Looking back at pictures taken in 2005 it would appear to have been avery good year weather
wise. I am judging by the fact that on the 2nd of October 2015 Susan along with my young cousin Caitlynn headed off to Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre. If I recall correctly it was known as Auchingarrich Wildlife Park then and the sky was blue and the sun shone. I had found out about this hitherto unknown wee gem of a place in Undiscovered Scotland. The park was nestled in the Perthshire Hills near Comrie. It was a wee bit of an eye opener, in more ways than one. As well as the park it was also a farm, a Bird of Prey Centre with indoor playing areas where kids of all ages can have fun. I discovered then that Susan had a zest for life and refused to let decorum or other restrictions on how adults should behave stop her from releasing her “inner child” (see picture on left). Caitlynn was surprised at first as was I.. shocking behavior in front of my young cousin ;). We headed to the cafe (which would always be our first port of call on any visit), to enjoy coffee and a bite to eat before we set off exploring.
Outsider the cafe to the left as you leave is a small hillock with a standing stone on a small hillock. I forget how old it is, but it has been there since the year dot as we say. I posed Susan next to the stone to proved scale, and as I suspect that many of use would do, Susan reached out and touched it (see image on right). As she turned her back to the stone, I looked up with a look of horror on my face and indicated that the
stone was falling….. I got laldy from her – she discovered I had retained my service humour. We did have a good laugh over that over the years. It was here we both saw our first Kookaburra – the Australian King Fisher, funny it would be another 8 years before we say the British Kingfisher and that was on our trip to Bath via Stratford on Avon. We had a right laugh at the sign pointing “This way for the Tartan Sheep”, we ignored as we were sure were were not tartan sheep or that gullible. There are many exotic animals at the centre/park and all well looked after. We wandered among geese, ducks, hairy heiland coo (that ate bananas as a treat), the outdoor play park where the kids had fun:
Sited among the Perthshire Hills Auchingarrich provides good opportunity for landscape photography as well as wildlife (captive or otherwise). What of our younger member Caitlynn? Apart from attempting to keep Susan under control she was enjoying the experience apart from birds flying near her. She told us that she had a fear of birds as did her mother. However, she had no objections to walking through the Birds of Prey section as she was assured there would be no birds flying loose there. As we wandered around the central arena Caitlynn spotted a small “Kestrel” it was being held by its handler. She backed away from the bird which had fluttered as it was startled by some noise. The handler placed the bird on its perch, amd went to reassure Caitlynn that the bird was more afraid of her the she of it. Susan and I looked on as the handler slowly talked Caitlynn into approaching the bird, but not too near. As the handler told of the life of the bird Caitlynn began to relax and ask questions about the birds in general. After a while the handler asked Caitlynn if she would like to have the bird on her hand? Hmm, bad idea I though as I had experienced the effects of her phobia when a wee budgie escaped from the cage at home. To my surprise and to her credit Caitlynn did indeed hold allow the bird to perch on her hand, but as the picture shows she was still wary of it. Susan and I were so proud of my young cousin that day. Mind you she went with Susan to the cafe as I took a few shots of a falcon in a flying display. In all we had a great day out and as the weather was beginning to change we decided to head home after we had some tea of course. As we left the cafe and headed for the car I took one last picture.