Saturday, 28 June 2014

Project 365 week 26 22nd - 28th June


Had Bob and the twins over again tonight while daughter ran SIL to work. Dinky was asleep time I pushed them up here so just got Minky out of the pushchair and plonked him on the grass with some toys. He likes the feel and texture of the grass.
It is amazing in the difference between the twins, if you sit Dinky down she will quite happily sit and play very content. Minky on the other hand does not sit still. You sit him down and he lays himself down, rolls himself around and tries to crawl. Its quite funny, he can get up on his knees but the arms wont join in so he just can't crawl, but he can certainly get across the floor quick enough. Need to baby proof my living room I think.
When she woke up he was sleeping and so her and I sat on the rug with the bricks I had picked up for them at the car boot that morning.

Minky and Dinky


Last week when we were on holiday daughter No1 was watering the fruit and veg in the garden for me. I had said to her if any strawberries ripened she may as well eat them save them going off. None did ripen for her, so here are the first strawberries from the garden.
Sadly this is another food on my "no can eat" list unless they are cooked, the list keeps growing longer, very annoying. 

artistic strawberries. 


These lilies don't stay in bloom for long, but they are beautiful sitting in the front garden for a week or so while they are out. 

nice orange lilies


Off for a visit to Son No1, and as usual we do something else while we are in the area. Today we geocached from Alva to Menstrie on the back road. I loved this little chap that we saw. 

a cow in red wellies


Today I went to see Fifi's P7 class assembly. I had gone along to see the assembly but had also said if they started crying then I would leave with them so daughter and SIL, and Auntie H could stay. Luckily it did not come to that and we all enjoyed the afternoon. 

After this I took Bob up the road as they stay a Thursday night. Fifi was not staying as she had her school leaving party and wanted to go home afterwards not come up here, so it was just Bob. 

Granddad decided this was a great opportunity to take Bob fishing down the river, and so we went off and fished for nearly two hours. He really enjoyed himself and did really well. 

Bob fishing at the river 


Saw a new geocache trail just a few miles up the road from here, and we decided as it was such a lovely evening we would go and walk the trail. I loved the clouds and the way the sun was lighting up the brown grass down the edge of the path. Shame my shadow was in the picture but could not get the angle I wanted without it. 
We managed to find six of the seven we looked for, that's quite a good strike rate. 

cotton wool clouds in a blue sky


I had happily taken care of the children last weekend to save them being popped in the car to run SIL to work. Daughter stopped in at the shop for a few bits and pieces, and bought me this lovely bunch of flowers. 

still going strong after a week. 

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

A great day out - Museum of Lead Mining Wanlockhead.

The school holidays are rapidly approaching, the end of this week for those of us north of the border, and the long holiday is stretching endlessly ahead, and we are all looking for things to do with the children to keep them amused. I would like to share a different, but great day out, with you.

Hidden Treasures - Museum of lead mining at Wanlockhead 

HIDDEN TREASURES, Museum of Lead Mining, is a Visit Scotland 4 Star Visitor Attraction set in the picturesque village of Wanlockhead, which at 461m / 1531 feet above sea level is the highest village in Scotland. The village is set amid the Lowther Hills, directly on the Southern Upland Way just minutes from the amazing Mennock Pass, which offers some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland and only 9 miles from the M74.

Picturesque is an understatement. The drive along the road is amazing. Steep hills offering stunning colours at this time of year, from the amazing shades of green to the purples of the heathers.

the view along the river driving up

the hills looking along the road

On either your way up or your way back down there are plenty of stopping places along the road where you can play in the river. It is shallow enough to be safe, though supervision of your children is always recommended no matter how shallow the water. We have always found the water to be a pleasant temperature to paddle in.

There are also plenty of sheep wandering round the roads which our children always loved to see when we took them up there when they were young, I'm sure your children will find them interesting and amusing as well. The sheep are well use to cars and usually move out of the way.

in the middle of the road, look at those hills!!!

wandered off 

So we arrived at the Visitor Centre, ample parking in the free car park next to a river with amazing views over the surrounding countryside.

The Visitor Centre offers an amazing display of mineral, gold and silver, the history of the lead mining process, a social history display and many other artefacts. The Visitor Centre was once the Village Smiddy. 

