Techie Plunkett - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Adventuring in Lockdown

Hello there Beastie friends! And welcome to February… Spring is now juuuust around the corner, right? And with days lengthening and daffodils and snowdrops starting to poke their way through the earth, is it possible that the lockdown is thawing out a bit too?

Paddy certainly thinks so.
“Camera, car keys, a box of travel sweeties – I think the humans are going somewhere!”

But Plunkett isn’t so sure. He suggests they check the news before they start making travel plans.Going Somewhere? Paddy and Plunkett - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Ah. Oh dear.

“Sorry, Paddy. Lockdown continues… It looks like we’re staying home for the time being.”
But Paddy, as we know, is an optimistic creature. And lockdown or no lockdown, he’s still happy to tuck into the humans’ travel sweets. Except…

“Gaaaah! Plunkett! WHAT ARE THESE? They don’t look like sweeties!”
Isn’t it lucky that tech-savvy Plunkett is on hand?
“It’s a memory stick, Paddy.”
“Come on, I’ll show you. It’ll help us put in the time until lunch.”

He selects a nice bright green one, to match his lovely mossy complexion, and…

“Pop it in the side of the computer here… We’re on our way! Look at all those photos.”

“So, where would you like to go, Paddy?”
“Oooh… How about those ones there?”
“Carlingford? Good choice!”

He’s right! It looks beautiful there.
Carlingford Lough - Lockdown Travel - B Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesLet’s swing in for a closer look.
Carlingford Lough - B Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesI don’t know about you, but this is EXACTLY the kind of view I needed to see today! And the boys’ tour isn’t finished yet… Now they’re off to Carlingford town.

“Oh cool, a castle!”
King John's Castle - Lockdown Adventures - B Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Yes, Paddy! Carlingford Castle was built by King John of England, and has been here on the shores of the Lough since the 12th century.”

And it’s not the only castle in town, either.
Castles in Carlingford - Lockdown Adventures - B Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThere’s a medieval church too. Plunkett is in raptures over all that lovely stonework.
Medieval Church in Carlingford - B Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“I’ll just zoom in here, for a closer look…”
“Do you see any leprechauns, Plunkett?”
“Noooo… Why would I?”
“Carlingford is the leprechaun capital of Ireland, of course!”

It really is, you know. Paddy pulled up this website to prove it! And if you want to capture your very own leprechaun, you can join the annual Leprechaun Hunt. It takes place in the Cooley Mountains, up behind the town.
Cooley Mountains - B Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesI can think of worse places to spend a day looking for the “little people”! The Mourne mountains are also nearby.
Mourne Mountains - Lockdown Adventures - B Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“And there are some incredible beaches, too.”
Beach at Carlingford - B Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“I’d love to go there sometime, Plunkett!”
“Well, with a little technical wizardry…”
Boys on the Beach - Lockdown Travel - CrawCrafts Beasties“… We can!”
“Cool! Hey, if we travel like this, just imagine the places we could go!”

Good thinking, Paddy. So, is there anywhere you’d like Paddy and Plunkett to virtually visit over the coming months? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

Mulroy Bay, Co Donegal - CrawCrafts Beasties

Memory Lane: Donegal Road Trips

Hello there Beastie friends! And hey, look at this – we’re nearly halfway through January already. That HAS to be worth celebrating! Now normally at this time of year, my brother and I (often with a certain small blue and yellow woolly monster in tow) would spend a day driving around beautiful Co Donegal, in the extreme north-west of Ireland. For obvious reasons, we haven’t managed a Donegal road trip in a good few months – possibly since last Christmas. Yikes!

So, I thought I would use today’s post to take a virtual road trip instead. Quick, put on the kettle for a nice cup of tea, or grab a can of the black stuff… Ready? Okay, let’s go!

First of all, it’s never advisable to start a road trip on an empty stomach. How about we kick off with a nice healthy Full Irish Breakfast?
Explorer Beastie, Eyeing up my Breakfast - CrawCrafts BeastiesDon’t worry, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to walk this off later.

