Weekend Wandering – Sunshine at Foodies and a spot of Cliff Jumping

SUNSHINE!

Yes actual sunshine – what a wonderful surprise! The weather this summer hasn’t been great so to get some actual sunshine and on a Saturday was pretty good. I did get a little bit sunburnt on my neck (apparently I will never learn) but it felt so good to be out and about enjoying nice weather, eating tasty treats and spending time with very good friends. We were at the Foodies Festival  in Inverleith Park in Edinburgh on Saturday.

This year:

I sampled some blackberry gin (I bought a wee bottle, very tasty)

Ate Paella (YUM)

Shared a Twisty Chip (not as tasty as it looks),

Tasted some Peppermint Tonic (Peppermint helps my migraines so will see how this works out)

Tried Peppercorn Sauce (bought some and had it with steak for tea last night)

Loved a jar of Salted Caramel Sauce (Stashed away in the cupboard for a naughty pudding sometime)

And I bought a smoked garlic bulb (to keep vampires away)

We had a great time, Ice Cream was also consumed, obligatory when the sun is out and this year they had allowed a bit more space for the festival which was much better. My friends had brought a picnic rug which was excellent thinking on their part.

Afterwards The Boyo and I arrived back at my friends house early so we stole their dog…. well we took her for a wee walk, then enjoyed a pleasant evening eating pizza and yakking away. My friends only live an hour away but with busy lives we don’t see each other nearly as often as we should. I always enjoy good times in their company and their little 2 year old is the best wee person I know.

On Sunday we got up bright and early with my Dad in tow to go Canyoning with Nae Limits in Perthshire. We got all kitted up with full body wetsuits (not exactly designed for those well endowed in the chest area, breathing was tricky!), hard hats, life jackets, trainers and a climbing harness. Unfortunately when we got to The Falls of Bruar there was just too much water in the river. The rather dismal Scottish Summer scuppered our plans. Instead we went cliff jumping near Soldier’s Leap in Killiecrankie.

My Dad did really well jumping off the various sized cliffs. The Boyo and I did so badly with even the smallest jump that we were banned from doing any more jumps. This caused great amusement to both us and the rest of the group. The Instructors were glad we saw the funny side as really the way we were jumping we were going to hurt ourselves eventually. We did enjoy a swim in the river and watching everyone else tackle big big jumps. My shoulders are suffering today after swimming with all that kit on but the fresh water in the river was really rather nice to swim in. I love the water and I’m happy to jump, I just can’t do the required hop/leap needed to safely clear the cliff and to be honest both the Boyo and I are daft eejits anyway – well suited!

We will go Canyoning another time but I would encourage you to check out Nae Limits if you are in Perthshire and fancy some adventure. They do all sorts of activities, I’m really keen to try Tubing and Whitewater Rafting and they do mini adventures for kids too. The cafe and centre is just off the A9, South of Pitlochry and we enjoyed a good lunch after our activities, so even if you are not the adventurous (MAD) type then the cafe does good food too.

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Adieu to Summer Sunshine

Well folks I have to apologise for my lack of posts. I know this little fledgling blog is of little interest to most but I feel bad. As usual the start of term took me a little bit by surprise. You know it will be busy but somehow over the year you forget about just how manic it is. Work is challenging at the moment and my poor head has suffered this week but this morning I woke up and reminded myself about all the things I should do to make both my head and myself feel better and blogging is definitely on the hit list. Autumn is my favourite time of year, in fact when living abroad I missed seasons, particularly autumn a huge amount. So I always make an effort to get out and about in October to make the most of the beautiful season.

I have a few ideas and half written blogs written so I’ll jump back in with a weekend wandering post. This week I chat about beautiful Perthshire.

The Boyo and I managed to sneak away for a night a couple of weeks ago, both as an anniversary treat and a little moment of relaxation before start of the academic year hit (he’s in Higher education I am in Further education). When thinking about where to go we thought about Ardoe House in Aberdeenshire. We went there last year as a birthday treat for me and it was excellent. Probably the best hotel we have stayed in for the food, service, facilities and atmosphere. However we felt that it was a bit too far away for us this time (about 2 hours from our current abode) and we wanted to go so we had a think and we both decided on the same place. It was not a hard decision, Perthshire is a beautiful place and Dunkeld is one of our very favourite spots. So off to Dunkeld we went.

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We decided to do a walk that we have done before but it is a lovely walk and one I’d definitely recommend. It is called The Hermitage and features Forests, waterfalls, interesting buildings, a bridge which is very appropriately named Rumblin Bridge and a few fields as well. We use this book. But you can also find a route on the very excellent Walk Highlands website. This website has walks for all abilities all over Scotland.