The visitor centre has a reception desk where you book your tours, or get any other information you require.  One of the things we have liked about this in the past is you can book parts of the tour if you wish, you don't have to book it all. On our tour for the mine there were nine of us but only four of us went across to the library, so you really can pick and choose as to what may appeal.

Upon arrival at the centre we booked in for our tour. We were advised that the mine can be cold and at times wet underfoot and it was suggested to us to fetch a jacket and put on sturdy footwear, so we went back to the car pulled on a jumper each and put on our hiking boots and went back to meet with the rest of the group

We were shown across to where our mine tour would start and introduced to our guide Margaret.

me dressed for the mine

our group ready for the mine

Margaret supplied us all with hard hats, which are compulsory for H&S, and gave a few of the others with less adequate footwear blue disposable covers to help keep their feet dry. We then got a H&S talk on what to do down the mine, and warned to duck so as not to hits our heads as we went in. We were also given a background history of how and when the mine started.

receiving our H&S talk

Margaret radioed across to reception that we were about to enter the mine, and we all followed along down the fairly narrow tunnels where we stopped at various places of interest to learn more about the mine and the miners.

inside the mine

 Despite it being dark down the mine their are some air holes back to the surface in which mosses will grow

the green moss growing on the wall

looking up the air hole

There are also signs of stalactites these take hundreds of years just to get to this size.

the stalactites 

The mine is only safe so far along, and so when we got to the end we got told more interesting facts and saw two life size models.  It was also interesting that they have an emergency box down there with bottle water and Mars Bars in, and as I eat/breath/think allergy twenty four seven then I did ask did they have any allergy friendly snacks down there. Margaret asked for me and no they don't, so I suggested they may be interested in some Nakd bars of Frank bars that are (most known) allergy free. These have a long shelf life and would be a great add to the emergency box.

shovels and water bottles

At times it was a wee bit difficult to hear what was being said, but some areas were not wide enough for us all to stand round in a group, its was more a line of us. Margaret gave a great deal of interesting facts, from the days when the men lived in tents and mined in the short summer they have up there to the building of the village and housing so they could then mine all year. Their summers are not long enough for vegetable growing so the miners and their families were highly dependant on food being brought in to eat. 

a model of a miner

Once back outside we removed our helmets and walked across to the miners cottages.

well sign posted 

At the Straitsteps Cottages you can experience what it was like to live as a miner in the 18th and 19th centuries. One cottage depicts a cottage interior around 1750 and the second around 1850 with the third and final cottage at around 1910. The artefacts on show, illustrate how the people of Wanlockhead lived, worked and played.

Margaret did a fabulous job of explaining how they lived what their beds and floors and roofs were made off, and how things changed over the centuries.

Outside the Straitsteps Cottage is the Beam Engine.  This unique piece of hydraulic pumping equipment which pumped water out of the Straitsteps mine, is the only remaining water-bucket engine to be seen on a mine in Britain.
the row of cottages

inside the cottages 

Once we had seen round here we were left to explore for ourselves. We had the chance to wander off and look closer at one of other other mines, have a look round the old graveyard, and for us to disappear off at getting the highest cache in a village in Scotland.

We wandered back across and had a sandwich, a cake, and a drink in the tea room. The tea room was nicely laid out, the food well presented, and very reasonably priced.
Visit our bright, comfortable tea room for a wide range of hot and cold food served all day in the season. We have a mouth-watering range of home made soups, snacks and main meals plus freshly baked scones and cakes to tempt you away from your diet!
There is a daily selection available for our vegetarian guests. The tea room is easily accessible to our disabled guests. 

One of the joys of this tour is you can dip in and out of it as you feel  like, so we went back to the reception desk to find out the time for the next visit to the library. We joined up with Margaret and another couple from the mine tour and headed off to the library, a two minute walk up the hill round the back.

