Mark took me to Scotland for the weekend at the end of the school holidays to meet up with some of his friends, do some walking, bird watching and drinking! Being as it was also my birthday weekend I thought I'd go up to Derby beforehand to spend the day with my parents. We had a lovely day van-hunting as I want to swap my VW transporter - have decided I would like a Vito next, but 3-seats in the front leaving more boot space for dogs and equipment/food transportation. Mark arrived later in the day and we had a lovely evening meal.
We set off early on the Thursday morning for the long drive to Scotland, after saying a big goodbye to my dogs who were staying with mum & dad for the weekend (feel gutted I am missing Gypsy's birthday!). It was a fairly un-eventful journey, taking us just over 4hours including a stop and we weren't even the last to arrive! We were staying at Caerlaverock which is a Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Centre (hence no dogs) in a lovely big house with it's own conservatory over-looking the reserve. Mark and some of his friends went out investigating the centre and for a spot of bird-watching whilst I stayed in the warmth and un-packed a bit. Went out for a walk to find them, spotted some "birds" or duck-ducks in Holly-language (we understand each other you see!) as well as some deer, and then came back to the warmth with Bea. Evening meal was delicious, followed by port and the ability to badger and fox-watch in the warmth of the conservatory.
Friday dawned a bit wet! After a lovely breakfast cooked by Mark and Gareth there were many discussions on what to do for the day, due to the weather not being great for too much outdoors with 4 children. Whilst discussing, the rain eased and it was decided to go for a walk in the woods, hoping the trees would protect us from the worst of the rain. It was a lovey walk, probably only about 3 miles, but there were HILLS! Spent some time on the walk spotting red squirrels as well as having fun playing with the camera - really wish I had more time to get out and about taking pictures.
A late lunch at a cafe/tea rooms was followed by Mark and I heading off into Dumfries to find a tourist information shop and a bit of a nose-around - didn't much like the height or ferocity of the River Nith. Fianlly headed back to the centre before dark for Mark to go out bird watching and me to curl up with a good book. Another lovely meal followed by more port made for an entertaining evening, especially with 8 slightly drunk adults trying to, quietly, blow up birthday balloons! Think the girls even told us to be quite at one point!!!
|Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) - © Stuart Elsom|
Got back in time for badger/fox-watching and a kinda-joint birthday meal with Lottie. Managed to even find some phone signal to phone my parents and wish Gypsy a happy 7th birthday (my baby girl is getting older.... :-( )