An Escape to Somewhere Familiar

7 October 2021Rebecca Bradley

When I start to feel overwhelmed with work and life, I look for ways to cope and feel better. I’ve found that escaping to somewhere familiar makes me feel better.

With a week off work, my fiancé and I changed our usual workweek into a week of adventure! Some days were more exciting than the others and it was hard trying to fight off the anxiety, but by escaping somewhere familiar I began to feel better again.

Monday
Anagach Woods, Grantown-on-Spey

Our first little adventure was to a quaint woodland called Anagach Woods, a forest full of natural pine wood that’s cared for by the Woodland Trust. It’s also one of the places Crested Tits call home.

We were treated to a warm autumn-like evening, with the golden sun peeking through the thick trees. Not too warm as well, pine woods have always got a chill in the air! After 10 minutes of walking, I heard a bird call. Not the usual bird calls of a Blue Tit or Coal Tit but something a bit more chirpy! I looked up the call of a Crested Tit on my phone and it was the same sound I was hearing.

Within 10 minutes I was seeing Crested Tits fluttering about in the trees showing off their spikey hairdos.

We also got to see a red squirrel out in the wild enjoying itself – I left a little pile of hazelnuts for them to find.

Even though our journey home ended up being 2 hours longer because of a shut road, it was a sweet adventure.

Tuesday
Mull of Galloway Lighthouse

Our next day saw us go back to a place where we felt at home – the sea!

The Mull of Galloway Lighthouse is a beautiful place to visit. It feels like a hidden treasure and you can’t quite believe that you are standing in a place where you can see Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man together.

There’s quite a lot to take in. There’s the lighthouse itself, the Foghorn, the coastal walkway and, my favourite, the place is an RSPB nature reserve. I was able to see some Guillemots and Gannets! The Guillemots were resting on the cliff edge, the Gannets were flying over the water.

As the sun began to go down, my fiancé and I decided to let time drift by for us and sat at a bench to take everything in. I feel that’s sometimes what I miss out on – just enjoying the places that I’m in. I sometimes get myself in a bit of a panic thinking about the journey home, the time, and things to see and take photos of. But it’s all about taking a break and enjoying the place.

By sitting and taking everything in, we were kindly given a beautiful show from a Kestrel who hovered around the lighthouse looking for their dinner.

Wednesday
Loch Rannoch

On Wednesday it was another trip to somewhere familiar. Loch Rannoch and Rannoch Station were our end destinations. We’ve taken this trip before in 2020 and it was a brilliant day, full of adventure and amazing discoveries.

Before we got to Loch Rannoch, we found a Forestry Commission Site – Allean Forest. We decided to stop off here for a bit and walk one of the marked trails. It was full of thick green conifers, mushrooms growing out the ground, little frogs darting along the path.

There was also some viewpoints dotted around and we ended up sitting on a bench surrounded by conifers. I started to see little birds in the trees and after a few minutes of trying to identify them, I found that they were long-tailed tits! Probably the cutest little birds you can find. So round!

The last part of our day was driving across the right-hand side of Loch Rannoch and finishing at Rannoch Station. It’s an interesting place – it’s so desolate. It’s just you, the odd train going by every few hours, and some deer and pheasants.

Thursday
Dunardry & Barnaline, Argyll

Argyll is becoming one of my favourite places to visit and there’s still so much to discover. The A85 road in Scotland is beautiful, full of lowland mountains, forests and lochs galore.

Our first stop was Barnaline. Ancient Caledonian forest and a beautiful waterfall. I wish we had more time to take the forest path as well as the waterfall path, but hopefully we can return.

The trail we walked was the riverside trail called Avich Falls. There’s something so gentle about walking through a forest and settling down next to the sound of rushing water with no one else around.

We stayed a little while to take in everything and then headed to our next destination. By this time, we were getting some rain clouds and the road was surrounded by towering conifers and a beautiful view of the Crinan Canal.

Our last destination was Dunardry, another Forestry Commission spot. We ended up walking up and around a gorge listening to Skyrim music and watching the view as it started to get dark. The best kind of adventure.

Friday
Glenfinnan

On Friday, it was a heavy rain kind of day. So it only made sense to visit the Highlands. They are effortlessly beautiful in the rain.

Driving through Glencoe always feels like the first time. With it being a weekday, finally settling into autumn and heavy rain, the place was so much quieter than it has been in recent months. There were no cars parked onto verges, no crowded spaces. Just us, some mountains, and some wonderful rain.

Our last stop was Glenfinnan. It feels like a different world. It’s such a small little town, but it holds so much character. We headed up to the viaduct for a little look as always. The mountains behind were covered in low clouds.

As we were walking back to our car, the weather changed very quickly and we were treated to a beautiful sunset with a rainbow over the Glenfinnan Monument. So we ended up spending an extra hour to take it all in.

Taking our time, slowing down and not letting the panic we build in ourselves take over is the best medicine. There were no worries for this week, even if it felt like we were being tested, we didn’t let anything overwhelm us and managed to do just okay.

This week helped me look at what I was doing and to see if I really did like it. I realised the pieces I was writing for this blog weren’t filling me with happiness. Looking at my ‘planner’ filled me with dread and I could never start the pieces I said I’d write. But now by deleting that planner and just letting myself write something recent and something that I wanted to has made me feel a bit lighter.

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