Stories from Scotland: From one mud season to another |

Stories from Scotland: From one mud season to another

Sophie Dingle/For Steamboat Today

— We arrived back in Steamboat just in time for closing weekend and the start of mud season. After eight months in Scotland, we're used to mud season: where we lived in Fife, the whole winter is muddy.

In an earlier column, I mentioned that I was proud of the fact that my husband and I had lived in Italy for four years, navigating a different country, culture and language. Now, I'm proud of the fact that we've survived our first Scottish winter.

We were warned about the weather. But as we settled into our new home last September, the sun was shining almost every day. We explored coastal Fife, walked on the beach and had afternoon tea in the sun.

"Just wait," all the locals warned. Of course, they were right.

By the time mid-October rolled around, the wind was whipping across the North Sea, and the rain was beating against our kitchen windows every morning.

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In December, the sun went down at four in the afternoon and didn't come up again until nine in the morning. At one point in January, we realized that we were sleeping for almost 10 hours at night and then taking two-hour naps during the day. That was when we started taking Vitamin D.

It might sound a little grim, and at times, it was. Of course, now that we have a newborn baby, I would gladly go back to those rainy day naps and long nights of deep sleep.

In the end, we grew to love Scotland. It wasn't like Italy at all; in fact almost everything was different. We went from pasta and wine to haggis and scotch. Italy was laid back and slow paced, and there were some days when we would spend entire afternoons sitting in the sun.

In Scotland we had direct deposit, which was so incredibly organized that we couldn't believe it at first. We could read directions and talk to sales people without widely gesticulating to convey what we wanted.

Most importantly, the people were wonderful. They were friendly, welcoming and helpful. They were overly enthusiastic supporters of my husband's hockey team. And they had a great sense of humor, even in those dark winter months.

On a rare sunny day in February, we were downtown when we ran into a man who warned us in his thick Scottish accent: "be careful … we'll all get sun stroke today."

To sum it all up: Scotland may have been gray, but it was a very bright experience.

Sophie Dingle is a freelance writer, currently making the switch from living in Italy to living in Scotland. While she'll miss the pasta and wine, she's looking forward to exploring a new country and trying haggis. Sophie's husband, Ryan, is a Steamboat Springs native and professional hockey player; you can follow their adventures online at