An ordinary life....

By Damnonii

Fast feathers...

Kildary, Ross & Cromarty, Day 11

Today's trip was to Dunrobin Castle gardens.

Dunrobin Castle (see extras) is the family seat of the Sutherlands.  A controversial name in this area due to the 1st Duke of Sutherland's involvement in the Highland Clearances.

The gardens sit at a lower level than the castle, which means lots of steps so now I have my wheels, we reported to reception in the castle and were given directions and a key to let ourselves into the garden by a Secret Garden style door.  Fab! :-)

We drove down the side of the Castle and round the end of the gardens, with a view to the castle on our left (see extras) and the sea lapping the shore to our right.  What an amazing setting.

We parked right next to the secret door, David unlocked it and with great anticipation we entered the garden to be met with a large crowd of people!  Thankfully they weren't all looking in our direction to see where the squeaky door noise was coming from, they were too busy watch the Falconer (Andy as he turned out to be called) putting his amazing peregrine falcon through its paces. 

Not wanting to disturb what was happening, we headed right and realised we were beside the rest of the birds of prey that were being displayed.  The lady (who's name I didn't get) was standing with the most beautiful Little Owl and we got to meet him up close (see extra)  She explained he is six weeks old and almost has all of his adult feathers.  He was so beautiful.  They all were.

Reluctantly leaving the little owl behind we headed off to explore the rest of the gardens.  This involved driving my wheels on grass, gravel and cobbles!  That was an experience and I may have squealed out a couple of times as the camber of the surface made me think I was about to tip over!  Much to David's amusement!

We were only in the gardens for about 10 minutes when it started to rain.  The first time this holiday we've been caught out by rain.  David went back to the car and returned with his golf brolly and kindly sheltered us both as we continued round the gardens.  That's not as easy as it sounds and there were many instances when I almost ran over his feet.  Much to my amusement!  :-)) 

Once we were satisfied we'd seen the entire garden (and David had very much enjoyed me taking ages over photographing some of the flowers and plants ;-) we headed back to the car.  

As we reached the secret garden door, Andy the falconer was getting ready to leave with his birds.  Crowds all gone now, we got to meet the Peregrine up close.  Such a stunning bird.  

He explained that this gorgeous lad was almost put to sleep by his breeder as he was born with a deformed claw, but he took him and he's grown into the best Peregrine.  He was clearly very fond of him.  Even David (who is bird phobic) was in complete awe at seeing these amazing birds close up.  

As it was still raining, we decided to head back to the Barn where coffee and scones awaited us.

Thankfully the weather forecast for tomorrow is sunshine so I think our trip to Nairn will be on.  I am looking forward to driving my wheels on tarmac!

And it's not lost on me that today was full of more wonderful things that I would not have experienced without my wheels.  

P.S. I forgot to mention I titled my blip Fast Feathers because I was astounded to learn the peregrine falcon is the fastest bird in the world (also the fastest member of the animal kingdom) with the ability to dive whilst hunting at speeds of up to (and over) 200mph!  The fastest recorded hunting stoop (dive) of a peregrine is 242mph!  Wow!

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