Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

After our hectic schedule lately (!!) we have had a lovely few days away from wifi, cellphones and fastfood on the Isle of Mull, one of Leah’s ancestral homes.  To be serious we have noticed that our stamina has reduced after so many months of traveling and it was really good to do little other than wander on the beach and in the hills.  We camped at Calgary Bay on the Isle’s most remote point, a beautiful white sand beach with a well known wild camping site, there’s a toilet and little else there – although there were plenty of other campers given it’s the school holidays here.

Building waterfalls Calgary Bay August 2010

Our kids had made friends in minutes and we basically didn’t see the boys most days from dawn till dusk as they played along the shallow burn at the campsite, swinging from ropes, building sand creations and catting with mates.  Flo was so safe digging in the sand by the burn that even I read a book while she played.  It rained every day, but usually just as we were heading to bed so it didn’t cause too much disruption.  We did have 3 layers of merino on most of the time – in contrast to Italy where we were never comfortably cool, but I’d rather put more layers on than be too hot anyway!

Despite my extensive scouting background our attempts to have a roaring campfire on this trip have been somewhat pathetic.  We have still managed to have several meals of potatoes baked in the fire and sausages cooked on the fire though and bananas and chocolate and apples with raisins and cinnamon.  Wales and Scotland have few fire restrictions in campsites, although given the rainfall we’ve experienced I can imagine fire risk is rather low!

Next to the campsite there was a fantastic Calgary Art in Nature Centre, with sculptures through the woods and a quest for kids to participate in plus delicious food.  The island was very much like Southland and we all felt very comfortable there.

Sheep labyrinth Calgary Art in Nature August 2010

Bede and I hiked around the bay and up the hill one day in lovely sunshine and planned the “Skinner-Vennell Family do all the NZ Great Walks” adventure for another year…

Bede Calgary Bay August 2010

When we headed back to mainland Scotland we had great fun exploring Dunollie Castle, home to the MacDougall clan – ancestors on Leah’s side.  What an awesome place the MacDougalls picked for their castle – a cliff top looking out over the Hebridean Islands from Oban.  Emmett was thrilled to see how easily they could have picked intruders off the cliff side with arrows!  Bede had a new Percy Jackson book and barely managed to put it down till we found the wild raspberries…  Florence called them Doodal berries (as in MacDougall berries).

We managed to reduce our load quite a bit by donating to charity shops in Oban – had to get Flo out before she noticed all her toys were getting put in the toy bin in one place though!

Skinner-Vennells meet Dunollie Castle


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A Quest at Mull

We went to the Isle of Mull, which is about an hour ferry trip off the coast of Scotland.  On it we drove for about 45mins, to get to a camping ground that wasn’t really a camping ground, it was just a big bit of grass beside a creek that was beside the sea.  There I met an 11 year old called Callum and a 9 year old called Faith.  There was lots of swings, but one went over a creek, we played on that one till about 1030 at night. We told jokes and everything and played with Emmett and a 5 year old friend he had.  At Calgary Art in Nature there was a thing called the quest it’s like a scavenger hunt that you do, it’s really famous and when you do it, just as long as you get 2 questions right, if you visit the visitors centre in Craignure, where you catch the ferry, you get a stone.  They had run out when we went there but we got to sign the Great Book which is a huge book that you sign with an eagle’s feather, I signed for Flo, Emmett and I.

The Book Isle of Mull 2010

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