I wasn’t going to do a round up blog post for this year but then I realised it’s been a good year, so why not give you our 2018 – Scotland in photos? I am, afterall, a photographer and not just a Scottish travel blogger. For this post I am going to show you some of the things the Dude and I got up to, some of it didn’t even make the blog.
We started off the new year with plenty of walks, standard procedure for the start of any year for us. Walking off all that festive gluttony and one of my favourite’s was Birnam Hill on a bright sunny day.
A short, steep little hill with the added bonus of snow made for a really rewarding walk with glorious, clear views across Perthshire. Proving that you don’t have to yomp up Munro’s to get a good view.
This photo was taken whilst having a breather at the top.
A whistle stop tour of beautiful (windy) Islay. Two days with Blue Badge Guide, Ann Stewart, showing us there is more to this Inner Hebridean island than just whisky. We visited the Islay Woolen Mill and watched tweed being woven, wandered through the snowdrops on woodland walks and received a complimentary wind and sand blast facial on Machir Bay beach. It is possible to visit Islay without doing a distillery tour but that was never going to happen as the Dude loves a peaty malt.
This photo was taken from the ferry across to the Paps of Jura.
It appears that we didn’t stray far in March. I have very few photos and that is unusual! Of course we had the Beast from the East to contend with for a couple of weeks. The snow just kept on coming and coming. Each time I thought I would go out and actually enjoy it, by the time I was all wrapped up the storm whipped up another blast.
I do love the snow but even that started to wear a bit thin on me. And for those, like Dude, who had to go to work it became a massive ball ache.
Here is a photo from my phone of a wee abandoned cottage on one of my walks
Right at the very end of April I had a trip to Orkney. This was to be my third visit since moving here and quite possibly, the best weather so far. It was a work trip and sadly not shared with the Dude, he was gutted because I left him home alone on his birthday! I did have a trick up my sleeve, but sadly it was postponed!
It’s always a delight to head north to Orkney, whatever the weather. Third time is definitely a charm though.
This photo was taken at the Ring of Brodgar.
It was just a couple of weekends later when Dude got to have his birthday present from me. I had booked him a half day canyoning experience with Nae Limits in the north of Perthshire. I love the idea of canyoning but I know I would panic, hence why I only booked it for him!
Needless to say he had a blast launching himself off rocks into waterfalls!
This photo is one (of the many) we bought (part of the package) from Nae Limits.
Finally I got to go to the Mountain Bike World Cup at Fort William. This has been on my list of things to do for many years now and as a huge fan of MotoCross I knew that I would love the more organic self propelled version of the sport. Hundreds of competitors from all over the world for a weekend of throwing themselves down a mountain track on bikes.
The whole thing was an absolute belter! The atmosphere, the ringing of cow bells and cheers as another competitor races passed the crowds and the weather played a blinder too (although dare I say it was possibly a bit too warm for me). Even if you are not a cyclist, or don’t know who is racing it is a real buzz.
This photo was taken on one of the jumps at the lower end of the track toward the finish line.
Remember how ridiculously hot it was this summer? Well we covered up with sun hats, long sleeved shirts and factor 50 and booked an impromptu trip to Braemar and stayed in a camping pod for two nights.
Walking on the Mar Lodge Estate when the hills are smothered in heather hues, the sky is blue and the hazy views invite you to wander further, has to be one of my highlights for this year. I think the impulsive nature of the trip, paired with good company and lots of walking it was a recipe for a good summer.
This photo was taken on our second day of walks and out to Derry Lodge. The water in the river would barely graze your ankle it was so low.
And still we basked in long hot summer sun. It was even hotter down south and where was I headed? Yup, you guessed it, down south to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire for the Countryfile Live event. Four days of working in 27-ish degree heat, where there really was no respite from it.
In my role as a VisitScotland Coo-Viser (see link if you want to find out exactly what that entails) I worked with a small team to promote Scotland and all it has to offer. We spoke to so many people – some who had never been across the border and plenty who were old hands at planning their next Scottish road trip.
I think the best part of this was actually meeting a lady at the end of September with whom I had spoken to at this show and came up to Perthshire because of the conversation I had had with her!
This was the month when the doors opened for the first time on the new V&A museum. I was lucky enough to be invited to a sneak preview and bask in all it’s grandeur, sharp lines and exquisite exhibitions.
But for me I think September’s best moment was a day out with GlenEsk Wildlife, roaming the Angus glens in a 4×4 with a fabulous guide, spotting red deer, a golden eagle and learning about forgotten townships. The views were not too shabby either!
We had visitors! Not just any visitors, these guys had travelled from Australia. We had met Allan and Denise in Nepal back in 2013 and have maintained our friendship over Facebook, so when they said they were coming to the UK we offered then somewhere to stay during their visit.
It was fabulous to catch up with them over a Nepalese meal in Perth! As a fellow Outlander fan Denise was keen to see some of the places where the hit show has been filmed and Falkland was an obvious choice as it is close to where we live. They loved it.
We also ventured to Inverness for trip to Culloden and the city itself for walks and food. With stops off at Rothiemurchus for woodland walks too.
This photo was taken at Falkland Palace. Look at how snug they look in all those layers!
For the first time since moving to Scotland and both of us having let our passports expire, we booked a trip to Berlin for November. This is our Christmas gift to each other as experiences and time spent together is precious.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of Berlin but I enjoyed it. It always surprises me how many miles you can clock up walking around a city, we certainly earned our dinner and beers that’s for sure.
We also took a boat trip and enjoyed the sights from the river and is a great way to take a break from walking but yet still get to see the city.
I took this photo shortly after leaving the boat trip. It’s close to the UNESCO site of Museum Island.
This month as the days are short I have been trying to make the most of the daylight hours and to spend at least one hour outside each day. Yes that means all weather but I’m not scared of a bit of rain.
Depending on what I’m doing that day I have either managed a walk along the river, along the lanes close to home or local woodland trails. But I think the winner would have to be a day spent in Edinburgh with friends just a few days after Christmas.
We wandered up to Calton Hill and admired views across to Fife, along Princes Street and up to Arthur’s Seat. Pretty as a postcard. Then wandered aimlessly around the Christmas market before filling our faces with churros and gluhwein.
This photo was taken from the top of Nelson’s Monument, Calton Hill.
What’s new for 2019?
Perthshire is home to us and I would like to showcase it more on the blog, really discover what is on offer. So, expect more walks, adventures, the quirky places to stay and the not so obvious things to do.
There are plans for island hopping too.
They’ll probably be some nature and wildlife thrown in for good measure.
I would like to thank each and every one of you that supports my blog on this little corner of the internet – reads posts, shares tweets, comments on Facebook or watches my stories on Instagram. I hope you have enjoyed an almost behind the scenes/extras/alternative look back at 2018 – Scotland in photos and considering I wasn’t going to write one at all, I’ve enjoyed sharing it with you.
We will probably be in bed LONG before the bells at hogmanay so we can be up bright and early of January 1st 2019 for a walk, but enjoy yours however you will be spending it.