A Week In Scotland… Featuring a Few Penguins

Image of dimly lit bedroom in a log cabin. Complete with a totally adorable reindeer pillow.
This was my (our) bedroom for the week in Scotland. It was very logtastic.

A couple of weeks ago I went on a holiday to Scotland with Andy and my friends, Cassandra, Zac, Nat and Bex. We stayed in a beautiful log cabin in the middle of nowhere and spent our days exploring lots of different places. We saw some llamas, got lost in the woods and had a lot of fun. So much fun, in fact, that I’ve written a whole blog post about it. Enjoy!

Warning: This post contains an upsetting photo of a burnt pizza. It’s also quite long. Sorry!

Day Zero – A Pre-Holiday Fiasco

Sometimes, friends greet you with a hug. Sometimes, they greet you with a kiss on the cheek. Sometimes, they greet you with a masculine slap on the back.

Other times, they greet you with a gust of wind so forceful that you end up convinced that a shot has been fired into your house.

That’s how Cassandra greeted me on Friday morning. She’d come round to pick me up in her car, so we could go pick up the car we’d be using for Scotland (this will be explained later), and as soon as she pulled into my street her tyre exploded. Of course, I was so eager to go see the beautiful new Mini that my front door was already open and I felt it before she knew it’d happened.

I greeted her with panicked pointing at her tyre and she looked at me like I was insane.

Of course, because we wanted to get somewhere quickly, the tyre was irreparable, so we spent the morning sat on the bench outside my house, waiting to be rescued.

If your holiday doesn’t start with your friend flirting with the breakdown rescue guy then is it even a holiday?
 

Day One – Lots of Travelling and Accidental Llamas

Day one was the part of the trip I was dreading the most. Not because of the rushing, the packing, or the making sure I’ve switched off the bloody straighteners and locked the front door, but because of travel sickness.

Up until last year, I never got travel sick. I was always the friend who looked confused when people felt ill on car journeys, because I just couldn’t understand what the problem was. But, for some reason, on the way back from a trip to Scarborough last year, I started to understand the problem. Really understand the problem. Car sickness is horrible, guys.

Because of this, I wasn’t looking forward to five hours trapped inside a moving vehicle. Not. At. All.

Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad. For most of the journey, I managed to distract myself with music and chatting and laughter, so I only actually suffered with car sickness for half an hour after I’d stuffed myself full of cheese toasties. Yes.

Speaking of cheese toasties, we found this amazing cafe on the way down:

Image of the outside of the Llama Karma Kafe.
‘Deli-Llama’ is the best pun ever!

I know, right?

The Llama Karma Kafe is a cafe that sells lots of amazing Llama merchandise and, wait for it… has real life llamas in the garden outside. You can actually pay to have a selfie with a llama. Unfortunately, it was raining too heavily for us to get one, but definitely next time!

An actual llama we could see from inside the cafe. So cute!
An actual llama we could see from inside the cafe. So cute!

When we arrived at the log cabin, I was very surprised with how “loggy” it was. I know it’s a log cabin, but for some reason, I wasn’t expecting to see logs on the inside. I even expressed this shock to Andy, who probably wondered how on Earth he’d ever ended up with a girl like me.
 

Holiday quotes
Amy: Wow, that’s a lot of logs.
Andy: Yeah, it’s a “log” cabin.

 
Large amount of logs aside, I thought the cabin was beautiful, and was so happy with the view we had!
 

Image of the lob cabin we stayed in.
Such a beautiful place to stay. 100% would recommend!

The rest of the day was spent unpacking, catching up with Nat and Bex, and crying as Andy obliterated our pizzas. Don’t ever set the oven to “grill” by accident, guys. Unless you’re partial to pizza that’s burnt on the top and frozen on the bottom.

A very burnt pizza.
#FoodPorn

 

Day Two – The Highland Games and Parking Inappropriately

On Sunday, we visited the Strathmore Highland Games, where we saw a lot of bagpipe players, tried a few different cheeses and posed for photos by the side of a skip. Oh, and I won some penguins:

Cuddly plush penguins, sitting on my stairs
I’m obviously starting a penguin gang…

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much going on at the event, so, after we’d wandered round the stalls a few times and watched a few men tossing a few cabers (not as rude as it sounds), we ended up leaving.

