Sailing Takes Me Away

Hello again, my friends.  Are you all having a nice weekend?  I sure am.  Just when My Plaid Heart thought it couldn’t physically handle another weekend of Virginia temperatures in the mid-upper 90’s, Mother Nature has finally thrown us a bone.  It is GLORIOUS outside with early fall-like temps, lower humidity, and a nice, cool breeze.  It’s short-lived, though.  Pity that the dreadful temperatures are set to return next week.  Pity indeed.

In keeping with the aforementioned cool breeze, I’d like to invite you to come along with me today as we set sail on the brackish waters of the estuary that meets the North Sea – the Firth of Forth.

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What the Kelp?!

Hey gang!  Welcome back.

Today may I present to you… The Kelpies of Falkirk, Scotland.

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Well, as I saw them, at least.  Sadly, that would be as Mr. C and I whizzed past them on the M9 (I think).  I wish I could tell you that we had scheduled time to visit The Helix to walk the trails, take a paddle boat for a little spin on the lagoon, and to capture some artsy fartsy photos of these really cool equine sculptures.  But nope.  Because for some reason, I thought Falkirk was located in the Highlands and not a mere 27 miles from Edinburgh!  Imagine my surprise when all of a sudden I spotted these big guys coming up fast at 70 mph out the car window.  I mean, what the Kelp?!  I barely had time to grab my camera before they were a memory.

C’est la vie.  Perhaps we’ll catch them next time.

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Inchcolm Abbey

Hi Friends,

Did everyone had a nice weekend?  I spent mine planting lots of pretty pink flowers, eating delicious food, visiting with family and friends, and writing a word or two.  The long Memorial Day holiday is almost over and tomorrow it’s back to business as usual.

In today’s blog post, I’d like to point out a really interesting site located on the island of Inchcolm in the Firth of Forth (the estuary off Scotland’s east coast that flows into the North Sea).  Mr. C and I first spotted the structure from the grounds of Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh.

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As viewed from Lauriston Castle.

We had no idea what we were looking at that day and assumed it was a castle ruin.  It wasn’t until we chartered a sailing tour of the Firth (a blast – more on that in a future post) that we saw this remarkable structure in clearer view.  Turns out it was Inchcolm Abbey, the most well-preserved group of monastic buildings in Scotland.

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Pretty Pittenweem

Hi Readers,

I hope everyone is doing well!  Today we are going to jump in our car and head about fifty miles to the northeast of Edinburgh to a delightful little village on the Firth of Forth.

You know how sometimes in travels you happen upon a place that is just as pretty as a picture?  Pittenweem, Scotland is one of those places.

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Mr. C and I unfortunately didn’t have a lot of time to spend in this sweet village and there were some things we missed seeing (like St. Fillan’s Cave – the hideout of the Irish saint with the glowing arm – d’oh!), but this place is most definitely going on the list for a revisit in the future.  In fact, we are considering making Pittenweem our home base on next year’s trip.  (Is it next year yet?  No?  Crap.)

Located in the East Neuk of Fife, Pittenweem is a real charmer.

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St. Fillan’s Church-Aberdour, Scotland

Hello Friends,

I hope your new year has started out well.  Anyone have big travel plans this year?  I will be heading to one of my favorite places – Destin, Florida – because these toes are in desperate need of a little sand time!  My heart needs a little Scotland time, but it will have to wait just a wee bit longer for that.  In the meantime, I have my photos (you seriously don’t want to know how many), lots of wonderful memories, this blog, and you, dear friends, to help tide me over until 2019.  So again, thank you for letting this crazy American woman share her passion for a land not her own.

20180111_170116Today, I’d like to share a special find – St. Fillan’s Church.  St. Fillan’s is a parish church located about 40 miles to the northwest of Edinburgh in Aberdour, a picturesque, seaside village in Fife.  The church sits peacefully beside Aberdour Castle.  Views of the Firth of Forth can be seen over the low south wall.

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In the kirkyard (churchyard) looking toward Aberdour Castle.

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Enchanting Crail

Greetings everyone,

How do you spell the word enchanting?  That’s easy.

C R A I L.

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Wouldn’t you agree?  I would say that Crail is my imagination come to life, but actually it was my jigsaw puzzle that came to life!

20171119_170010Just ninety miles to the northeast of Edinburgh, Scotland where the Firth of Forth and the North Sea meet, lies the picturesque, historic fishing village of Crail.  Several of these old, charming fishing villages dot the coastline along this northeast corner of the Kingdom of Fife.  In my opinion, Crail is one of the prettiest.  Once a hub for the export of such commodities as fish, salt, mutton, and wool to mainland Europe, Crail Harbor still maintains itself in small capacity as a working harbor today, well-known for its fresh shellfish.

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The Bridges of the Firth of Forth

The wheels on American Airlines, Flight 6404 gracefully departed the Edinburgh, Scotland runway and we rapidly ascended into the sky on the path towards home. Always a bit of a nervous flier, I tried my best to relax and breathe while our aircraft climbed ever higher.  I leaned my head back against my seat and tried to focus my mind on the wonderful memories of the previous two weeks.

Still ascending, our pilot banked a left turn.  My husband quickly turned my attention to the window where I caught sight of the massive Forth bridges rising out of the water below.  As if on cue, the floodgates opened as the realization finally hit me that I was being carried far away from the place that I love so much.

20170922_163941I stink when it comes to goodbyes.  It makes no difference if the thing I’m goodbye-ing is a person or a place.  My eyes will inevitably leak.  And, of course, my cry is never a dainty, pretty cry.  It’s quite the opposite.  As someone who normally keeps her emotions in check, this snotty outburst always renders me red, puffy, and embarrassed.  My tears on the flight that day were no exception.

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Newark Castle

My husband has always been fascinated with castles.  From the earliest years of our marriage he possessed large picture books about castles, movies that take place in the age of castles, role playing games where the quests led to castles, and Legos that he would design and construct into crazy, massive, elaborate castles (yep, he’s kind of a nerd).  And although I thought castles were interesting, I could never quite grasp what all the fuss was about.

And then I went to Scotland.

Most tourists only ever visit Scotland’s “biggies”-Dunnottar, Stirling, Eileen Donan, etc.  And trust me, if you are lucky enough to set your feet on Scottish soil, you will absolutely want to see those.  There are probably ten to fifteen castles throughout the country that are extremely popular with tourists and for good reason-they are stinkin’ awesome!  But I must confess.  As much as I love and appreciate the castles that are well trodden, I am a huge sucker for the ruins.  The quiet, melancholy ones that time has all but forgotten.

Meet Newark Castle.

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