Monday, August 5, 2013

Long Walks on the Beach

We enjoyed yet another sunny Saturday this past weekend. This summer has been drastically different than last summer. I remember that last year during this season, I could count on one hand how many picture perfect days we got in Aberdeen. Every time the clouds went away and the sun came out, I was rushing upstairs to throw my bathing suit on and rushing back outside to try to soak up as much vitamin D as possible. Usually, I’d get in a good 45 minutes before the weather turned gray and cold and I was herded back indoors to work on house-wife stuff. 

The shining sun was a constant cause to immediately drop everything and head outdoors. It made me appreciate the sun more, but at the same time, it was so exhausting to constantly monitor the weather in order to plan the day. 
Selfie in the sunshine
This year, the sunshine has been so consistent that I feel like we’ve actually gotten the opportunity to take it for granted. When it’s sunny and warm 5 days out of 7, you don’t feel the extreme need to put off household chores in order to enjoy the few hours of warm sunlight you might get that week. 

I’ve been complimented twice in the past week on how ‘brown’ I am (Scottish speak for tan). I haven’t even been trying to tan, it’s just a natural effect of my daily walks where it’s warm enough to wear shorts and tank tops. 
I absolutely love this Scottish summer! It’s warm, but not uncomfortably hot. At night, you still need a light jacket, but it feels great to walk to dinner. 

But there are pitfalls too. For instance, last summer I could also count on one hand how many times I shaved my legs. In Scotland, I’m just not used to having my legs and feet look presentable all the time. I usually slap on some leggings and UGG boots and no one is the wiser. Now that I wear sandals on a regular basis, I’m having to ensure my runner’s toes don’t scare any children. 

It’s harder than it sounds since Scotland doesn’t share the American affinity for affordable nail salons on every corner. And now that I’m 7.5 months pregnant and can barely even see my toenails, it’s getting harder and harder to paint them myself. Shaving presents the same dilemma. 

And last year, I never even noticed our lack of air conditioning or ceiling fans. This year, it’s quite the pain. We have to keep our windows open all day allowing plenty of outside critters access to our house. I don’t even want to tell you how many spiders I’ve killed in the past 3 days. Yuck. 

We can’t sleep with the windows open because the sun comes up before 5 AM and the seagulls crow like roosters (or dying cats) from 4 AM onward. We have a bedroom fan that we keep on full blast, but again, for a pregnant lady, air conditioning is something I miss very much. 

When we went to Paris, we both said that the high of the trip was air-conditioning. We made sure to book a hotel with this amenity and kept the room at about 64 degrees F (16 C). It made for some good hibernating pregnancy naps, that’s for sure. We totally binged on artificial air.   

But with all of these negatives of a true 'summer', everyone is still very hush-hush about complaining too much. The positives far outweigh the negatives, and nothing beats Scotland on a clear summer day. 

For instance…our friend Tash was dog-sitting Falene’s lab Kady this weekend, so she and Jill (and Angus) invited me (and Sam & Bailey) for a walk along St. Cyrus beach. Since Bailey and I are both still a bit shell shocked from last week’s disappearing episode, I decided to exercise her one-on-one before leaving her behind while Sam and I enjoyed a coastal hike with the big dogs.   
Despite being a magnificently sunny day, the wind was fierce. It kept the otherwise warm temperatures feeling deliciously cool, but made rat’s nests out of our hair. 
Poor Sam kept getting sand in his eyes, but he was obliviously happy nonetheless. 
He loves the water and if he were allowed off leash would be out in the surf chasing seagulls. Little dude has no idea that he has physical limitations. He is wild and brave and I love the stuffing out of him.   

The walk was an ‘easy’ 3 mile circuit down the beach, up a cliff, back down a cliff and back to the car park along grassy shoreline pastures. As we were about to finish the beach leg of the walk, we started noticing jelly fish dotting the shoreline. 
Luckily, Sam and Kady were pretty oblivious to these ‘chew toys’ but Angus was not. Before we could stop him, he had gathered one in his mouth and you could tell immediately that he was hurting pretty bad from a sting. He instantly got sick and for the rest of the hike he kept trying to eat grass. We were concerned but fortunately we all had smart phones handy which assured us that though he was in pain and likely would be for a few days, he would be alright. It’s been a stressful week for Jill and I, dog-wise. 

Since at this point we were halfway through the walk, there was no point in heading back to the car, so we proceeded. Only, we couldn’t seem to figure out where the path leading up the cliff was located. We had seen one a few hundred yards back, so we decided that must have been it and retraced our steps. 

These uphill climbs are getting pretty tough for me and my 3 lb baby to make. I lagged behind in the back, taking my sweet precious time. My friends were super supportive of their slow poke friend, but I have a feeling I’ll stop getting invited on hiking excursions pretty soon... 
When we got up to the top of the cliff, we realized that we had actually just climbed the path we were supposed to use to descend the hill, so we decided just to do the hike in reverse and go down the path we were supposed to go up initially. 

We found the trail leading down at the top of the cliff, and a local man told us that the footing would be tricky near the bottom, but we should be able to navigate it. We got almost all the way down the steep path before we realized that the trail was no where near passable, so we headed right back up the way we came. No wonder we couldn’t find the trail at the bottom of the cliff. It had been completely eroded away. 

Going up and down was definitely a work out for me and little Sam!  We finally made our way down the first path we climbed and then it was pretty smooth sailing throughout the walk. Due to mixups, our 3 mile hike turned into 5 miles, which was quite a good field trip for both me and Sam. 

The best part of the walk came when we loaded into the car and saw some baby highland cows across the street. 
These adorable cattle always make my day. All three of us girls hopped out of the car for a spontaneous photo shoot. 

Definitely one of the very best things about Scotland! 

This brilliant summer and incomparable Scottish scenery is definitely making staying active while pregnant a lot easier. My hope is that I'll still be somewhat mobile for our Western Scotland/Loch Lomond tour in 3 weeks time. Here's hoping! 


  1. This summer has been so amazing! Nothing like any of the summer's I've experienced here. One year we only had 3 sunny days all summer. Seriously. Gosh that was a hard year. I've felt like I've been not taking advantage of these days days as much lately. I'm used to it thinking it will stay, when in reality it won't.

    You're going to love the West and Loch Lomond!!

  2. Glad you guys are having sunny days!!!