When Mick suggested a little Scottish Christmas getaway back at the start of last year, I wasn’t sure. For me, Christmas has always been spent at home, so I didn’t know how I felt about going away. We have spent every Christmas that we have been together with my Dad, and I was worried about leaving him alone. Since Mum has gone I feel like he is my responsibility, so I did feel a little guilty. However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it.
Mick seemed to have his heart set on Scotland, although we did look at a couple of places in Wales and the Lake District. In the end, Mick got his own way (for a change), and he booked a little cottage called Netherraw on the Scottish Borders. The thing that really appealed to me was that we could take Alfie with us as I hate leaving him, so it was booked and we started to get excited.
On Friday 22nd December we loaded up the car (seriously, there was so much stuff), and set off up the M6. Sadly there was thick fog for pretty much the whole journey so we didn’t get to take in the breathtaking views and scenery. We’ve briefly been to Gretna before so we knew the route, and thankfully Alfie was well behaved. With Christmas tunes blasting in the car, it was a fun journey. We had to briefly stop off at a Tesco in Carlisle for some food for the night and then we made our way over the border into Scotland. The Scottish Christmas getaway had begun.
The cottage itself is nothing special from the outside, but that seemed to be the case with every property we saw up there – function over design definitely seemed to be how they operate. The owner had told us that it would be decorated for Christmas, but there was no tree, which was disappointing. We ended up having to buy a tree and a few decorations as you can’t have Christmas without a tree. Once we got inside the cottage, I was pleasantly surprised, although there was a weird smell – turned out the shower drain was blocked, but Mick dealt with that.
The cottage itself is in the middle of nowhere – there were a couple of other properties nearby but you couldn’t see them. At night there was no light at all and it was so quiet, which was a little bit spooky but I soon got used to it. Outside there was a hot tub, which would not heat up at all, so that was disappointing and there was a nice big field for Alfie to play in.
Inside, there was a lounge, hallway, kitchen, shower room, bathroom and the main bedroom on the ground floor with two twin rooms up the most narrow stairs I’ve ever seen. I loved the bathroom as it was huge and full of natural light and I am missing the deep claw foot bath now that we’re home. The style of the kitchen was lovely and very much to my taste, although some more cupboard and worktop space would have come in handy. It is certainly a very cute cottage and all the appliances were high end, although the oven was so powerful that there were a few culinary disasters – burnt turkey anyone?
On the Saturday we drove to Lockerbie to do the big Christmas food shop and we indulged in a full Scottish breakfast which quickly converted Mick to the joys of haggis. Other than a couple of trips to Hawick to go to Sainsburys, the plan was to pretty much stay holed up in the cottage and relax. This was a good plan as on Christmas Eve I started with the flu. Yep, as soon as I start to relax, I get ill. Very very ill.
By the time Christmas Day came, the flu had well and truly taken hold of me. Somehow I managed to cook the lunch although the turkey was drier than the Sahara and I was so ill I could barely eat anything. I spent most of Christmas Day passed out on the sofa, which I’m so frustrated about. We had so many things we wanted to do to have a lovely Christmas, but I was just too ill. It didn’t help that it was freezing and rained for the first three days, so I was just getting worse. However, despite how crap I was feeling, we still had a nice time.
The countryside walks we’d planned ended up being a Mick and Alfie affair as I just wasn’t well enough to go out too much. Luckily there were a lot of fields that they could free roam in, as well as cute little river close to the cottage. You know when Alfie has had fun when he returns home with a muddy belly and in need of a bath.
As well as the flu, I also developed painful ulcers all over my tongue, so for once I didn’t overindulge in all the yummy Christmas treats, so they came home with us. We had no phone signal at the cottage, but you could get reception as you drove towards Hawick, but I enjoyed the peace.
On Boxing Day we had to go in search of medicine and thankfully Sainsburys in Hawick was open. The drive from Newcastleton where we were staying to Hawick was beautiful. We were quickly transported into a total winter wonderland and it really was quite magical. We loved the drive so much that we went back to Hawick the next day.
We were due to stay until the Friday, but heavy snow was forecast and I was feeling so poorly, that we came home on the Thursday. Thankfully the weather on the drive home was gorgeous so we got to appreciate the scenery.
I really enjoyed our little Scottish Christmas getaway, I just wish that I had not gotten the flu as it did spoil things a bit. Getting back to my own bed was lovely though. Despite the illness, it was lovely to relax in peace and quiet with a log burner going and no phone calls to bother us. I’d highly recommend getting away from it all for Christmas.