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A quick wrap up of our Scottish adventures

I really did plan to blog while I was away, but then I remembered how much I hate typing on my phone, so, here's the wrap up our month in Scotland, which divided itself neatly into 4 weeks:

Week 1: Edinburgh Yarn Festival 

I recommend reading Kate's wrap up, because she sums it up perfectly. Also, I failed to get a photo of the three of us in our stasis jumpers, so I've used hers:

It was amazing, sharing an Air B and B with other knitters, getting to spend time with Kate, and getting to meet Grace and Kat in person.

The festival itself was so much fun. I did most of my shopping on the Thursday, which was the quietest day. On the Friday I had an advanced Kitchener class with Woolly Wormhead, and a talk by the always inspiring Kate Davies, and Saturday I did a class about knitting and place with Karie Westermann, which changed the way I look at knitting design.

One of the real highlight was walking around, or sitting in the marquee, seeing everyone in their amazing designs, and being able to walk up to total strangers and discuss colours and patterns and designers.

On Saturday night we went out for dinner, with (amongst others) British Richmond Knitters Bee and Melanie. Such a treat.

On Sunday I sadly said goodbye to my EYF buddies, left my yarn with a friend in Edinburgh, but had a chance to see my English relatives for breakfast before heading on the the second week of out adventure.

Week 2: Islay

We wanted to push walking the West Highland Way and camping as late as possible in the trip, so we went to Islay. I was a member of Kate Davies' Inspired by Islay club last year, and the club basically acted as our travel guide, it's a beautiful place. On our first morning there we ran down a road, with fields full of sheep, hairy coo's and at one point a herd of wild deer, to see seals basking themselves in the harbour of Portnahaven. 
Leon, wearing his Singing Sands scarf, hat and gloves on Singing Sands beach

Islay has 10 distilleries, and I think we went to six of them. I now have a greater understanding and appreciation of whisky.

We went camping on the Oa, and then hiked 20 kilometers across bogs to see the American monument. By the time we got there, the weather was cold and it was starting to rain. We sat down to eat lunch, and a farmer drove a herd of hairy coos across the picnic ground, and fed them in the adjoining field. That certainly helped cheer me up. What also cheered us up was that after we walked out to the Monument, we realised we had at least 15kms to walk back into town, in the rain. Except a couple of guys from Leeds where in the car park and offered us a lift. So kind.

We were sad to leave Islay, but reading to continue with what was our actual goal: Walking the West Highland Way.

Week 3: The west Highland Way:

We were a bit concerned, because this is where the camping really started, and there were predictions of freezing weather, snow and a return of the weather system nicknamed "the Beast from the East'. Luckily, the only part of Britain the weather wasn't foul ended up being the West Highlands.

The West Highland Way is a 150 kilometre waymarked path. It goes through fields, and forests and is incredibly beautiful. The Kate Davies "West Highland Way" club walks you down the path. I highly recommend, even if you don't ever want to go hiking!
What we didn't realise when we started is that this is not like hiking in Australia. I knew there were dome meals available on the way, but I still made us carry food and water. In fact, there (should have been) a pub every evening, and almost every lunch time too! I say should have been, because one night we showed up to camp behind the Kings House and it was a building site! Luckily we were carrying all that food. The walking itself was fabulous - the days were longer than I would hike it Australia, usually around 20 kilometers, but the weather was great, while we were walking. It was not great sitting around weather.
Most of the highland sheep are Scottish Blackface

We mainly camped, although we did spend two nights at a hotel in Rowardennan. The weather was amazing, clear and sunny, so we "bagged a Munro".

I also got to see the goats of Inversnaid, who were huge!
The last day it wasn't too cold, but it snowed gently on us all day. We were planning on camping, and thinking about climbing Ben Nevis the highest mountain in Scotland, but then the weather was bad and the campsite was out of town, and we thought "stuff it, lets stay in a nice hotel instead"

Week 4 - Some Random Stuff   

While we were on Islay we did a whiskey and chocolate tasting. The chocolate came from  a boutique chocolate maker in called The Highland Chocolatier, in Grand Tully, outside Pitlochary. We decided to make our way there, spending two nights in Inverness (we even found a CrossFit box there) and two in the charming Pitlochary. I finished the project I was knitting, and managed to scrape up some emergency yarn from a yarn shop there. The yarn is fine it's a very standard sock yarn, but it's a bitter pill to be using adequate yarn, when you have kilograms of stunning stuff...half a country away.

We ran to the Highland Chocolatier down the Rob Roy Way. Funnily enough it was 14 kilometers by road and only 7 over the hills, so we were very surprised when we got there.  
Next we headed back to Edinburgh, to relax and get my yarn back!

We actually had quite a yarny time again, going to the gorgeous Ginger Twist Studio, Kathy's Knits, seeing the weavers at Dovecot Studios.

I got my yarn back, and had one final crazy night out and took the long flight home.

I realise I haven't talked at all about what I knit while I was away, or what I bought, but this post is long enough. I'm going to finish unpacking, put my new stash on Ravelry, and update those things over the next couple of days.


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