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Daddy organises a surprise trip to Scotland for our 10th anniversary, 18 Sep 2014.

The surprise was sprung when we landed at Edinburgh airport, where I revealed that we were not staying in Edinburgh but flying on to Stornoway.  The real surprise occurred however when the flight to Stornoway was cancelled and we had to retreat back to Edinburgh...  (After being mucked about by FlyBe)

This was a momentous day in Scotland.  In addition to our 10th, this was the day Scotland voted on its independence referendum.  As a resident since 1987, I was a firm supporter of independence (but alas denied the vote).  The defeat of the referendum was a bitter disappointment (see my facebook posts) however I still love Scotland and this weekend would simply reinforce this!

We managed to find one of the last hotel rooms in town at the Apex Waterloo (still at a stupendous £300 per night!), ironically not 30m from my flat, which unfortunately I had let out not expecting to be there! Dinner at the bar was not exactly what I had in mind for the big 10th, but we were together & happy after a somewhat traumatic day...

What I DID have in mind was finally executed exactly 24 hours later on Friday - we flew to the Isle of Lewis and drove down to the magic Scarista House in Harris. This was one of most cherished memories from our first extended date - a car trip around the highlands - 13 years ago shortly after we had met.  It is fair to say that Scarista House has played a major part in the formation of our family!  Thus was our romantic honeymoon dinner converted into a romantic birthday dinner for me...

Saturday over breakfast we picked up a brochure describing the Harris Mountain Festival, which was in it’s last day.  We noticed a guided hike departing at 10:00, so we wolfed down the last of our eggs and drove like mad to make it to the starting point... Although ate, fortunately we caught up with fellow late-comers Alex, Richard and Sue (with dogs Porridge and Trixie) and managed to catch up with the main group. 7 miles and 6 hours later we finished, exhausted but blown away by the spectacular scenery, agreeing this was one of the best walks we had ever done.  Alex held up well; easily the youngest on the walk. 

On the way back, a very very well earned beer at a Tarbert pub, then another great meal at Scarista (steak!) and a final whisky of the day made us easy victims for our seductive man-eating bed, stealing our consciousness in a matter of moments.

We REALLY didn’t want to leave Sunday, but life goes on.  We left early in order to visit one of the most awe-inspiring monuments of mankind - the 4500 year old standing stones of Callanish. Landing in Edinburgh, we disdained the new tram system (£1 dearer than the bus and 15 minutes longer, and stops further away from my flat. But hey! you don’t get a lot for £1bn these days!)  Our afternoon spent catching the last of the summer rays at an outdoor cafe melted into dinner at my favourite Indian in Edinburgh - Khushi’s on Broughton Street.  We staggered out vowing “never again”, which is how you know we had a great Indian experience! :-)

Despite the unexpected changes, all long weekends should be this magical!

© Gordon Howell 2014