Family Travel Times

Family Travel Times: August 2009

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Finding our family roots in Scotland (July/August 2009)

My husband has long been accused of “marrying out”. By this, his friends mean that he, a proud Scot, married a girl from London, with an English accent which seems stronger (and posher) each time I visit Scotland. An English wife was bad enough, but now my husband has two English children as well.

Or at least he did have. Now he has two children who see themselves as half Scottish. And all thanks to a jokey conversation and a holiday. Let me explain...

It all began with a discussion about the fine England results since Fabio Capello became manager.
“I think we should get Robbie [our four year old son] an England football kit,” I said mischievously.
My husband went white. I’d obviously hit a nerve.
“Er?then we have to get him a Scotland kit as well,” he retorted.
I decided to call his bluff. “That’s fine,” I said. “He can have both.”
The face grew even paler.
“He just can’t have an England strip” responded my husband firmly.

I pointed out then that the children had little idea of their Scottish roots, so perhaps it was time to find out more. A few months later we were flying on easyJet from Luton to Edinburgh.

And our first stop couldn’t have been more apt. We arrived just in time for The Gathering, a huge meeting of Scottish clans from all over the world, held at Holyrood Park.

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What's the story in Balamory? A family holiday to Mull (August 2009)

‘I hear it’s a bit grim,’ my Glaswegian friend told me when I said that we were planning a trip to Tobermory (better known as Balamory, setting for the eponymous children’s TV series) on the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. I tried to forget the comment, but as our holiday began to get nearer, I did begin to worry.

We began our trip in Oban, a gorgeous town full of shops and restaurants, before taking the ferry to Mull. The trip takes around 45 minutes, but Tobermory – the largest town on the island – is another scenic 45-minute drive. When you get there, it’s quite a thrill to see all those famous colourful buildings along the main street. Having said that, apparently locals are quite happy that Balamory has gone slightly off the radar since the series stopped being made in 2004 – they weren’t thrilled to have quite so many toddler tourists!

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