It was an 05:30 start to the day, up nice and early to watch our second virtual wedding. Congratulations to Megan and Will. Looking forward to celebrating with you in the future.
To keep the momentum going, we quickly all had breakfast. Eloise is now regularly having two breakfasts, we think she is going through another growth spurt. Lachlan eats whatever he can whenever he can. The car was already packed so off we headed.
We snuck past the Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, and drove through Perth to see Em, Hayden, Glen and Cooper. Sadly, Glen was out riding Cooper so he could not meet Lachlan. We are all looking forward to that day.
On the outskirts of Perth, we drove past the world’s tallest hedge, Meikleour Beech Hedge. We were not really sure what we thought about it. It probably looked more hedgy a couple of weeks ago, before it started dropping its autumn leaves, although it looked nice with the colourful leaves. We guess it was pretty large…
The Meikleour Beech Hedge, four miles south of Blairgowrie is the longest hedge in Britain and the highest of its kind in the world. Recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the highest hedge in the world, the Meikleour Beech Hedge was planted in 1745 and is one third of a mile long (530 m) and 100 ft (30 m) high. It is thought the men who planted it were called to fight in the Jacobite Rebellion and none of them returned alive. In tribute the trees were allowed to grow and the hedge acts as a living landmark to them. In spring, the young green leaves reflect the light, while in the autumn the trees display beautiful russet and gold colours. The hedge is cut and re-measured every 10 years, a complex operation that takes four men approximately six weeks to complete.
After another hour and a half driving, we arrived at Travel Lodge Aberdeen Central. The kids had been great in the car, probably helped with the early departure.
We were all excited to explore Aberdeen. It was a grey gloomy day. It seemed especially grey in Aberdeen due to all the enormous granite buildings.
Aberdeen (Scottish Gaelic: Obar Dheathain) is a city in North East Scotland. It is the third most populous city in Scotland, one of Scotland’s 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom’s 39th most populous built-up area, with an official 2018 population estimate of 200,680 for the city of Aberdeen and 227,560 for the local council area. During the mid-18th to mid-20th centuries, Aberdeen’s buildings incorporated locally quarried grey granite, which may sparkle like silver because of its high mica content. Since the discovery of North Sea oil in 1969, Aberdeen has been known as the offshore oil capital of Europe. The area around Aberdeen has been settled for at least 8,000 years, when prehistoric villages lay around the mouths of the rivers Dee and Don. The city has a long, sandy coastline and a marine climate, the latter resulting in chilly summers and mild winters.
Walking down the streets we had to keep a close eye on Eloise. She was darting all over the place, clearly with lots of energy to burn. After a failed attempt trying to find a soft play area we ended up at the Aberdeen Science Centre. Where we started with lunch.
It was the perfect place for the kids, with heaps** of interactive displays. Eloise was very interested with all the buttons to press and Lachlan’s eyes were darting around at the flashing lights and flying objects. We think Eloise is going to become a wind turbine specialist.
** My UK colleagues always seem to find it hilarious when I say “heaps”. Certainly an SA phrase.
We eventually left after having as much fun as the kids did. It was a success, Eloise happily climbed into her pram and like Lachlan was out for the count. When we walked out we thought we had walked through some portal. There was no longer a cloud in the sky, well almost. The large granite city buildings had transformed and become alive with their sparkling surfaces.
With the kids fast asleep we visited the Aberdeen Maritime Museum which had lots of interesting displays about Aberdeen’s offshore oil industry.
The streets were then getting busy and pubs filling up as Aberdeen FC were about to kick off against Motherwell FC. It did not go their way.
It was then back to the hotel to check-in and for a short rest, or in Lachlan’s case, a good roll about. Back at home, the protests had stepped up a gear. We thought yesterday’s was big, today’s was at least ten times the size with “about 100,000 people [marching] in Glasgow to demand more action on the climate crisis”. Yes, one hundred thousand people! Come to think about it, we were surprised there were not COP26 protests in Aberdeen.
For dinner, we were craving Chinese cuisine and were a lucky walk-in at the Chinatown restaurant.
Throughout the week there have been photos of the Northern Lights from various locations in Scotland. As we are currently further north than usual and it was a cloudless night we thought we would try out our luck. Seeing the Northern Lights near Aberdeen is not common but possible. There have been nice photos from the Aberdeenshire coast only a couple of days ago. We naturally started heading north with two sleepy kids and passed Trump International Golf Links.
We were starting to get a bit far away from the hotel and stopped to regroup. We thought bigger picture we are not really moving far in latitude and timing was just as much of an issue. We waited it out for a while but sadly it was not developing at the pace we were hoping for. In reality, it is far more complex and perhaps the magnetic index, sunspots or other black magic were not conducive at the time. It was also difficult to find somewhere in the UK without light pollution. We thought about ringing Kirsty F, she would know what to do, but figured she would not appreciate the early wakeup call. Looks like Fensoms in Kilts are heading to Scandinavia. To be continued…