The Miners LibraryWanlockhead Miner's Library  is the second oldest subscription Library in Scotland and indeed Europe and was established '....for our mutual improvement'.  on the 1st November 1756 with 32 men. The Library was funded by subscriptions from the Miners,  but a contribution was also made by mining companies too in order to encourage 'self-improvement' in the miners.
Membership of the Library was a privilege and new members were subjected to a rigorous interrogation by the Librarian before being admitted to membership. Wanlockhead Miners’ Library was very progressive in that it allowed women to subscribe!  In 1784 it is recorded that there were 32 male members and 1 female - Isabella Rutherford 

inside the library

I love books and libraries, the smell is just amazing. Margaret put an audio tape on for us to listen too, a supposed conversion by the librarian and his customer. The library opened once a month and the books were inspected upon their return to ensure they were still in good condition.

the view across the village from the library

Lastly for the day we went to do some gold panning. This is paid for over and above the entrance price as an optional extra. Our instructor for this was David. He talked us through the technique, showing us as he went, and then set us up with pans to try for ourselves.

me panning for gold
I'm sure any children would enjoy this.

OH panning for gold

Once you have found your gold you get to pop it into a bottle of water and take it home with you 

the gold in the bottle

You can learn how to pan for gold in the river with an experience panner if you wish and even hire equipment and go out for a day or two. You can also buy a license and pan for gold along the river and we saw various people panning along the river when we were driving up.

We must have been up at Wanlockhead for the best part of four hours, and seriously could have happily spent longer up there just enjoying the scenery. Why not take a picnic and go for the day?

Disclaimer - we both received free entry into the mine, cottages, museum and library in return for this post. But the findings and thoughts are my own and not influenced by this We paid for the gold panning ourselves.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Project 365 week 25 15th -21st June


Bob has been away at cub camp since Friday evening. Two whole days with no relative around. A huge learning curve for him, as it is for any just turned eight year old. He was due to be picked up at the same time as Fifi was needing taking to swimming, So as I had the weekend off work I volunteered to take Fifi swimming. Was a nice night for a stroll along the beach, and picked up one cache. On the way back Fifi and I passed where there was another so we stopped and had a ten minute hunt for it, but we had no luck, so we went home.

Fifi looking for the cache


Day 1 of our holidays. A week of doing what we want with no thought to anybody other then ourselves. Turns out it was a beautiful hot, probably too hot,dry and sunny week. We had loaded in jackets, jumpers, body warmers and waterproofs as well as hiking boots for any muddy bits we may encounter caching. Not one jumper or jacket came out of the car all week, could have actually done with a couple of pairs of shorts I think.

On Monday we drove down to Castle Douglas via The Leadhills Mining Museum. I had e-mailed ahead and asked if they would like a review done, as a local place of interest for the upcoming school holidays so we got free entry. A blog post to follow.

The country side round there is stunning, the colours on the hills amazing, and the river water crystal clear, you just need to be careful of the free roaming sheep on the roads. And yes before you ask there are caches up there that we found. In fact we have now got the one that is located in the highest village in the UK.

That evening we went out exploring the local area and wandered round some very beautiful places, picking up caches as we went. You would be surprised how many there are everywhere up and down the country to fuel my obsession.

OH panning for gold


We had planned before hand that today we would do Threaves Castle, a Historic Scotland Property, and Threaves  Estate, a National Trust for Scotland Property, but due to their locality to each other one membership gets you into both. To get to the castle requires a boat, there is a bell to ring to summon the boat men, or in our case boat girl they come across for you and take you back when you have finished.

We then popped along to watch a family of Ospreys and along to a bird hide to see what else we could see.
The weather was wonderful again, not overly hot in the morning, but far too hot by lunchtime.

After tea we went back out to do some more caches, and walk round the lake again.

waiting on the boat to take us across 


This was move on day, we had decided two night in one place and two nights in another, as it turns out this was not really long enough and four nights in one place may well have been better. We were not seeing as much stuff as we had hoped to do. Not only was it to warm to be walking really we were also taking a lot longer to look round places than we had thought we might. But then there was nothing planned that could not be changed.

We were taking in sights as we went.  First we stopped at New Abbey corn mill, sadly this was not in operation as they were short staffed. Was still an interesting place to visit regardless. Then we went up to Sweetheart Abbey. This had been closed on Monday afternoon due to falling masonry so we could only look from the outside.

