Monday, October 11, 2010

A visit to Castle Espie

I'm finally home. It feels like I've been home a while now, but that is probably because yesterday and today have felt like the world's longest days ever. Will it ever be bedtime? Jetlag: I hate you.

It's fortunate that the jetlag is easier to cope with coming back this direction over the pond. It usually means that I wake up unusually early and then end up completely shattered by 4:00pm, which means that my first day back at work tomorrow may end up being pretty ok. We'll see, though. There is always Mr. Caffeine and Mrs. Sugar.

Upon our arrival back in Canada yesterday, we were met by unseasonably warm weather and a few happy sights:

Millions of tomatoes in my greenhouse (this was taken after I'd eaten a couple of handfuls of them):

And a monster on the sofa:

We had a nice visit with my hubby's family and ended up seeing a bunch of old friends. I got to visit one of my favourite places: Castle Espie. It's run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, and has been a great sanctuary, both for the ducks and for me. It went through a recent re-build and is better than ever:

I brought along my binoculars that my husband gave me for my birthday last year, and had a good look through one of the windows in one of the hides. There were waders and moorhens and hundreds of Brent (or Canadian) Geese on the way back to Europe after spending the summer in the Arctic Circle.

Castle Espie has also added a section about the archeology of the site, showing examples of Neolithic spearheads, handaxes, bits of pottery... examples of people living by the lough and taking advantage of the tides. There was a spectacular example of a thatched roof home they had built with straw/cob walls, wattled walls, and a thatched reed roof. I love thatched roofs. It's a dying art, in my opinion. I walked into that little house and saw that the ground was bone dry. Amazing.

On the all was a replica of a coracle, or old round boat, lined with a cow hide. It probably could sit a single person. It made me think of a teacup and a spoon.

As far as why it is called Castle Espie: well, no one has ever been able to tell me. There was probably a castle on it sometime in the past. The site has been many things: a Neolithic settlement, a part of an old estate, and now, a wildfowl sanctuary and education centre. I don't know if I'll ever know why it's called what it's called, but I do know that it's even better than I remembered. It was a great day!


Amy Darsie said...

Hi! I'm visiting via your request on Ravelry (RAK group. I'm deathbyyarn over there.)

What a lovely holiday! That looks like so much fun. I always love to visit sites like that one when I travel.

AdrieneJ said...

@Amy - thanks for stopping by! It's always my aim to find the greenspaces of the places I visit. You never know what you'll see!