Scotland: our final swing

By 19th May 2015TRAVEL
Janine, Lyden, Suzanne and Mike

We’re on the move—India awaits. Before we go, we thought we’d put together a recap of our time in Scotland. So here it is…

Where we stayed

We were house sitters for a farm house and 2 cats in Darvel, a little town 40 minutes drive from Glasgow. The house owners, Suzanne and Mike, took a 2 month trip in India, New Zealand, and Australia.

The cats

Harvey, a ginger and cat sprawled out looking cute

He may look sweet, but…

We renamed Harvey ‘Face Cruncher’. He brought all sorts of gifts for us. One morning he blatantly plopped down a dead bunny next to his food bowl, and then came whining at me to satiate his addiction to Whiskas. Apparently he was just showing off, and this isn’t normal behaviour.

The first time I saw a dead rabbit in the house was a shock. I came down the stairs to the sight of a full sized adult rabbit on its back. Dead. But there was something missing—hence the nickname. I can’t quite understand it, but apparently there’s good nutrition in the brain.

Despite the killings, we loved the cats. We didn’t see much of Caitlin as she was so timid, but we grew very fond of Face Cruncher.

The honey

Suzanne and Mike keep their own bees, which bring honey. Raw, organic, unpasteurized, unfiltered BEAUTIFUL honey. We reckon it tasted of liquorice, but nobody else really got that. We had a near unlimited supply of it. What a nutritious treat.

A beehive in the garden

The bees had plenty of flowers to feed on in the valley

The sauna

We did a short workout 2 or 3 times a week, followed by a steaming hot sauna. The luxury! Sorry, no pictures of us in the nude.

Our trips out

Bike rides

We rode to Galston and Kilmarnock, but most trips were to Co-op in Darvel. From the house, it was a three minute adrenaline ride down the farm path to the road. Janine would get a head start, saying ‘see you at the bottom sucker’, and a moment later I’d whiz past her, smiling. Near the end, Janine became braver and eased off the brakes, beating me down the hill.


On the cold May bank holiday we had a day out to the seaside resort of Largs with our friends.

Half way through our fish and chips at Nardini’s, Billy Connelly took a seat on a table next to us. Janine and I didn’t believe it was him from his looks and manner, but our friend Amanda was convinced.

When he stood next to us in the queue for Nardini’s famous gelato, there was no mistaking his voice. We learned from a Google search later on that he has Parkinson’s. This would explain why he keeps his head down when he walks, and doesn’t seem the large as life comedian we remember.

A counter at Nardini's

Nardini’s: Scotland’s most famous café and ice cream parlour

Lyden, Amanda and Andrew in Largs

Lyden and our friends Amanda and Andrew in blustery Largs


We had a few great days out in Glasgow while we were in Scotland. Our highlights were the street art, the shopping (more relaxed than Oxford Street, but just as good), and a meal at Pinto Mexican Kitchen.

Glasgow's street art

The walk from the centre to the Cathedral had plenty of street art

A view inside Glasgow Cathedral

We caught a choir rehearsing in Glasgow Cathedral

Loudoun Hill

In our time here, our only proper walk was to the top of Loudoun Hill. We walked from our house, which was an 8 mile round trip. At the top we found the strange site of boiled eggs everywhere (it was Easter Sunday), Europe’s biggest wind farm, and beautiful views. A great day.

Lanfine Estate

On our last afternoon in Ayrshire, we set off on our bikes to look for the wild boar we’d heard so much about. It took us into Lanfine Estate next to the River Irvine.

Lyden on his bike next to a wild boar

The ‘wild’ boar, ironically behind a fence

Goodbye to our hosts

Mike and Suzanne are great people; fearless, exciting and adventurous. They cooked for us and plied us with red wine before they left on their trip. We were happy to show them the same hospitality when they arrived back to the UK, an example of a great house sitting exchange.

Janine, Lyden, Suzanne and Mike

Lyden, Mike, Suzanne and Janine before we left Scotland

A painted plaque of a cat, which says 'thanks for looking after Harvey and Caitlin

Our gift from Australia

On to India…

Signing off. See you in India!


  • Tor J says:

    Lovely to read guys! Miss you 🙂 xx

  • Mary says:

    Love the short video clip at the end…so sweet! Also, I loved reading the recap of each of the places you’ve visited…more pictures, bigger pictures, please. Can’t wait to hear the recaps and stories of your adventures in India. Gonna be great, I know it.

    • Janine says:

      Thanks Mary,
      We have taken your comment on board, we will just use landscape photos from now on – no more small portrait ones. Thanks for the encouragement, glad to have you following along 🙂

  • Steph says:

    Great overview of your time in Scotland… looking forward to reading about India! ps that park in Darvel is brill xx

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