Now that we’re properly fuelled up, let’s go and enjoy some scenery.
Explorer Beastie at Glengesh Pass, Donegal - CrawCrafts BeastiesGlengesh Pass is pretty spectacular at any time of the year. The last time we were there it was late summer – look at those rolling green hills! It’s also on the way to Glencolmcille, where a Beastie can dip his paws in the Atlantic if the mood takes him.
Paddling on Glencolmcille Beach - CrawCrafts BeastiesMind you, it’s not all sunshine and sand dunes here. Sometimes it can be a bit on the breezy side…
Windy Out Today! CrawCrafts Beasties… And the traffic is terrible.
Rush Hour, Glencolmcille - CrawCrafts BeastiesAll this would really give you an appetite. Lunchtime! Conveniently enough, we’re just passing through Ardara… Nancy’s Bar here does a cracking lunch, and a very tasty homemade cider.

Also, you feel like you’re hanging out in someone’s cosy living room.
Nancy's Dresser - Spot the Beastie! CrawCrafts BeastiesAlright, time to head north! And because we’re travelling by blog, we can enjoy two sunsets at two different locations. First, Fanad Head, where there’s a beautiful lighthouse to admire…
Can we reach the Lighthouse? CrawCrafts Beasties… And rocks to scramble over.
Explorer Beastie by the Sea, Fanad Head - CrawCrafts BeastiesNext, we can journey to the northernmost point of the island of Ireland – Malin Head.
Malin Head Viewpoint - CrawCrafts BeastiesThen we can cruise by the wide sandy beach at Five Finger Strand…
Explorer Beastie on Five Finger Strand - CrawCrafts Beasties… Before catching the last of the daylight on our way home.
Explorer Beastie at Sunset - CrawCrafts BeastiesDon’t forget to leave a rock monster behind to show we were here!
Rock Monster in Donegal - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd once we get home, we can warm up by the fire and swap adventuring stories.
Warming up by the fire - CrawCrafts BeastiesAaaaah! Toasty.

So, where would you next like to take a road trip to? Be sure to share your travelling daydreams with us in the comments!

Breakfast Fit For A Beastie - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Beside the Seaside on the North Antrim Coast

Hello Beastie friends, and welcome back to the beautiful North Antrim Coast! Where’s that? Right here… Although we are gradually working our way north from the red arrow, and we’re currently hanging out on the flat area just below that little offshore island.

Ireland Showing Antrim
Map borrowed from Wikipedia

Adventurous Beasties Paddy and Plunkett have been touring this scenic part of Northern Ireland for the last couple of weeks (catch up here and here if you missed the first instalments) and today, they have an appetite for even more seaside.

But first, they have an appetite for something else… BREAKFAST!
Breakfast Fit For A Beastie - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesLooks good, lads… But check out the size of that portion! Where do they put it all?!

Thoroughly fuelled up for the day, the boys headed for their first destination – Dunseverick Harbour. And it looks like there’s some activity in the waters of the harbour this morning!
Paddleboarding in Dunseverick Harbour - North Antrim Coast - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Oh Plunkett, can we have a go?”
“Probably not, Paddy… We are made of wool, after all. It looks like fun though!”
Paddy Watches the Paddleboarders - North Antrim Coast - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“… It really does!”

Not to worry, Paddy. The company behind this aquatic expedition also offer other activities that don’t involve getting your paws wet, such as rock climbing and abseiling, so you can put that on your to-do list for next time. Interested humans can find out more about Rathlin Adventures on their website, or show them some love on Facebook and Instagram!

For today, let’s find a more land-based activity. How about a trip to the local museum? That’ll do nicely… Especially since the building is so delightfully nautically themed!
Paddy and Plunkett at Dunseverick Museum - North Antrim Coast - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut once they’d untangled themselves from these coiled ship’s ropes, Paddy demanded more shoreline sightseeing.

Fortunately, Plunkett knows all the good spots around here. Let’s go rock pooling!
Plunkett and the Pool - North Antrim Coast - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesIn certain places along the north Antrim coast, the sea has created a number of large rock pools… Perfect for a cooling dip away from the currents and waves. There’s this one, above…

… And sheltered away among the rocks, in a top secret location known to only the most informed of Beasties, you’ll find Peggy’s Well.
Peggy's Well, North Antrim Coast - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Who’s Peggy, Plunkett?”
“That’s the biggest secret of all, Paddy. I have no idea!”

