Tag Archives: vacation

weekly photo challenge : endurance

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Endurance is not just the ability to bear a difficult thing, but to turn it into glory.– William Barclay

The men who learn endurance, are they who call the whole world, brother. – Charles Dickens

Nothing great is ever achieved without great enduring. – Catherine of Siena

Finally, as promised, my visit to Kilchurn Castle in Scotland. What a coincidence that this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is entitled Endurance. Kilchurn Castle came straight to mind, it’s been there by Loch Awe for 6 centuries! It wasn’t easy to find, but we hunted high and low until we found it. And it was well worth it. However, these pictures I’ve taken won’t do you justice, you have to go there yourself to experience it all. Romantic, serene, breathtaking; it took us to a different level altogether, a step back in time.

I guess that’s just old sentimental me; easily moved by things rich in history and character, surrounded by natural beauty and serenity. I often blog about these themes along with family love and values which I regard very highly. Simplicity in life is my motto, so you would be rather disappointed if you were following my blog for luxurious home deco or regular fabulous cooking ideas! Let me guide you through my photos now, and do have a listen to the Scottish Highland music I’ve included at the end! A wake up song to set you for the week! 🙂

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our journey began; hubby and our 4 children ahead of me

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that’s me, very excited to have found my castle!

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my lil one by the entrance

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view from the castle ground

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my 4 children exploring

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view from the castle window, a 500 metres walk from the car park

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one side of the castle

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view from the other side

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big sister and little sister having a short rest

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admiring the view by Loch Awe

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castle tower

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my youngest never gets tired from posing for me

view of the whole castle

view of the whole castle from a distance

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seek and you shall find!

 

scotland part 4

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A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It’s earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature Henry David Thoreau

Make your heart like a lake, with a calm, still surface, and great depths of kindness Lao Tzu

Greetings everyone! Hope you’re well! Been so busy with the children, what with the new school year and all. My son is doing his GCSEs this year, time for him to really knuckle down! My big daughter is now at secondary school too, having been taught at home throughout her primary years. It was the same with my son. We only ‘release’ them into the big world at secondary level, after having ensured they secure places at the top grammar schools available. To enter these grammar schools you need to pass the entrance exam, they get harder and more competitive each year. Whatever’s meant to be really, I just do my best to home educate my children for as long as I can. The benefits are immense, but that’s a story for another day!

Let’s proceed with another adventure of my Scotland trip, this time it’s our loch cruise experience. We went on a cruise boat on Loch Etive, not too far from Loch Awe where we stayed at. This loch is really dark, looks like black ink spilled in abundance! We had a smashing time during this 45 minute ride, it was just us on the boat. The Captain served us biscuits and the best hot chocolates ever! He also let us drive the boat, it was great! The view was magnificent, huge mountains all around. The highlight of the cruise was seeing the seals on some rocks far out into the loch, we came quite close to them! The lochs here (we saw three during our trip) are really huge, it’s almost like being out at sea. Here’s some photos for you this time around! Stay tuned for my next Scotland outing to Kilchurn Castle!

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my 4 children by the jetty

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that’s our cruise boat!

all aboard!

all aboard!

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lil one and papa on the boat

Having a go!

loch looks dark!

loch looks dark!

my children soaking it all in!

my 4 children soaking it all in!

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magnificent view!

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we spotted the seals!

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seals up close

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lil one enjoying her snack, her siblings’ turn driving the boat

our ever so nice Captain!

our ever so nice Captain!

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thank you, we had a truly smashing time!

my older two, time to work hard!

my older two, time to work hard now!

 

scotland part 3

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Shall we have a cuppa tea now? After all the walks we had (I have never felt fitter in my life), we decided to check out this manor hotel about 10 miles away from our forest lodge. We saw a sign for it 7 miles in after we left the main road, but we turned right for another 7 miles to get to our accommodation. From that intersection (a small village called Kilchrenan) to the hotel it was about 3 miles to the left. But mind you, these country roads were all very winding, hilly and bumpy, so the journey felt twice as long! The scenery made up for the inconvenience though, I took a couple of shots along the way. We only passed by one or two other cottages, the hotel (and its massive grounds) itself was the only building at the end of the 3 miles! We almost thought we were lost at first. As we drove into the hotel driveway, I thought I saw a woman looking out from the the top window. She was brushing her long hair, dressed in Victorian outfit! I looked up again and the curtain closed. A bit spooky! I suppose it was just my imagination running wild, the hotel dated back to the 1800s after all.

