It’s just over a year since we last visited Comrie Croft as group. So much has changed since then, both for us as a group and at the place itself.
We arrived on a Sunday evening and, after getting settled into our rooms
and eating a big meal together, most of the children and a few intrepid adults went out to explore the woods in the dusk. It was a beautiful evening, the sky ablaze with colour and we were pleased to wake the next day to find the old adage to be true about ‘red skies at night bringing shepherds delight’. There were a few home ed families staying with us from outwith Glasgow – people we had never met before – but the children quickly tumbled in with existing gangs of friends and conversation between adults was friendly and easy. It was so nice to make new friends on holiday.
Monday was mostly spent outdoors, making the most of the sunshine. We played circle games,
and busied ourselves with bushcraft and nature-themed activities.
Some children hired bikes to take on the mountain bike trails
while others took part in a session of ‘Chaos Yoga’ – a game devised by one of the children in group and facilitated, brilliantly, by his mum –
and a whole fantasy world formed around a gazebo aka “The Cowboy Hut”
Some adults went for a brisk walk up a nearby hill to the Devil’s Cauldron while others basked in the bright, spring sun watching a game of group volley ball.
In amongst all the organised activities, there was still plenty of time for free play and hanging about. The woodland rope swings were well used, many trips were made to the waterfall and woods and, of course, so much chatting and catching up
In preparing food for the evening on Monday, some of the smaller children were given the task of finding the biggest potatoes to bake. They emptied a 25kg sack of spuds onto the floor and worked collaboratively to hunt out the finest specimens. Numerous, brilliant games to get the remaining tatties back in the sack then ensued, involving rolling, throwing, carrying dustpans, spoons, tongs, you name it. The ingenuity and hilarity found with those potatoes was one of the highlights of the holiday for me.
The evening was largely spent around the fire, baking potatoes and dampers, toasting marshmallows and exchanging tales of fun and adventure. We befriended the family staying the in farmhouse on site so they, too, joined us round the fire, adding to the collection of marshmallows and stories.
The weather on Tuesday was a little wetter and greyer but most people still managed a jaunt outdoors. A craft table was set up in the kitchen for those that wanted to stay in
but many of the children spent a good chunk of the afternoon preparing for the Kids’ Kitchen event that was due to take place that evening.
Each family had contributed some vegetables for the paella and fruit for the crumble so we split into small groups to get them all peeled, chopped and ready to cook.
Once the food was cooking, everyone busily set to making menus, table decorations and umbrellas for the mocktails.
By the time the food was ready, the ‘customers’ (all the adults and any children who hadn’t wanted to cook) had already started arriving so the pressure was on to get everyone seated, orders taken and food served. The pace and level of activity was so intense I wasn’t able to get any photos of the meal itself but the children working at the Kids’ Kitchen did an excellent job of facilitating for and feeding the whole group. They organised themselves so that those who could read and write took down the food and drink orders while the pre-literate took the food to the tables, ensuring everyone felt useful and appreciated. High praise came from the diners and Kids’ Kitchen crew congratulated themselves with a round of mocktails and much clinking of glasses. They were excused from doing dishes after all their hard work and went instead to watch a movie together while adults and children who hadn’t cooked cleared up.
Wednesday was our final day so everyone felt it important to visit all our special and favourite places to say goodbye. There was an emotional farewell trip to see the Shetland ponies in the field behind the hostel as well as one last walk to the waterfall and one final turn on the rope-swing.
We were sad to leave and have our holiday end but so happy that we had had such a great time together.
It was an exhausting but wonderful few days
and I, for one, am already looking forward to our next trip away.