And it turns out the internet doesn’t either! This is one mystery that even the Beasties can’t solve.

Still, it’s a pleasant place to sit and watch the waves for a while. Aaaaaah!
Paddy Watches the Waves - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd then, to wrap up today’s coastal sightseeing tour, let’s swing by what might be one of the most beautiful beaches anywhere – Whitepark Bay.
Plunkett at White Park Bay -  Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesOn a bright day, the sands on this beach gleam white in the sunshine. But even when it’s a bit overcast, it’s a lovely spot to stroll and look for fossils. As Plunkett contemplates the wilder side of the beach…

… Paddy peers down on the tiny hamlet of Portbraddon at the other end.
Paddy and Portbraddon - North Antrim Coast - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Look how big this beach is, Plunkett! Those people look Beastie-sized from up here!”

But of course, there’s one very famous place nearby which the Beasties haven’t visited yet… Can anyone guess where? Find out in next week’s post, when it’s the final stop on our North Antrim Coast tour! See you then!

Paddy and Plunkett at Castlerock Beach - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Bushmills Beasties

Hello everyone! We’re coming in a little bit later than usual this week, but rest assured that Paddy and Plunkett are very keen to share their latest holiday adventure with you all. This week, we’ll be swinging by the small town of Bushmills and taking a stroll on one of County Antrim’s famous sandy beaches.

But first, let’s catch up with the boys where we left them last week – at Antrim Castle Gardens. And it looks like they’ve made another friend!
Paddy, Plunkett and the Hound - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThis fearsome-looking beast is the Massereene Wolfhound, and he was a handy pooch to have around back in the days when wolves still roamed free on the island of Ireland. In life, the hound saved Lady Marion Clotworthy when she was cornered by a pack of wolves on the shores of Antrim Bay. And having got a taste for heroics, he subsequently alerted the castle’s residents to an advancing party of human attackers, allowing them to mount defences and save themselves and their home.

His stone counterpart, seen here with the Beasties, dates back to the early 17th century, and for nearly 300 years he kept watch from the castle battlements. Unfortunately, his talents didn’t extend to protecting the building from fire, and the old castle burned down in 1922.

But you can still trace its outline in the granite-paved paths that wind through the gardens.

“Do we have time to walk the old castle walls, Paddy?”

“Eeek! No – our lift is leaving! RUN!!”

Looks like we’re on the road again. And where is this rather beautiful place? It looks exactly like Plunkett’s kinda town.
Plunkett at the Bushmills Mill - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Aaaah, lovely. Welcome to Bushmills, Beastie friends!”

You can understand why it’s called Bushmills. This small town used to have 11 waterpowered mills working away along the riverbanks! Today, only this one is left. Bonner Mill has been here since the early 19th century – although the building in the picture, with its cheerful red door, only dates back to about 1850. It’s now a private house, but Bonner Mill did actually keep working up until the 1950s.

So, that’s the mills taken care of… And Paddy’s found the origins of the other half of the town’s name.
River Bush, Bushmills - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThat’d be the River Bush, supposedly one of the best salmon fishing rivers in Ireland.

“Hang on, Plunkett! I’ll see if I can catch us some lunch!”

Well, you could… Or you could just head over to the Bushmills Inn.
Bushmills Inn - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesIt’s one of over 80 listed buildings in the town, although I reckon the boys’ interests are more gastronomic than architectural. They tell me it does a very good Sunday carvery lunch, and then there’s that very tempting garden.

Time for a nice refreshing Beastie beer in the sunshine? I think so!

And then… Let’s round off our visit with a trip to the oldest distillery in the world.
Old Bushmills Distillery - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe Old Bushmills Distillery opened its doors in 1608 – I’m sure they’ve made a whole lot of whiskey in that time!

Clearly the boys were very excited about seeing it, because they could barely stand still for the camera.
Paddy & Plunkett Old Bushmills Distillery - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesFortunately, they didn’t consume too many free samples, and they were able to round off their day with a nice stroll along Castlerock Beach. Just as well, because this is a big beach! You can’t tell as you approach it over the dunes…
Paddy and Plunkett at Castlerock Beach - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… But it’s really huge!
Beach Time! H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAntrim’s north coast is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches, and like Downhill Beach…

Which we visited a couple of years ago!”
Beach Beasties Frame 3 - CrawCrafts Beasties… Humans can bring their cars right down onto the sand.

