This summer we were lucky enough, timing wise, to be in Scotland at the same time as Sam's old mate Charlie, his wife and two little boys, who normally live in Brazil.  Sam grew up with Charlie and Charlie's cousin Will who formed a kind of trifecta of mischief.  They spent a lot of time exploring Charlie's ancestral home, which has been in his family since the 1730's.  It is called Blair Adam, but as kids Sam referred to it as "the house with the big keys" and here's why:

Actual and current front door key.  DO NOT lose this key!

I am still utterly enchanted by Blair Adam and what it must have been like to grow up there.  It couldn't be more different than a rent stabilized walk up on 82nd and 3rd Ave in New York.  It must have been a wonderland of curiosity for the kids, but for the adults I know it was a hell of a lot of work just to keep it from falling down.  

Guest room

I was a little terrified to take Roan there because everything is priceless and irreplaceable. On the day we visited another friend, Nicola, was visiting with her two little ones which made 5 kids to keep from breaking anything.  Charlie's whole family is remarkably laid back about mixing children with historic artifacts, but I was still eager to get the kids out of the house.

Lunch with the relatives. Note the table of china directly behind the kids.

After lunch we took a walk down to the walled garden

The dog tagged along.  Can you tell which end is which?

The cows stayed out of the way of the impending rain

Stone describing how Charlie and Will's ancestors built the walled garden

Charlie's son Oliver,  a few months older than Roan,  seemed to know his way around the garden (which is HUGE) and knew all of it's secrets.  He gave us a tour.

Who the hell tagged that stone??

Nature takes over

Not sure why this door is here

The wall itself is almost as majestic as the garden

Charlie, Oliver, Sam and Roan

 I don't know how big the garden is but it is easily the size of a city block, maybe two. It has an enormous variety of trees including some actual giant Redwoods!! While old houses are fairly common in Scotland, it is incredibly rare to find old growth forests since they were all completely wiped  out during the Highland clearances

It is so much garden that the family has these people called woofers (really WWOOF), who volunteer to grow organic produce on the land in exchange for food, housing and experience.  They have done an amazing job.

We spent at least an hour exploring and then it started to rain more heavily so we headed back for tea, biscuits, and naps.  Thank you to Blair Adam for a nice dose of Scottish history.