Monday, 7 October 2019

Castle Crom and finishing the Sliabh Beagh Way

Crom - A Stubborn Optimist - an ecotherapy blog - Carrie Gault 2019

Last weekend we spent a fabulous time in a renovated pig sty under a museum at the Crom Castle estate. How's that for an opening sentence?

Crom, Wilbur glamping pod - A Stubborn Optimist - an ecotherapy blog - Carrie Gault 2019
These old spacious rooms have been very skilfully turned into glamping pods and we had 'Wilbur' for the night (named after the famous pig in 'Charlotte's Web') complete with two beds, a table and chairs, a mini fridge and microwave and a bedside table. It was so much better than camping ever could be and we loved it.

Crom, canoes and a boat to hire - A Stubborn Optimist - an ecotherapy blog - Carrie Gault 2019
The Crom estate is right on the water of Lough Erne and had we been a bit earlier we could have hired a boat and visited some of the many islands there. We'll do that next time. This trip was more about the glamping experience and being in County Fermanagh for a nice early hike on the Sunday morning.

There is however the old Castle to be found and enjoyed, a massive 800 year old yew tree (among six trees from across Northern Ireland shortlisted for the Woodland Trust's Tree of the Year), walks around the estate, cattle and deer and old buildings to discover. Plus the newer, private castle on the grounds to gaze at and dream of a luxurious life with a butler etc :)
Crom, old castle ruins - A Stubborn Optimist - an ecotherapy blog - Carrie Gault 2019

Oh there were bats at night flying right above our heads; it was the best...

A good night's sleep and hearty porridge for breakfast and we were on our way to finish the last stretch of hiking in these here parts :)

Sliabh Beag Way - A Stubborn Optimist - an ecotherapy blog - Carrie Gault 2019

We finished the last part of the Sliabh Beagh Way (part of the Ulster Way) by Sunday afternoon! 40 miles knocked off our total now and now we only have 100 miles to go to finish the whole circuit. It's so hard to believe until we break it down into all the many many long hikes we've done over the two and a half years. So many fabulous days out getting to see the real bones of our country like you just can't do from a car.
Sliabh Beagh Way, abandoned cottage  - A Stubborn Optimist - an ecotherapy blog - Carrie Gault 2019

This section was 12 miles and though my hip/back hurt so much I had to take double the painkillers, we did it and enjoyed ourselves at the same time (Toby too). We got a little rained on but apart from that it was perfect hiking weather - I LOVE Autumn.

Sliabh Beagh Way, beech nuts line the roadside  - A Stubborn Optimist - an ecotherapy blog - Carrie Gault 2019

Sliabh Beagh Way, tea break in an old bus shelter  - A Stubborn Optimist - an ecotherapy blog - Carrie Gault 2019

Sliabh Beagh Way, lovely country roads - A Stubborn Optimist - an ecotherapy blog - Carrie Gault 2019

It was a great trip and next on the agenda is the Sperrins - exciting! There are so many photos from this wee weekend that I'm going to put lots up on my Instagram if you want to pop over there. I'm still so behind myself it's ridiculous but I am trying hard to catch up!

Hugs galore

Friday, 4 October 2019

Daily photo challenge update (week 5)

It's Friday already and time for another fabulous photograph roundup :) The Fat Mum Slim September prompts finished with these being the last few, below.

A Stubborn Optimist - an ecotherapy blog by Carrie Gault 2019' Currently reading'
Currently reading... North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Almost finished in fact.

A Stubborn Optimist - an ecotherapy blog by Carrie Gault 2019 'What's my name?'
What's my name??? 😂🤣

A Stubborn Optimist - an ecotherapy blog by Carrie Gault 2019 'my inspiration'
My inspiration is...everywhere!
In capturing moments of beauty (big and small) to help me cope with mental ill health.

October is a free choice month which basically means you can take a photograph of whatever you wish but you have to do a new one every day. This means we're getting to see the things that really tickle people and most photographs are a little more personal. I prefer the challenges better when everyone has their own take on the same subject however.


Our garlic bulbs arrived - hoorah! We got 'Solent Wight' again this time from Simply Seed and have high hopes that unlike last year's batch (supplier?) they we love our allotment and do excellently well. It's been sad not having our own supply this year - it seems the plot now has all the diseases going and the soil is poorer but we have plans to change that. It was reassuring to read the Sarah Raven called this variety 'the best of all British garlic varieties which does well in our colder, greyer climes'.

