Our second week of walking new trails in Scotland was on the Kintyre Peninsula in Scotland.
My sister and her husband, Robert, and their three kiddos were in town in July for two weeks. The first week we spent in and around Aberdeen, and then we rented a second car and headed west.
We stayed way down at the very bottom of Kintyre in Machrihanish, right across from a golf course and the beach on the west coast.
The sunsets looking towards the Isle of Islay and Isle of Jura were the highlight of every day.
Often these golden hours were the least rain-drenched part of the day, so we looked forward to heading out to the beach for as long as we could stand the cool air in order to watch every last drop of color drip from the sky.
Our days were filled with walking and with warming up from walking.
We took walks on the beach, around the Mull of Kintyre and Campbeltown.
Then we would head for the nearest pub for something warm or hunker down with hot water bottles and blankets in our gorgeous, but drafty holiday rental.
The kids played poker, read books and watched movies while my sister, Anna and I sipped tea and read our novels on the couches overlooking the sea.
Taido and Robert went for walks with us too, but then they took a few days to head off to the island of whisky (Islay) on their own. Before traveling west, they also managed to catch a day at the British Open in St Andrews.
On the days they weren’t at the Open or doing a special warehouse whisky tasting, they were enjoying those same two worlds (golf + whisky) from the inside of a dark, cozy pub down the street from our house. So basically, they were in man heaven.
During our week in Machrihanish, we tried to get the kids outside no matter how icky the weather was.
This blurry photo is a hysterical interchange in which Taido is negotiating with the kids and saying he will take them all to a pub for lunch if they will go for a walk in the mist.
This is the kids regretting listening to him.
So the next day, when Anna and I went for a walk on the farthest south end of Kintyre, no one would come.
And it turned out to be so pretty.
Of course a few hours later it was raining again.
One afternoon we talked the big kids into going on a boat tour by themselves while we took the little guys for horse rides.
They came back with blue lips and frozen fingers, but they got to see puffins and seals and had all kinds of fun.
And oh my goodness, Simon and his cousin, Phineas loved this horse ride more than life.
Well, at least Simon did. He told his guide that he would like to become a horse rider please.
Phineas told someone on his return to Chicago that his favorite part of Scotland was the pubs. Love.
Our last day on the West Coast we walked a causeway just outside of Campbeltown to Dunvaar Island, a spot that is only an island twice a day, when the tides roll in. So you have to check the tide times to make sure you can get back.
Everyone made it out on this day and it was our grand farewell to Kintyre and to Scotland for our cousins.
The next day we drove back to Aberdeen, and we managed to turn the five hour journey into an all day affair with a flat tire (tyre), a tow truck and some car sick kiddos. Yikes.
And the next morning we said a sad goodbye as we put my sister and her family on a plane back to Chicago.
I ugly cried all the way home from the airport and for most of the weekend.
I miss Anna like crazy and the kids are all long faces without their cousins.
But I’m holding tight to these memories of sunsets and sweet sister moments.
Who would have dreamed I would get to walk so much Scottish soil with so many of my dear family and friends?
Oh, summer in Scotland. Despite having to turn on my heat and wear a constant raincoat, you have been lovely.