Written 5/11/17 7pm.

Well that’s the holidays over for another year, will be glad to get home for rest. We are now on the ferry from Scabster, it’s a bit bouncy, but that doesn’t bother us thankfully. Just under 2 hours and we will be back in Orkney.

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We left about 10 days ago and traveled down initially to Kippen which is just outside Sterling. On the way we called at a couple of Galleries, staying off the beaten track to enjoy some fantastic scenery. Now why Kippen, well this is the home of which is excellent. Just a small village Inn, homely, friendly, very comfortable and food to die for.

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After a good night we continued onto Derbyshire again taking the ‘long’ way. Lochs have now become dams and there is a marked difference in the volume of vehicles. A little later than expected, due mainly to a road closure, we popped in by Mum to say hello before finding the little cottage we had rented for our selves in Youlgreave (locally known as Youlgrave). It was dark by now so further exploring would need to wait. We unpacked, found our way around the cottage and enjoyed the bottle of wine the owners had kindly left along with a few essentials and a home-made cake.

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Over the next few days we visited  (1st time here), , (where all the squirrels were), (home of the pudding and the fantastic bridge with all the padlocks on, each one engraved with lovers’ names) as well as many other of our usual haunts when we are in the area. All the family had gathered from their various homes here there and everywhere and we even managed to book a meal at in Baslow. We were sat at a large square table so everybody was included in the chat and it was great fun and wonderful food. In-between times we went back to our little cottage and relaxed, or took walks round the village and nearby river, sometimes ending up in the pub for a drink.

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Most of the family dispersed steadily and eventually left us and of course Mum, but she lives there. We now switched to business mode again for a while and went shopping.  was one place and various lumps of timber were slotted into the pick-up. Thanks Lee, great to meet you and thanks for the tea. Some items we had ordered and had delivered to Mums so they were packed in. I digressed once or twice and bought a few things for us and the house, oh and some plants for the garden.

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Time to say our farewells and head north again. It’s a bitter sweet pill, hate goodbyes, but miss home, Orkney family and friends, George the cat and the little dog.

We left yesterday, spotting a fox out in the early morning light. We stopped at to fill the last bit of room in the pick-up with finishes and tools and then a stopover at another excellent Scottish inn, , where we sat by a roaring fire with an espresso and a G&T, followed by a beautiful meal and then an incredible firework display.

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After a good sleep and an exceptional breakfast, we did the last stretch up through Scotland. It has been great weather all the time. The trees are beautiful with their golden leaves and during our short time away the temperature has fallen enough to leave a coating of snow on the hills through the Cairngorms. All very picturesque.

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So that’s it. We are nearly over the Pentland Firth now and will soon be driving the last few miles home. The car can be emptied tomorrow.