What is it these days with the millions of instagram accounts of bronzed 20 year olds all who seem to have modelesque bodies and an unending budget to travelling the globe.
I remember finishing school and being lucky enough to take a gap year, 6 of us spent 6 months travelling to South Africa (where we stayed with my father for 6 weeks, he was a broken man by the end) then to Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Bali, Singapore, Malaysia and ending up in Thailand. We had no instagram filters and couldn’t have cared less what we looked like and having spent the previous 6 months since leaving school living it up in London that’s probably for the best, we stayed at some of the grottiest places the travelling world has to offer, but they were also incredible (I’ll write about that somewhere down the line).
Anyways I’m fed up (read jealous) of these beautiful people travelling the globe and looking fabulous 24/7 with their equally beautiful friends and lovers, so in retaliation I am going to write today about the very first trip we went on with Rex which was to the Isle of Bute in beautiful Scotland for our friends wedding.
Rex was 7 months old and I looked like someone had stuck a bicycle pump in me and they had cruelly been pumping away till I was on the brink of popping – basically not wedding attire ready. As usual we made life as hard as we possible could for ourselves by deciding to drive…in our convertible mini. All 6ft4 of Brute drove, with me in the front alongside him, Tony and rex in the back squashed between bags, travel cots and a cool box filled with dog & babyfood alike and off we set to Wemyss Bay, a casual 7 hours and 40 minutes away to then get on a ferry to Bute.
I can categorically say that the lunacy of driving all way to Scotland in a tiny packed car was entirely made up for by the beauty that is Scotland and the magical Isle of Bute, it was truly breathtaking. Having only ever been to Edinburgh before it made me realise just how much natural beauty we are surrounded by if we just open our eyes.
We stayed a short 10 minute drive from the ferry port at the sweetest little country pub, The Kingarth Hotel its incredibly homely and with some of the best food on the island. They were extremely friendly and laid back (I think we were up waiting greedily to get breakfast before they were even awake). The surrounding area couldn’t have been anymore picturesque, beach and sea on one side and fields, hills and horses on the other – tranquility at its best.
The Country pub we stayed in
As I mentioned earlier, the reason for this epic journey was for our friends wedding, so while Tony had a night off and relaxed we donned our finery and headed off to the quite astounding Mount Stuart House. Now I think anyone that has a dog or a child will appreciate that if ever the opportunity arises it is entirely necessary to dress them up, Tony was genuinely thrilled when Rex arrived and I think mainly it was because he got someone to sharing dressing up hell with.
It was 100% necessary to dress him as a true Scotsman (couldn’t risk the no nappy though, for everyones sake)
The Wedding was totally gorgeous and we danced the night away till a solid 11.00pm when we had to cave and take Rex home – One of the great things about having a child is that you can use them as an excuse for actually having to get your own sorry self home as you still can’t quite handle your alcohol after way too long off the sauce.
The next day, given as there is no such thing as a lie in, we took our unfairly hungover heads for a full english and then embarked on a trek in the hills – again entirely ill prepared I was wearing gold Reebok classics and Brute in a pair of leather boots, I think we walked one meter and he stepped in a deceptively deep puddle – shoes and jeans soaked through. We would not be defeated though, oh no, the hills of Bonnie Scotland were calling us and we were going to do this trek in all our inappropriately dressed glory. Boy was it worth it, we didn’t see a single soul for hours which in itself was a gift from god, but on top of that the scenery was incredible, plus it sort of felt like you were trekking through a pretty cold damp jungle which I know doesn’t sound hugely enticing, but it was really very cool!
My head blames this tiny bottle Tony Surveying his kingdom during said trek
And so that brings us to the end of our first trip as a family of four, we then caught the ferry back to the mainland and embarked on the (now etched in our memories) 7 hour 40 minutes drive back down to London. Whilst writing this I suddenly remembered this totally fantastic services station in Tebay we stopped at on the way up and down, ‘totally fantastic services’ I hear you cry, but yes it was really quite wonderful, not a burger king in site! Instead there was a farm shop, an outside BBQ and fresh stews, pies and salads. There’s also a camp site so to be honest you could actually just go there for a holiday and sod the rest of it! There really is more to this little Island of ours than may first meet the eye.