Fly like an Eagle

We slept in since there was no boat trip. Eventually, we got up and took an hour walk along the forest path outside the grounds. It was a great walk with bridges and waterfalls, and frankly a shitload of mud. We didn’t think to wear boots, so a vigorous shoe cleaning was needed once we got back.

We were taking our time today, so a large breakfast was next. I had the Scottish Breakfast, which was Bacon, Eggs, Sausage, Potatoes, Beans, Blood Pudding and Haggis. It’s pretty much the same as English Breakfast or Welsh Breakfast. After Brexit I assume it will be NotEU Breakfast, and half the ingredients will be unavailable due to shortages. In either case, this was excellent, and I had a few cups of coffee as well to get going.

Falconry was starting right after breakfast. I originally wasn’t interested in birds landing on gloves, so we had the boat trip to Whisky DisneyLand planned, but with that cancelled for the weather, I was at the castle. I thought about writing for a bit, but since everyone else was out watching the birds, I thought I’d at least check it out for a bit.

OK, the birds were really cool.

It was a bit rainy out, but not heavy so we just had jackets on. The woman giving the demonstration had several different birds for us to see, and gave us the safety demonstration to start.

  • If you have the Glove on, keep it down.
  • As soon as you hold it up, the bird will land on you.
  • The birds are big and come from behind.
  • Don’t Panic.
  • Don’t scream and run from the birds, it upsets them.
  • The bird claws are sharp. Apply direct pressure to all wounds.

I may have made some of those up, but it was pretty close. Sasha was the first to try and had a baby owl land on her arm. It was really cute, and was squaking the whole time. Apparently it was only 15 weeks old, and fully grown. Each bird would land on your glove, get a treat, and fly back up into the tree. Unless it felt like doing something else like landing on the woman’s head, chasing a small boy, or just running around on the ground like an avian dork.

The Vulture loved running around like an avian dork. It was a seriously cute bird, but was mostly uninterested in the gloves. It seemed to like checking out our shoes. Next up was a Red Hawk that was very social. We took a little hike and he would fly around in the trees as part of our group. He shook his tail if everything was “Safe” (no predators). Then we could use the glove to give him a snack. The last two were a Kite, he never landed, but just rode the wind above us, and would catch treats in the air. Finally there was an eagle. Not as big as a bald eagle, but still a big bird. He loved swooping onto the glove, but the wind was getting stronger, and a few times it caught him the wrong way and he missed. He’d land on the ground. Look about, then fly back up for a second shot.

With all the wind we were getting now, it made sense they cancelled the boat. Once birds are having a tough time, it’s not optimal.

After our bird adventure, Yulia had a Spa day planned. We still have the car, so I drove her over since it was only 10 minutes away. She had a few hours planned to swim, use the sauna and get a facial. We looked out over the water as we drove, and it was grey and churning. The rain started in earnest now, and I dropped her off for a few hours and headed back.

It was tea time, which is apparently a thing, so I headed to the library with Henry. We found Sasha and Deirdre there, so we ordered tea and sandwiches and they read while I wrote. Time went pretty quick doing nothing for a change, and I folded everything up and went back to get Yulia.

I pulled into the spa to get Yulia, but she wasn’t ready yet. I grabbed some coffee and a snack to wait, and just sat looking over the ocean. I love watching the water, but was glad to not be out on it. It looked OK early in the morning, but we would have come back in this churning mess. Not fun.

Yulia came out shortly and looked fantastic. Her only regret was that she didn’t know about this place earlier or she would have booked the whole day. We went back through town and into the castle.

Our last dinner in the castle was back in the formal dining room. The men were all in jackets, and the women had cocktail dresses. It wasn’t fully formal or anything, but definitely dressed up for the final night. This also really emphasized the difference in men’s and women’s clothing, as the men were all sweltering in the heat and humidity, and the women were all cold. Windows kept getting opened and closed, finally settling in on one open window on the far side of the room as that was the only one where bees didn’t want to come in.

As always, the food was excellent. We made it through several courses and bottles of wine until dessert, when some truly excellent Port was brought out by Michael, and Henry brought a Bluetooth speaker from the drawing room. Some folks went to sleep at this point, and the rest started calling music out to Henry to play as we talked about the far long days behind us, long ago when MTV played actual music.

I went to bed about mid-way, as I had to drive in the morning. The Great Race would commence!

Hello Human.