After the excitement of our Egyptian trip still so fresh we were off to more familiar places with a return to Scotland and another Helpx stay in the Cairngorms. With only a few days between flying back into London Gatwick and leaving from London Kings Cross we tried to fit in as much as possible.
A quick visit to see Ryan and Ella, our youngest son and his girlfriend, and an even quicker one to see my Mum filled the first couple of days before we were back in Maidstone Kent. Our tiny storage locker is there so we occasionally have to jiggle around a few things such as winter coats, boots, shorts etc. With a family wedding on the horizon we had to dust off our posh togs to take with us to Scotland. Can you imagine having to plan what to wear 6 weeks ahead?
Before we left Maidstone we got together with two of our oldest and best friends, Keith and Nicola. When I say oldest it’s not really insulting as we met at college when we were just 17 and have been firm friends ever since. It was so nice to see each other again and as is the way with real friends it doesn’t matter at all how long you have been apart. When you meet up it’s like you saw each other yesterday. A fabulous afternoon and we just wish we could see them more often.
England to Scotland
As you all know we are committed rail travellers so our journey up into the wilds of Bonnie Scotland were all booked on the trains with only two changes between Maidstone in southern England and Pitlochry in the highlands of Scotland. It took around eight and a half hours but we had snacks, and drinks, things to read, and of course each other so it was a good journey.
Some of the scenery as you race north from Newcastle through Northumberland and the Borders is stunning and as usual we kept saying how we had to visit the area to explore and see it for real. Sounded like a good plan which we were actually working on, more about that another time.
Pitlochry, Aberfeldy and Foss
Our host and old friend Norman met us at the station and gave us a lift back to their house where we would be staying for a few nights. This was our third time staying with Tina and Norman so it was like seeing old friends again and with her parents, Peter and Joan, the four dogs, existing Helpx helpers Trudie and Luke, neighbours Annie and William, more neighbours Nick and Diane, and new Helpxers Costa and Jazz it turned out to be a noisy fun evening.
- Pitlochry, Aberfeldy and Foss
- What living the Helpx life is like in Scotland
- Our Helpx life in the Scottish Highlands
What is Helpx again?
For any of you that haven’t heard of it before, Helpx is an online organisation that matches hosts and helpers together all over the world. In exchange for bed and board the helpers do around 4 hours work a day for 5 days a week. This is our sixth one I think and they are a wonderful way of visiting different locations and meeting new people. The work is very varied too depending on what your hosts require.
Up here in Scotland Tina and Norman run a holiday lodge business (Drumcroy Lodges)so there are 6 lodges in Aberfeldy to turnaround between guests plus a large country house in Foss. Along with gardening and a few minor tasks that’s what we get up to. As it’s our third time we’re fairly up to speed on how things are done so feel pretty relaxed about everything. Oh and they very kindly let us have use of a car so we can get out and about to explore a bit.
The existing helpers, Trudie and Luke, actually moved on the day after we arrived so it would be us showing the newbies, Costa and Jazz, the ropes. They were a young twenty-something couple from Melbourne Australia who were doing a bit of travelling around Europe as so many Aussies do. Jazz actually lived in the same street that we had Airbnb’d in a few years ago! So we had lots to chat about reminiscing about our Australia trip and all the places we had visited. It’s a crazy small world isn’t it?
Back in the Lodges
Although we don’t mind where we stay and have lived in Tina’s house previously, our favourite part of our time up here is when we get the chance to stay in one of the lodges. If one is free they let us move up there until new guests are booked. It really is what we remember most about all of our previous trips and we were lucky enough again to be going up for a week soon after we arrived.
Sharing a lodge with the Aussies for a couple of nights before they moved back to Pitlochry was good fun. You never quite know if you’ll get on with people when you are thrown together randomly like that especially if there is a considerable age difference but we always seems to be ok. They soon felt like old friends and I think we pretty much forgot that we were from different decades and from opposite sides of the globe.
So a sunny warm first week with lots of gardening and outside work. I was reunited with my old pal McDuff the Strimmer and it looked like we were in for a belter of a summer.
04/05 – 12/05/2019