Scotland; the home of dramatic landscapes, enormous lochs, mighty forests and of course midges. Perhaps not everyone’s first choice of a holiday with 2 toddlers but we loved it. We’ve spent the last 2 weeks in a lovely cottage in the Scottish Highlands near Fort William taking things easy and enjoying the peace and quiet (and no 3G or wifi).
There was of course also the small matter of THE RACE on the middle weekend (you can read the full details and race report here) which offered a small distraction and the lady of the manor was very tolerant of me organising the holiday around that event.
We started the holiday with an 11pm departure from home with the idea being that the children would go back to sleep once in the car. In reality they thought it was absolutely hilarious and were wide awake for the first 100 miles until we gave them a massive bottle of milk. Then everyone around me crashed out and I cruised up the quiet motorways with just a single stop for fuel and coffee before arriving in Fort William at 7.15am just in time for a Wetherspoons breakfast with the kids still in their PJ’s.
Amazingly we kicked off our Scotland adventure with a day on the beach in Nairn with my parents who were holidaying up there. A balmy 18 degrees saw us in shorts and t-shirt, barefoot on the sand and ice cream in hand. Amazing stuff who would have thought it and barely another person in sight.
There were walks in the forest, bike rides with the children in the trailer, sausage rolls, fish and chips, lazy mornings and evenings of reading and writing. Time to just be a family together without any pressure to do anything or be anywhere and the lack of phone signal forcing us to step away from social media for a while,
Bracken was of course in his element, running through the forest and jumping in all the streams. We didn’t walk any huge distances but that didn’t bother him, time outside is all that matters. Although he did have to endure the daily tick check, little buggers get everywhere not that he seems to mind having them pulled out, barely flinching as we poke and prod him.
This holiday suited us down to the earth but there are a few things to keep in mind if you are thinking of going to Scotland with toddlers:
- Scotland is about being outdoors, away from the few big cities there aren’t lots of attractions to visit. The ‘attractions’ are the hills, mountains and lochs so you do need to want to be in the fresh air.
- The weather is best described as changeable no matter what time of year it is so go prepared, a cold and wet toddler is a grumpy toddler. We have waterproof bib and braces plus jackets for both Matilda and Henry that are perfect, they ensure they are dry and a bib and brace stops draughts as well. We also bought them some fab Karrimor walking boots which although aren’t as waterproof as wellies are much easier for them to walk around in.
- Forget climbing Ben Nevis or being out all day in the hills when you’re with toddlers you need to think smaller scale. Unless you’re carrying them a long walk is likely to be 2 miles but it’ll still take a few hours as you stop to look at all the streams and pine cones on the way. Don’t let it frustrate you though, embrace it and enjoy exploring the world in this way.
- Take food, lots of food. If your toddlers are anything like mine they’ll be requesting a snack within an hour of breakfast even if that breakfast was 2 bowls of porridge and a piece of toast. We had to give Matilda food to start the walk as she was already getting hungry!