Tuesday, 23 October 2007

A Scottish Tale


To say we have enjoyed our visit to Scotland would be an understatement. Four nights spent at the Hilton Dunkeld, a lavish 18th century manor house built by the Duke of Atholl for his Duchess, now extended and transformed into a luxurious hotel. Exquisite food, fine wine, gentle music played by a concert pianist on a Steinway Grand. Aging trees planted in bygone centuries, left to be admired by future lens; golden rustle falling softly to the ground amidst autumn colours, eyes transfixed as the gentle breeze carries each one on its journey. The River Tay flows proudly along side; salmon and trout occasionally startling as they shimmy upon the clear surface of ice cold water. The mountainous backdrop protects the valley as our dreams glide along after full days and lasting memories. Pine trees line the rock formations, hiding nature as it carries on through years of stillness and tranquillity.








We spent Saturday in the mountains. The Cairngorms National Park; an incredible range of scenery leaving me speechless, my thoughts having been taken over as I revelled in the beauty of the landscape which lay before me. Our journey up to Braemar took us through glens and along tiny streams which end at the road side, water spring fresh. Heather coarsely grows, overwhelming in some places where grouse rummage in silence, camouflaging themselves from a twelve-bore. We got out of the car at Glenshee ski lifts, a small car park which will be buzzing with keenness once the snow has lain its path. There were two cars parked. The silence of the mountain range almost haunted me as I looked around, my ears listened yet my heart was the only sound that I could hear.

We continued our drive through Braemar to a small area known as Invurey, a cluster of woods in which we searched desperately for Capercaillie. A shy bird, they kept their distance; our cameras distracted their peace, clicking, lenses opening and shutting in readiness to capture moving leaves or emitting sounds from behind protruding rocks. Our day was blessed with the mild temperatures and the added bonus of unobscured views. No clouds scattered the empty skies as we were able to splendour at the greatness of the mountains; their heights continually overwhelming us.

As we began our journey back to Dunkeld, the light was beginning to fade. The mountains were becoming silhouetted as we drove with a little more haste to get back to civilisation before darkness fully set in. My thoughts were once again my speech as I looked to my left, my eyes following the dusk upon the mountainside. As my eyes reached the top, the sight which met them left me breathless. The most magnificent creature stood in his prime, roaring to his herd, his antlers majestic in his stance. A Stag; my most favourite of all wild animals. My disappointment at not being graced by his presence earlier was washed away by my gratitude to the Stag for being on the top of that mountain just as I turned my head. He was meant to be there, just for me.

A planned visit was to be our Sunday taken care of. Meeting people for the first time after being cyber connected with them for the past few months. We drove along the opposite side of Perthshire, through more incredible mountain ranges, past Ben Lawers. We got lost of course, having no knowledge of the area and me having a problem with my lefts and rights. I never have been good at navigating and when instructions were given to me in a busy street in Pitlochry that same morning I was quite sure we would lose our way at some stage. However, our car drew up outside a beautiful white cottage, more breathtaking scenery capturing our hearts as we were greeted with open arms and smiling faces.

Our destination was of course to meet dear Westerwitch and her husband, Happy Snaper. Another bonus as Wizzard appeared in a puff of smoke, bright eyed and beaming with kindness. They could not have been more welcoming. We sat down to a delectable chicken dinner, excellent banter and wonderful company. Not forgetting Sassy, their adorable collie who has recently been involved in a most senseless incident and who rubbed herself against my legs asking for some attention of which she got plenty. I wanted to bring her home but they kept a close eye on her as we left, just to make sure we had not smuggled her into the back of the car. As we waved to them whilst driving away I knew it was just until the next time. For I am sure we will meet again, such lovely people can not be forgotten.

That night we had our final meal in the hotel whilst listening to the Ceilidh band play the most addictive Scottish music. The farmer and I having four left feet between us, we sat and watched as kilts and sporrans graced the dance floor with their beautiful wives. The Ceilidh ended at 11pm and we retired to bed, almost as exhausted as those who had entertained us with their expertise, and just as happy.

We got home on Monday afternoon. My little pigtailed princess came running out to me, her arms flinging in all directions through sheer excitement, her smile once more melting my heart. We hugged, we went through the “I’ve missed you’s” and then we got down to business; the present giving. More hugs, more I’ve missed you’s, followed by more hugs. I am glad we went away. We have had a wonderful time. Every minute of each day we have spent in Scotland has been momentous. We will reminisce about this holiday for many years to come. Meeting our friends, seeing my Stag, searching for Capercaillie, admiring the mountains, walking alongside the River Tay and witnessing a truly Scottish gathering whilst savouring luscious food and being treated like royalty in opulent surroundings. And the best bit? Seeing Amy’s face on our return.

46 comments:

  1. Oh Crystal I have been checking your site frequently today for your new blog and was rewarded with a lovely report of a lovely trip and coming back home. Thanks for sharing your holiday impressions.

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  2. Oh Thank you Crystal - it was soooo lovely to meet you and your other half - we had such a wonderful afternoon and it took our mind off our troubles. Sassy is now very much on the mend after the dog attack. Our JRT is home too now - his injuries are severe - the hole ripped in his side has been repaired and the torn through thigh muscles - cobbled back together - as the vet put it. Our JRT shakes constantly with pain which is gut wrenching to watch. Tomorrow he goes back to the vets to have the drains removed - which will be traumatic as our JRT is terrified of the vets. It is hoped that the pain will begin to settle soon but neither JRT, or I got much sleep last night. The vet has said the recovery will take weeks. As for the offending dogs . . .the owner is bringing in a trainer . . .so we shall see . . .

