Be Right Where You Are

Top o’ the hill at Castle Creavie. Careful. Sheep are lurking nearby.

Oh my. I know I’m behind on my blog when not one but TWO members of my family send messages along the lines of “Hello-o-o-o out there! Everything alright? Last we heard, you were heading to a party. Still recovering???”


No. In fact I hardly drank, went to bed at a reasonable hour and even had lots of free time the next day. Just feeling downright lazy! And well satisfied. Sometimes it’s hard to break out of the present moment to write because, well… once you’re writing you really cannot be in the present moment anymore. Much like taking pictures. If you’re taking pictures, you’re looking at everything through a lense, thinking about light and composition and what you want in the picture because you can’t possibly include everything. Just by engaging in that process, you’re one step removed from the moment. Think about capturing it, and then stop to tell about it — well that’s two steps removed. And lately, I’ve been enthusiastically staying in the present moment here at Castle Creavie. There are some experiences during which you’re aware, even as each moment is ticking by, that it’s really, really good. Better get it all while you’ve got the chance. 

That’s what I’ve been doing. 

Tomorrow morning I’m leaving here early in the  morning. Going to catch a train to get from almost-the-bottom of Scotland (Dumfries) to almost-the-top (Inverness). Way back in February and March, when I was putting this trip together, one of the farms I contacted for possible WWOOFing was Carnoch Beag, in the northern Highlands of Scotland and right on the coast. But by the time its owner, Lisa, wrote me back to say “Yes! Come on up!”, I’d already committed to farm sit near Aberdeen while the owners of Maryculter Farm took their trip to Europe. So I had to say I couldn’t go.

“What!?! A trip to Scotland without going up to the Highlands? But, but, but… What’s the point of THAT?!?!” you may well ask. I know Shannon is asking that. And probably Jud.!Likely a few others as well. Had to shrug off my disappointment. “Can’t do everything in one trip”, I reasoned.

This last week, I had to start making plans for my next step. New WWOOFers are due here on July 1st. Not like Charlie and Millie are kicking me out or anything… I could probably stick around and find plenty to keep busy. But truly, it was time for the next step. House sit in Edinburgh? Go back down to England? Go home early and surprise the family on July the fourth? (Um, sorry. Not doing that now, though I love you all a LOT and seriously considered it.) I decide to shoot Lisa an email. I let her know about how my trip had gone all topsy-turvy due to that first farm’s cancelling and did she maybe still have need of some help in the farm in July.

And guess what? 

She wrote back!

And she actually would love me to stay at her farm while she travels for the next couple weeks. Her friend and neighbor was on board to take care of the place. But she said she would definitely feel better if someone was staying on site. Would I be comfortable house sitting on such short notice?

Would I? Let me count the ways…

So tomorrow morning, I’m off to the Highlands! I will travel by train to Inverness, stay the night (treated myself to a nice little B and B near the train station) and then am meeting up with neighbors of Lisa’s to catch a ride the rest of the way there. For location, go to Google Maps and search for “Scoraig” in the UK. It’s a tiny little village on the west coast of Scotland. Believe it or not, you can’t even drive there! You can hike in overland from the nearest village (a five mile hike) or you have to take a boat over. 

Now that’s remote. 

Apparently everyone there gets their power from wind and solar power. It’s a small croft with sheep , a few chickens, big poly house for growing vegetables and two collies who will be glad to have someone with them. In fact, Lisa will still have a full house of visitors when I arrive so she’s made arrangements for me to stay with her neighbors for my first night. Then we have a few days of overlap and she leaves on the fourth. 

So, off to a new farm again.

I will be glad for some alone time. There’s been lots of activity and conversation over the last few weeks. I feel the need to take a few long walks and a have a few long sits by the ocean (hooray) in order to gather my thoughts before coming home. 

And what about these two and a half weeks at Castle Creavie? Well, I promise to start writing about them tomorrow while on the train. I have lots of pictures and even jotted down notes in my sketchbook. Have I sketched in my sketchbook? Yes. Twice. I know, dismal. But I’ve got to feel like I have loads and loads of time at my disposal in order to feel free enough to sketch. And frankly, I’ve been busy! But I have used the sketchbooks for writing out my thought process and making notes about events and marking down useful tidbits. 

So here are a few pics to hold you until tomorrow. Good night. Must get my beauty sleep. Tra-la-la… Off to the Highlands in the morning. Isn’t there a song like that?

Driveway up to the main house.
The yin and yang of Jack Russell terriers. Rascal and Tea have a snooze together.
Charlie shows off those legs at the kay-lee.
Millie with one of the working dogs, Mist. They are sitting on giant bags of just-sheared wool.
Me farhering wild foxgloves for the party. Wait, did I post this already?!!! Oh well, it’s a good ‘un, so I don’t mind.
WWOOFer loft on the farm. Space for three or four folks, if needed, but I had it all to myself.

And last, but certainly not least, the sounds of the afternoon…


  1. Just printed off a map of Scotland (about time Jud) and mapped your train trip today. So happy for you. Alone time – ocean views – long walks……….at EBP today – just looked at my file cabinet where this reflection from William Saroyan is posted……….”Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed.” Keep on Keeping On my friend.


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