Volunteering at Castle Ward and exploring County Down with our friends

While we did leave Belfast this week, we didn’t leave all our friends. In fact, Ardglass is just a few miles from where Ian and Shirley lives. After our walk around Ardglass this Monday, we went to their house for dinner and decided on two more activities for the week: on Tuesday there was a talk on Ballyholme Yacht Club in Bangor about cruising in the Carribean and on Wednesday we would volunteer at Castle Ward (where Shirley works).

Said and done, on Wednesday we went to Castle Ward in our best working clothes and helped out. The morning was spent clearing some of the walls from ivy, which grows like a weed here. The other volunteers almost did not believe us when we said that in Sweden it is common to plant it in the garden for decoration, or use it as a house plant. Again, a clear sign that even if it´s still winter, we have reached a place in Europe with a much warmer climate than our own. At lunchtime the sun was out and we decided to eat our soup outside.

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The afternoon was spent close to the water, where they are making some new forest trails for the kids. It was good for the soul to spend some time in the beautiful nature and get a full body workout doing something useful. Thank you Danielle and the volonteers for a great day!

We then decided to spend the last hours of light exploring Castle Ward – or Winterfell as it´s called in the Game of Thrones series. We did see some tourists that were dressed up in outfits from the series, including a redhead that was very convincing as Sansa Stark 🙂

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Old Castle Ward was built in about 1600 and used as a private residence until the 1720s. The “new” Castle Ward was built up on the hill with a nice view overlooking Strangford Lough. It is a nice place to wander not only beacause of the history and archtiecture, but the beautiful landscape as well.

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While we walked along the lough there were many nice birds to look at and we made it to Strangford just before dark. We met up with Ian and Shirley for a pint and that was the end of that beautiful day.

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Yesterday we made preparations to leave Ardglass. We took a break for lunch as we were invited out by Doros (whom we met at some of the cruising talks we attended) and in the night I made use of the oven in the marina to cook some nice chicken and root vegetables for dinner and coconut cookies to bring out for sailing.  But, even though we probably could have left this morning the winds were roaring in the night and we decided it was better to wait and get a more comfortable ride. So, here we are one more day in Ardglass, sharing stories with the men at the marina and eating some apple crumble pie.

Keep you fingers crossed that we can make it a bit longer south tomorrow morning, and follow our progress on the AIS!

– Petra

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Author: sailingforharmony

Cruising the oceans, exploring the world

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