Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Donard Forest

Whilst Eleanor was in play group in Newcastle yesterday and I was waiting to pick her up, I took a stroll up the Glen River in Donard Forest.

If you're ever in Newcastle Co. Down with  couple of hours to spare, I wholly recommend this walk.

Alas, I did miss my path for a bit - I was paying more attention to the scenery rather than the route - that's my excuse!

Given more time, and stamina, this is the most spectacular way to climb Ulster's highest mountain Slieve Donard

The walk started and ended in a sea 'fret" as the mist would be called in the North East of England, but in the middle I was high in the glorious blue.

Here's a flavour of it in pictures:

it's often windy here - evidence!

a sea fret blowing in

a cold blanket mist

but the sun is breaking through, and it's only 9am

Charlie eagerly heads uphill

into the spring greeness of the forest

The Glen river makes crystal pools ..

.. and cascades as it tumbles down from Slieve Donard

oak leaves opening

at the edge of the trees, this is where I heard the Cuckoo for the first time this year

despite being largely coniferous at this point, there's a wealth of Holly trees

a glimpse of the summit - and the lower cairn to the left. Not for today though

spring is everywhere

tempting pathways

and so much green!

meanwhile, back down at the water by 11:15 - things have moved backwards

a thick blanket has rolled in

but not for long!

time to play on the beach

a budding photographer took this shot

dogs and daisies - perfect!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Feltmaking Spring 2014

We had a lovely day with 4 friends from Newtownards who came down to make felt for the day.

All had pictures in mind, and the results, each one an individual,  were stunning:
the final results!

hard at work in the Gallery
and.. our Grand Daughter Eleanor's first piece!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Terrace

We're great believers in making the best use of our assets; of these, a couple of the most important are our great, willing friends, and our stunning views of the Mournes: the main reason why people love to come here.

The view, just over the wall, you  couldn't see it if you sat down!
You may remember that we vowed to keep and reuse everything that we could from the renovation works. Well one of the less attractive 'assets' produced by the recent reconstruction of the house has been many tons of rubble. 

Thanks to the happy conjunction of the topography of the site, and some great thinking and effort by friends, we have almost completed a new terrace outside the Gallery.

This provides a new focus to the outdoor space, linking the Gallery to the Garden and the views beyond, and providing a magnificent space to sit and take it all in.

We've not met our self imposed deadline of finishing it by Easter, but it's nearly there, and at least you can see what we're getting at!

Much thanks and appreciation is due to Caroline & Paul, Ian, Gemma, Chloe &  Lynne for the great 'push' last weekend that got us here.

the beginnings of the heap

wonderful stuff!

the seemingly endless sorting out
filling in the low lane

finally, the 'heap' is gone!
the compactor plate makes a difference

hand-built slope up to the Gallery

laying out the circle

an essential bit of kit!

more shovelling


and tipping

but clean, new stones now

surveying the scene!

new flower beds

meanwhile.. lunch!

the great link

well done team!

Now that's more like it. Down to the Picnic Lawn - and beyond!
looking back