Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wearing a Ski Jacket to the Beach

I mentioned yesterday that Jonathan’s friend Ryan bought a Land Rover Defender this weekend. The car  he found was located in Newcastle England, so it was quite the road trip to pick it up. Jonathan and Luke decided to go along for the ride, which meant Jillian, Debbie and I were left without husbands for the day. What are a group of 3 housewives to do with a Saturday all to themselves? Get facials? Go shopping? Have a Gilmore Girls marathon? Play mahjong for 8 hours straight? Nope; we decided instead to hike 9 miles.

Since most of our hiking excursions take place west of Aberdeen, we were in the mood for something different and headed instead to the northeast for a coastal hike. Yes, northern Scotland is full of photogenic hills which offer breathtaking views, but the coast isn’t exactly lacking in the beauty department either.

We decided on the Forvie Sands trail which is quite a trek through grassy sand dunes, golden beaches, and coastal cliffs. Add in a few seal sightings and it was quite a lovely field trip. Since Jillian had walked this path before, she was our trusty navigator.
We started our hike at a visitor center, hoping to get a potty break before starting our walk. No luck however, since in winter, the Visitor center is closed on the weekends. Why it would be open during the week and closed on the weekends is a bit of a mystery to me, but I digress... (We are here. This is Britain.)   
We’ve all learned our lesson in the unavailable bathroom department, so we go on hikes fully equipped to use the open air bathroom that mother nature provides for us. TMI? It’s not the going in nature that bugs me as much as the fact that it is really stinkin' cold and windy and not a pleasant thing at all to drop your pants on a North Sea beach front. TMI?  Just sayin’; Forvie Sands Visitor Center, please reconsider your closed on weekends policy. Let’s move on...
The first half of the hike had us winding through sand dunes. Since it was a sunny day, there were quite a few people on the trail, including a mischievous setter who thought it was humorous to snatch up one of my mittens while I was re-tying my boot. I had to then run after him, hoping that I didn’t trip on my untied shoelaces in the process. Alls well that ends well, and I got my mitten back, which makes this a funny story. Otherwise it would have been tragic to lose a mitten on a bitterly cold winter day.

After leaving behind the dunes, we came up on a majestic cliff, where I insisted we all stop for a photo op. I’m sad I didn’t get a photo of the three of us, but I made sure to get one of each pair combination.

I daydreamed about what a great secluded beach this would be to lay out on before remembering that I was wearing a ski jacket.
Still, since this was the most sun we had seen all week, we were enjoying just feeling it shine on our faces.
However, since it was about 1:00 pm at this point, we knew we had to hurry up our walk since the sun would be sinking below the horizon in a mere two and a half hours. Not wanting to be left to fend for ourselves in the wilderness, we picked up the pace quite a bit. Afterall, we still had to make a detour to eat our lunches and look for seals.

With the sun setting in our eyes, it was hard for us to tell large rocks and birds from the mammals we were trying to spot. We asked some other walkers where the seals were and they quickly pointed some out to us. If you look very closely at this picture, you can see a tiny speck in the central left hand area, and that’s a seal!
Here it is blown up:
They kept bobbing in and out of the water which was fun to watch, but hard to catch on film.  After oohing and aahing over the seals for a good ten minutes we really had to head back to the car. By our estimations we had an hour and half left to walk and only 2 hours of sunlight. We put our powerwalking faces on and headed back.
I don’t think I’ve ever walked that fast in my life and yet people kept lapping us. We had to keep retreating to the side of the trail to let dog walkers casually pass us by. It was hard on my self-esteem but kept my little short legs pumping as if my warmth depended on it.
We finally spotted the closed visitor center in the distance and all breathed a sigh of relief. After all, our husbands were currently on a road trip to England and wouldn’t be able to come a rescue us from the wilderness. And it would be really embarrassing if we had to call mountain rescue to save us from the beach....

Fortunately we made it back to the car and to Aberdeen with little incident. We even managed to have dinner ready for the boys when they got home. Just kidding- Jillian managed to have dinner ready for the boys when they got home. Because she is apparently the absolute best wife on earth. I would have just  handed Jonathan a frozen pizza before putting myself to bed at 8 pm. Instead we were all treated to fajitas and a fun night of good food, Defender comparisons, and college football. Thanks for dinner and the navigating Jillian! You are not only a great wife but an awesome friend as well!


  1. Awww, thanks for the sweet shout out, friend! Ryan would surely argue with the 'best house wife on earth' comment ;-) It was a fun day, I love hiking with my girls...maybe we should send the boys on cross country road trips more often and just ask to go along every once in a while. Great pictures too, let's go back to try and see the seals basking on the beach!

  2. Love the TMI! Gave me a tickle over my cereal this morning. You'll find no judgement here :)

    Beautiful pics, as always. You live in Scotland!!!!!

  3. Great pictures! It's great to find the perfect Ski Jacket for the winter. I bought a great new coat at Burlington Coat Factory. It was a great deal, and while it is plenty warm, it still has a great style.