Back in May we were in Holland, visiting relatives, and although for once the weather there wasn’t great, we did have a few good days. On one of them we went on a long walk with the dogs and as the area in the north-west (Frisian) part of the Netherlands is mainly rural, we were walking around farmland.
Unfortunately it isn’t like in the UK where you can get up close to any animals in fields. Most of the fields are surrounded by wide drainage ditches, I really wanted to get nearer this mare with her foal, but unless I waded over mud it wasn’t possible.
There are horses all over the place, a real paradise for horsey people, apart from the fact that you usually can’t get close enough to pat them. They were always interested to see us though.
I used the video facility on my camera for the first time, to film the Dutch branch of the Skirving family’s horses. Earlier I had fed them by hand and I think they were expecting some more food from me, so they moved across to me quite quickly and I was a bit alarmed as I was on my own. Would they stop at the fence or try to walk through it, if they wanted to get out I’nm sure they could easily. I suspect they know they live a nice easy life there though!
Anyway, you can here me saying a rather scared ‘hello.’ It doesn’t sound like me. My voice isn’t normally so high-pitched. It must be nerves. Those horses are big beasts, the biggest is called Oliver, about 17 hands high, he’s on the right. Prior to meeting these horses my closest encounter with anything like that was an amble along a beach on the back of a donkey!
When they realised that I didn’t have anything exciting for them to scoff they backed off and I swear to you that they posed for this photo when I stopped filming. Tara’s the one with the white face and she is the naughty one, you have to keep an eye on her as she is apt to take a nibble at you. My brother says that most mares are like that – he would!
So here we are again for part two of that rural walk in Fife and this is another photo of a horse, the one which didn’t come down for a drink but just wanted to see what we were doing. He wasn’t at all impressed with us.
Onward and upward! A golf course does bite into the farmland but I try to ignore that fact as there are so many of the flaming blots on the landscape around Fife.
Yet another path which is going to look entirely different within a couple of weeks.
Some daffodils on the edge of the path.
Eventually you reach this ruined tower which I think has something to do with the Scott family of Michael Scott fame.
Further on you get this view of the tower and you can see that there are people living right next to it in converted farm buildings.
Looking in another direction you can see a railway viaduct which is still in use and the Firth of Forth beyond it. The hills of North Berwick on the other side of the Forth are visible if you click to enlarge.
This is Jack yomping along amongst the broom which is blooming early this year, some of it has been flowering for weeks. This part of the countryside was a railway track which was closed down in the 1960s when Dr Beeching devastated the British railway system, cutting off many rural areas completely. It later transpired that Beeching had an ulterior motive as he had gained financially from the exploit. Surprise surprise!
A close up of the broom, so called because it was cut and used as brooms in the distant past. Its botanical name is Planta genista and it is what the Plantagenets took their name from as it was their emblem.
As you can see the ground here is very marshy and some of it is flooded despite the fact that it has been really dry recently.
On the way back home now and I took this photo of the tree shadows on a ploughed field, it looked much better in reality but it’ll be interesting to see the contrast when all the leaves are burgeoning in a few weeks.
More tree shadows.
It’s nice to be able to have a walk in the countryside on my doorstep but it has to be said that there’s not much in the way of wildlife. We met four horses, one flying goose, one boxer dog, one rottweiler(scary), we heard one cockerell and said hello to two friendly farm women – and that was it, apart from one very long-dead sheep. It took us two hours and ten minutes to complete the walk and if I sat in my garden for that long I would see hundreds of birds visiting it. The countryside seems to be fairly bereft of birdlife, I suppose there are richer pickings for them in gardens.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed your walk, we went home and made some coffee, so imagine you’re having some coffee/tea and cakes along with us, I wish I could offer you some real ones but at least the virtual ones are calorie free!