However you get there, it’s still a great place to enjoy a sunset.
Sunset at Castlerock Beach - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd that unusual little building on the headland? That’s Mussenden Temple, a private library built by the 4th Earl of Bristol in memory of his cousin. Am I the only one would would LOVE a private library with a view like this?

But that’s more than enough monster activity for one day. I think the boys are “bushed” after their day in and around Bushmills!
Paddy & Plunkett Say Goodnight - Bushmills - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesNight night, lads!

Paddy, Plunkett and the Poet in Sligo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy & Plunkett’s Sligo Adventure, Part 2

Hey there everyone! We’re heading back to beautiful County Sligo again this week… And after leaving Plunkett surrounded by lush Irish greenery at the end of last Tuesday’s post
Plunkett Discovers Some Greenery in Sligo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… This time it’s up to Paddy to choose what they get up to.

So, that means the boys are up early! And after taking in the view from their hotel room window…
Room with a View - Sligo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… They hop aboard the next departing car and make for the coast.
Driving to the Sligo Coast - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Aaaaaah! I can smell the sea air already!”

And just around the next corner…
Sligo Seashore - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesI think this is exactly what Paddy had in mind! This is Mullaghmore Beach, a crescent of perfect sandy shoreline that stretches for 2 miles along the Sligo coastline. Paddy can’t wait to feel the sand under his paws!

Plunkett’s happy too. He’s found the picturesque harbour, and he’s planning to take a quiet stroll among the boats.
Mullaghmore Harbour, Co Sligo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut on the beach… Look out, Paddy! HERE BE MONSTERS!
Paddy and the Jellyfish - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesEeeek, look at the size of these jellyfish! Paddy doesn’t seem to be afraid of them, but maybe we’ll skip the dip in the Atlantic Ocean for today, and seek further adventures inland.

Back to the hotel we go! And eagle-eyed Plunkett has spotted something interesting in the street below.
Paddy and Plunkett in Sligo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBetter go and have a closer look.
Paddy, Plunkett and some famous literary legs - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Whose legs are these, Plunkett?”

Plunkett Meets Yeats - Sligo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
“It’s W.B. Yeats, Paddy. In fairness, he’s better known for his poetry than his pins! Let’s climb up and get a proper photo.”
Paddy, Plunkett and the Poet in Sligo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThat’s more like it!

And for anyone else who’s never met William Butler Yeats before – he was (and still is) one of Ireland’s most celebrated poets. His career spanned 6 decades, and in this time he helped to spearhead the Irish Literary Revival, co-founded Dublin’s Abbey Theatre (which is still open today) and scooped the 1923 Nobel Prize for Literature.

But what’s the Sligo connection? Although Yeats was born in Dublin, and divided his youth between there and south-east England, his mother’s family hailed from Sligo. Many of his childhood holidays were spent here, and it’s not impossible to imagine that the beautiful wild countryside inspired the work that would make him famous, and fuelled his lifelong interest in the myths and legends of old Ireland.

The boys aren’t surprised to learn that W.B. Yeats is also buried nearby, so they go to visit his final resting place to round off their trip.
Yeats's Final Resting Place in Sligo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThen there’s juuuuuust time for a little refreshment before they head for home!
Refreshments in Sligo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesHave you had any adventures on your own doorstep recently? Be sure to tell us all about it in the comments!

As for us here in Beastie Towers, we’re going to take a couple of weeks off to enjoy the delights of the Irish summer. So we’ll return later this month, hopefully with lots of new monster adventures to share!

See you then!

Relaxing on Glencolmcille Beach - CrawCrafts Beasties

Flashback Friday – Beasties by the Seaside

Hello Beastie friends! Is it really Friday again already? And what’s with all this talk about the seaside?