   10628087_10153104072572334_8714602536731963339_n    The Hermitage

We were lucky that we also got to see the Fire and rescue services doing training in the river Braan. We’ve seen them once before here as well and it can be fun to watch.10612939_10153104072052334_5818435380321577386_n

 Fire and Rescue – it looked like fun!

When we arrived back in Dunkeld we stopped at our favourite café; Spill The Beans for refreshments, this involved Rose Lemonade and a big slice of cake. The café does do great food, their version of a Croque Monsiuer is delicious and the Boyo recommends the local Dunkeld smoked Salmon that is offered but the real reason we visit everytime we are in the vicinity is the cakes. There is always a magnificent display of cakes that tempt you as you walk in the café.

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Photo does not do justice to these delicious cakes at Spill The Beans.

Afterwards we realised that the Dunkeld & Birnam Highland Games were on so we wandered over to take a look. We were a bit late in the day but saw some cycling, dancing, bagpipe playing and haggis. It was a nice bonus and the sun was shining, I enjoyed telling the Boyo all about my former highland dancing days (many years ago).

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Dunkeld and Birnam Highland Games

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We checked into the Dunkeld Hilton – well we did want to spoil ourselves a little! The hotel itself was pleasant, the staff were very good and everything was very efficient which was impressive as they had 2 weddings, an anniversary party and a lot of ‘normal’ guests in. The room and pool were fine but they could do with a bit of tlc just to match the splendour of the surroundings. The surroundings are really magnificent. On the banks of the River Tay with large lawns and forest above you can’t really compete. Scenery like that just reminds us of how lucky we are to live where we do. The food in the restaurant was very good. Nice portions, sophisticated but still friendly menu (does that make sense?). After dinner we went for little 5 min walk outside. The restaurant does get very warm and after 3 courses you need a little blast of fresh air. I had got dressed up for dinner but my heels were not really suitable for moonlight wanderings, so a wee twirl by the Tay and in we went for a nightcap at the bar.10639637_10153104075772334_2809614412657423890_n Moonlight Twirling by The River Tay

 

Breakfast was good and plentiful (including tattie scones, yay!) and set us up for the day, it helped that we went swimming before breakfast so had worked up an appetite again! We sat outside to finish our cups of tea when lo and behold a birds of prey demonstration started, something else we hadn’t known about so it was another wee treat to have a close up look at some magnificent birds. For those worried it seemed like the birds were well treated, it runs as part of a conservation charity that rehabilitates and looks after injured wild birds as well as doing demonstrations.

 

When we checked out we headed over to Angus County for another walk, this time a path on the route of an old railway line around Newtyle. This was an easy walk for us; more or less flat the whole way and excellent activity to help digest the big breakfast!

 

We headed home via Dundee where I popped into a couple of shops to get fabric for sewing classes I have just started. It was a lovely weekend of wandering and good food. Now that we are in the midst of complete chaos I am very glad we had a couple of days just ourselves and relaxation. I’m in front of my computer for about 43 hours a week at the moment so time outdoors is very, very much appreciated!

 

I’ll be back soon with a Foodie Friday post.

 

Merry

A weekend of wandering

I wrote the last time about my lack of motivation thanks to a big bad migraine but I am very pleased to report that a 3 day weekend has well and truly restored that motivation.

On Saturday we had some errands to run in our nearest town. Our car had not been cleaned properly for a very long time and we decided it was seriously overdue. So we opted to go for a bit of a cheat, we paid to have it valeted and washed. It was really worth it, it is like a brand new car. At the garage I also saw a lovely red mini. I can drive but only automatic so at some point in the next 6 months we hope to get a car that we can both drive but the Boyo is not convinced that a mini would be practical. L The funny thing is that although we live in the countryside and not a town anymore I can actually get to work and out and about by public transport easier than before so the car hunt isn’t as urgent. That afternoon we went wandering one of our nearby paths, a little bit in the woods and a little bit through the fields. We are lucky to live where we do.

Sunday was forecast to be a nice day but we didn’t expect it to be as nice as it was, it was a lovely sunny day. We went for a big wander around Crieff in Perthshire. The first half was around ‘The Hosh’, this was mostly a walk through woods and you go past the Glenturret distillery. Before attempting the second part we called in at Crieff Hydro for refreshments. We were very impressed with the hotel, so much so we’d like to save up and splurge on a weekend there. We were able to sit on a balcony and I enjoyed a delicious scone with cream and jam. One of things that impressed us was the amount of things going on in and around the hotel. On the lawn outside the bistro they had a trampoline, mini tennis, giant connect 4 and people were enjoying lunch outside and children were happily playing on the lawn. For a place that seemed rather posh it was wonderfully welcoming and friendly feeling. Around the hotel we saw big tennis courts, a horse riding centre, golf, a woodland treetops adventure course, and signs of lots of other activities. With the hotel being right on the edge of Crieff surrounded by beautiful Perthshire countryside it seemed like a terrific place to go on holiday. They had villas so perhaps it would be worth clubbing together with friends or family for a holiday. The second part of our walk was up and around ‘The Knock’. A short steep climb leads you to the top where you get magnificent views. I have problems with my knees so I can’t really do proper hill climbing, this was manageable and the walk was in splendid sunshine. It was such a lovely way to spend Sunday.

