUSNESS of the table??? Mmmmmm

Found this funny little Harbour in Papigoe (Great names or what!) So spent a while there. Didn't spot any seals :-( Are all my missions destined or failure this week?)

Then home for a shower before we packed our stuff ready to leave the cottage in the morning

Day 10 - Sat. Bye Bye cottage - we have loved staying in you!

On the drive back to Ayr, on the A9 going over the Cromarty Firth eagle eye john spotted SEALS!!! At last! Was looking or them all week. Secondary mission accomplished hoorah!

We stopped at Pitlochry for a break and the dogs headed straight for the river. Oh the futility of showering them!


At Rosie's place in Ayr, we caught up with loads of John's family, including his great nephews and neices. This little one is not at all camera shy - the second pic was taken about 30 secs after the first lol
Had a teeny bit of a party that night so we ended up staying till monday, as sunday was very painful!

It took us 8 hours of actual driving to get home somehow - 2 more than usual. TIRED
"There's no place like home.........."

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