Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Caitlin's Leaving Do: Go Ape! and a Girls' Night Out

Do (noun): a party or other social event.

This is a new noun for me when describing a party. I have heard everything from shindig to fiesta but never "do". But I like it and after all, party is what we do.

A couple of weeks ago we spent a Saturday celebrating a very dear friend, Caitlin, before she embarks on her next adventure back in Oklahoma. Caitlin moved here about the same time we did but was only in Aberdeen on a rotational assignment with her job. She has been so much fun and we are going to miss her!

We started the day at a ropes course called GoApe! located at Crathes Castle. We had perfect weather, although the rain threatened us on the drive out (it always does that!), and a great day climbing, zipping and squealing(that Tarzan swing will get you everytime!) through the trees.

I Love this kind of stuff!
My favorite, the Tarzan swing!
So much fun!
Showing off our certificates!
Acting like monkeys!

We all went home to regroup and get ready for a night on the town. We started with dinner at Soul, an Aberdeen favorite, and then headed out for a night of dancing and making memories. It was a great day and although we'll miss Caitlin, I'm glad we were able to give her one last, fun night out in the 'Deen!

Monday, July 30, 2012


Breathtaking. I probably over use this word when describing things in Scotland (and I think I've used it as a blog title before) but there really is no better word to describe the scenery we live, walk, drive, jog and breathe in (trust me, I visited a thesaurus website and it gave me nothing better to work with).

On Saturday we headed out for another hike with our friends, Jonathan and Laine and their pup, Bailey and along with some new friends, Debbie and Luke, who just arrived on Thursday! We headed south west this time to a little town called Edzell and completed the Rocks of Solitude River circuit. I had heard about this hike but didn't really know where it was until I visited my friend, Gail, a couple of weeks ago. We drove by this beautiful river on our way out to Loch Lee and I knew that I had to return as soon as possible.

The walk started out a little rough (completely the tour guides fault which happened to be me :-/. There is a website called Walk Highlands that gives great descriptions/maps of walks all over Scotland and I always use it as my tool. I won't say it let me down but it did confuse me a little (need something to blame ;-). Since I didn't think we parked at the car park that the map instructed us to, I got all sorts of confused. I simply should have looked for the post office which was clearly described in the print off. And in the end we were parked exactly where we were supposed to be. Anyway, it bought us some time to see if the rain was going to effect our whole hike and after the 3rd start we were on our way with sunshine and all!

The pups were able to swim right off the bat so after we let them take a their first dip of the day we were on our way.

We were constantly stopping to take pictures and take in the stunning scenery. The changes in the river were pretty spectacular as it changed from slow moving to rapids to a deep gorge as the river squeezed the Highland Boundry Fault, where the Lowland and Highland meet. There was a protective fence since the drop off was pretty steep.

The walk followed the river during the first half and then we cut off through the woods for a bit where we stumbled upon a castle ruin. Stumbling upon castles in Scotland is almost a daily occurance especially when you're out hiking.

We then walked along a country road for about a mile and came across this sign. Angus was the name of the area that we were in and we couldn't miss this photo op!

 The walk ended along the river where the dogs got one last splash.

We covered about 8 miles and only stopped once for a snack break so, needless to say we were hungry! We stopped, on the way home, in the quaint little harbor town of Stonehaven to enjoy some yummy Scottish fare.

 It was another breathtaking hike with great company!

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Here is a quick update about what we've been doing through my Instagram pictures! Hope to get a blog or two posted this week before we leave for the beautiful islands of Greece!

Enjoying beautiful Scottish summer skies
Saying see ya later to a dear friend! She's headed back to OK!
The celebration/good bye continued...

My first distillery tour and tasting at Royal Lochnagar at Balmoral Castle

Loving this sweet puppy. Seriously, that face!!

More beautiful sunsets...

Family movie night...Marley and Me-it's a tear jerker and gets me every time!

Strolling the Stonehaven Harbor; peaceful

Another one of Stonehaven Harbor...so picturesque

Flowers are starting to bloom all around. Love this one!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Loch Lee and Edzell Castle

On Tuesday, I drove about 45 minutes south to a little village called Brechin to meet up with a colleague of mine from Singapore. Gail grew up in Brechin, went to university in Aberdeen and we meet while we both worked as physios for the same clinic in Singapore (her husband's job also brought them Singapore). It's so crazy that I would go on to live in her home country but it's great because it's almost guaranteed that we'll keep in touch and see each other once or twice a year when she comes in for summer and Christmas.

We started our day with a walk to Loch Lee. Almost immediately into our walk we passed the ruins of Invermark Castle. It's very small my castle standards but wouldn't it be great turned into a B&B or weekend cottage?

We then came upon a beautiful waterfall on the side of the mountain and eventually the loch. I continue to be amazed how picturesque this country is (even on dreary, rainy days). Since we had other things planned for the day, we only walked halfway around the loch. I would love to go back to see some of the other 'hidden' waterfalls.

A walk is not a walk in Scotland without seeing some farm animals!

Can you see the waterfall?
 We stopped for lunch and then headed over to Edzell Castle ruins.
This is not my picture (source). I am still wondering how I didn't get a picture of the outside of the castle!


"Edzell was home to the Lindsays. When they acquired the estate in 1358, the lordly seat was a timber residence beside the ancient church. During the 16th century, they built a brand-new castle a short distance away – the one we admire today. The ‘icing on the cake’ of their new residence was the wonderful ‘great garden’, added in 1604.

The Lindsays were a gifted, turbulent and tragic noble family. They were known as the ‘lichtsome [carefree] Lindsays’. Their head became Earl of Crawford and one of the most powerful men in the realm. In the mid-1400s David, the 3rd Earl, made Edzell a separate inheritance for his younger son, Walter, and the castle remained with this junior branch for the rest of its days as a Lindsay residence.

For a time in the 16th century, this junior branch also held the earldom of Crawford in the person of David, 9th Earl. It was he who began building the new residence. It was centred on an impressive tower house, with state apartments in the gatehouse range, and additional family rooms along the north side of the courtyard. The family’s most famous guests were Mary Queen of Scots, in 1562, and her son James VI, in 1580 and 1589.

Alas, the family fell on hard times. In 1715 they were forced to sell Edzell because of mounting debts. With their departure from the scene, Edzell’s days as a noble residence were over.

The family’s greatest building achievement at Edzell was the wonderful walled garden. It was added by the 9th Earl’s son, David, Lord Edzell, in 1604. The present garden layout was recreated in the 1930s. However, the garden’s most arresting and original features are its four enclosing walls, which display a series of unique carved panels. These portray the Seven Cardinal Virtues, the Seven Liberal Arts and the Seven Planetary Deities. Sir David’s intention was clearly to provide a stimulus both for the mind and the senses. His garden is unique in Europe and gives the castle a distinctive place in the art history of the European Renaissance." (source)

A beautiful peacock welcomes you to the grounds.

You can't see the carvings from the picture but you can when looking down from the watch tower.
And also tells you good-bye!

It was a fabulous day with Gail and I am looking forward to seeing her at Christmas. It was great to catch up and actually start to become more friends than colleagues since we have more than work to talk about now!