Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A wee little sneak away...

      It feels like such a long time since my last blog posting, I thought I'd better let you know what I've been up to at Oakwood Towers. Apart from being reeeealy busy making and wrapping like there was no tomorrow, we've squeezed in a week's holiday and what a lovely week away in Scotland we've had :O)

The Clockhouse - Nr Earlston
The rain rained, the sun shone, the wind blew...and the midges bit!! but all was well as we were staying in a little bolthole in the woods near Earlston - just south of Lauder in the Borders. Our lovely cottage was just perfect and nicely tucked away under a lush canopy of trees full of birds and squirrels and right next to the river Leader - running just behind us. We were in the grounds of an estate with a verrrry nice main house, equestrian centre and a couple of other cottages...it felt really special to come down the sweeping drive past the lovely Palomino's every evening and pull up by the huge garage doors.

The view of the big house from  the Leader Path - V posh!!
There were some fantastic walks going straight from the front door, one of our favourites (apart from the 2 mile round trip through the woods to the local pub and chippy...) was the walk up 'Black Hill' which we could see from out living room window :O)

'Black Hill'

It was quite a hard trek up as it was a lot steeper than it looks. We noticed on the way up that the sheep and lambs were all a sort of salmon pink colour...weird, we thought...until we found a patch of bare land and saw that the soil was a really rich ochre red colour, probably due to mineral deposits...even the lovely Palomino horses were the same colour from rolling around in it...I named one little troublesome chap 'Pinky' whose rosey hue let one into a false sense of security...

Orchids on top of Black Hill

Once we made it to the top, the veiws were amazing, full 360 degrees. Right at the top we found some beautiful orchids and wild thyme...we sat for quite a while listening to syklarks and watching buzzards and a red kite hunting and soaring. We cloud watched for a bit until we got too cold - the wind was ferocious up there but it was well worth the climb. We could almost pick out our wee cottage amidst the trees...can you spot it?
Westerly view from Black Hill

   Once we came back down via the 'Earlston Path' we still had some oomph in our legs so decided to take a stroll along the 'Leader Path' which winds it's way behind our cottage for a few kilometers, a much more gentle stroll to wind down we thought...The path took us past a magnificent viewpoint of the big house - see above, and also of Black Hill. We had a little rest on this lovely handcarved badger bench to take in the scenery.

Who's looking at you kid??     

     The path wound around through meadows, little open spaces and river pools - so tempting for a dip...but WAY too cold...After what seemed like ages we came out of the woods and onto an old stone bridge with a magnificent view of the old viaduct spanning the river Tweed (I think...)

We stopped here for a bit and ate some slightly squashed cupcakes - incase you're wondering...oreo cookie and bannoffee...yumm - in separate cupcakes of course...silly. We were pretty frazzled by this stage and needed the sugar rush to help us home you understand :oD. It was gloriously warm and sunny here and the swallows were out in full force picking off the little biteys as they swooped and dived around us.

     We did eventually make it back but by this time must have walked about 15 miles...well it felt like it...my legs are still recovering.

      The next day we wanted something a bit more gentle ( as the thighs were still burning) so went up the road to Thirslane Castle , a magnificent 13th Century pile where there happened to be a vintage car rally. I'm not usually excited by cars, but there was such a vast variety of fantastic vintage  beauties on show, I may be converted. My favourite was this fabulous old Morgan ...with picnic basket ready packed...and secret stow-away on board. I could see hubby and I donning sunglasses and a silk scarf around the hair (I don't think he'd go for the scarf idea, but was quite keen on the picnic) and vrooming around the countryside in this little beaut.

D'you think they'll find me???

    After much oggling and exploring we returned home exhausted and ready for tea...this is where we decided cooking was far too much of a bother so strolled along to the village pub for a swift 'arf of ale and a steaming bag of fish supper for two, picking up a bottle of something boozy on the way home we just made it indoors before we collaped, needless to say even the 4 o'clock dawn chorus didn't wake us up...
    While we were in the vicinity we thougt we'd also pay a visit to Floors Castle near Peebles. The oldest privately inhabited castle in the borders. It had some magnificent gardens and grounds which we spent most of the day exploring. We also had a good root around the castle itself, stunning.

Queen Victoria's 'House' built in the gardens especially for one of her visits.
Bread roll baked in a flower pot...must try this at home.

  For lunch we stopping in at their Walled Garden Cafe - just as it says on the tin - was in the walled garden, where we had the most spectacular ploughmans lunch...I wish I'd taken a pic but was too hungry. Needless to say ther was soo much delicious local cheese we could not eat it all...shhhh don't tell anyone...we stashed it in my bag and snaffled it later with some oatcakes and a cup of tea :O)

      All in all we had a lovely, relaxing and much needed break away - even celebrating our 6 yr wedding anniversary :O) during our stay. We will be going back sometime soon as there was so much to explore we hardly scratched ther surface, the country side was glorious and the cottage perfect for us... absolutely lovely.

Jaunty angle + mangle

Spying on the hubby :o)

Little den the family before us built behind the cottage.

      My mum was cat sitting for us while we were away - THANK YOU MUM (hope you enjoyed the goodies we brought back xx) and did a sterling job...unfortunately someone...who will remain nameless had the most huge huff on when we got back...just look at that face...and proceeded to sulk for about - well 10 minutes, then meow at me for the next two days...I guess I'm in the bad books now...

How could you leave me???

I just can't look at you  ... >^-^<  

We found our little cottage through 'Unique Cottages' who we have used before, I'd highly recommend them for a scottish break, they specialise in individual (or unique;op) special places to stay for a very reasonable rate throughout Scotland, check em out below if you are interested.

 Unique Cottages - Scotland

Anyway must be off, I'm all unpacked from hols, packed up for my next fair on Saturday and there is weeding to be done, so I'll be off...TTFN xx