Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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Growing on Trees

 

There are some beautiful trees at Westbury Court Gardens,  this is star of the show

Westbury Court M'toe 3 uhdd-1A 300 year old oakWestbury Court  oak uhdd-1.jpgIt has some cohabitees, I don’t know what species of fungus is, the bees seemed quite interested in it, the beads of liquorice black, looks like the patina of Jacobean furniture, you normally see inside National Trust properties; whilst the tree is old, I don’t think the fungus is  Westbury Court  Fungi  3 uhdd-1.jpgThere were fungi that had a much fresher look,  this fabulous,  mustard yellow specimen for example, it looks smooth, not unlike like deer antler velvet (oh here I go off on a blogging tangent, who ever knew deer antler velvet was harvested for medicinal use! Not me until I just googled deer velvet to make sure I was using the correct term…)

Westbury Court  Fungi uhdd-1.jpgI think this was a species of ash tree,  I was more concerned in avoiding the bees nest we were warned that was lurking under the bark, or at least making sure Mr Uhdd, kept out of their way,  (they don’t get on very well) Westbury Court  Fungi  2 uhdd-1.jpgThere was a lovely cluster of the  semi parasitic plant mistletoe it doesn’t grow in ‘up north’ so I was interested to get a close look,  I don’t usaly get a look any closer that spotting its globe like form in the bare winter trees as we whizz down the M50Westbury Court M'toe 2 uhdd-1I think the host tree was a species of hawthorn,  I being botanically lax in this post aren’t I?Westbury Court  M'toe  4uhdd-1.jpgWhat I do know is what grows on trees, falls off, naturally. Falling conker

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Flower of the Hour

Hibiscus

Hibiscus trionum, AKA the Flower-of-an Hour,

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I can live with the ephemeral life of the flower, if it delivers such delightful seed heads ( @ £1.95 for a packet of seeds, I might have to have a crack at growing these).

Hibiscus 2

Spotted during a brief* visit to Westbury Court Garden which was a little gem of a place.

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Laid out in 1696-1715 its a Dutch style water garden,

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its first lucky break was to fall off the fashion radar at the time of Capability Brown’s Landscape School, when many such gardens were destroyed,

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secondly was to be rescued by the National Trust in 1967, in a state of neglect and disrepair, and thirdly was the archive materials, that showed which plants were planted where, how many of each and how much they cost (more or less than £1.95 I wonder?)

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A rather romantic vibe

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Although I imagine the A48 was quieter then!

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*Flat tyre on the M5, delayed our journey, it’s not a nice place to be, on the hard shoulder, with traffic thundering past; glad when we were safely on our way again after the support of the RAC. When it comes to changing tyres on the motorway, leave it to the experts, it delayed us by an hour, which is nothing in the scheme of things. .

 

 


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Digging deep, smelling sweet

Another post about the Burren, from our journey on The Wild Atlantic Way, the Burren a special place, with ancient history.

This is Caherconnell Fort  to do it justice, and not make it look like just a collection of drystone walls, as most of my images did, you probably need a photo from a drone (I don’t like to be around when drones are flying, but they do give a fantastic perspective).

Chaherconnell stone fort 2

One of the reasons it has survived over the centuries, is that is thought to be a place where the fairies hang out, and therefore a place not to messed with.  So as well as happy fairies, there are now happy archeologists and a posse of student each summer, who I guess have just learned to rub along together.

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sifting away, finding treasures.  Cahconnell fortIt was turning out to be a sunny day, and given how the summer had panned out since then (early June) I guess they are going to have got through a good deal more than two bottles of sun cream!

Tools of the trade

Good to see it part of the risk assessment, though I was more worried about the young chap wielding a strimmer, without eye or ear protection. Nooooo don’t do it.

A few miles up the road, we took a step even further back in time at Poulnabrone Dolmen    which is a megalithic portal tomb.

