Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Muncaster Castle Day Three, Morning Hike and Castle" 9-10-08

I started this busy day by meeting my host Patrick and spent the entire morning walking the property with him. We left my backpack in a tiny little room with a tiny door to the outside of the castle and a spiral staircase that went up. Here he is standing in front of the castle looking out over the valley.
Below is the view we had that morning of the valley below the castle.
We went out into the garden, then into the woods and followed many paths and sometimes left it for the woods, Patrick knew it all like the back of his hand. This 1800 acres was his backyard!
A beautiful magical path.
Above a most gigantic Sycamore tree, the trees here are old and immense. Their canopy spans huge areas that Patrick said was a problem for the Rhododendrons trying to get light from below!
Below Patrick showed me that to tell the type of Rhododendron you flip the leaves over and look at the underside! His Rhododendrons are from all over the world and he keeps records of all their growth habits, failures and successes. He is a true master gardener.
We wound our way up the mountain, sometimes catching a glimpse of the valley through the trees, and then before you knew it a gate appeared before us.
This is the gate from the other's called a kissing gate and is designed to keep livestock from pushing the gate open but people can easily swing it one way the back the other to allow them through.
Then I looked up and this is what I saw! The Irish Sea!! Wow, how amazing it was...this part of England looks out to the Isle of Man and past it Ireland. It was such a wonderful surprise to come out of the woods and an open expanse of beaches and water!
This is a road that leads to an old church on the castle grounds.
This is a view looking back down the terrace at the castle, it was extremely wide and immensely long.
This view is looking up the valley away from the castle, it gives me a chill even now to remember how it felt to stand there looking at such beauty.
These pictures of the paintings I actually took this morning as we prepared to leave the castle. Patrick had some things to attend to and I took some shots while I waited. I love portraits and these were incredible, some were by Gainsborough, Titian and Reynolds.
Just look at how dark and rich the colors in this man's face looks! I think he was a Pennington.


camulus said...

The views seem very beautiful and subject matter for a painting, present at every turn. The woodland walk looks like it is part of a fairy tale, you almost expect a unicorn galloping towards you in the direction of the castle.

I especially like the photo with Patrick gazing out from his castle home with his trusty friend the black cat manning the canon.

Mary McAndrew said...

thanks Camulus,
I miss it so much, just remembering the views and there was so much more to explore! I would like to spend weeks just painting with my oils in the woods and valley.
Yes, I like the picture of Patrick too, he's an amazing individual, very talented poet and writer, master gardener and storyteller!
I hope I get to meet him again.

Kathie said...

Your photos are exceptional. The photo of the path in the woods looks so "Tolkien-esque" that it's crying out for you to paint it. Maybe an Alan Lee type watercolor? If anyone can render that, you can. All we need is more hours in the day for all our ideas!

Peter Frost-Pennington said...

Thanks Mary, we love your bloggs!I'm certainly pleased to see my cat "Flit" manning the cannon. We hope you can come back one day, and we'd even like to consider you hosting some form of painting/art weekend here if you can come back. Muncaster certainly is an artist's delight! We're now searching for a suitable unicorn to gallop down the Terrace!
Peter Frost-Pennington, Patrick's Son-in-Law.

Mary McAndrew said...

Hi Peter!
It's great to hear from you! I've tried to do Muncaster Castle justice, I hope I have. There is just so much to talk about as it really left a wonderful impression upon me! OF COURSE I want to come back and teach! I could spend a full week covering all the wonders of your grounds.

I'm pleased as punch to hear you've already been following my blogs! I was waiting to contact you until I had some nice tales about Muncaster up. I put links where I could to help promote your facility too. I'll help you to get everyone to know about it's wonders! I wasn't sure which number or email to use...could you send me a reply to my email?
Thanks so much, talk to you soon!
ps I have a great picture of Flit with his catch of the day, I'll send it to you when you write.

Mary McAndrew said...

Hi Kathie,
Your right about this photo, it looks magical, well it was a magical place! I have so many photos from my trip I could work from, if I did have more time (as you mentioned) I'd be painting for months!
Keep painting!