Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Monday, 29 September 2014

Have Spent a Wonderful Weekend Spotting Deer!

One of the precious things for a small country is its surviving wilderness! One of ours in the Wetlands is called 'De Hoge Veluwe', and it is situated roughly in the middle of my country.

Last weekend my friends and I trekked to Otterlo, where we had rented a woodland cottage. Our aim was to spot red deer, 'edelherten', our largest kind in the Wetlands.
Did we spot them? We most certainly did!

Photograph by Martin van Es

The weather was wonderful, and we had left early, so by 11 am we were making coffee and getting acquainted with the resident squirrels at our cottage.

Rina took this by balancing her camera onto the worked!
We knew that the red deer were supposed to be in a particular area of de Hoge Veluwe by the end of the afternoon, so we entered the national park and took the free bikes that are included in the entrance fee. Theo and I had brought our own; one of the advantages of having a Volkswagen van.
It took only half an hour cycling to reach the area where the red deer were almost certain to make their appearance, but we had hours to spend, so we cycled all around the lower part of the national park. where are those red deer? I can hear you mumble. Well: here they are!

Photographs by Martin van Es

Aren't they magnificent?!
The males were putting up a show of strength. 
Unfortunately the wind was the other way, so they kept 
their distance and we couldn't hear their 'burling' very clearly, 
but luckily all those present had brought their little lenses...

Seriously, folks, just look at that!
I didn't dare take out my Samsung...
Mind you, some of the photos shown here 
were taken by me with this little Samsung mobile, so yay Korea!
We, and approx. 200 others, watched the deer
 until they got bored and ambled off. 
Then we took our bikes back to the compound and had
 a great meal in Otterlo.

All that tracking makes a person very thirsty!
The next morning we again entered the national park and 
this time cycled the other way. This part of the Hoge Veluwe 
is more wet, with little waterways and drinking ponds.

The park commission has put up boardwalks, to help people keep their feet dry. The vegetation showed that there was water; there were plenty of little ferns, and a lot of toadstools and other fungi.

Now, I don't know about you, but I am one of those people who needs a regular wee. Obviously there are no toilets in the middle of this wilderness, so the accepted thing to do is find yourself a quiet spot and do your thing. As long as you do not leave anything behind (like toilet paper!), it is tolerated.
So, after one of my sanitary stops I had just walked back out of this copse of firs, and had put my left foot onto the sandy track, when I almost jumped out of my skin. Underneath my right foot, which I had almost but not quite put down, there coiled an adder. The only poisonous snake we have in the Wetlands.

Theo and Rina immediately started filming it, whilst I kept warning them not to agitate it. It showed its fangs once, but decided to flee instead of attacking.

We saw some red deer prints, but no more red deer. Although we did hear them roar in the distance. 
All too soon it was time to pack up and drive back to the congested West...

It was a wonderful weekend, and I cannot wait to go back there!
Okay, one more then!