We drove to Aberdeen, well actually to a place outside Stonehaven just a bit south of Aberdeen, last Friday, from Cromarty. The scenery was lovely and we had a good trip, stopping at Spey Bay to try and spot some dolphins. We could see two fins out in the distance, but that was all. It made us appreciate how great Chanory Point was for watching the dolphins up close. There were some funny looking buildings on the site – they use to be icehouses for the salmon fishermen.

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They are the biggest icehouses in Scotland and when they were in use, they would’ve been completely full of ice.

We moved on after sampling the scones and coffee in a very quaint coffee house,

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and made it to Auchenblae, (pronounced “Ok in blay) a rural village, 9 miles from Stonehaven. Our house/lodge is a lovely cottage across from the main house/homestead, in the country just out of the village.

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Views on the way home..

Karen, who owns the property, lives with her sister in the big house and rents out the lodge and rooms in the house to tourists. The cottage has been renovated and looks very modern and comfortable inside.

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Sunday came and it looked like it would rain later in the day, so we decided to get going early to Stonehaven and down the coast. We wanted to find some more puffins! We decided to keep Stonehaven for another time and headed straight to Johnshaven, a small fishing village.

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The kids played in the marina (the tide was out, the mud was in)

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…and we asked a few people where to find the birds. One elderly local man gave us directions, but then we had to get the kids out of the bottom of the marina, which required a bit of wall clinging to get to a ladder then up. Being a bit scared of heights (don’t tell me how high a plane flies) I couldn’t watch but both kids managed to clamber up no problem. OSH might have had a difficulty with that…

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We weren’t too sure if we’d got the gentleman’s directions right so we stopped and ask two other people who both told us completely different directions. One said go south and then to the coast, another said go north then inland! So we stuck to the original plan and eventually ended up at the end of a very narrow lane at a place called Crawton – which has dramatic cliffs falling away to the sea.

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We followed a track over the top of the cliffs, very close to the edge of the cliffs! There was no fence, it was stay on the track or take two steps off the track and fall to your death. Another problem for OSH.

Quite exciting really, but the main excitement of the walk was a fizzer. The puffins had left sometime between last weekend and the weekend we were there! They were on their way to Shetland Islands and we’d missed them by a few days. Stink.

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The closest thing to a Puffin on the cliffs

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Other flying wildlife besides the puffins..

We decided to make our way back before the rain came down and headed home, for an afternoon of Olympics and movie watching.

Monday was school day and then we went to get some groceries and went to the post office and discovered if we sent a 2kg only parcel to NZ it could go surface, and be half the price of what we originally thought. So back home we came, borrowed Karen’s kitchen scales and spent the afternoon deciding what to send home (and what to throw away). Karen was also helpful with my accounts, allowing me to print some things out on her computer, which was great – another job done!

Tuesday after school we took our 3 parcels home, went to a second-hand shop in Stonehaven (in the pouring rain) and dropped off clothes and books and stuff.

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Look what I found in the bottom of my bag..

The overall result is that we can now most likely fit on the EasyJet plane to Paris (we are 6 kilos lighter!, plus the stuff we gave away). The other result after walking in the rain was the conclusion that both Daniel and I needed new shoes!

So Wednesday we combined our afternoon out to Aberdeen with a shopping trip which turned out to be more of a shopping marathon than a sightseeing trip (though we did get to eat our lunch in a cemetary!)

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After some searching, Daniel, me and Amy were able to find some shoes and we went to check out the skate rink! We’d missed the public session so the plan is to go Friday. Amy’s been wanting to go iceskating for ages, so she’s really excited about that.


Today we drove to Ballater and went to the Highland games. On the way we passed though some very nice looking towns, they seemed more spacious and well kept than others. They even had restaurants, not just pubs.

We arrived at the Highland Games and the first thing we saw was this big bloke throwing a really long log pole.

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Pretty impressive. We walked around to the public seating and watched some highland dancing (the dancers were facing the other way unfortunately) and some races happening right in front of us.

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Amy was keen to join in the races so I took her down to the race start area and waited and waited.. in the hot sun! Eventually it was her turn to race with other 8-11year olds and she gave them a good run for their money, but didn’t get placed.

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It was Dad’s turn then so we cheered him along and he gave it a good go too..but no placing. But it was fun and that was the main thing!

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We also saw lots of other typical highland games activities.. the dancing, the pipe bands, other athletic competitions, and of course the throwing of the cannon ball. Wouldn’t want to get in the way of that.

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I took the kids around all the amusement park rides/games and Amy got her candyfloss, then it was time to go home again! Back to watch some more Olympics on the Telly, feeling like we’d been part of it..


Today was kids day, though they did have to do some maths! We had an early lunch and after that went into Aberdeen to go iceskating. It was great fun! Amy fell over quite a few times, mostly because she was so brave, no hanging onto the wall (like I did), she was right out there in the middle of the rink right from the start.

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I didn’t get away from the wall till near the end, and only then by holding onto a big orange road cone to balance me.

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We all really enjoyed ourselves; it was great to see Daniel having a blast – he was sure it would be boring, but he really got into it and was doing well in the middle of the rink as well. Peter was the only one who’d done iceskating before, admittedly only once about 20 years ago, and he got his balance and was going round unaided early on.

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See, I don’t need the cone..

After the session ended we went next door to the leisure centre for a swim. Amy and I had a great time on the hydro-slides, they were a lot of fun, especially the one we went down on tubes. The pool was just like the one at Baywave with waves and rapids. That was Peter and Daniels thing, they were busy with that while Amy and I wore ourselves out going up the stairs to the slides.

On the way home we disobeyed the GPS “director voice” and took a different route through Aberdeen which gave us ten minutes of sightseeing pass the beach. Not really a lot of sightseeing!

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It would have been great to have one more day so we could see a bit more of Aberdeen, but it wasn’t to be. Instead we got home late and tired,and had to pack for Saturdays’ move to Haddington (just out of Edinburgh).

Stonehaven, Week 25, 4 – 11 Aug 2012