We awoke to our final day in our beautiful apartment which has such a gorgeous view. We spent a little time just admiring it before we reluctantly packed up all our stuff and hopped in the car.
We had booked a birds of prey experience but on the way we decided to stop in Gloucester to see its cathedral to kill a little time. Well, we are so glad we did. The cathedral was built 1000 years ago. It was incredibly tall with a plethora of stained glass windows, and elegant tombs from 500 years ago.
We saw a door and decided to open it. Inside were the most amazing corridors, with vaulted ceilings. These were used in some scenes of the Harry Potter movies as the interior of Hogwarts.
Another very enjoyable church, probably number 40 of the trip and we have loved them all.
BARN OWL CENTRE
Then we drove a short way to the, ‘Barn Owl Centre’. This was a barn owl rescue centre. Their mission statement is the advancement of conservation of the Barn Owl and other species of Owls through environment projects, studies and other such activities that enhance pubic education and preservation of the owl. What they actually did was rescue all sorts of birds of prey – owls, falcons, eagles and try and rehabilitate them from the horrors of their previous lives. However in this England these beautiful birds are not allowed to be released back into the wild so they keep them here. We were lucky to share our experience with only one other couple. It was fascinating hearing the owner explain his plans for what was currently a run down set of farmhouses. Then came the main attraction. The first bird we went with was called the Harris Falcon which they called Miss Harris Kim’s maiden name. She was seven years old and can live to around 30. We had to take turns wearing a leather glove. A piece of chicken was placed on it and then without warming this graceful winged bird of prey came to land and feast whilst sitting on your hand. It was an incredible experience to have such a beautiful feathered falcon perch on your hand. The leather glove a reminder that we are interacting with a wild animal.
We spent at least an hour watching and interacting with this amazing creature. It definitely was scary watching it come to land on your hand!
Then it was time to see the owl. Kim’s favourite. We were both expecting a small cute thing. Oh no! This was a European Eagle Owl. They are big. Double the size of the falcon. Whilst we were with him, he decided fly off Kim’s hand to catch a rabbit. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. He was a true heavyweight! I could hardly hold my arm out straight. My arm buckled like a old broken tree branch, along with my back when this stunningly enormous owl landed on my hand. His eyes bulging full of mystery or maybe that was mine!!! I kept reminding myself he is no pet. I kept my free hand tightly hidden away so not tempted to try and give him a pat. Also so he didn’t think my free hand was food!!
We learnt a lot about these beautiful birds and we have to say that the staff here are truly dedicated. A must see !!!!
Finally we went to our final Airbnb accommodation, a hard to find cottage on a farm. Beautiful and well equipped.
We are settled in hoping the last three days go verrrry slowwwly!