The thing with some places, like Raby Castle, Alnwick Castle, and a few other sites not part of English Heritage or National Trust but run privately, is that you buy a ticket to get in to the place, which isn’t always cheap, but allows you to visit as many times as you like within a year of buying it. Raby Castle is well worth a few visits and though we’d been back in May, we wanted a return trip to do the butterflies in the beautiful gardens there, always a spectacle.
This year was the year of the painted ladies invasion. The butterfly migrates to the UK each summer where its caterpillars feed on thistles. Every ten years or so there is a “painted lady summer” when they arrive en masse and 2019 was it.
But it wasn’t all painted ladies…
and the ladies
and it wasn’t all butterflies..
Raby has a wonderful herd of deer, and we were lucky to get close to these guys again
all pictures can be embiggened with a click full album of pretty picturesHERE
INTERIOR…….PART 1 HERE ~ Entrance Hall, Chapel, Baron’s Hall.
INTERIOR……PART 2 HERE ~ Small drawing room, Octagon Room, Dining Room
INTERIOR…….PART 3 HERE ~ Blue bedroom, Servants bedroom, Kitchen, Servants dining room.
We are finishing our time at Raby with a walk around the estate to see the deer, but first, we went to lunch. The Stables have been converted into a cafe
and Sophie and I had a table in one of the horse’s booths or whatever they’re called. Stalls maybe I think. Anyway, I had a very trendy lunch of avocado and poached egg on wholemeal toast. (I know it’s trendy because I’ve seen it in a magazine where they did a restaurant critique of a place in London). (It also had twiddly greenery bits on top of it which was another clue).
Seriously most places we go have a cafe but all serve similar stuff, homemade soup of the day, panini’s, chips, toasty sandwiches, you know the kind of thing, good, but easy. It was nice to see them make an effort to be a cut above.
After lunch we went and looked at the carriages for a few minutes
but were too excited to go and find the deer to stay very long there.
So off we went on a deer hunt. We started walking through the grounds, and in the distance, we could see the herd ~ we were creeping through the grass so they wouldn’t be disturbed
by chance I looked to our left and spotted these 3 herberts
They wandered off and we concentrated on creeping up to the herd. Of course they spotted us a mile off, we were as quiet as a buffalo on acid, and Sophie was wearing red 😀 😀
We slowly crunched forward through the grass, keeping low, and the deer slowly edged off to our right and to the side of the copse of the trees you can see
we kept moving towards them and the stag of the group must have said ‘Right my bitches, those red and green blobs are getting nearer, let’s scarper! and so they all went around the back of the copse, and then legged it up the hill and away.
Sophie and I were undaunted. The estate is a huge place but fenced all round so the deer had to be there somewhere, and we set off in the direction the deer had gone. As I got to the top of the hill, and turned the corner, I came to a standstill, I’d found one!
They’d stopped as they’d got around the corner, and when Sophie and I got there they had to scarper again!
They ran a fair distance then tried to hide under some trees
So onwards ever onwards, Sophie and I determined to get some good pictures! I hid in an old dead bush to get a bit closer
As we studied the herd it became apparent that there was only one stag, surrounded by a harem of lady deers. (? does as in doh a deer but who knows?)
You can make out his antlers if you embiggen the picture.
it didn’t take long before they all ran off again. We spotted a white calf (I think they’re calves, or maybe fawns, that sounds weird though) which seemed odd as there were no white lady deer and the stag was definitely big and brown.
We decided not to pursue them any further, we’d got some nice shots, and it was a long walk back. But on the way back we did find a few more that didn’t seem to be part of that group, or could be playing truant!
And then the best bit, further on we came across these
and these are the chap-babies who’ve grown into young bucks, and are therefore competition for Mr.Big and so not allowed to be in amongst his harem. But if you look to the right you’ll see a white face there,
who has obviously succumbed to one ladies charms when Mr.Big has been busy elsewhere, hence the white calf/fawn thing. These lads didn’t run away, they let us get quite close which made our day!
so there ends our trip to Raby castle, what a great day out!
A full album (yes there’s loads more! 🙂 of pictures can be found HERE
Information about the castle came from the following sites