A little tinkle on my phone alerted me to the fact I now have 100 followers on my blog. Wow. Who would have thought? Certainly not me. I started this blog as a bit of writing therapy, to help me process my thoughts as I experienced this massive change in our family life, and to record our everyday family experiences in a new country. I really had no idea anyone else would find it of interest and am deeply flattered that so many people do. Thank you, one and all, for taking the time to read my mutterings and musings, view my photos and look at my drawings. I very much appreciate it.
Given that I am at a bit of a landmark moment with this blog, I thought I might create a bit of a retrospective entry. The reflective nature of this post has also been provoked by the (hopefully imminent) sale of our house in Scotland because, apart from the dear friends we have there, the house was our last tie to Argyll. Mr Pict and I had lived there since the summer of 2002 and had started our family there, had put down roots there. So as liberating as it is to be free of the burden of the house and to be able to press forward with establishing a permanent home here in Pennsylvania, it is most definitely a very bittersweet, watershed moment in our lives. As such, this post is all about Argyll and the favourite places we have left behind. I thought regular readers might find it interesting to see where we have come from. The photos are in no particular order – just determined by where I found them on the external hard drive that crossed the Atlantic with me – but were all taken in the last couple of years.
These photos were taken at Arichonan, a ruined crofting village near where we lived. My boys loved visiting there as it was a wonderful site for imaginative play and for finding bugs and reptiles. It was a disappointing trip if we didn’t come back having found at least one interesting critter.
These photos was taken in Kilmartin Glen, an area famed for its neolithic and Bronze Age remains. We often visited the standing stones, stone circles and burial cairns there.
We also liked a lovely walk in the hills of Achnabreac that took us past more neolithic cup and ring markings.
These photos were taken in Kilmory woods and loch, near where my husband worked.
These were taken in Kilmory Gardens, adjacent to the castle my husband worked in.
This was the building in which Mr Pict worked.
These were taken in Oban, from McCaig’s Tower.
These were taken at our favourite nearby beach, Westport on the Kintyre peninsula. We only seemed to go there when it was cold, hence the lack of beach wear. As you will see, one of our favourite activities there was dune jumping.
These photos were taken at Saddell Abbey. Where we lived, we were never far from centuries of history.
These photos were taken at Crarae Gardens, which are maintained by the National Trust for Scotland and are planted to resemble what would be found in the Himalayas.
These were taken in Tarbert, a fishing and sailing village and home to yet another ruined castle.
These were taken at Crinan, a village at one end of the Crinan Canal.
These were taken at Carnasserie Castle, a medieval ruin that my kids used for lots of knights and Lord of the Rings themed play. I was often cast as an orc.
Skipness Castle was another place that sparked wonderful imaginative play. It also has a ruined chapel and graveyard containing wonderfully carved grave markers and a lovely beach with views over to the island of Arran.
Another favourite place of ours was the island of Gigha. We would go over as foot passengers on the ferry and then wander the island, including the gardens of Achamore house and the beautiful beaches. Then there was Dunaad Hill Fort, once the capital of the kingdom of Dal Riata, which provided great views over the surrounding landscape, including Moine Mhor. We also enjoyed walks along the Crinan Canal and around the village of Inverary. However, I think I have trawled my photo archives enough for one post.
Thank you for indulging me in this dose of nostalgia. Perhaps it will inspire you to visit Scotland and – if and when you do – venture further afield than the major cities. I hope it has also provided you with some insight into the level of culture shock we have experienced moving not just from Scotland to America but from a remote and rural area to the suburbs of a major city. You can probably also now understand why my children are as feral as they are.
Thanks again for reading. I really do appreciate it.