Day 38 – The Secret Bunker

We were all up quite early again and on the road by 8.30am. We had expected to be on motorways most of today but instead the sat nav took us the scenic route through woodlands….

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then alpine country…

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some ruins….

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and finally down to the coast…

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and to todays destination – Scotland’s Secret Bunker.

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We took the audio tour of this underground complex – built during the cold war and kept in working order until 1993. The audio tour was interesting and well worth taking.

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The girls were especially amazed at the dial telephones – I remember having one exactly like this growing up.

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We had lunch at the cafe.

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And while waiting, we all took the opportunity to check our e-mail in free internet area.

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Lunch today was a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich. It came out looking VERY burnt, but once I scraped all the black away it was surprisingly tasty :-).

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We finished off our tour and headed off in the motorhome to tonights accomodation just past Edinburgh.

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We were lucky to see a BIG traffic jam just after an exit so we took the exit and went the slightly longer (but faster) way around.  We arrived around 4.15am and the girls disappeared off to the playground.

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Pop & I enjoyed a cheese platter while the girls played and I uploaded photos to Flickr. Later he cooked a BBQ dinner – but we ate inside as the wind had gotten a bit cool.

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So sad this is our last night in Scotland :-(.

Day 37 – An historic kind of day

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We were up just after 6am this morning, had a visit from the local red squirrels and was on the road at 7.50am. We had a two hour drive to Archeolink Prehistory Park and arrived just after opening at 10am. Dad was feeling a bit off still and drowsy so we made a few rest stops along the way.
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The park was not what I had expected. We watched a film about the park which was good then we were left to wander around by ourselves – which we did. Christy stopped for a play in the park.

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At 11.30am we joined the tour (and Pop went back to the van for a rest/nap). The tour was much better as our guide explained much more about what we were seeing than what was on the board.
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At the end of the tour the girls did some wool craft – which they enjoyed.

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At 1pm we went back to van to find Poppy just about to come join us. Instead we had a quick lunch in the motorhome before heading on to Haddo House.
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Haddo House is special to my family because Pop was one of the Haddo babies – born during WWII when pregnant women were moved from Glasglow to the country houses to give birth.
We arrived just after 2pm so had a bit of a wait till our 3.30pm tour. We passed the time by taking photos of the exterior and strolling through the gardens, before finally sitting to wait outside.

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Pet graves..

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A tree planted by Queen Victoria.

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We then joined our elderly guide for a tour of the house. He was great – spending much of the time talking to the girls. We saw the room that Queen Victoria slept in – which is where Poppy would have been born as that was the room turned into the maternity ward.
At the end of the tour we even saw a portrait of the man who first bred golden retrievers – after seeing some large red hunting dogs in the Russian circus. We really enjoyed our tour here – even without the connection it was one of the best we’d been on. The guide clearly loved the place and loved sharing his knowledge about everything. I’ve been here before but don’t remember being so impressed. At the end Poppy was asking to write in a book about Haddo babies.

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We left around 4.45pm and headed to tonights accomoodation at Hill Head Caravan Park.

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Once settled I went off to do another load of washing. In between I got dinner organised and downloaded photos.
Dinner tonight was a lovely vegetable lasagne.

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The girls and I then did our nails and even Poppy got some pampering by Christy – no he didn’t get his nails painted, just filed and polished!

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Then it was time to write up todays blog and head to bed. It started raining a little while ago so we’re hoping it passes over by tomorrow morning.

Day 36 – UK – Sheep and sheepdogs

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Today started with a grocery shop at the Tesco in Aviemore. We then walked up and down in search of crafty shops to buy stuff in. But there was only one and they didn’t have anything especially nice. I was rather dissapointed as I remembered some good shops here 10+ years ago. Amy did spot a Goldie though :-).

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We then drove the Highland Fork Museum.

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This is an open air museum that is amazingly free to get into. First up we watched a film about the museum and then visited the 1930s school house. Then down to the 1700s highland village. It was great to get a real feel for house people once lived.

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The girls were also able to dress up.

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And Christy had fun pretending to grind oats.

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We then headed back to the cafe for some lunch. Today I had a roast veggie quiche – it was nice but would have been so much better heated up.

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And I had some of this orange hedgehog slice. The caramel slice was Amy’s.

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After lunch we explore the other end of the museum – which was more about farming. And we found a cute hen with 8 little chicks.

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Lastly the girls visited the play park. It was a great one and I think Christy could have happily spent hours here.

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From here we went to the Leult Working Sheepdog Farm. When we arrived the dogs (well some of the 18) all came running to greet us. I was surprised how much they wanted to be patted – even nudging our arms much like our own dogs would.

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There were some 10 week old puppies as well, already in training.

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And, of course, the sheep.

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At 4pm it was time for the demonstration. This was amazing. Watching one of the dogs bring some sheep from the back paddock. All the dogs were just itching to have a go.

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I took most of the photos with the Nikon but took a few to share with you now. The shepherd lined up the dogs and had one of the dogs weave the flock through them. So clever.

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He also sheared one of the sheep….

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and the girls got to have a turn as well…

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Lastly they got the bottle feed the lambs.

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We enjoyed our time with the pups and sheep. Unfortunately Poppy wasn’t feeling the best (possibly coming down with the flu). We drove back to the caravan park and I got a load of washing done while dinner cooked. Christy went off to play with some friends. Pop rested and had a bit of a sleep. Amy played on her DS and I played on the computer.

Oh, and I forgot to show you the mismatch socks I got yesterday. Aren’t they cute?

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Day 35 – UK – Reindeer and other assorted animals

So nice to have a bit of a sleep in this morning. Eventually we got up, got organised and set off for todays adventure. After a quick stop at the Estate visitors center we went to the Cairngorn Reindeer center. We saw some of the reindeer (most of the 100 odd herd are on the hills).

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There was also a lot of kids activities and info about the reindeers which filled in time before our trip up to see the herd. We followed our guide in a convoy of cars and then walked for about 20mins. It was a lovely walk through the forest.

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Then finally we arrived at the herd. The reindeer were just so gorgeous and all came running down when they saw our guide with the bag of food.

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Their antlers are like velvet and full of blood so continually growing and very sensitive.

Food was spread out on the ground and we were also able to handfeed them.

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And just check out the hooves – perfect for the snow!

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We spent around 30mins with the herd and then walked back to the motorhome.

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From here we drove further up the mountain to the Cairngorn Mountain Railway. We caught the railway even further up.

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We had lunch at the cafe. Despite having an unpleasant time getting Christy to eat a few bites of her fish, the view and Vegetable Soup was great.

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Then we went out to the viewing area.

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Then it was back down the railway and to the Highland Wildlife Park. The first part is a drive through, which the girls thought was fantastic.

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Lots of great animals. I took lots of photos with my Nikon but can’t download those until I get home.

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You then walk around to see some other animals – just like a normal zoo. Not too many photos with my normal camera as the battery was getting low.

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We enjoyed our visit here but it started to rain right towards the end so we missed the last few animals and Christy missed out on a play at the park. We headed back to the caravan park but the rain never really came to anything. Shortly after we arrived back some nearby neighbours came to invite the girls on a walk with them (and their dog). Christy had gone with them yesterday and another family with a little boy she befriended and must have made a good impression. They returned about an hour later. We had an easy dinner and relaxed (again). Can’t believe we’re into the last week of our trip and that it’s nearly over

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