CROFT END REPRISE
Well partly because the weather has been extremely bad with strong gales and lashing rain, partly because it is so peaceful, and partly because it is giving a chance for Phoebe to relax, I have stayed on far longer than I originally intended. Although I haven't been away from Thebus or the site, the play of the clouds and light over the landscape is an entertainment in itself and Phoebe looking a bit more relaxed makes me really happy that we stayed longer than a rushed one-night stop-over on the way to the Highlands .
The whole experience has been great and has really brought home to me why I am travelling. As I said at the beginning of this journal, although I lived in a beautiful place, familiarity, though it never bred contempt, certainly made for a lack of awareness on a day to day basis of the charms surrounding you. Whereas the novelty of this landscape to my eyes has allowed me to watch and appreciate its beauty fully.
We had rain and gales for the last two nights though on this high ground things seem to blow over quickly and the days have had patches of good and bad weather, most of the photos are taken in the good weather as there is not much point standing in the lashing rain taking photos just to show the difference in weather conditions. I would think you can all imagine what rain looks like at present. It was dry but the wind was high and gusting this morning, and Phoebe was out, head up and with the wind blowing back her ears, and there was just a tiny bit of tail wagging. Not fully relaxed and at ease yet, but maybe getting there little by little.
I took the opportunity of a good look round the cattle sheds, and Andrew, very proud of his cattle and justifiably so, showed me some of the recently born calves. As I mentioned they breed Belguim Blues, British Blues and Beef Shorthorn, and are regular winners on the show circuit, and have some really good wins under their belts.
The Andrew took over from his father, and probably the same for the generation before. He told me they used to lamb five hundred ewes, but his son Jonathan is more into beef cattle, so they just overwinter a few sheep then the cattle have the land. Last night they were calving a cow with who has produced a bobby dazzler of a Belguim Blue bull calf, which they have high hopes for in the show ring, and next week one of their young bulls is off to a show and sale where it is hoped he will perform well also. The herd is called, not surprisingly, Croft End Pedigrees and here are some of the photos I took, though a bit fuzzier and unfocused than I would have liked. All animals find strangers a bit unsettling, particularly doggy smelling ones, which I am sure I am to other animals - and possibly to more sensitive humans – I am normally covered in enough dog hairs anyway
By delaying my journey I hope I haven't missed that much in the way of Northern Lights, as I think the weather has been pretty similar up in Scotland and unless there is a clear sky obviously one is not going to see anything anyway.
Assuming I make it to Shetland (I have been told that The Shetlands is not the correct term) I was never aiming for the main Up Helly Aa which is held in Lerwick and is the one which always makes it onto the news. I thought it would be too crowded for me to really enjoy, but according to the Visit Shetland website, there are a series of smaller more rural Up Helly Aa in various parts of Shetland.
Originally I was aimint to get there in time for the one after Lerwick. Then after all the scooter lift delays it was to be the one after the one after. But now I am thinking of aiming for the Northmavine Up Helly Aa, which is held the third week in February. Then there are another two, though those will involve onward ferry journeys and I will need to see if Thebus will fit first. There is one in Yell and another in Unst which isn't until early March, so I can feel more relaxed about getting there.
I can't make either of those then there are another two towards the end of March on the Mainland, and if I have done them all by then I should be well and truly Up Helly Aa'ed out!
Hopefully PrizewinningBelgium Blue Bull Calf from Embryo
With his surrogate mother
Andrew with Young Bull off to Show and Sale in a couple of weeks
Home Bred British Blue with pure bred calf
Home Bred Beef Shorthorn with pure bred calf
Day Old Beef Shorthorn Heifer Calf
Three Nice Young Home Bred Heifers
Some pictures from round the farmyard
Snow on Dunfell -You can just make out the Weather Observatory on the top
And just showing slightly to the left is Cross Fell which is the highest point of the Pennines
One Last View from Thebus Window this evening
With Murton Pike showing clearly in the sunlight
Two more pictures of same bull
from different angles.
I don't know what he is called but perhaps he should be named
apologies to any vegetarians reading this