Poulnabrone dolmen

By then the heat of the day was climbing, and we were very glad to find the soft shade of Burren Perfumery, and even more delighted by a shady spot in the garden of the tea room. Which was, unfortunately marred by a party of visitor smoking, cigarette smoke wasn’t really the scent we expected.

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But the staff helpfully found us another table that wasn’t down wind of the smokers.

The perfumes  they create, are inspired by, the flowers of the Burren, which deserve a post of their own,  given thier special botanical status.  You will be pleased to read, the local flowers are not picked for the perfumes, but sourced elsewhere.

The gardens were pretty,  look at those watering cans,  I have watering can envy. 

 

 


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Romantic Ruins

More from our meander along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

I’m not sure why ruins are refered to as romantic, I tried to find out, but I’m not sure I’m any the wiser.  I think I’ll go with the term magnificent ruins, for these buildings are magnificent.

To me they speak of  change and in the case of these buildings, social and political turmoil, but I suppose that’s inevitable if you hang around for a few hundred years.

This is Leamaneh Castle 

Big House Ireland

It stands in private land, and due to its precarious state it’s not maintained.  The orignal tower house is on the right of the next photo, and built-in 1480-90 I’m sure if was around here, someone would have ‘repurposed’ the stone over the centuries.

Big House Ireland 2

This is Garrettstown, this is one wing, there is another wing, but the planned ‘grand house’ was never built, as the cash ran out.  It now forms part of Garrattstown Holiday Park, a stop-over on our travels.

Big House 3

Now this one has more of a romantic look  I think, with a Rapunzel vibe  It’s Newtown Castle, it has been beautifully restored and hosts weddings rather than battles 

Art School

The estate is also home to The Burren Art College, and we had a lovely lunch there, and Spud the dog had the time of his life, about six students (all girls, from the USA) who were on a month-long residency and were missing their pet pooches from back home swarmed over him, he had his tummy tickled whilst we ate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big House 3http://www.buildingsofireland.ie/niah/search.jsp?type=record&county=CO&regno=20912426


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Mizen Head

Ireland’s most southwesterly point, and home to the Mizen Head Signal station, as you can see, it’s an isolated spot that is enhanced by modern paths and an essential bridge (to my mind)

Mizen head view

We didn’t need telling more than once

Dangerous cliff

We were keeping to the paths.

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Which had their own attractions

Mizen Head orchid rock

 

Mizen Heasd chain

We are duty bound to photograph such feats of engineering, as Joe is studying civil engineering, and like to see a nice bridge.

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The signal station is now a museum, much of its original equipment remains,

Distress_

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Along with documents,

Mizen Head Telegram

which kind of looked a bit haphazard, but one hopes they’ve been catalogued

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This was my favourite, an inventory of  tubes and fuses, who need an Excel spreadsheet eh? I like the faux alligator skin print of the cover

Tubes fuses Mizen_

Working here must have been an isolated life, you weren’t going to see a lot from the window, and certainly not the next landfall of America, it does feel like the edge of the world.

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and before the bridge was built, there were only a few ways of leaving.

Mizen Head Rescue

We had the luxury of walking off, although Mr Uphilldowndale, was keeping to the centre of the bridge, and not looking down.

 

Mizen Head Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival 2018

We stumbled upon  the  Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival, during our road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way,  Mr Uphilldowndale was a happy chappy, a celebration of wood, glue and varnish, the kind of thing that floats his boat.

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There was a lot going on, on the water, racing of Currach, a traditional Irish craft, note the oars, or should they be poles?

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Historically the boats were made with animal skins, stretched across the timbers, these days canvas is used

Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival 2018 7There was much activity around the beautifully restored historic Falklands Islands trading ketch Ilen which was launched at Baltimore in 1926

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There’s a lyrical description of her restoration here

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There was an atmosphere of concentration and competition, to build a boat,

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and great to see so many young teams

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Looked like a lot of glue, screws

and refreshments were required.

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A grand day out.

In a welcoming and hospitable town

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