T minus 17 days… trip planning, double checking, final payments, ferry schedules, and practice packing… heavily caffeinated and dreaming of moody castles.

Pre-trip interview.

We started saving our change back in 2019 when we decided to take this trip. The change jar has collected $472 USD to date. Today we counted it all (great teaching lesson). \240

Last day at work before Vacation! \240

Gosh it’s hard to fathom leaving my work family for a month! \240I’m going to miss them all terribly and most likely worry about them (mean people, bad dogs, stress, etc). \240I know they will be fine. They are a very capable team and the island’s pets will be looked after with kindness and professionalism. 💕🐾

I hate packing.

Russell started packing a week ahead. Mainly to make sure we actually packed in a timely manner. As always, I’m the last to pack (finishing the morning we leave because I’ve given up for today).. I find it either stressful or pointless; often times swinging between the two sentiments within the span of the same breath. That leads to an efficacy rate of around 30%. Which means, I will forget something of importance or overpack. Here’s hoping for the latter.

Delta Sky Club - Concourse A

Day #1

Catching the second boat off Orcas. I repacked at 6am… again. 😂

We’ve been taking the ferry for 10 years now. First time having to crawl through the back.

These two are going to annoy the ever living daylights out of one another… at least they enjoy it!

When kid takes your phone…

Planes, trains, boats, and buses.

Chillin in the Delta Lounge like he’s something special.

Boarded. Plane is about half full.

See ya later Seattle!

And husband proceeds to get sloshy… 🙄

Cute little bottle!

Dinner above the clouds wasn’t bad at all. Cute and all Covid-y compliant.

Welcome to Amsterdam!

Homework in the airport.

Been awake for 24 hours and finally crashed. He missed the entire flight to Edinburgh.

Landing in Edinburgh.



Disembarking on the tarmac.

Blackfriars Loft - our first accommodation. Less than a mile from Edinburgh Castle.

A wee walk about to find food.

Smokey Old Fashion for the win!

Royal Mile

Yesterday (Thursday) in Edinburgh

The Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle inner courtyard

Oldest structure on Castle property

Hopefully our only trip to the hospital.

Scottish tapas for lunch. Amazing! \240

Fancy dinner at The Witchery.

Filet with ethical Foi Gras.

Ryan’s Halibut with heirloom veggies and North Sea clams.


Gama’s Birthday! \2404/29

Coffee at Black Medicine Coffee house. Apparently NOT where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter but it is where Dr Jane, PhD wrote their thesis on simultaneous epidemics in 2017.

To save our feet, we hoped on the Edinburgh Tour bus with a hop on/hop off ticket. We toured Old and New Town, explored Carlton Hill, and took lots of photos (on my big camera).

Scots Monument

The trail to Arthur’s Seat. Russell was adamant he wanted to summit the peak. I went along with the plan but didn’t have high hopes for actually making it the whole way (wayyyy to used to sea level).

Pano from the summit. We are going to hurt tomorrow, but I will be damned if I let some girl wearing a leather skirt and heels out hike me!

View of Edinburgh Castle from Arthur’s Seat.

St Anthony’s chapel ruins circa 1500’s

Hooyrood Palace. Where the Queen stays when in Scotland.

Driving in the UK… not for the faint of heart.

Cute little Citreon.

On a work call.

The Bridge House

After a \240lazy morning, we headed to Blairgowrie and to Cargill’s \240Leap.

Back “home” to the Brisge House for a wee dram. Ardberg 10.

Exploring the grounds. We meet the host Mimi who was absolutely delightful.

Peek of Blackcraig Castle.

Ryan having a blast.

Wading in the River Ardyl.

Home cooked meal of Beef Stovies (brisket roast, root veggies, and half a Guinness). \240

Elgin Abbey (Puscarden Abbey)

9th Century Pict carved stone

Auchindoun Castle Ruins.

Closed due to unstable masonry. However we hiked a half mile to the end of the road and the local Bothy Keeper told us to go on up, “Just push the fence over and go on up!” \240

We walked between two dueling bulls and Ryan decided he hates cows.

I would live here. The views were amazing and pictures can’t do the scale justice.

Black or Blood pudding… Ryan approved.

Full Scottish Breakie

Linn Falls

View from the window at our cottage in Kellas.

Dunnottar Castle

Actually May 2

More May 2

Dunnottar Castle

Linn Falls in Aberlour

Auchindoun Castle

Elgin Abbey

Kellas House - Breaside


Findhorn Beach on the North Sea

Highland Club

Loch Ness

Scrabster Beach

5 hr Ferry Wait

Old Man of Hoy

From the ferry to Orkney

Sunset from the house Strathyre in Twatt, Orkney

Looking back towards Hoy

Slats Brea - one of the oldest know human settlements ever discovered.

Beach at Skara Brea

Marwick Head

From Marwick Head looking back towards Hoy

Interestingly enough, the food here is CHEAP…. Like holy cow! \240I over budgeted severely for our per diem “home cooked” items. To the point where I can make extravagant meals at “home” for way cheaper than I could at home. Not to mention cooking on different oven/stove combinations.

I am in love with the Stanley Stove! \240On Orkney, this stove provides cooking, hot water and radiant heat for the house.

Chicken pot pie.

Beef roast (Stovie) and root veggies.