Well, this week for Flashback Friday I wanted to revisit a little lady monster from back in 2016 – hey there, Mermaid Beastie!
Mermaid Beastie Makes her Escape - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut her fishy tail…
Mermaid Beastie's Tail, by CrawCrafts Beasties… And aquatic-themed accessories…
An Unconventional Use for Starfish - CrawCrafts Beasties… Made me realise that it’s a veeeery long time since I was last at the seaside. So, as well as a timely reminder that Beasties are found under the sea as well as on land, I thought I’d take a trip to the coast through some of my old photos.

Look, here’s Explorer Beastie enjoying the sun and sand in Lanzarote, from this adventure back in 2014!
Explorer Beastie on Black Sand BeachAnd while he was living it up overseas, I took Victorian Explorer Beastie to the seaside town of Bray, just south of Dublin!
Victorian Explorer Beastie on the Beach

Paddy and Plunkett enjoy the odd day at the beach too. Here they are at my favourite childhood haunt… Crawfordsburn Beach in County Down, Northern Ireland. I spent a lot of time clambering over these very rocks looking for rock pools!
Paddy and Plunkett Take the Scenic Route - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThat said, not all of their seaside visits have gone so smoothly. In this post from 2016, the two of them ended up in a bit of a pickle after someone let Paddy take the wheel…
Beach Beasties Frame 3 - CrawCrafts Beasties

And finally – one thing I’m really looking forward to when the travel restrictions are completely lifted here is getting back to Donegal. Spectacular scenery, great eating spots and, if you visit off-season like we do, miles of deserted beaches to enjoy! See for yourself!
Beastie Hide and Seek - CrawCrafts BeastiesHow about you lot? Are any of you still able to get to the beach, or are you longing to feel sand between your toes again? Let us know in the comments!

And we’ll be back on Tuesday with the last part of June Beastie’s travel diary… See you then!

Paddy's Pool - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy, Plunkett and the Fish Pond

Wait a second… FISH POND? I thought the boys were off to Senegal!

Apparently not. They were all set to go, but as they headed down the coast, they were won over to the idea of a quiet day at the seaside. Then…
Mysterious Building by the Sea - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Hey, what’s that weird-looking building in among the rocks?”

Once again, the Beasties’ curious natures get the better of them and they have to at least go a little closer! Fortunately, the next thing they stumble upon is this sign, which tells them everything they need to know.
A Famous Fish Pond! H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesSold! As we know, the boys can’t resist an aquarium… And how often do you get to visit a famous fish pond?

Especially if it also looks like a castle…
Portlogan's Fish Pond - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesLet’s go inside!

Portlogan's Fish Pond - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAha! Nice one, Plunkett… You’ve found the fish pond!

This pool started as a natural inlet from the sea, but it was enlarged by the local laird (landowner) between 1788-1800, with the help of a few French prisoners of war. Look, the date of completion is right here on the rocks!
Fish Pond Rocks - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesWhat did he want a pool for? Well, in the dark days before the fridge-freezer, a “fish larder” like this one meant that the family could keep sea fish handy and fresh all year round!

These days, it’s enjoying a new role as a marine life centre. Paddy can’t wait to make more fishy friends! But wait, what lies at the end of this rather spooky tunnel?
Tunnel at the Fish Pond - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Smugglers! It has to be smugglers!”
“Not quite, Paddy. It’s a nursery!”
Fish Nursery - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesIn here, fish are raised from teeny fry to adult size… Then they can move to the main pool.

Back outside, it’s time to get up close and personal with the grownups!
Fish Pond Friends - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesWow, they’re friendly! They must love the camera… Or could it be that they know when John the guide is coming around with his bucket of fish food?

After the fish have had their lunch, the boys explore a little further afield. Just around the corner, Paddy sees this.
Paddy's Dream Home - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesIs it the perfect Beastie-sized house? Not quite.

“Plunkett, look! It’s the old bathing hut!”
“What’s that?”
“It’s where people used to change before going in for a swim!”
Plunkett takes a moment to read the signpost.
“Um, Paddy? It says this was for women only, so maybe we should…”

Too late!
Paddy's Pool - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesLuckily, the days of segregated sea bathing here are long gone, and Paddy can enjoy a view of the shallow pool without outraging anyone’s delicate sensibilities. He almost looks like he’d like to go for a dip himself!
Paddy at the Port Logan Bathing Hut - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesLook! There’s even a fireplace inside, so getting dried off afterwards wouldn’t be a problem!
Port Logan Bathing Hut - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPlunkett likes it too, despite his initial reservations.
Paddy and Plunkett Move In - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Maybe we should stay here for the winter. I reckon they’d like a pair of resident Beasties!”