We travelled on through Dumfries, Moffat and Selkirk. The Moffat to Selkirk road is 32 miles of virtually nothing. For what is classed as an A road it leaves a lot to be desired. There are a scattering of houses nine out of ten of which seem to be for sale, one roadside cafe at  St Mary's Loch one pub (though how many people it gets I dont know as you would have to drive to get there) a small primary school.......oh and three caches. Not one village, or one petrol station just miles and miles of nothing.

We stopped at The Salmon viewing centre though it was not exciting at all not at all what we expected. Before going onto Galashiels and finding our accommodation.

That evening we went off exploring the area, chatted to a few of the locals, and had no success with the caches we were looking for. One was placed at a bench in a public garden but far to many people around to look with any success.

OH taking a picture of the heron ( in the middle of the pond) at the corn mill


We had been chatting to somebody on a geocahing page, they had been looking for somebody to take a trackable down south, so they had posted it to us for us to drop off. I also had another that was trying to make its way back down south so we decided to help that one on the way as well.

So on Thursday we decided to set off south of the border do some caching, drop off the two trackables and visit some places in Jedburgh on the way back up. So we set off for our end point, Otterburn Mill, a busy tourist place with a cache to drop a trackable in and with a restaurant and toilets as well as a very reasonably priced clothing shop as well.

Various other stops were made for other caches, including one at "the hamlet of Cottonshopeburnfoot. It has the distinction of having the longest place name without spaces in England. and we found our 100th cache while we were out today, at a  picturesque little church that is part of the Penine Way.

helping celebrate our 100th cache, do you recognise them? 

We had to stop at the border as well and get the last cache in England.

Back up the Jedburgh where we did Jedburgh Abbey and then on to Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum. It is free entry but did not have enough time for a good look round, will need to go back another day. Maybe stay in Jedburgh the next time.

Back to our accommodation. found some local caches along a road route and went out to do them before coming back so OH could watch the football.


Home. Wasn't really sure of what way to go home, but we decided across to Dumfries and back up through Sanquhar. This allowed us to go back on the Selkirk to Dumfries road and do the caches we did not attempt to do on the way across. Picked up another cache at Moffat.

We stopped for lunch in Dumfries but did not do much else there. On to Sanquhar for a cache, which actually I did not find, and then home.

Lots and lots of pictures to delete and others to edit to go into Google+ albums and share on Pinterest. Will take a while, but all nice memories of a holiday.

the river in Sanquhar


A boring day of catching up with all the washing and the tidying up and unpacking that a holiday involves. Spent a lot of the day sorting pictures, lots still to do and watching the children while daughter runs her oh to work, save her sticking them in the car and taking them with her just to turn round and come back.

Fifi was out and so it was just Bob and the twins, so we took a walk to the park. As the twins were awake I thought I would put them on the swings. Put Minky on first as he is more adventurous than Dinky, he stayed on for maybe ten minutes being pushed gently by Bob. This is the first time Dinky has been on one, she certainly sat better than he did but was not quite so keen so she was only on for two minutes.

on the swings

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Project 365 week 24 8th - 14th June


Working the double shift again, I'm not complaining I enjoy it, came home via daughters house as had a few things to drop off. Fifi's ankle was swollen and bruised from where she had clobbered it off a kerb while she had been cart wheeling down the road, she never walks any where these days. So I told daughter to drop off Bob as soon as he was fed as she was taking Fifi to A&E to get it checked, saved trailing him as well. 

We are planning a holiday at the end of this month, and so with that in mind we have taken out Historic Scotland membership as there are a lot of places we want to look at in the area we have chosen to go to. Our cards turned up yesterday 


Had a visit to make a cross at Stirling again today. So we decided to pop over early and do a few things while there, yes a bit of geocaching. Took a wander round in the glorious sunshine before our visit. Found a nice walk nearby in Menstrie while we were out as well but found it too late to take advantage of it. By coincidence the monthly geocaching birthday club meeting was also in the same area so we decided to to hang around and attend it. But time it was due to start the rain was bouncing off the road, and it was an outdoor birthday party. We were suppose to be playing games etc but it was just too wet, so we spent the time huddled under a gazebo talking and laughing. I did learn that my waterproof jacket is no longer waterproof, I was soaked through to my underwear time we got back to the car. 


