500 MILES OF JOY

Countryfile Magazine - - Lazy Days - Al­lan Bam­ford Sawtry, Cam­bridgeshire

Thank you for your ar­ti­cle in the April is­sue (Is This The World’s Great­est Road Trip?). I read it as my hus­band and I were eat­ing break­fast. We had some leave booked and no plans, so we de­cided to hire a camper­van and try a road trip; your ar­ti­cle sug­gested the North Coast 500 would be a great taster.

Well, we’ve just re­turned from the most ex­cit­ing and stun­ning hol­i­day we have had in a long time. The weather was lovely, which I am sure helped, but the views from the road were breath­tak­ing, and us­ing your ar­ti­cle as a guide we found our­selves seal watch­ing, vis­it­ing amaz­ing cas­tles, some ru­ined and some still lived in. The food was

amaz­ing and put paid to the idea that the Scots culi­nary claim to fame is the deep-fried Mars Bar; we feasted on beau­ti­ful fresh seafood and hag­gis, of course. We vis­ited head­lands and beaches, moun­tains and val­leys, swim­ming in lochs and the sea, rel­ish­ing the space and free­dom, as well as the won­der­ful hos­pi­tal­ity of those we met, and ad­mir­ing the creativ­ity in the many craft and art ex­hi­bi­tions.

Thank you for the in­spi­ra­tion; we will be go­ing back. As your ar­ti­cle rightly sug­gests: “rather like a fine sin­gle malt, it de­serves to be savoured rather than gulped”.

Carolyn Bai­ley Bourne, Lin­colnshire

TICKED OFF

I have been a guide in Dart­moor Na­tional Park for 40 years and have al­ways given ad­vice to walk­ers about ticks. Tom Heap’s re­cent piece on Coun­try­file (29 July) and the ar­ti­cle on your web­site (coun­try­file .com /ar­ti­cle/ticks-how-to-pro­tec­ty­our-dog) are very in­for­ma­tive.

How­ever, where you ad­vise re­mov­ing ticks promptly, it should have been ex­plained how to make a safe re­moval.

A tick will of­ten in­di­cate its pres­ence by caus­ing itch­ing and a feel­ing of heat. Its re­moval should be done care­fully, ei­ther with tweez­ers or a tick card, an­ti­clock­wise, and most im­por­tantly, mak­ing sure the head has not been left in the skin, caus­ing it to turn sep­tic. Then con­sult your doc­tor if nec­es­sary.

Martin Stephens-Hodge Oke­hamp­ton, Devon

HOLKHAM MEM­O­RIES

This 84-year-old grand­fa­ther was pleas­antly sur­prised to have one very spe­cial mem­ory of time spent with grand­chil­dren brought back to life, evoked by your Au­gust ar­ti­cle about Holkham Beach (From the Pine to the Sea). The oc­ca­sion? A sum­mer ram­ble from Burham Nor­ton Beach, run­ning, pad­dling, skip­ping, dawdling to­wards Well­snext-the-Sea, where we all knew fish and chips awaited. By the time we reached Holkham Gap, the three grand­chil­dren – Lucy, Natalie and Jess (and Jess’s boyfriend Dan) – were tir­ing un­der the sun so we found some respite in the pine woods. En­ter­ing a small, silent clear­ing car­peted with pine nee­dles, sud­denly there it was: our fan­tas­tic Nor­folk Pine. It was a very spe­cial tree; mas­sively rugged and tall, yet from only four feet from the ground the main trunk di­vided into two enor­mous side branches. The whole tree just shouted to be climbed. Off with the ruck­sacks and up they all went.

And then, out of the blue, a flash back from many years ago! An­other sim­i­lar scene with chil­dren grin­ning down from an old pine tree, but this time our sec­ond son Si­mon pos­ing for a pub­lic­ity photo to ad­ver­tise a lo­cal pro­duc­tion of The Sound of

Mu­sic. Si­mon, only nine at the time, has gone on to be­come a suc­cess­ful pro­fes­sional ac­tor. I in­clude pho­tos of the two mem­o­rable scenes (be­low), decades apart.

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