What’s this? Are the intrepid twosome considering a retirement from the adventuring life? You’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to find out, because there’s a new Beastie waiting in the wings to meet you next Tuesday!

See you then!

Relaxing on the Beach - Easter - CrawCrafts Beasties

Explorer Beastie’s Easter

Hello everybody! Sorry we’re a little late this week… We’ve been off enjoying ourselves over the Easter (or BEASTer) break! Still, the upside is that I had a camera handy for most of it – care to see some holiday snaps?

Our first full day away was last Saturday, and we spent it in style… Touring the Echlinville Distillery!
Echlinville Distillery, Easter 2019 - CrawCrafts BeastiesThis boutique distillery is proud of its small size, and the owners are eager to keep as much of their production in-house as possible. That means using locally-grown grain as the base for their gin, whiskey, vodka and poitín, distilling and bottling everything in that cool-looking building in the photo above… And even designing their own specialised equipment to help the process along!

Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos inside the buildings… You’ll just have to take the tour yourselves! But I did capture Explorer Beastie admiring the orchard…
Explorer Beastie and the Echlinville Apples - Easter - CrawCrafts BeastiesThose apple trees are pretty special – they’re descendants of a variety created for the original owners of the land where the distillery stands! They’ve a bit of growing to do yet, but I’m sure the Echlinville folks are already dreaming up fun things to make from those apples.

Also in the grounds… This!
Explorer Beastie Meets the Tank at Echlinville - CrawCrafts Beasties
That’s an original Soviet T34 tank from the Second World War. What’s it doing in the grounds of the distillery? Well, it turns out that the owner is also quite into his military history… And he’s hoping to eventually open a museum here. Our guide told us that there will be more tanks joining this one, plus some exhibits about more local historical events too.

Unfortunately they didn’t leave the keys in the tank, so we weren’t able to take it for a test drive. But with the tour complete, it was time for SAMPLES!

And look, an old Beastie friend is joining us!
Beastie Easter Gin Tasting - CrawCrafts BeastiesHey there, Garcia Beastie! Loyal BeastieBlog readers may remember this fuzzy little guy as one of my very early commissions. The post where I introduce him is still knocking about here if you want to see all his accessories.

Now lads… That’s a human-sized serving you’re working with there! Maybe go easy on it?
Beasties Misbehaving... Again - CrawCrafts BeastiesToo late. I suppose it’s for the best that Garcia Beastie left his skis at home today!

Luckily, Explorer Beastie’s antics on Saturday didn’t stop him enjoying his Easter egg on Sunday.
Beaster Eggs - CrawCrafts BeastiesThen the sun kept on shining all day… And Easter Monday too! Time to catch some rays.
Bank Holiday Sun - CrawCrafts BeastiesOf course, you can’t count on the sun to stick around in these parts. So when we went to the beach on Tuesday…
A Murky Day on the Beach - CrawCrafts Beasties“Hey, where did the good weather go?”

Attempts were made to sunbathe anyway…
Sunbathing... Minus the Sun - CrawCrafts Beasties… But we had more fun looking for curious things on the tideline. And where could that mysterious gate lead?
Exploring the Beach - CrawCrafts BeastiesNext, a little break to sit and watch the world (and some of the local bird life) go by. A perfect end to a relaxing holiday!
Relaxing on the Beach - Easter Trip - CrawCrafts BeastiesSo, did any of you get away for a spring break? Be sure to tell us all about your adventures in the comments!

And join us again next week, when I’ll be revealing the secrets of Explorer Beastie’s beauty regime!

No, really.

See you then!

Explorer Beastie at Glengesh Pass, Donegal - CrawCrafts Beasties

Coast to Coast

Hey there everybody! It’s great to be back after our little blogging break – and Explorer Beastie and I even had time to squeeze in a quick adventure while we were away! On Saturday, we took a trip right across the top of the island of Ireland to spend an afternoon in the beautiful rugged countryside around Glencolmcille in Co. Donegal.

