Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Holiday tales continued...

Wednesday was the one day when it rained last week. We had some more outdoor stuff planned but the rain wasn't enough to stop us hardy souls!

Firstly, we went to a local Ranger led Bushcraft Skills session. It kind of had 'ideal for little (and big) boys' written all over it.

The Ranger taught everyone how to build shelters using only what you could find in the forest. The boys (big and small) set to it with great enthusiasm. 

Here is the bare bones of the shelter.

Now here it is looking a bit more shelter-like.

Getting covered up with leaves.

And the end result.

After the shelter building it was time to learn how to light a fire without using matches. Given how damp it was this wasn't an easy task! 

You know the saying though, there is no smoke without fire!

After all of this we went to a nearby beach for our picnic, which I confess we ate in the warmth and comfort (and dryness) of our cars, but then we ventured down to the beach for a little run around.

Here is our David with his 3 year old cousin. Where-ever these two are to be found there is mischief to be found, especially when they are together!

Then it was off to Dunrobin Castle, which had been home to the Duke of Sutherland, he of the Highland Clearances notoriety.

We weren't so much interested in seeing round the castle (we've been round it before), but in the falconry displays that take place in the grounds. They are really amazing. The bird handler has the birds swoop right down over your head and you can often feel the wing tip swoop past your cheek!

Our little animal lover, Calum, was particularly excited about seeing these.

This is a Harris Hawk, the only hawk to hunt in groups.

This is an Ally Bally, as he is affectionately known by his 5 year old brother. (He's smiling here by the way, not grimacing!)

And this is some sort of falcon. I should really ask Calum which sort it is. It's very like a Peregrine, if that's any good to you?

Here is the castle from the grounds.

And again, with four princes by the fountain.

These are now the impressive grounds, taken from the castle.

Gaelic word of the day:
uisge (ish-ge) - rain
This is one of those words pronounced differently depending where you are from. On our island you would say ish-ge but elsewhere it would be oosh-ge. Not a big difference, but worth pointing out.

Just to confuse you all a bit more, on our island uisge is only used to talk about rain. Elsewhere it also means water, that's why whisky is known as uisge beatha (water of life). We have a special word for water, bùrn booorn, which as far as I know is only used by people from our island, though I should really check that with my dad, who was a Gaelic scholar!


  1. Oh, Kirsteen! So fun to go around w/ you on your vacation! I'll bet it was so great to sit inside that shelter! And how nice to have able bodied fire-starters! The caste looks so beautiful..definately not something we have opportunity to see! (Only in the movies and on sweet friends' blogs when they share their pictures!)
    I would also be dazzled by the falconry! They are amazing creatures! Love seeing God's creativity in each animal!
    I also love hearing about your gaelic vocabulary! Keep educating us!
    Thanks for sharing these great pics of those handsome boys! My young men would love the opportunity to build shelters, start fires, explore beaches and play w/ predatory birds alongside them!

  2. That falconry display looks amazing. Such beautiful birds.

    The 'uisge'/'bùrn' issue is one point on which us Leòdhasaich definitely have the upper hand. It bugs me a wee bit that the language snobbery in the Gaelic world that always leans towards Uist/Skye Gaelic has chosen to use 'uisge' for rain and for water (even in school books), when it would have been so helpful to have distinct words for each.
    (Sometimes, I translate a sentence like this: 'Both the rain and the river water fill up the reservoir' (that's just an example)... but you can see how the two words - uisge and bùrn - would have been so useful.

    Oh well, I guess we'll live with being 'just Leòdhasaich' and having 'just Leòdhasach Gaelic'!!

  3. Your vacation looks like it was a really fun time! I loved seeing the shelters the boys built. My husband just made one of those with our son not that long ago. I thought it was pretty neat and had to get inside it. ;)

    The beach looks beautiful. (I can't blame you for wanting to stay dry and eat in the car.)

    And the castle looks so amazing! We don't have anything like that here.

  4. going to start following!

    love to find other blogger moms of boys! we're a different breed aren't we?

    LOVE the forts----


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