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  3. Sounds like you had a great time. But it's always good to come home. x

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  4. oh my gosh, what beautiful pictures.
    you had great weather!

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  5. Gorgeous pictures and it sounds like the hotel was very elegant and romantic. What a nice trip for the two of you. It is funny how sometimes the best part is coming home!

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  6. Beautiful holiday, Crystal! To say that I am jealous would be an understatement!

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  7. Welcome back! I missed you!
    So pleasde to hear you had a great time, and you met WW and HS!!!
    Oh and Amys welcome home that must have been sooo lovely!

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  8. Crystal, what a lovely time you had....and to meet up with PCs also! The photos were super, Scotland is one of the loveliest places in Autumn.

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  9. So gla dyou had such a good time and a wonderful welcome home from Amy. Welcome back!

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  10. It sounds wonderful Crystal, I'm jealous of it all - have been to Scotland very infrequently and would so love to return. Can just imagine you all sitting around in Westerwitch's house.

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  11. It sounds fantastic and the pics are lovely. It's nice to get away by yourselves and be pampered, but I have to agree, possibly the best bit is getting that big hug from a little person who's missed you at the end of it! xx

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  12. Oh how lovely Crystal. Could do with a break like that myself. I envy you your PC meeting and the beautiful scenery - all sounds wonderfully idyllic. Bet Amy won't let you out of her sight now! xx

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  13. Sounds like a wonderful time. I love the pictures.

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  14. Brilliant Crystal, gorgeous pics and I'm so pleased that the stag appeared for you. Your meeting with WW and Co. sounds wonderful and then a lovely welcome home from Amy to round things off! Thank you for sharing. xx

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  15. It's always so good to come home, though our house doesn't have a smiling Amy to greeet us....your trip sounds almost magical. Must have been the westerwitch's spell!

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  16. what a fabulous trip that sounds Crystal. Yes, the stag was just for you, I'm sure. Aren't they magnificent creatures?
    And how lovely to meet WW, HS and Wizzard - did she have any bombs?
    And it must have been beyond wonderful to see Amy again....
    jxxx

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  17. Thanks so much for letting us see what you did in Scotland. Both in words and pictures.

    The welcome home was very moving.

    (Good news from the dentist must also have been very welcome!)

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  18. A glorious blog. Thanks for sharing your wonderful time in Scotland.

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  19. sounds like you have had a really great time! Great pics too!!

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  20. Gorgeous pictures, crystal. And I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time. It sounds amazing.

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  21. Glad you had a good time. It is a fantastic part of the world, but given the week we've just had in Northumberland I wouldn't swap if I were you.

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  22. Glad you enjoyed it. OK I'm biased but how could you not?

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  23. Sounds just about the perfect break and your pictures are fab. so glad you got to meet ww and co. not at all surprised that it was such a mellow meeting! welcome back.

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  24. Marvelous! Thanks. Good to be in touch again!

    Lizzie xx

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  25. Hi Crystal,
    I dropped in after seeing you comment elsewhere. What a lovely Blog! I read lots of your past posts and I shall visit again.

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  26. That sounds like a fab break...and it's good to have you back here!

    Cx

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  27. I'm glad you had a lovely time, you wrote of it so beautifully.

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  28. Sounds WONDERFUL. You make it sound such a happy, carefree, relaxed, and totally special four days.

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  29. Ooo you make me miss the Moors - not quite the same thing of course, but gorse and heather.....I can almost smell it.
    Best wishes

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  30. What a marvellous sounding holiday, I love it up there, and the moment of seeing the stag must have been breathtaking, I feel I've just had a quick break myself now !

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  31. Lovely pictures. What a great get away trip. I've never seen Scotland except through the eyes of others. Thanks for the pictures.

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  32. So pleased you are back. So pleased you had a wonderful time!

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  33. Hey, Crystal. If you have the energy to take it on after your trip, I've tagged you with a meme.

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  34. So pleased you had a fabulous time - stunning photos.

    And the best bit? Always the best bit is seeing the shining eyes of the children...

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  35. I am so pleased that you had a lovely time. Scotland's beautiful.

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  36. Your holiday sounded wonderful Crystal. We once stayed at the Dunkeld Hotel, fabulous, sheer luxury, think I put on about two stone, the food was divine, thank you for taking me there again! Lucky you meeting up with fellow bloggers too, and lovely to get such a warm welcome home. Posie x

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  37. So glad you had such a lovely time and such a warm welcome home too.

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  38. Dear CJ, we're off to the Highlands for Christmas and planning to get snowed in! Great post, stunning images. Thank you.

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  39. What a fabulous sounding (and looking) place!
    x

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  40. How gorgeous. Stags, scenery, Scots - what could be better. Sounds fantastic. Enjoyed that very much.

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  41. it was lovely to meet you and hubby too CJ.
    Wx

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  42. Sounds like a lovely time. I've been to some of those spots, too. It's a beautiful part of the world. Makes me want to go back, reading your blog. It's fun seeing pictures from autumn. We were there in summer. The name we chose for our daughter came from our trip through Scotland: Kayleigh Skye. So glad you had such a good time, and so glad you shared it with us.

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  43. So glad you enjoyed the holiday in SCotland Crystal, and how lovely to meet up with WW and HS.The pictures are gorgeous, and what a wonderful welcome from darling Amy you had on your return. Thank you for sharing with us Crystal.

    Camilla.xx

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  44. Beautiful part of the world. The daughter spent two years in school up there and I never tired of the journey. So glad you had a wonderful time - did you walk to Dunkeld church? Just fabulous.

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