A very empty field with absolutely nothing going on.
This is the only picture I took at the Strathmore Highland Games. And I call myself a blogger?

On the way out, because Cassie was promoting the Mini Countryman, we decided to play a fun game called “let’s park a car in the middle of the road in front of a castle, where you are most definitely not supposed to park”. This involved lots of squealing, running, and me panicking so much that I grabbed my penguins before I jumped out of the car. You know, that embarrassing moment where your mate shouts “hurry up”, and you shout “hang on a minute, I’m just grabbing my penguins”. Yeah, totes relatable. But, even though I made a fool of myself, I did get this amazing photo in front of Glamis Castle:

A green Mini parked in front of Glamis castle.
I highly recommend you purchasing this car.

The rest of the day consisted of buying absolutely loads of food in Tesco, cooking loads of food from Tesco, and visiting the beautiful Lochearnhead, where we met this shiny old fellow.

A shiny silver statue of a man... seen at Lochearnhead.
I bet his feet are cold.

 

Day Three – Edinburgh Zoo and the Suspected Strip Club Incident

Monday started with a lovely trip to Edinburgh Zoo. We hadn’t planned this originally as part of the trip, but, after seeing the leaflet, we knew we had to go!

Edinburgh Zoo are big on conservation and they’re constantly raising money to help animals across the world, so there’s an optional donation included in the price every ticket they sell.

We booked a time slot to visit the pandas as soon as we entered, but unfortunately they were sleeping. Apparently, as pandas sleep for 16 hours of the day, it’s very difficult to actually get a time when they’re awake. So “bear” this in mind if you visit. (Sorry, not sorry).

We also visited one of the shows, where we saw a pig do some incredibly cute tricks, had an armadillo run around our feet, watched a little bird flying over us, and watched a goat in training. Here are a few photos from the day:

Some little penguins under little umbrellas.
Penguins!
A rhino
This rhino showed off by bringing his big tyre outside. What a guy.
A goat on a rock
This was the goat we saw being trained for the animal show.

After we’d done at the zoo and spent an absolute fortune on paninis, we went into Edinburgh. For some reason, I completely forgot that Edinburgh was a capital city, so was surprised to see so many people and such high parking prices. I thought it would be like York, with all the historical buildings, but I found it much more touristy, and, although it was beautiful and interesting, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

We did see some pretty cool buskers though, and a lot of Harry Potter themed shops, which was good. I think if we’d have researched it more beforehand, I would have enjoyed it a lot more, but as it was we were just wandering around aimlessly, so I didn’t really have anything to look forward to. Oh well!

An amazing busker in Edinburgh city centre.
An amazing busker in Edinburgh city centre.
The thing in the top left corner is Edinburgh Castle. I am not skilled at taking photos across car parks.
The thing in the top left corner is Edinburgh Castle. I am not skilled at taking photos across car parks.
No caption required.
No caption required.

And now, the strip club bit of the story. Because we were tired from the day’s events, me and Cassie decided to go to Starbucks and let the boys do some shopping on their own. An hour later, we rang them, and Andy said they were on the way to the pub. But, when we met up, Zac said they’d been in the pub all afternoon. Suspicious, right?

So, because we’d passed a lot of strip clubs on the way through the city, we “decided” this was where they’d been. And proceeded to ask them endless questions about whether they’d enjoyed their lap dances, how much they’d paid, and whether they’d got any phone numbers. Obviously, we knew that wasn’t really where they’d been, but it was funny watching them struggle to get their story straight. As it turned out, they’d been to buy an engagement ring for Cassie! Which brings me on to day four…
 

Day Four – An Engagement and the Most Horrible Stairs in the World

We spent Tuesday morning at Stirling Castle. I took a few photos, but, unfortunately there was a lot of scaffolding on the building, so they’re not great. Andy did manage to convince me that people in olden times used the scaffolding poles to scare birds away, however, so at least something came out of the castle’s construction work.

