On our third full day in Scotland the general consensus was that it was time for us to explore Aberdeenshire. This meant that us Porters got to spend a relaxed morning at Andy’s while he went to work, and in the afternoon he obligingly took us for a drive “Deeside” – along the banks of the river Dee.
The drive was beautiful, taking us through many small towns and also across the Balmoral Castle Estates. After stopping for lunch at a little cafe (steak roll with blue cheese & fried onions ftw!) we pressed on to the village of Braemore, where the Dee shows itself to be a river with attitude (or at least a river with big rocks and waterfalls and thus much different from what we had grown accustomed to with the Cam). I went off to browse in tourist shops while the boys went off to the “Plus 55 Club”, which is actually a nice hotel not of that name near to the river. It just happens that most of the regulars are over 55 years of age. When I finished my browsing I found Walter, David, and Andy all enjoying their drinks while various elderly Scottish ladies came over and admired the wee Wattie.
|Such polite signs|
Once the drinks were finished we drove on to the Linn of Dee. This is an area where the Dee comes rushing down into a deep cauldron pool and then swirls out again. It also happened to be Walter’s first introduction to a forest and he loved it. We strapped him into the mei tai and took our first family hike. He spent a lot of time looking at the trees and chattering at them. We went for a bit of a walk alongside the river, where it was lovely to see the hills coming down towards the river, which we could glimpse through a screen of Scotch pine. It almost felt like home.
Our walk continued until it began to rain, which Walter really objected to considering his parents were unable to locate his hat. We hastened to a woodsy area and did some responsible parenting: a Gore-Tex cocoon was created out of David’s jacket and Walter was swiftly bundled into it, with the added bonus of my Gore-Tex hood to cradle his head. Fortunately the worst of the rain held off until we were back at the car, as the baby was now wearing the best of our weather-proofing protection!
|Shortly before the rain :)|
The drive back to Aberdeen in the growing darkness was a bit long, especially for the boys as they were feeling a bit under the weather. Fortunately I’d spent the morning preparing a stew for the slowcooker, and we were able to eat a deliciously hot & filling meal almost as soon as we walked in the door. I’d tried to follow my mother-in-law’s stew recipe as well as I could and it came out tasting pretty much just like I wanted. She makes the most delicious stew I’ve ever had, with beef, squash, and homemade dumplings. Mine was lacking the dumplings, unfortunately, but other than that it tasted pretty much like home.