This past weekend, I went with about a hundred and something other Christian Union members to Gartmore House out near Stirling for the annual house party.  It was brilliant.  Perfect weather, amazing discussions, dancing, exploring, sheep…

I took about three hundred pictures, so I’m going to post them in three groupings.  Here’s part one!

The grounds at Gartmore are gorgeous, as is the main house.  We didn’t actually stay in the main house, though we did eat there.  There is a large dorm-like building across the street.  Not quite so pretty, but good for bonding.

Plus, I haven’t slept in a bunk bed since I was last at summer camp. So, you know, nostalgia… and the abject fear of falling out of bed to your doom…

Exploring the grounds on Saturday morning emphasized exactly how perfect a day it was on Saturday.  The sky was as clear as it could possibly be.  It was nippy, perfect autumn weather.

Nap poses on an inexplicable urn thingy in the middle of an inexplicable hedge “maze” that seems to be missing all of the turns and walls.

Behind the house was an impressive expanse of grass… and sheep!

Karen proves herself to be a worthy photography companion.  When I voiced a desire to see frolicking sheep, she immediately bolted after the sheep in order to inspire frolicking.

Behold the frolicking of panicked sheep who do not understand why they are being chased.

… and she kept running after them….

… and kept running after them…  Until they reached a field and stopped.  And then the stalking began.

They finally ran down the hill to get away from the crazy person stalking them from behind the tree.  The sheep will never be the same again, I think.

And here is my shadow looking epic.

The fall leaves were pretty and required touching.  It was also the sort of day for jumping.  So I did.

It was a perfect sort of day for climbing trees.

Or, you know, almost climbing trees.

Saturday afternoon, we had the choice of playing sports (yuck!) or going for a long walk around the countryside (yay!). Guess which one I chose?

Fellow photographer Haidee snaps a shot of something awesome…

At first, the group of us who went were a nice packed mass of happy people, but soon a few of us began to lag behind.

Do not think that we were lazy, tired, or otherwise unappreciative of the walk – far from it.

We were the crazy ones who wanted to stop and photograph every tree, leaf, landscape, and happy moment.  Soon, we were far behind the crowd.  But that was okay.  We had fun.

We found a random castle wall and arch.  Was this part of something else or did someone decide that the road would just be more fun to drive on if you got to pass under a castle-y arch?  Either way, I appreciated it.

I love this shot.  This was the sort of day it was, idyllic and gorgeous and beautiful.  The neighborhood was so quiet… until we showed up, anyway.

Joelle was trying to point out the cuteness of the cat… but it looks rather more like she is pointing out the cuteness of a kitty’s bottom.  It is a kind of cute kitty butt, I do admit.

Photos in the woods tend to all look alike, I admit, but I can’t help taking shots every time I see things like this.  The fall colors, combined with the little specks of sheep in the background – how could I not?

We may have been lagging behind, but I like to think we appreciated the landscape more than everyone else.

And then we would run to catch up with the group.

But there would be something cute that required a photo, so we would stop again and fall behind.  Repeat about a hundred times and that was how we spent our walk.

There was a cute shaggy horse!  A cute shaggy Scottish horse!  He came right up to the fence when he realized I had a camera.  He posed quite nicely, don’t you think?

More sheep that refused to frolic on request.  Where’s Karen when you need her?

A baby Christmas tree!  It’s getting ready for the holiday season.  We were passing through a pine forest that reminded me a lot of the Blue Ridge area in Virginia.  Sometimes it really felt like I was there and not in Scotland at all.  Weird…

Artsy shot of spiderweb is artsy.

I did not see any huskies being trained.  The sign is a lie.  Be warned.

And then we entered a mysterious wood.

Sunlight and shadows make for amazing photography!  That’s about when we stopped seeing the rest of the group ahead of us.

I like how the ground is so bright and green and fuzzy looking.

It was pointed out that my coat was a very fun color for these pictures.  I felt very much like Little Red Riding Hood standing in the woods…Unfortunately, I had no basket of goodies.  Those were all back at the house waiting to be consumed at tea.

Yeah, just try to attack me, wolf.  I am wise in the ways of hand to hand combat.

Haidee contemplates the utter perfection of the loch, the sunshine, the woods, and the hills.  A photographer’s dream come true.

It was a perfect rock for contemplation.

Marie: Are you guys ever going to catch up???

No, she wasn’t really saying that.  But it was a perfect photo moment.  I love the pretty colors of the scarf!


It’s too bad that photos can’t capture sounds and smells as well as images.  The water and birds and the smell of the woods are a part of what made this place so beautiful.


Autumn!  All the red leaves dropped to the ground on the path, but the tree is covered in vivid green.  It’s a strange, but appealing color combination.


Nap liked the fuzziness of the moss on the trees.  And the color, too, of course.  It is a superior color to all others, in his opinion.

A study in scarlet…

Tall tree is tall… and pretty.

The sun now sets around 4:30 and the moon shows up even before then.  It wasn’t dark yet, but the sky started to turn all sorts of pretty shades of blue and the world looked serene and sleepy.

Still waters.


The green of this grass was a misty shade that I loved and kept trying to capture in a picture.  I don’t think I quite got it, but I came close.


Oh, and I found a castle!  A little one!  At first, all I saw was the sign and I thought it was the cutest, most perfect name for a cottage.

But it wasn’t a cottage.  It was a legit castle!  Just a baby one.

Such a perfect day required skipping.  So skipping happened.


At this point, I was supposed to go inside and translate Welsh like a good little scholar who felt guilty about spending a whole weekend away from her books.  Instead, we went back around behind the house to locate the sheep, who probably thought they were finally safe…  hehehe…

Unfortunately for the sheep, they would be forced to frolic one more time.  But exercise is good, so they should be grateful for our encouragement.

Lluvia loved the flowers.

Starting to get dark and very, very chilly.  Welsh translations were beginning to call to me, reminding me that they all had to be done by Monday and I would really regret it if I didn’t complete them.  I had an hour or so before dinner.  It could be done… Must… Leave… Prettiness…. Behind!

But not before one last shot to commemorate a wonderful day.

It wasn’t over yet, though.  There was dinner, dancing, a bonfire, and fireworks yet to come.

Did you remember the 5th of November?  But I’ll post those later…