Yes, I really am that gullible.

Stirling Castle. The pigeon-scaring metal poles can be seen from the other side.
Stirling Castle. The pigeon-scaring metal poles can be seen from the other side.

There were a lot of interesting exhibition rooms at the castle, and I could easily have spent the entire day there. I particularly enjoyed getting to visit the kitchens, as they’d created a scene which included a visual representation of what the royals used to eat, servants making bread and rats scavenging for leftovers. It looked fantastic.

The trip to Stirling Castle was also supposed to involve me watching a real life proposal for the first time in my life. Except that didn’t happen. Instead, I spent five minutes trying to take a decent selfie with a cute scenic background and missed my friend getting engaged. Yep, you read that right. My friend of 20 years got proposed to one metre away from me and I bloody missed it.

So, obviously, after a confused congratulations, we forced Zac to repeat his proposal so we could all watch and take the appropriately staged photos. Because everyone needs a good engagement profile picture!

After we’d had enough of pretending to be royalty, we went to visit the Wallace Monument, which is a really tall, stone tower with lots of stairs and a few exhibitions inside. It commemorates Sir William Wallace, who is considered to be a Scottish hero and patriot.

I’ll be honest, I was not a major fan. The spiral staircase that took you up the building was seriously tiny and could barely fit one person at a time, let alone allow people to go up and down simultaneously. Also, being a very tight spiral, it made me incredibly dizzy, and I had to stop multiple times on the way up and down to calm myself. The view at the top was lovely though, and I obviously had to get a photo of me after conquering those horrible stairs.

Me, at the top of the Wallace Monument.
I am the champion of everything.

 

Day Five – A Naughty Fire and an Awesome Rope Swing

Because we’d had such a busy few days, we decided to stay at the cabin on Wednesday. It was nice outside, so we built ourselves a fire, and sat around eating chocolate and chilling out on deck chairs. This didn’t last long though, as we got “told off” by the campsite staff for building a fire on site. Oops. Cue ridiculously over the top apologies from all of us.

After chucking four buckets of water over the fire in the hope that it would eventually stop burning, we went down to the river. And this happened…

Image of me on a rope swing over a river. I'm so cool.
Look at how much fun I’m having!

Oh yes.
 

Day Six – Finding Ben Nevis… the Impossibly Long Sequel to Finding Dory

Day six was spent unsuccessfully trying to find Ben Nevis. Yep, you read that right, we couldn’t find a giant mountain. Four of us, unable to see the highest mountain in Britain.

We did however find a very nice McDonald’s in Fort William. I had a cheeseburger, large fries and some nacho cheese bites, which is probably not as interesting as Ben Nevis would have been. Sorry about that, guys. Maybe next year I’ll actually find him, and you won’t have to read a paragraph about my McDonald’s order.

Because Ben Nevis had clearly borrowed Harry Potter’s cloak for the day, here’s a picture of his little brother Glen. I’m not joking, that’s his name. Clearly mountain parents aren’t very creative.

Glen Nevis.
We all wish you were Ben, you stupid mountain.

 

Day Seven – Whisky Beer, Disney Songs and a Hilarious Incident Involving a Truck and a Small Car

After getting up way too early to pack, we visited The Famous Grouse Whiskey Shop, where I bought myself a Famous Grouse highball glass and a whiskey beer. I’d definitely recommend visiting the shop if you’re a fan of whiskey. They also offer a distillery tour, where you get to see how the whiskey is produced and try some whiskey too. I’m actually glad we didn’t do this as I’d probably have ended up being too drunk to travel home!

The grouse statue outside The Famous Grouse shop
A really famous grouse.
A sign outside the Famous Grouse shop.
Enjoy this very nice picture of a very nice sign.

The journey home involved lots of chocolate, Andy and Cassie singing to Disney songs, and the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen happen on the road. A car tried to overtake a truck by stupidly straddling the path, which led to the truck intentionally trying to block the car. Then, as they drove on, both vehicles were constantly trying to overtake each other really suddenly at awkward places in the road. It was so ridiculous!

