Scoping Out Scotland

Through no fault of my own, I find myself without employment over this Christmas and into January. But I’m also waiting to start work, so I’m in a weird limbo state where I can’t really commit to a new project, but also want to do something so I don’t feel useless.

Looking on the bright side, this situation has arisen perfectly in line with the BIRD2023 event I’m running for the Tiny Whoopers! This year is going to be even bigger and better than ever, with a new venue, special guests and lots of pilots from other countries making it really special. I’ll be writing about that event later, but what else do you do when you don’t have any pressing engagements – go on a little trip!

Since being engaged, we have embarked on organising a wedding. Having very quickly gotten the major components in order, we then relaxed and let 6 months fly by with nary a thought. However, from this side of Christmas, The Big Day™ looks scarily close. So with a January looking empty, we have wandered up to the Scottish Highlands in the van to scope out some more of the wedding plans.

One long boring motorway drive later and we find ourselves in our favourite wilderness. This is where we have come several times and really enjoyed walking and mountain biking. We had based our plans around getting married on top of a particularly picturesque hill, however some practicalities have reared their ugly heads to destroy our utopian wedding dreams – like inclement weather. Really we should have thought more about this, but when dreaming of your perfect day, you rarely imagine rain. We had planned to rent some old style Landrover Defenders (not the new ones – they are horrendously ugly) and then drive them up the short forest track to the parking area near the top. This would be a fun wedding car and also save sweating our way up a steep hill in full wedding regalia. Perfect, right?!

Except, if it’s weathering hard on that day, we likely won’t want to be up there getting soaked trying to hold a ceremony while getting blown off a cliff. Also, it’s about £900 for the Landrovers for an unacceptably short period of time. So if it is raining and we stayed indoors, they would have gone to waste. 

One of the things to scope out up here is the accommodation where we will be staying. It’s part of a beautiful Scottish highland estate and we wanted to know if it would be suitable for the ceremony and the types of wilderness-y pictures we want to get on the day. We arranged to meet the housekeeper at the lodge, and after warning us about the state of the track, we set off bumping along. Indeed it was a bad track, but taking our time, the van wobbled along nicely at 10mph till we arrived. The housekeeper assured us that in May, it will have been fully repaired and smooth so a normal car can drive it easily, which is a big tick in the box. I love my van, but it’s not something I want creeping into the wedding photos. 

After looking around the gorgeous house we took a short walk up the hill and found what we were looking for; valleys and trees and streams and heather. It was beautiful and will make some nice scenery for the photos we want. Coupled with knowing how far our money can go in Asia on our honeymoon, we are happy to forgo the Landrovers.