Yesterday we took advantage of an extra day off and after my hypnotherapy appointment we went to Inverkeithing where we walked a small part of the Fife Coastal path, over the Forth bridge and then down into South Queensferry. Walking over the Forth Bridge is something I have wanted to do for a while. I love the Forth Railway Bridge – to me it is such a magnificent icon of Scotland. As a teenager I kayaked under it, one of the great activities part of a Guide camp. From the road bride you get a brilliant view of the railway bridge. Walking over the bridge made me appreciate a little bit more the amazing architecture and volume that the bridge deals with everyday. Very clever people design these things! The new crossing is well underway and looks like it will be very big as well. I don’t know why I like bridges so much but I find something very interesting about them. It is probably because my brain is not mathematical in the slightest so comprehending how someone can actually design them is awe inducing then the feats of engineering as well.Forth

On Sunday it was also the final of the football – at long last! I am not interested in football in the slightest but I had said that I would make tea according to whatever two countries were in the final. So for Argentina we had a mixed meat grill including peppered beef steaks, chorizo and thin garlic rubbed minute steaks. For Germany we had some frankfurters and a cheese noodle baked dish. I had misgivings about the noodle dish but according to the Boyo it was just like the dish he had when he was in Germany last year. It actually tasted nice. All together a very random dinner!Football food

Now for the motivation, the theme of this blog is a Merry and healthy lifestyle so that is what I really am focusing on.

I have started taking my vitamins again.

I am working hard on eradicating my migraines and not taking painkillers unless absolutely essential.

I am consciously thinking about food again. This means not just cooking stuff on a whim but thinking about being good 5 out of 7 days. This means I will try to have 1 veggie day a week. I am reading about 5:2 and paleo diet principles again. I am unlikely to adopt either wholeheartedly but some of the principles are excellent.

I am working on tasks my hypnotherapist has given me.

And I am starting up a proper exercise routine combining walking, swimming, cross trainer and cycling.

And finally I am also thinking about what I am spending. For the future I need to save more and learn how to budget properly. There is an excellent post by blogger Still Being Molly that I’m using for inspiration with this.

So in short some sunshine and wandering can do wonders for your motivation!

Merry

 
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Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings

I was working on Sunday for the first time in two years, this has made me realise just how much working Monday-Friday suits me so I am glad this will likely only be a yearly occurrence.

So our wanderings this weekend had to be on Saturday, because I have been so busy recently and because I knew that I was going to be spending the whole of Sunday chatting to people I fancied a walk somewhere a bit more wild and off the beaten track. We decided therefore to not go to the Dunkeld area in Perthshire (we’ll likely be there in 2 weeks anyway) but to another part called Glendevon.
Upper Glendevon

We’d never been there before and we did see a few people out and about but not nearly as many as you do in some of the other more popular parts of Perthshire. It was a walk that involved walking up to two reservoirs which were quite impressive. The first one was very popular with people fishing, it was a bit of a surprise to see around 20 cars parked in what seems like the middle of nowhere! As they were fishing though it was very quiet. It was a nice easy walk. The weather wasn’t hot but it wasn’t cold either and it stayed dry. It was just good to be out in the fresh air. The little hut for the fishing also sells hot and cold drinks so we had had a wee refreshing drink of fanta on the way back.
Lower Glendevon

Click on this link to get walks around the area from Walk Highlands: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/perthshire/frandy-reservoirs.shtml

Glendevon Lambs>

We stopped at The Tormaukin Hotel for a coffee on our way back. We resisted the very tasty looking scones as we had already decided that we would be a little bit naughty and try out our local Chinese takeway at the new village. I think we’ll need to come back though and sample the food at this hotel sometime though as it looked like it was going to be really good.

http://www.tormaukinhotel.co.uk/

Our new local Chinese turned out to be very good, which is probably dangerous. Very good portion sizes (enough for me to have for 2 meals) and tasty without being stodgy.
We have a few more local places to try out including a Mexican restaurant and a Farm Cafe. We will certainly not be deprived for eating places in our new location.

Next weekend I may not be out wandering the wilds, instead I am heading to Glasgow for a day and then on the Sunday the Boyo and I are hoping to get our poor neglected bicycles out for a wee turn, fingers crossed for some sunshine.