 

And that’s it. Congratulations! You have just read over 2000 words about pizza, penguins and logs! Consider yourself well and truly Scotlandified.

Seriously though, thanks for reading!

P.S. I’m planning to do a Q&A soon, so it would be really lovely if you could ask me a few questions in the comments below. Please and thank you!

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6 Comments

  1. I love all your other little titles because it gives me interest in the story about them, plus they are hilarious titles and Scotland looks so beautiful and those Llamas are amazing cute somehow.

  2. Even though the car had a busted tire before the trip started, at least it didn’t stop you from going on that trip! I know I get car sick if I start reading a long wall of text (like books) during the ride. The llama looks adorable! Oh man, this kind of fills my curiosity on what burnt pizza looks like XD.

    I love castles. The Galis Castle looks amazing!!! If I have more time during my work travels, I’d visit all of the city zoos!

    Congratulations to your friend on getting engaged!! I think it’s cute that Zac had to do it again to get the proper pictures. You guys are the real MVP for getting those profile shots!

    You had the pleasure of seeing a lot of great views! I need to get myself to Scotland one of these days!!!

  3. This looks like it was so much fun! I love log cabins and that green mountain looks magnificent! That sounds terrible about getting car sick though. It has happened to me before too, and it’s not fun at all. It usually happens if I’m riding in the back and there are a lot of turns and/or stops.

  4. I really enjoyed reading about your holiday in Scotland!

    I haven’t been up to Scotland since I was little – I went up to Edinburgh when I was about 10? And my only memory was dropping my kinder beuno up the castle and crying about it to my parents. πŸ˜†πŸ˜…

    I’m sorry to hear about your travel sickness, glad it wasn’t that bad! Distractions are always nice. I get serious travel anxiety at times (before last year, I wouldnt go on trains by myself xD due to anxiety and panic attacks!) but I’ve really overcomed it this year. You should be proud of yourself for overcoming it!

    I burst out laughing at that strip club / engagment story. HAHAH. I said it on Twitter but I spilt tea all over myself laughing too hard. I can totally imagine them getting super awkward trying to explain what they meant! That is totally what I would do – miss my friend’s engagement because of me trying to take a perfect selfie for Instagram xD LOL

    Congratulations to them! Haha, you are a GOOD friend for making those photos happen!

    I love breaking out into good ol’ Disney songs. Matt and I did it a lot on our trip to NYC. It was hilarious!

    Looks like you had a blast, inspired to go back!

  5. Well, that’s a way to start your trip — a flat tyre! I’ve yet to experience or see that myself, but I’ve read enough to know it’s not something I’d want happening to me!

    I don’t get car sickness, thank goodness. It would suck since I ride the bus every day for work! Glad you were able to keep the sickness down πŸ™‚ And the Deli-Llama — great pun! Animal theme cafes are definitely an experience!

    I LOLed at your log cabin moment. And that poor pizza . . . wow! That’s a burnt pizza, all right! That’s so sweet of them getting the engagement ring . . . but LMAO at you guys questioning them about the strip club XD

    Those Harry Potter themed stores would make me go broke! Ahhh! Now I really want to visit Scotland after seeing yours and Katy’s posts!

  6. That sucks about the blown tire! At least it happened the day before the trip and not on the trip itself. Also, I can’t believe that cafe had live llamas! That reminds me of all the animal cafes in Japan, haha. There’s even one with goats somewhere in Tokyo.

    Ooh, that sounds lovely to stay in an actual log cabin. RIP pizza though. That’s a sad sight πŸ™

    How neat that both you and Katy were at Edinburgh Zoo recently! Poor guys for being questioned about strip clubs, haha. That’s so sneaky of them to be off buying an engagement ring. That’s too bad you missed your friend being proposed to though! At least you have a funny story to tell about it, and what a lovely setting for it to happen in πŸ™‚

    Even if you didn’t find Ben Nevis, you still saw an amazing view! That photo is so pretty! I’m not really into whiskey, but the whiskey shop still sounds like a fun place to visit, and a nice way to end the trip.

    This sounds like it was a really fun and memorable trip!

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