Went into the town and replaced my waterproof jacket, thought I might as well. Spent some time in the garden in the afternoon. The potatoes and sunflowers are doing great, the sweetcorn and tomatoes not so well but they are still growing so that has to be something. 
The flower the children go me for Mothers Day is also doing great with lots and lots of flowers on.


Daughter came round with the twins as is the norm on a Wednesday evening. Its amazing to see how they come on week to week, it was such a nice evening we decided to sit in the garden with them, They are really good at sitting up now. 

ssshhhhh dont tell TBAM but I have added a short video for you, our secret!!


As again is the norm is the night the children come over. The last few weeks it has been a struggle to get Fifi to stop long enough to even say hello too. So I asked her where she wanted to go and said she could take a friend with her as well. So she chose a park in Hurlford and so off we went. We did a geocache that was put there that day and then played in the park. You can see our evening here.


I had thought about taking the children along to a local estate that we have never been to before to do a couple of caches, but Fifi had a different idea. So I decided to bully oh into coming with me to find them, we managed a hundred percent strike rate and found three of three  One of the cache we found had a "robber" in. These apparently are part of a team of cops and robbers in a caching game. They had to get from down south, up to Ayrshire,  "rob a bank" made from lego and steal a gold coin, and then they have to make their way back down to where they started out with the coin being moved from cache to cache by people like me. So when we go on holiday we will take him south of the border and place him in a cache, it will be a bit nearer his home. You can read all about the game at the address on his tag. 


I am on holiday now for a fortnight....yyyeeehhhhhhh. 
So as not to waste a beautiful day off we decided to visit Dundonald Castle, its a Historic Scotland property, its local and we have never visited it before. There are (surprise caches round it so we did a few while we were out as well. Got some nettle stings and scratches to prove it. 

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 13 June 2014

Geocaching and a play in the park.

Last week Fifi was too busy out with her friends to want to come out with us, which was fine as Bob and I stayed in and makes cakes. But this week I asked her where she wanted to go, and she picked the park in Hurlford,not quite sure why when there is bigger and better in the village, but I suppose she can go there any time she wants.

So after we had finished tea we went an picked up Fifi's friend E and set off, allowing her to take E was part bribery to get her to go.

Not stopped in Hurlford in a long time and never looked here for any geocaches, so before we set off I had a look in case there were a few we could do quickly along the way. I discovered there is one in the village, just one, and it had gone live that night, and nobody else had found it s far. So we set off with the hope of being the "first to find" it  Fifi tried explaining to E what the hobby is about but I don't think we convinced her that it was actually fun. Will need to take her out one day over the holidays with us and do a trail of them.

So we found the Chris Hoy cycle track that runs through the village, Fifi knew who Sir Chris Hoy was but the other two didn't, and it was a very quick and easy cache to find.

So after we had been to pick up the cache, and yes we did manage to be the first to find, we set off for the park.

For I assume safety reasons there is no direct access to the park from the road, so we went into a side street, parked up and walked across. I like the fact the park is in a big open space and easily visible from the houses. 

Dont know what it is about Fifi these days but she cant walk anywhere, its hand stands and cart wheels all the time. 

They headed straight for the rope slide. The two girls were big enough to get on this by jumping on. Bob being that bit smaller had to sit up on the bars, get the girls to hold the swing seat for him, use his chin to hold round the chain while he put his hands on it, quite ingenious really, they made a great team. The two girls tried going on this together but were not seated quite right and they managed to fall off on top of each other, think they both must have ended up with a headache the way they landed. 

They took it in turns to push the other two on the roundabout, always have to laugh at Bob when he does this as he runs round and round with it and then keeps running round even once he has let go. 

Bob needed a hand up to get onto this, but he could hold on longer than the girls when it was spinning.

They took it in turns to stand in the middle of this see saw and make it move, though it was designed for children Bob's size and the girls risked getting their toes crushed when it was moving.

They challenged each other getting ever more brave, or silly, on this, though Bob managed to fall off once, he picked himself up and promptly got pushed over (deliberately by his sister)

Another boy wandered over to play and him and Bob being better matched weight wise had great fun playing together. Children are so open and the information he was telling me would make his parents

 Some times Fifi is so grown up for her age, and other times she behaves like an eleven year old should, happy and playing and silly and having fun, children seem to want to grow up so quick these days. 

fun as a gran

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall