Rich and I are very lucky bunnies. A few weeks ago mum and dad-in-law (Cyn and Pete) very kindly invited us to stay with them for a week in a holiday cottage in the North Highlands of Scotland. As Pete was already up in Scotland drinking and putting the world to rights salmon fishing with some friends, we decided that it would make sense to split the journey and stop off in Perth for a night. Rich and Pete could then go off and do rally things the following day, whilst Cyn and I did nice things and got to the cottage ahead of them so that we could explore and get sorted, before chaos arrived.

Scotland is very much its own country. Even the motorway signs are different. As we entered Scotland on the M74 the first sign read “Use correct child seat”. As Cyn said, it’s a bit late if the poor kid is already strapped in to some sort of chair – the parents aren’t exactly going to pull over on the hard shoulder and put the child in the boot. Cyn didn’t say that bit about the boot, I thought it. Cyn is a retired nurse and so would never put children in a car boot. I’m sure Pete wouldn’t either, although I have heard that there were dodgy goings on involving a sledge, a rope, a slowly moving car and naughty children on snowy roads a few decades ago.

Sadly the signs returned to the usual “Don’t take drugs and drive!” a few miles down the road, but the scenery had already distracted Rich and I. It’d been too long since we were last in Scotland, and we’re a great fan of ‘staycations’. Scotland really is a special place. It very much has its own unique identity what with the landscape and food, and whilst the people are friendly they’re not overbearingly so and keep their distance. Not like in Wales where you get lots of nosey parkers. I’m Welsh so I can get away with saying things like that.

Four hours after leaving Cumbria we arrived at the Broxden Travel Lodge – just outside Perth. The rooms are large, cheap and there’s a Harvester next door for dinner. We even had a view of a patch of green rather than the usual car park, and there was a bar of soap in the bathroom. What more do you need, especially when dinner for four only cost £31! I chose the mini ribs as I know that standard sized portions are ginormous, Rich and Pete both had the ‘signature’ fish and chips, and Cyn the chicken with jacket potato. With as much salad as you can carry over (again and again) from the salad bar, we were all quietly impressed. Good food, no faff, quick service and value for money. And some of the other male diners were wearing kilts, and no one batted an eyelid. Although I did try and fail to take a sneaky photograph.

By 9.30pm we were all tucked up in our family sized rooms, conserving our energy for the remainder of the journey oop north tomorrow. We’d only been away from home one night – having stopped off in Cumbria en route from where Rich and I live, but already we were enjoying the experience.