About a month ago now, I went on a little weekend holiday to visit my sister. Living at opposite ends of the country, we decided to meet in the middle-ish (it was actually closer to her since she has far more rural roads and I have much easier access to public transport). My faithful companion Buddy came with me as we journeyed to the wild wild North of Scotland, to a little town North of Inverness called Dornoch. Although Buddy still struggles with quite a few things since we adopted him, lead walking to name the most obvious, one of his absolute favourite things is travelling. Whether it is a car, a bus or a train, Buddy absolutely loves the prospect of an adventure – and travelling via public transport just means more opportunity for cuddles with anyone who’ll let him! He definitely found a new best friend in my sister and they happily cuddled together for the next four days. It was really nice to be back in the North again, even if only for a few days; I forgot just how wonderful the sunrise and sunset were to watch in such clear skies.
I thought it would have been difficult to eat plant-based so far North, but there was a surprising range of options when we ate out. My favourite has to have been the ironically named ‘Bloody Roots’ burger at the Shin Falls Visitor Attraction Centre. The rest of our meals we cooked ourselves; we still have the same deal since childhood – I’ll cook, she cleans the dishes.
Throughout the long weekend, I attempted to keep up with Inktober. Although I didn’t necessarily stay up to date with the drawing challenge, I did greatly enjoy being able to just draw without thinking about how people might perceive the drawings. Most evenings, I’d curl up with a cup of tea and my sketchbook and be quite content.
One of my favourite parts of the holiday was the fact that I was once again on the coast. Having moved to live in the central belt of Scotland about six months ago, I was definitely feeling deprived of the salty sea air. Buddy and I made the most of it by walking along the beach nearly every day! On one overcast and cold morning we walked barefoot all the way to the end of the beach and back. There is nothing quite like filling your lungs with fresh cold sea air; it is the most calming thing in the world.
We had planned to go swimming but didn’t quite make it, instead preferring to walk and explore. While we didn’t approach the landscape with the same enthusiastic adventurous curiosity of our childhood, we did enjoy the tranquillity of the changing seasons. I, of course, took endless photographs, while my sister practised her patience with me for my photographs. Near to Golspie is a lovely walk up the river called The Big Burn Walk. The path crosses a series of wooden bridges as it zigzags from side to side following the available contours of the rock face, until it reaches a lookout point at an incredible roaring waterfall. The river itself gurgles and bubbles with mineral rich water, even more so after the rain. From the waterfall, we contemplated heading up the hill to the monument – but ultimately couldn’t be bothered with the effort and instead explored around a few of the forest paths and a cute duck pond.
It was such good fun to see my sister again. I hadn’t seen her in over a year and a half and it was far too long. As everyone who has ever met both of us has said, we are chalk and cheese. We are so completely different as people but we both enjoy a good walk in the outdoors and shit brit tv programmes. Even in the most opposite people it is possible to find commonalities. One thing which has helped me to get along with all kinds of people, and myself, is to just accept people for who they are, especially when it comes to family (who we don’t necessarily get to choose). I wouldn’t say either of us are overly social people but we go together well because we are quite happy without the need to fill silence. This being said, it was lovely to catch up since we hadn’t seen each other in so long; we’ve both changed so much and gone through a lot since the last time we visited. I love my little sister to bits!
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