The Pheasant Incident, Alloway, Ruined Castles, and Falconry

The Pheasant Incident, Alloway, Ruined Castles, and Falconry

When we woke up this morning it was a little rainy, but not too bad. We took to the car and drove North to Alloway to visit the birthplace of Scottish poet Robert Burns. About a mile from town, we decided to hunt some Pheasant…with our car! (Accidental hunting Mom, don’t worry. We didn’t do it on purpose.) The poor guy ran across the road like a roadrunner, took flight way too late and ended up hitting our bumper on the driver’s (right) side of the car, flying up into the side-view mirror (thud!) and ending up somewhere in the bushes. These birds weigh about 3 pounds so it was quite the ordeal. We felt really bad, but there wasn’t really anything we could do about it. We were driving on a two-lane undivided highway with no shoulder and there was no place to go but straight into Mr. Pheasant. Apparently this is pretty common as we saw a few dead Pheasants on the road today and witnessed a truck get really close to hitting another one. When we finally got in town, we parked near the Burns Museum to check things out.

The whole town of Alloway is chock full of monuments dedicated to Robert Burns. All the sights were beautiful, but the Doon River was my favorite part. The stone bridges provide stark contrast to the lush green banks and gushing water. It was so incredibly peaceful. The museum and cottage Burns grew up in were nice as was the monument erected in his honor. By the time we finished wandering around it was about Noon. We headed back along the road and ate at a little inn we found off the road. It had pretty good food for being in a town with a population of about 25. And another great bonus…the inn was a quick walk from a ruined seaside castle. After taking some pictures at the castle we hurried back to our hotel so we could make it to falconry in time.

I’m not really sure how to set up the description of falconry for you to do it justice. All I can say us that is in the top 10 things I have ever experienced. The falconry expert Jamie was amazing. He explained to us what it takes to raise these birds and what motivates them to fly to your arm instead of just flying away. We practiced feeding them in the barn and then it was off to see the real stuff. We met falcons, owls big and small, 2 kinds of hawks, and a raven-type bird that I can’t remember the name of right now. Jamie let us handle almost all of them. They flew from the perch to our arms and back again. It was such a personal experience as we were the only ones there for the lesson. We even laid down so one of the owls could fly within inches of us. One of the most exciting parts was when Jamie let the Peregrin Falcon take flight. These birds are the fastest on earth, flying 200 mph plus all while darting through trees and trying to catch some chicken tied to a tether that Jamie was swinging. Even though it was cold, it was totally worth it. An amazing experience. I think the pictures help tell the story better than I can.

For dinner we had some great Scottish food at one of the hotel restaurants. We split small portions of lamb pot roast, beef carpaccio, chicken pie with bacon, and mushroom risotto. To close the night out we did some stargazing. The night sky here is really beautiful. Since we are kind of in the middle of nowhere, we can see tons of stars and many constellations. I even saw a shooting star, although Andrew missed it. Tomorrow we are heading back to London, but it’s a 5 hour train ride, not including the 2-1/2 hour drive to the train station so I may not do a posting unless something exciting happens. Cheers, Chelsie and Andrew

At the cottage where Robert Burns was born in, 1759.

Doon River

Daffodils are blooming everywhere here.

Castle ruins in Dunure, population 25. You can see Ailsa Craig in the background, the island where they dig up blue hone granate to make curling stones.

Our splendid hotel.

We promised to email Jamie some of these photos. I know he will enjoy them. I have such a talented husband!

Andrew feeding the raven-type bird. For those who are squeamish, don’t zoom into the picture as he is eating a baby chick. The bird, not Andrew.

Sky the Eagle Owl was stunning.

Sky and me hanging out.

Jamie said he doesn’t think of these birds as pets, but I can see a little twinkle in his eye when he looks at Sky. He is really passionate about birds of prey.

Tell me how you really feel.

Check out that wingspan!

Whisper shows off her beautiful eyes.

Silver the falcon zooming past Jamie.

The cutest bird of prey on the planet, Rhiannan is only about 8 inches tall.

1 Comment

  1. The photos are incredible! and the landscape, feels like we are there. I know u are having a fabulous time! Enjoy the rest of vacation! Love you both! MOM :) say hi to Mickey….

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