July 7th & 8th, 2012
We finished our drive to Belfast and spent the night there.
We dropped the rental car and hopped on the ferry back to Scotland, then a shuttle, train and cab to Glasgow Airport to rent another car. Soon enough we were heading South to England just as we had done 5 weeks earlier.
It was interesting to make the exact same journey at the end of the trip as we had at the beginning. Five weeks ago everything had been so new and so different. Driving on the left hand side of the road and trying to understand how a round-about worked were overwhelming. Five weeks later…it was “old hat”…a much different experience.
The scenery didn’t become less beautiful though, even after all the beauty we had beheld, this area continued to stun us. It felt a little like coming home and I have to say that the Lake District and Eden Valley seem to hold a special place in my heart.
The Crown & Mitre in Neil’s town was full so we booked a B&B in a small town nearby. This town was lovely and the B&B was spectacular! Our hostess, Alex, met us at the door and stated with great pride that her house was older than our country!
Laurel House was built in 1750 and the Beech trees on the lawn were planted the same year. Jeff, her husband proudly pointed out that the house still had its original roof! They just don’t make things like they used to!!!!
The next morning we were re-united with our friend Neil. It was so nice to see him again. We went to church with him and then he led us on a slew of activities for the day.
We went to a get-together with his housing complex in which we played British Bulldog with the children. I was so excited to get to play British Bulldog in Britain and then it was made even more fun as we played in wheelchairs! It was an absolute blast!
(before the British Bulldog game started ‘shot some hoops’…..my only consolation is that I’m no worse playing in a wheelchair than I am standing up.)
(Getting a wheelchair lesson before the games began)
After lunch we headed over to one of the local farmer’s homes where he gave us a tour of his farm and taught us all about sheep farming….very interesting!!!
This farmer was a part of an environmental effort to protect the natural species in the area. For that reason he allows a number of his fields to lay fallow for certain months of the year. This particular field is left free from cattle while the orchids are in bloom. Once the plants die down, the cattle can graze without damaging them.
Here’s the view of the valley from his farm.
He showed us how they sheer sheep (which is quite the technique) Last year they were being paid 9 pence per sheep for wool…not nearly worth the effort of sheering they but they have to sheer them for the sheep’s health.
This is not Veronica, this is a young bull who’s mother’s name is Veronica. This bull was extrememly affectionate and kept trying to lick me as I pet his head. The farmer got in the pen with him and he started bouncing around….he’s a very playful guy.
After the farm walk, we went for a hike to Aira Force Waterfall, a 66 ft drop amongst a beautiful, Harry Potter-esque forest.