Solent Wight Garlic by Simply Seed  (A Stubborn Optimist - an ecotherapy blog by Carrie Gault 2019)

We also got lots of tulips to plant there and at home and some gorgeous tete-a-tetes.
That's part of our weekend ahead though.

I hope you are all well and happy,

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

September's plot visit

I come today to my blog with a confession - I only visited the allotment plot once this past month! *you all point and say "shame" at me* But at least I went, right? And it got me feeling bad and wanting to work harder over the winter to have a better growing year this time round :)

We are going to plant more trees on the plot and more flowers in the hedgerow for the fabulous bees. It's rather exciting. First we need to clear and cover the beds and gather seaweed and other organic soil improvers and plan, plan, plan! Oh and how I would love a new shed, but alas we can't have everything.

Anyway that visit saw us clear one bed and gather a pretty surprising harvest. Please enjoy the story through the magic of my photos.....

The plot from the far end looking back at Andrew 
and Toby

A BEFORE of bed 1 😟

AN AFTER of bed 1 😀

Toby doing a stop check on the apples we harvested

Most of the harvest before the heavy rain came 

Yep, we got thoroughly poured on just as we have finished the first bed clearance and gathered up what we could as a harvest from across the plot. I have some nicer photos of our wee harvest though....
The loveliest squashes, only a few apples but they were wonderful with our bounty of damsons in a couple of crumbles :) And we ate a good lot of the potatoes and scallions with the climbing beans for dinner!

I mean I know it's not great and you aren't sitting there gobsmacked, but I should remind you that in comparison to the work put in this was a lot of good tasty food.

We were away all weekend camping and walking and I look forward to sharing that soon. I hope you are all happy and have your bulbs picked, if not planted already - our garlic arrived today, hooray!

Love and hugs from (a sleepy)

Friday, 27 September 2019

Daily photo challenge round up (week 4)

Oh my lovelies, I can't apologise enough for my absolute forgetfulness; it's shameful and believe me I am writing this with my head hung. I still haven't written about the allotment from 2? weeks ago and last weekend we did more hiking which I have neglected to get blogged for prosperity!

I need to go on an intravenous caffeine dip or I'll never get stuff done...

HOWEVER it is Friday (again!!) and thus it is time for a daily photo prompt round up in association with Fat Mum Slim.

We've come to the end of our alphabet and towards the end of the month - eek!. It's been enjoyable and I think I may be getting my camera groove back 😀 The last few days are non-alphabet prompts, as you will see here with 'Words' being today's prompt.

 U is for Unicorn talisman; always on my backpack.

V is for a View of the Virginia Creeper through the Viewfinder of a Vintage camera 😀

W is for Woven.

 X is for, well an X. Cross stitched with many little x stitches to make up the whole.

 Y is for the Yellow signs we followed all along the Cumbria Way this spring.

Z is for Zen-like (how I feel when meditating with my Tibetan singing bowl)

Words...of encouragement spray painted on the tarmac 🤗

And there we have it for another week. I endeavour to my fingers tippy tapping on the keyboard more this week coming and catch up on myself. 

Carrie x

Friday, 20 September 2019

Daily photo challenge round up (week 3)

It's amazing but I'm out and about hiking this Friday with Andrew again (he's taking a holiday day to capture this amazing weather) and thus I will be taking my photo for today ('T') whilst doing that. I'll have to do another updated post 😄

Also, and this shows what an idiot I am... I forgot to share with you my triumphant return to the allotment last Saturday! I understand if you "tut" at me but I will make reparations and fill you in soon. I shall tease you by adding that we had a great wee harvest and the place looked, umm, memorable.

Anyway the weekly round up in association with Fat Mum Slim,will wait for no-one!

N is for Namaste, friend

O is for Organ in a church in Ballycastle

P is for Pink Petals and Penpal letters

Q is for Quintessentially Toby. He loves a darn good nap in his cosy bed but pick up a camera and that eye opens instantly! 

R is for Rich Radiant Red Boston ivy in the back garden. A stunner already 🍁

S is for Skull. in this case a badger's skull.