Where do I start? The last few weeks have been quite testing for me as I have been set back health wise which meant planned days out had to be cancelled yet I struggled with the need to rest and my longing to take more photographs. It was only at the end of this week we decided a drive to some fresh sea air might help me. Perhaps we wouldn't have chosen the coastal drive along the Ards Peninsula if I hadn't have felt so unwell as we all know what normally happens when dad comes along!
It was a warm, hazy, early autumn day which helped as we stopped to view various scenes along the way to a hidden gem which I will uncover as we travel along the road. I have to say I enjoyed relaxing as dad drove and neither of us felt the need to rush which was the perfect prescription for me. To stop the car when we saw something special was part of our photo shoot, without pressure or specific details although we both managed to find a theme which will be part of our Random Clicks in our gallery next week. We saw beautiful beaches with one or two people strolling along which was a good thing as they gave a focal point to our shots. I love it when I see someone wearing a colour which I know will give my photo a little pop!
The Peninsula isn't far from our home but we could have been miles away as both of us felt we were on holiday. We stopped at Portavogie a working harbour to watch the men as they worked in their boats, preparing them for sea. Dad saw a seal in the water but he didn't come up again for a photo. Oh, I almost forgot before we reached Portavogie I thought I saw dolphins (blame my high temperature!) Dad stopped the car, I headed over the rocks (not a good idea with a severe pain in my rib cage!) I got there only to see it must have been a crop of rocks in the distance causing the waves and it wasn't dolphins dipping and diving gracefully........
As anyone who reads our blog will know we are members of The National Trust which has been the best thing we have committed to this year. I will have more to share as we are very excited about a Festival of Lights taking place in November in the grounds of another property. We had read the National Trust literature on Kearney and Knockinelder beach which enticed us to take this drive which would lead us to a hidden gem of a village.
Before we reached our destination we found a wonderful surprise along the roadside. Several farmers had all started to offer the same service but the one we purchased from had his vegetable boxes at the side of his house for 8 years. He only came out as he saw us taking photographs. People just stop and buy potatoes, root vegetables and some sold eggs. There was an honesty box at the side of the main box to put out money in. Delighted to find this trust in people and a very nice man to chat to, in fact dad was giving photography lessons before we went back to the car with the vegetables we had chosen. There was a little bowl of fresh herbs without charge to take as a finishing ingredient to whatever we made with the produce. We will go back as the last time we saw vegetables being sold like this was on the island of Jersey. Another bonus of me being unwell is that we weren't in a hurry and discovered this outdoor stall.
Eventually we reached Kearney village. Now don't expect a coffee shop and ice cream parlour, thankfully it is just a little cluster of beautiful cottages which are inhabitited with one left open by the National Trust with chairs and leaflets of information. The village and coastal path has been in the care of the National Trust since 1965. The path is maintained and the village reconstructed by the Trust based on the 1834 Ordnance survey. Thankfully they included a public convenience as by this stage I think we needed one!
We ambled along the path, picking more blackberries which I declared to be the best ones yet, so plump and juicy but we didn't collected lots this time. I enjoyed trying a few settings with my camera as there was tall grasses flowing in the wind. Fields which had been harvested presented another natural palette for me to try some aperture priority shots. I didn't want to leave this spot and could have happily relocated to one of the cottages to waken up every morning looking across the sea whilst being in the heart of the county, idyllic.
We have some research to do as we found a few watch towers and would like to know more about them. We noted some had more window holes than others but all were the same tower shape out of lovely old stone work (dad's department)
Our final stop was about 5km from Kearney at Portaferry. Lessons here as the ferry would have taken us across to the other side to Strangford were we had sat a few months ago when we visited Castle Ward! We watched people and cars disembark and board the ferry for the short trip to the other side. I was exhausted by this stage so it was back into the car to drive home without stopping along the way. The sea and country air cleared my mind but unfortunately I spent that night coughing with very little sleep. I guess I will still have to rest but I was grateful for this day trip and all the memories we have from it.
The National Trust has more hidden gems which we will explore and then blog more. Thank you for reading our blog today and we hope you can see the beauty within a few miles from our home. We can't go abroad but we don't need to when we have days like this and have more to explore. If you have read all of this, well done as it was long! Thank you for all the supportive comments posted via alongcamedad! Beverley
To find out more about this little gem visit Discover Northern Ireland