Sykes Holiday Cottages got in touch after following along with our travels and asked if we would like to review a week in one of their many cottages across the UK. Scotland was definitely on my list of places I’d love the boys to see, all the beautiful landscapes and fun days out, I just knew the boys would adore it.
We had a spare week before the boys start back in school, so we headed to Aberdeenshire, an area known as Glen Clova which a park with some fantastic walks and a wonderful Hotel/Restaurant.
The first great thing we loved about Scotland was the drive, so much amazing scenery and very little to spoil it, we’d love to do a real road trip and go up to the highlands one day and spend a few weeks touring.
I have only ever visited Scotland once when I was much younger. It always seemed like a long journey to make with all the boys in the car but after our road trip across the states I knew a trip to Scotland would seem like a breeze in comparison.
The cottage was lovely, known as Rottal Farmhouse, it was set in a very remote valley but surrounded by a couple of other properties also owned by the estate. It is perfect for anyone who wants to get away from it all. It is remote, tranquil and incredibly beautiful
Being able to walk out the front door (getting the twins to sleep) and enjoy breath taking views was like heaven. The weather was so diverse, and the hill tops were often covered in the thickest fog I’d ever seen, it was so amazing.
Staying at the Farmhouse gave me so many ideas for our renovation. The Aga made the house so cosy and was definitely my favourite feature.
The farmhouse has far reaching views from every window, so even on bad weather days you felt like you were still enjoying the great outdoors.
Our first day trip took us to Scolty. We had so many great suggestions on Instagram on where to go in the area, we wish we had two weeks. This was a well-known walk up to a tower at the top of Scolty Hill, it was long and stupidly we forgot to take water, luckily it was a really mild and damp day, Matt kept shaking the trees near the top as the raindrops from the leaves excited a tired hot little Hunter.
The woodlands on the way up didn’t seem real, it literally looks like you’ve stepped into the pages of the Gruffalo story, it was so much fun, especially for Hunter.
The view from the top was amazing and then climbing the tower too was very exciting for our little tribe of adventurers. On the way down, we chose the steep route, much quicker and dangerously exciting for the three older boys as they ran and jumped over the rocks like they were on Bear Gryll’s Adventurer.
Around the corner from the hill is the Falls of Feugh, a well-known rapid river where you can watch Salmon jumping out of the water, the boys were excited to see this but sadly we were about a month too early for the salmon to make an appearance. September/October is the main season to spot them, so we headed back for hot chocolate and a movie.
After a nice cosy rest day watching lots of movies, our second day trip was to Dunnator Castle. On the coast of Aberdeenshire, this Castle stands on a cliff that has eroded nearly all the way round.
First, we went down to the beach, the boys loved it, loads of big rocks, scary cliff edges and rock pools which kept them entertained for ages. The castle ruins are so interesting, a really picturesque setting. There is a great catering kiosk if like us you forget to take a pack up and fortunate timing as a young man turned up in the full attire playing the bagpipes which really added to the experience.
The car park is often full but it’s fine to park along the road just outside and that option is free. There is a charge to go inside the castle grounds, not essential as you can get really close anyway and also enjoy the beach for free, but it was really interesting to see. The cost was £17 for a family, Hunter and the twins were free (under 5’s).
Scotland is a really magical country and the diverse coastline and hilly areas create some wonderful days out that we won’t forget.
Our third day out was right on our doorstep, Glen Clova. This area has a few options for hill walking, some easier than others, all with breath taking scenery to enjoy. There is a really nice hotel that serves coffee and snacks as well as having a bar and restaurant. The seating area out the front looks over the best views in the valley, it’s is so peaceful.
We opted for a less steep climb, so we could just enjoy some time with the boys on the way, playing games and spotting wildlife, we managed to see a few Eagles but missed out on the Roe Deer and Red Squirrels which are seen there regularly.
We don’t give up too often but sadly we decided not to make it all the way up as the rain got the better of us, the boys do love getting wet and had a great time, but the twins weren’t really dressed for it. We sheltered them as much as we could walking down, while the big boys ran around and jumped in as many puddles as possible.
It was a great excuse for a hot chocolate at the hotel before heading back for a warm bath. After all the hot weather in America and Portugal, we were more than happy to enjoy a little bit of rain, it can be difficult getting out with the twins when it’s too hot, so we really enjoyed a milder week and we always make sure the weather doesn’t spoil the boys having fun, as long as they are dressed for it, they always have a brilliant time together.
We had a brilliant experience with Sykes, we had to book through the website and found the platform and communication very efficient and useful.
When i was looking for different options around the country I was surprised at many very reasonably priced breaks, I don’t know why but I would have guessed that they would be more expensive for a holiday, so it has been nice to find another option to check out when we are planning our travels.