Anyway, we had a warm welcome inside, the staff were friendly and accommodating. They served us cream tea by the piano in their grand living room. We explored the two main rooms downstairs, took some photos as it was truly beautiful. My little ones and I went for a short walk in their gardens afterwards, the rest were not dressed appropriately. The rain is always a hit and miss in Scotland, best to be in your macs and wellies permanently like I was! It was chucking it down when we came out of the hotel! For those of you curious about this old manor, please click here for further information. Who knows, you might want to hold your wedding there, or go for your honeymoon. Or to celebrate your anniversary perhaps. Or like us, just go and explore and experience it all! The scones were the best I ever tasted, that’s for certain! 🙂

sign to the manor hotel

sign to the manor hotel

view of loch along the way

view of loch along the way

lots of farm animals here and there in the countryside

lots of farm animals here and there in the countryside

view of hotel as we approached it

view of hotel as we approached it

the reception

the reception

stairs visible from the main entrance

stairs visible from the main entrance

main living room

main living room

we were sat across the piano

we were sat across the piano

join me for tea!

join me for tea!

best scones ever

best scones ever, served on slates!

family relaxing!

family relaxing, entertaining my son’s dream of becoming a manor lord someday!

view of Loch Awe by the living room window

view of Loch Awe by the living room window

the other half of the main living room

the other half of the main living room

the study room, turned into another living room

the study room, turned into another living room

my girls played chess there

my girls played chess there

the fireplace

the fireplace in the study

lil ones after our walk in the hotel grounds

lil ones after our walk in the hotel grounds

 

 

paignton-kingswear

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When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.

Our next visit during our caravan holiday in late summer was to Dartmouth via Kingswear. We took the steam train from Paignton to Kingswear which you can see in several images taken from the beach in my previous posts. Although it was only a short ride, it was very exciting and the view of the South Devon coastline was breathtaking. It also gave us this feeling of stepping back into time, Kingswear Station itself was pretty ancient if you ask me! We strolled around Kingswear for a bit before catching the ferry to Dartmouth, do follow my next post which will feature our visit to Dartmouth itself.  As mentioned before, I have over 450 photos from our holiday so I have no choice but to break them into several posts! Right now I feel rather bogged down and saddened by the atrocities and calamities around the world, so I hope you’ll forgive me for this brief post. Nonetheless, I shall continue to share the beauty, serenity and simplicity of life around me, till next time!

paignton pier

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Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone.

Each season has its joy to treasure, to lift one’s spirits and brings us pleasure.

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.

Greetings everyone! I’ve been rather busy this week, coat hunting in particular, what a nightmare! It’s not easy choosing winter coats for my children, the girls in particular. They grew out of last year’s winter warmers over the summer months, therefore I have to replace them. That’s why I don’t tend to buy expensive items for my children, they only last a season! Summer’s well and truly gone as I blog this post, autumn has  arrived with temperatures around mid-teens at present. I do find it rather chilly for mid-September to be honest, I have my socks and jumper on most of the time. Looks like we might have a long cold winter ahead! This is when I tend to miss my all year round sunny homeland. This week also marks my 17th year of living in England, how time flies! Seems like it was only yesterday when I landed at Heathrow, did my MA degree, got married and had 4 children!

Anyway, I have the cherished memories of my summer holidays to keep me smiling this autumn, here’s my next installation! The pictures were taken at Paignton Pier, about 20 minute drive from the holiday park we stayed at. We had a lovely memorable time even though the beach wasn’t as nice as the other ones on the English Riviera. The walk on the pier, the adventure playground, the carousel and donkey rides all added to the charm of this little seaside town. Will post of our steam train ride and ferry crossing from Paignton to Dartmouth next time, do stay tuned! 🙂