Christmas in the Scottish Highlands is turning out to be one of the best Christmases we’ve had. I even saw a pine marten for the first time ever. These are very elusive creatures whose numbers have dwindled over the past couple of centuries due to hunting for their fur, habitat loss, and predation control. I just looked out the window of the place we’re staying and there it was, looking at me. But before I could think to get out my camera it scarpered off into the bushes.
Last night in the village of Kingussie we saw Santa and his reindeer. There was even a pipe band. How cool is that?
I know that some who read my blog will object to the use of reindeer at Christmas events and I sympathise with this view. However, these are the Cairngorm reindeer, the only herd of reindeer in the UK despite being native animals here. The charity that cares for them depends on the financial support that these Christmas events bring. I have visited the animals and they’re well cared for in a natural environment. It’s not like a zoo.
I doubt they enjoy the Christmas displays but it was brief and no one was allowed to touch the animals. In a perfect world, they’d be allowed to roam freely all over Scotland but for some reason, the land they live on must be leased and someone has to pay the bills to support them. They’re not afraid of humans and when we visited them in the hills a couple of years ago they willingly came right up to us and ate food from our hands.
Today we woke up to a perfect day. There’s snow on the ground and we’ve had sun all day. We spent the morning walking up Creag Bheag again. It was just as lovely as last time.
I don’t know what the big snow-covered mountain is to the right in this next picture. Does anyone know?
It was windy and freezing at the top so we didn’t linger there this time. Just long enough to take some photos, get a jumping shot, and try not to let my camera take off with the wind.
We had a 100% vegan Christmas. We had a fake turkey courtesy of Tesco, a cabbage and sweet potato log, and a stuffed butternut squash with all the usual roast vegetables on the side. It was all delicious and all store-bought. Normally I’d make at least a nut roast but it’s harder when you’re away from home and often I spend hours and hours cooking only to have the fruits of my labour rejected by fussy children. So I bought the vegan options which was much less time-consuming and stressful. When people have turkey it’s not like they’re making the turkey. They just buy the dead carcass and cook it. Making vegan dishes is often much more complicated and time-consuming. Of course, a few years ago there wouldn’t have been so many vegan options to choose from at the supermarkets but times have changed.
Here’s a photo of my plate.
For dessert, we had a Christmas pudding.
I sometimes wonder how it is that we’re so lucky to live in this wonderful country. What did I do to deserve so many wonderful memories? As Julie Andrews once sang, “Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good”.