It seemed a lot less busy and hectic the day after Errin and Grace flew back home to Oregon, and the day started out with a gorgeous sunrise.
Here it was the first week of September already. The time spent with the girls seemed to have just flown by! We had steadily been exploring the past 6 weeks all around Scotland, Germany, Paris, and Amsterdam.
Lindsay and I were both ready for a bit of a break by this time, so we spent the following week recharging our batteries. We also took care of some mundane, but necessary, domestic chores. There was also a plethora of photos I had taken throughout our travels, which were stored on my iPhone. They were taking up all of my allotted space, and I desperately needed to sort and organize them in preparation for writing future blog posts. There were thousands, as you might imagine. I had plenty of time, however, and managed to edit each one, toss the bad ones out, and create a folder for each day’s adventures on my external hard drive for use at a later date. I like to organize them in sequential order. Doing so helps me quickly find pictures I want to use when I share my adventures with you.
Hanging out at Lindsay’s house also allowed me to go for a walk around his neighborhood. There is a beautiful path nearby that used to be the old Deeside Railway line.
You could walk (or ride a bike) from Duthie Park in Aberdeen all the way to Ballater if you had a mind to! It’s a great path and used quite regularly by the locals. Not very far down the pathway, I came across the local allotment gardens.
It is quite large, with a vast number of individual spaces that people rent for their vegetable and flower gardens. Just walking the entirety of this garden will guarantee I get my 10,000 steps in for the day! It’s huge.
Around each corner, and down each lane, you’ll see all manner of flowers, vegetables, and adorable little creatures.
All the yummy looking produce in the garden inspired me. I walked back to Lindsay’s house and proceeded to make a berry pie! It was very nice to have a kitchen where I could make home-cooked meals and desserts after having been on the road for a while.
At the end of the week, we were fortunate to have yet one more opportunity to attend one last Highland Games event, this time at Braemar. It was a beautiful day with the sun shining brightly. The attendance was superb! Every seat was sold with only standing room left or spread a blanket on the grass.
When we arrived, the games were just getting started with the foot races around the arena.
Throughout the afternoon, all of the various competitions took place… heavy-weight contests, caber tossing, tug-of-war, Highland dancing… and a bit of a surprise (at least to me)!
We were enjoying the games, watching all of the events as they coincided in this jam-packed arena.
The clansmen were marching, the dancers were dancing, the runners were running, the men were tossing cabers…
…when all of a sudden they announced that Her Majesty, the Queen, had just arrived! This is the closest I’ve ever been to a Queen! I had heard that she likes to attend a Highland Game each year while she is in residence at Balmoral, and I had no idea she would be attending this event, so it was a special treat.
These three Highland Dance Champions presented their bouquets of posies to the Queen. Again, much to my surprise, when the announcer was telling the crowd about the girls, one of them, the tall one in the middle, had the last name of Frew! I looked at Lindsay in surprise and asked him, “Did they just say, Frew? That’s pretty cool!”
The Queen and her entourage sit in a unique little building just for them to enjoy the games.
Toward the end of the afternoon, they were finishing up the day’s activities with the children’s sack races, and we decided to start making way for the exit. We made it as far as the gate when we realized that the Queen had the same idea, so we had one more opportunity to see her up close and personal as she made her way out of the game field.
It sure had been a fun day at the Braemar Highland Games and filled with delightful surprises for Lindsay and me! It was a great way to finish off the first week of September.
This event has also earned a close second place on my list of favorite Highland Games! I’ll be sure to hurry back as they suggest! Perhaps maybe this year when I return once again to spend my summer in Scotland.
Well, that’s all for now, folks. We’ve had enough fun for the time being. Next time I will be telling you all about “Island Hopping in the Western Hebrides.” Stay tuned, there’s still lots of adventures to follow!