Our New Life in Scotland - Part 1
Time seems to have flown since we've now been in Scotland for 8 months and wanted to give an update on our time here in Moray and provide some progress on our house build.
We were lucky to arrive in glorious summer end enjoy this view of Ben Rinnes from outside our door. We are just north of the Cairngorms National Park, deep in Speyside whisky country - there are many distilleries locally, all currently closed to visitors so we will have to come back another time to taste their delights.
The area is great for walking, running and cycling, the bike trails at Glenlivet are nearby and you can head into the northern Cairngorms from Tomintoul, down Strath Avon to Fainduran Lodge and beyond. Snow conditions this winter have been exceptional, but sadly we remained ski-less. The Moray Coast is 30 miles to the north, and have enjoyed great beach walks at Findhorn, Roseisle and Cullen to name but a few.
2020 has been like no other - there are benefits of living 1,000 feet up in a relatively remote Scottish glen is that social distancing is very easy being miles from anywhere! The difficulties arise with severe weather, particularly this year with the roads regularly blocked due to snow. Getting our shopping delivery has involved trekking through knee-deep snow across the fields to meet the driver on the main road and having to carry everything back up the hill. This week, we had our first post delivery in 3 weeks.
Watson and Esther have really taken to life in the country and it gives us every excuse to get out and explore our local area. Watson recently celebrated his 14th birthday (ancient in Basset years) and particularly enjoys his beach walks. Esther enjoys her runs up into the hills - fascinated by anything feathery or furry. Her favourites are probably the mountain hares - she sees them and heads off in pursuit and just to watch them nonchalantly skip away from her over the snow.
The big thaw started at the beginning of this week and we are starting to see the first evidence of spring, with snowdrops emerging and it won't be long before the hares start to gambol in the fields.
Our original plans were to self-build, but with the lock-down, travel restrictions and almost impossible to find suitable rental accommodation on the west coast, we had to change our plans. After much searching, we decided that Tobermory would be the place we'd like to live having visited the Island of Mull a number of times over the years, with it's combination of scenery and community.
Having made an enquiry with a local builder about the suitability of a plot elsewhere on the island, it turns out they had just received planning permission for a development and was keen to help us fulfil our dreams. The plot is on the outskirts of the village, overlooking the Sound of Mull with distant views of the Morvern Peninsula. Here is the first of the portal frames erected to frame the views.
We've had to endure delays due to both COVID (joiners quarantined in Poland) and the delivery of the windows but hope that the house will be wind and watertight soon. Progress so far (mid-February):
It has been a very strange experience, designing interior layouts, kitchens and bathrooms without having stood in the building. Likewise, flooring choices and paint colours have all been made from afar. Alongside the garage for our camper Betsy, will be a purpose built workshop for MyCamperVan.
We're hoping it will be ready late April / early May to catch the glorious west-coast weather and hope to get the MyCamperVan store open for the summer. Follow us on social media for updates on our move.