Mountains of thanks

Okay, so the title of this post is slightly misleading. When I wrote the title I had expected that by now I’d have photos of gorgeous mountains to show you.  And I sort of do. After all, this is what you get right in the heart of the city where I live.



Okay, it doesn’t all look like that, but truly I’m thankful for these beautiful spaces just a few minutes walk from where I live. The nice thing about the volcano in our city is that it’s extinct, so it’s not going to erupt any day soon and I can climb to the top any time I feel like it. So more thankfuls. I once went inside a volcano (in Chile) and it looked a bit like chocolate, but it didn’t taste nearly so good – or so my kids tell me.

(Just in case you hadn’t spotted it by now, this is a kinda silly post.) Anyway back to mountains. Along with my daughters, I am in the mountains right now but sometimes when you get to them, they just don’t look very mountainy. This is the best I managed as far as a photo goes.

aviemore mountains

Those are mountains in the distance, even if there’s not a peak in sight. I promise. And I also promise I have something much more exciting to show you in a moment. This, and the other photos that will follow were taken around the Highland Folk Museum, which is near Aviemore. It’s an open air museum, with original houses from way back and recreations of others. Here’s the inside of one from the early 18th Century.

1700 scotland

That thing in the middle is a fire. There was no chimney, so smoke billowed everywhere, filling the houses. We didn’t linger  long in any of them, but people used to live in that, day in day out. I’m thankful, very thankful for chimneys and flues! I’m thankful for central heating, and for electric heating. And so, so thankful that I wasn’t born in the Highlands around 1700!

Then, we also saw this. It’s a travellers’ encampment from the 1940s. It’s in a beautiful setting in the woods, but I’d guess that in winter it’s bitterly cold, so I’m thankful I wasn’t a traveller in the Highlands in the 1940s.


Interesting as the Folk Museum was, it was something else I saw in the woods that got me really excited. I took several photos, but this is the only one that came out any good. Not perfect, but still I’m so thankful I got it, because wow squirrels move fast! I’m even more thankful that I got to see this gorgeous creature and its friends. Red squirrels are rare even in Scotland, having been pushed back into the Highlands after the greys arrived and took over their territory elsewhere. Seeing one is a thrill, seeing four within a few minutes of each other was indescribable!

red squirrel


I’m writing this post back at our hotel and the wifi has been a bit hit-and-miss, so I am very thankful I’ve managed to get this far.  I took this last photo on the way back to the hotel, a gorgeous loch. The trees are beautiful now too, with glorious reds, yellows and greens all around, but I didn’t manage to get a photo that portrays that gloriousness. There’s something about the three-dimensionalness of branches, leaves and space between that just doesn’t translate into a photo. In a way I’m thankful for that because it makes me appreciate the beauty of trees even more, the sheer magnificence of them. loch


  1. Flippin’ grey squirrels! I’m glad you got to see a few reds. That’s really special. I’ve only ever seen one in my life, and it was magical.

    Mountains seem SO disappointing on camera, don’t they. I climbed up a bit of one in Ireland in summer and it just looked…not that impressive.

    Thankful for chimney flues – no kidding! Sounds like a fascinating place to visit though.

    1. Author

      Lizzi, it is magical. I was so excited, and yet my girls just went on walking. (They’d seen ones earlier but even so…)
      Glad I’m not the only one who finds mountains a bit disappointing on camera. They can look impressive sometimes, but only if they have definite peaks. If you climb slowly there’s not much to look at. The most impressive ones were when I was driving home, but we couldn’t stop anywhere to take photos. You’d think they’d put in a few photo-stop lay-bys, but no.
      Thanks for your comment!

    1. Author

      I almost damaged the car parking to get that shot, so I’m glad it was worth it May!
      Thanks for popping by.

  2. You have a real, live (well, not live, extinct) volcano where you live? Cool!
    We have grey squirrels. My parents have red squirrels. They do not live in the same place. In College Park, Maryland, they have black squirrels. I cross the street like a squirrel. Let me know if you want any more squirrel fun facts 🙂
    Brigadoon is one of my favorite musicals. I can hear the overture in my head as I look at your pictures!

    1. Author

      Yes, Dyanne, a realy dead volcano! I did not know there were red squirrels it the US, though I have heard if black squirrels and there are a few in England. Yes, keep the squirrel facts coming.

  3. (squirrels seem to have our attention)… here in New England, the grey squirrels represent the majority of the (squirrel) population, though we also have red squirrels. What I find interesting about the squirrels (though I’m still getting over ‘the visual’ of Dyanne crossing the road)… is that the smaller red squirrels are way, way more aggressive than the grey squirrels and are usually seen chasing off their larger cousins.

    1. Author

      Clark, that is interesting that the reds are more aggressive, in New England. Here they have been driven out of their habitat by greys. Strange that…
      Thanks for that info!

  4. If that is the mountain in the city that I think it is, I too have climbed it and agree that it is a wonderful thing in the middle of an amazing city. The views are gorgeous! So glad you had a nice time. 🙂

  5. I’ll send you all the squirrels that we have here in my city and trade you for your mountains! They are so lovely. Our area is flat and boring. Boo.

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