Monthly Archives: January 2014

Happy Hogmanay Scotland!

My favorite fireball swinger!

My favorite fireball swinger!

Pipers performing before the fireball swinging began

Pipers performing before the fireball swinging began

Happy Hogmanay! Going into 2014…whaaat?

In Scotland New Years Eve is a massive deal full of food, drink, and massive amounts of celebrating. They love it so much that they’ve named it Hogmanay. We were trying to figure out what to do to celebrate Hogmanay and to bring in the new year and Stonehaven came up. Stonehaven is a wee village on the east coast near Aberdeen. It is famous for it’s fireballs…what are fireballs? Balls of fire that locals march up and down the high street with swinging around their heads….usually wearing kilts, no protective gear for these Scots!

A piper leading in the Fireballs

A piper leading in the Fireballs

I had heard about the Stonehaven Fireballs before so as soon as this came up as an option I was all in! So we grabbed a few friends and made the drive up to Stonehaven. I have to say I wasn’t disappointed.

The festivities started a few hours before with a Simple Minds concert in the square and then a parade of drummers and pipers up and down the High Street all wearing traditional kilts (some of them wearing Christmas lights!) . Then a few minutes before midnight the fireballs were lit! It was like nothing I have ever seen. They have been swinging fireballs for over 150 years and one of the guys that was swinging them that night had been doing it for 45 years!

A parade of dozens of fireballs!

A parade of dozens of fireballs!

One lady was 65 and had been participating since 1988! I have to be honest and say if anybody wanted to start this as a tradition today Health and Safety would NOT let it proceed. Swinging balls of fire around your heads and marching up and down a street with pedestrians on either side???Probably not 😉 They actually have never had anybody get hurt at all in the 150+ that they have been doing this. SO I was impressed by that because some of the fire balls seemed to have come VERY close to my face 😉 After all the swingers get tired and their fireballs start to fade they parade down to the harbor and throw the fire balls into the sea! Then we finished off the evening with a fireworks display. It was memorable and if you’ve never seen the Stonehaven Fireballs you HAVE to make a trip up to Stonehaven.

Happy 2014 everybody! I am excited for the year ahead!

 Happy 2014!

Happy 2014!

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Categories: family visits, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

snow gates? What on earth is a snow gate?

SNOW GATES!?

SNOW GATES!?

hiking up the muddy mountain :)

hiking up the muddy mountain 🙂

So being from Alaska I have grown up used to a fair amount of snow. Try  snowiest town in America on for size 😉 So when Thompson Pass (the only way into my hometown) is closed due to an avalanche blocking the road you KNOW it’s gonna be closed. There’s no mistaking that it is crazy outside and you shouldn’t be driving anywhere. So with that in mind we decided to go up to Glenshee to find some snow and go sledding! We started driving after checking that the webcams looked good and the weather forecast was saying snow! Not too surprisingly, it was raining when we started driving and there was a massive amount of flooding all during the drive. But we were hopeful!

Our little sledding patch :)

Our little sledding patch 🙂

We kept driving hoping to start seeing snow topping the mountains. Unfortunately we only saw rain, flooding, and puddles on the road.

A few miles away from the top of Glenshee we saw some flashing blue lights behind us so we decided to let them pass….not 15 seconds up the road they stopped and pulled these gates closed over the road saying Police Road Closed….so that’s what a snow gate is….not hardly a drop of snow in sight! But apparently the weather can change quite quickly up at the top of the mountain and it was snowy up there….we couldn’t have guessed 😛 So we decided that we were going sledding that day! And we weren’t gonna let lack of snow or stupid snow gates keep us out! So we headed up a muddy mountain in search of snow and found it! Might not have been much but it was enough to go sledding on 🙂 We succeeded! Take that snow gates 😉

Me and my sledding buddies

Me and my sledding buddies

Managed to find enough snow to sled on :)

Managed to find enough snow to sled on 🙂

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