Hello again, since I last wrote the wind has grown warmer, the sun shines longer and the bird song is a crescendo in the mornings. Spring is on it's way!
With our early Easter break now complete I have quite a list of happenings at Kielder.
The Ospreys have landed! Nest's one and two are habited and there is a concise, day by day account by our Osprey Watch Volunteer Joanna Dailey at http://kielderospreys.wordpress.com
Kielder Castle Café has a large screen for you to watch live HD footage of the nests and the shenanigans that our amorous visitors get up to, if you do get embarrassed you can always walk to the counter and order another large slice of carrot cake.
During the Easter Break plenty of visitors took part in the activities available at Calvert Trust .(Kielder) Tara Martin (Team Leader Business Developer) explained to me just how popular the activities had been, with their 'Laser Clays', Indoor Climbing Wall and 'King Swing' being the busiest events.
Have you ever tried any of these? I've taken my family to most of them and it's great! I can tell you now, when it comes to “the King Swing........in Kielder, everyone hears you scream!”
In my opinion winter's recently have been a tad too long. So last year, in my infinite wisdom, I planted loads of spring bulbs ensuring the view outside our shop, and for anyone passing, would be a welcome sight of colour and spring. Didn't plan on Mr. and Mrs. Badger did I?
Unsure as to why my green fingered dedication had not come to fruition I ventured over to my 'public garden'. Only to find the tell tale signs of a dug up landscape and snurgled bulbs. A rethink for next year methinks. Is there such a thing as a 'ScareBadger?' Job vacancy at Kielder Village Store, insomniacs only need apply.
Ah, yes, a pleasant wildlife tale that was quite unexpected from a customer who visited the area and our shop. A gentleman approached and asked whether Kielder had Eagles within it's boundaries. I am no birdwatcher, but on hearing this my focus had drifted from retail to bird tails.
“I may have seen an eagle” He explained and we mulled over this away from the counter in hushed tones.
“An eagle, Kielder? “
But after a small discussion it soon emerged that neither of us could recognise a budgie from a raven and so felt a bit like the blind leading the blind. Until the gentleman explained he had some photo's of this eagle like bird. Well, all I can say is that camera technology today is a far cry from my Kodak special from the 70's. He opens this wonderful camera to show me the digital image on the back.......and reveals, a speck!
Concerned that my long range Aircraft Recognition skills from the RAF Regt. Were being resurrected I reached for my specs, only to be confronted with a crystal clear image with one stroke of his fingers on the screen. And there was this amazingly clear shot of a 'big' bird of prey filling the screen.
As mentioned before, we were no 'Twitchers' and so with his HD picture and a helping hand from Mr. Google via my laptop we worked out together that it wasn't a Kielder Eagle but one of our Goshawks!
He'd been able to watch the raptor land, eat, fly and soar. An amazing experience, he will never forget and myself happy to share.
Another welcome visitor is the Oystercatcher around the reservoir. We have a few pairs settling, they are always a pleasant sight to see. [Photo. Kind permission of Michael Roberts.]
Now, Kielder is not all just fresh air, trees and wildlife. It has the most pleasing countryside for outdoor events and one of these which we were proud to assist in was the Newcastleton Cross-Border Classic. A cycling road race of 70 miles which takes in “2 Days, 2 Countries and 4 Counties.” Organised by SIP events (www.sip-events,co.uk) who have a grand history with Kielder having hosted the Kielder 100 here for the last three years. We had a 'pit stop' outside our shop. The weather was truly kind to all with some of our chocolate goodies having to be put away as the sun melted them! Yes you read correctly.....we used the term melt. Don't get me wrong, the morning started for the riders at a bone chilling -8 degrees, but soon warmed up and the clear roads and clear air proved to be a winner for all.
I had a band of willing volunteers from the youngsters in the village. Each had a task and dutifully they performed all morning. The competitors were great and for us it was a pleasure to wish them well and to assist for the last 13 miles of their journey. Thank you to the competitor who congratulated me on the 'best cup of tea ever.' I ahem......practice quite a bit.
Check out the coverage and feedback online, it was successful day for all!
If you are interested in enjoying the area and feel the need for a bit of a cycle how about the checking out these sites for future events. The Bellingham Blast in particular is a family event too.
On Friday 12th April Kielder Castle hosted Wyrd Times in the North . It was a 'spoken word extravaganza.' Organised by Wyld-Fire. we were entertained all evening with vibrant stories and poems by such colourful characters as the 'Wandering Vagabond' and 'Chosen Angel'. The Kielder Castle Café kept storytellers and the audience sated with offerings of prime tuck, wine and beer throughout the event. There was an opportunity for anyone else to perform with an 'open mike' session. We listened to poems and a captivating guitar session.
The evening was a great success, and the castle with it's atmosphere and character was a truly great venue.
The next day Wyld-Fire hosted traditional art workshops in their studio at Kielder. A great day for much business and accomplishment under the teachings of Gordon and Lily. More Wyrd times planned in four weeks time, with a discount if you attend both days.
An anniversary has approached for Kielder. It's been a quiet celebration, but quite a milestone for the local area. Our new build fuel station is a year old!
Well, in 2008 the station closed and for anyone in Kielder or the surrounding area a trip to the fuel station was not a quick fix. 38 miles to Bellingham was our closest top up. If you needed fuel during a weekend then it was a 60 mile round trip or more to refuel.
We now have an unmanned 7 day a week chip and pin fuel station. Allowing us the freedom to refuel when required without planning ahead.
The station is run by the community on a voluntary basis and a charging post has been erected for those brave individuals who venture to the wilds in a battery powered vehicle. To be fair the area has charging facilities all the way down the valley from Bellingham, Falstone, Stannersburn and now Kielder, so there is little chance you can 'run out of juice'.
Mid March saw the Roger Albert Clarke Rally rush through our greenwood tracks. With a high pitched revving and plenty of throaty roars the souped up rally cars entertained enthusiasts young and old.
Now I am a hardy so and so when it comes to the cold, I have a little insulation of my own collected due to an unhealthy affection to pies and rural pubs. (before anyone else mentions the obvious) So, with a couple of other stalwarts of Kielder (Mr & Mrs G) I joined a band of volunteers manning one of the car parking areas. How cold was that wind? Bitter, biting and relentless. The spectators were a hardy bunch, some waiting an hour or two to see a few minutes of high octane thrills.
To all of the spectators and organisers, thank you, for your enthusiasm, politeness and for being there. The local charity was able to raise £200 from your donations. A great achievement.
And on that high note I shall leave you, my newspapers have just arrived and we can't have those still in their bundles too long now can we? Thanks for reading and I'll return in a few weeks time with more Kielder info.
If anyone has had any experiences, photo's or info you would like me to mention by all means send me an e-mail to: www.kieldervillagestore.co.uk.
All the best
Kielder Castle Cafe is integrated in the ancient Kielder Castle, built in 1775 as a hunting lodge for the Duke of Northumberland. The cosy family run cafe serves locally sourced homemade food daily including breakfasts, lunches, snacks, soup and cakes.
Fully accessible, comfortable Scandanavian lodges set in the beautiful Kielder Water & Forest Park and close to the tranquil shores of Kielder Water. Activities and home cooked meals are also available.