For me there are two outdoor activities in this country that top the lot. Camping and a visit, especially some walking, in the Scottish Highlands. My 8 yr. old has done both of these before, though not for three years so we were all really excited about our trip last week to one of the last great wildernesses in Western Europe.
We camped at Morvich in the heart of Glen Shiel by Glen Affric and just off the Road to Skye. Quite a lot of home comforts here – a good tent, good facilities, all the equipment we needed and luckily for us as the nights were still cold no midges. There were also some country comforts, birdsong from dawn to dusk, that every elusive cuckoo, heard but not seen, carpets of bluebells on view from out tent and, of course, the sight of those mountains.
Someone was as snug as a bug in a rug.
Our trip started with a visit to a coral beach. I hadn’t realised that you get coral around the UK, though apparently you do. However, this beach was not actually made of coral, but of dead fragments of strange hard seaweed called maerl. This has been, crushed by the waves and bleached by the sun so you have a beach of white crunchy pieces of what certainly look like coral. Worth looking out for if you are in western Scotland. I have since learnt that living maerl is a beautiful purple-pink, and forms spiky underwater ‘carpets’ on the seabed. These seaweeds deposit lime in their cell walls as they grow, giving them a hard, brittle skeleton and making them coral – like.
Scotland has had heavy snowfall this year and it has remained cold. Nevertheless, I have never seen, and was surprised to see so much snow on the tops. Our walk in Glen Shiel provided the opportunity to check it out.
And when it wasn’t snow there were loads of tarns to test the depth of.
We had a great day out. My son is now faster on the mountain than me – I’m hoping that’s because he doesn’t mind getting very wet and muddy and that on drier terrain I’ll still be able to hold my own!
The next day another adventure was in store, one which had been long in the planning. One which I had mixed feelings about – not least because it was by invite only and I was not on the invite list. A one night back packing trip with a campout and a mountain summit for my hubby and son was planned. Yes I had made a few objections. I did feel left out. However I had accepted that the backpacking tent was (conveniently) only big enough for two and it would be a great bonding exercise for father and son. So they left early one morning to walk into Glen Affric from the campsite.
And what did I do while they were away? – Well, of course, I took the opportunity to visit a garden and I worried.
I needn’t have they were back down by 1 o’clock the next afternoon having had a great time. My son had climbed his first Munroe (this is a mountain in Scotland above 3,000 feet) – not one just off the roadside as many are, but on in a remote glen and the 22nd highest. So proud of him. And he still had the energy to run about on the campsite all afternoon.
Anyone else been walking with their children in the mountains?