we spent the last bit of our time in scotland going to a few different castles. having been to three out of the four royal residences in the uk, ian wanted to check the last one – balmoral castle – off the list. i had seen photos of the prettiest little pink castle called craigievar on instagram and dreamed of visiting it. so we decided to go to both of those, and we drove right past eilean donan castle on our way so hit that one up too! and of course there was lots of spectacular scenery in between.
we had passed eilean donan on our way to the isle of skye and it was fun to cross the bridge and go inside, then play on the grounds a bit. (actually, when we were inside it was extremely stressful because the boys wanted to touch everything and the docents were very worried… but it was still cool to see and the rest of our visit was lovely 🙂 )
then it was back in the car, and trying to capture the magnificent and ubiquitous yellow scottish gorse:
we took a long, scenic route (ian specializes in long, scenic routes, haha) to balmoral. there were some stunning sights out the car windows en route.
and lots of sleeping children and lots more yellow gorse.
we made it to our awesome airbnb and then in the morning went to balmoral. the kids, particularly moses, had kind of run out of steam on this trip by now (i certainly can’t blame them), so it was kind of a tough morning but everyone perked up and shaped up before too long and balmoral was really quite awesome to see.
the wilderness grounds of balmoral were definitely the boys’ favourite part.
etched into this greenhouse glass: “one is nearer god in heart in gardens than anywhere else on earth.” i didn’t get many photos of the gardens, and there were no photos allowed inside the castle, but the whole package was just lovely … and now we’ve been to all four: buckingham, windsor, sandringham and balmoral!
approaching craigievar castle was beautiful and exciting…
and the charm of that little pink castle definitely did not disappoint.
we went back to the airbnb and enjoyed some time just hanging out there. this is one of my favourite places we’ve ever stayed. it was an apartment in this gorgeous old manor home (i can’t believe i didn’t get a photo of the outside) settled on a huge patch of wild, green land accessed only by a dirt road. it felt so remote and enchanting! and the interior was super lush and felt so scottish and special. there were even fresh-laid (and colourful!) eggs in the fridge for us to enjoy. also, there was a trampoline and some little animals and some wilderness around that we were free to use, visit and explore (so the babies had their first experience on a tramp!). we loved it!
the next morning it was back in the car for the long drive home to london.
we stopped at st. andrew’s. the boys and i played on the beach (back to wearing just undies, haha!) …
… while ian and eve explored the golf courses. ian has always wanted to see the place that golf was invented, so he was pretty excited.
phew – what a trip! going through all these photos brings back all the wonderful memories … but i also want to remember that this adventure was at times really tough for ian and i! the chaos and stress of getting all four very small children from place to place, carrying them up mountains and settling them into different places to stay, navigating the ways this often utterly exhausting effort affected our own well-being and our marriage … it was a lot! definitely costly, but in the end also definitely worth it. it will be an epic experience we will always treasure, wrapping up our time living in the uk with a crazy awesome bow.