Of course, when you find yourself out that way, it’s impossible not to stop at Nancy’s pub in Ardara for a tasty lunch. You’ll have to go a long way to find better fish dishes, and washing it down with a glass of their farmhouse cider is a must! I would have photographed my food for you all to enjoy, but I fell upon it like a pack of ravenous wolves… So here’s Explorer Beastie enjoying the cosy ambience instead.
Beastie Lunch Break at Nancy's, Ardara - CrawCrafts Beasties
Feeling pleasantly full, it was time to continue our journey… Next stop Glencolmcille! Although we did have to take a quick pause along the way to enjoy the dramatic landscape at Glengesh Pass…
Glengesh Pass, Donegal - CrawCrafts Beasties…And to let Explorer Beastie stretch his legs by climbing all over the signpost.
Glengesh Pass Sign Climbing - CrawCrafts Beasties

Then, back in the car…
On the Road to Glencolmcille - CrawCrafts Beasties… We watched the scenery zip by the window, and the sheep-spotting really began in earnest!
Sheep and Scenery - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd once we arrived in Glencolmcille, Explorer Beastie decided to hitch a ride in a slightly more rustic mode of transport!
Beastie Barrow! CrawCrafts BeastiesWe had high hopes of exploring the Glencolmcille Folk Village, but we’d arrived a little too late to be able to take a proper look around before closing time. We were still able to take a peek over the wall though, and it’s going on the to-do list for our next visit!
Glencolmcille Folk Village - CrawCrafts Beasties

And hey, what’s that over there?
Travelling by Map - CrawCrafts BeastiesLooks like Explorer Beastie has found a quicker way to travel around Ireland in a day.

“I can see our house from here!”

He also spotted some more woolly friends from his lofty perch. So, we had to go and take a closer look!
Sheep at Glencolmcille - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd is that a beach I spy in the distance?
Beach Beasties! CrawCrafts BeastiesWhy yes, yes it is! That would be a perfect place to wrap up our day trip, don’t you think?
On Glencolmcille Beach - CrawCrafts BeastiesNot too bad at all.

“Aaah, this is the life!”
Relaxing on Glencolmcille Beach - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd after a quick game of hide and seek in the long dune grass …
Beastie Hide and Seek - CrawCrafts Beasties… Maybe it’s time for a paddle?
Paddling on Glencolmcille Beach - CrawCrafts BeastiesVery refreshing!

And then, with one last look back at the cliffs in the distance (we’ll definitely have to tackle those on a future trip too)…
Last Look at Glencolmcille Beach - CrawCrafts Beasties… It was time to head back home!

Have your summer wanderings taken you anywhere interesting lately? Be sure to tell us all about it in the comments! And we’ll be back on Friday with a whole family of new Beasties to share. See you then!

Paddy and Plunkett at Clovelly Harbour - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy and Plunkett in Lovely Clovelly!

Phew! It’s been a busy old day… Hence the slightly later than usual posting time! Fortunately, the subject matter for today’s post is a lazy stroll around one of the prettiest and most unusual places that Paddy and Plunkett have visited in a long time. Welcome to Clovelly, a village in northern Devon which has been privately owned since the 13th century! It’s built on a veeeeeery steep slope, and the houses almost appear to tumble down the hill into the harbour…
The Houses at Clovelly - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesClovelly is well-known for its beautiful cobbled streets, which are apparently made from stones gathered at the beach below. Paddy wanted to take a photo of himself with the sea waaaaay down at the bottom of the main street…
Paddy Admires Clovelly Harbour Below - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… But then Plunkett commandeered the camera for a snap of the cobbles themselves.
Clovelly Cobbles - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Beautiful! Look at those nice smooth edges!”

Fortunately, Paddy was able to regain control of the picture-taking by telling Plunkett that there were even better cobbles further down the hill. Normal service resumes!
Plunkett admiring the Clovelly Cobbles - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesYou might have noticed already that these streets, as well as being very steep, are also reeeeeally narrow. And that makes Clovelly officially a car-free zone! In fact, using any form of wheeled transport is pretty much impossible – although I wonder how many runaway carts ended up in the harbour before they figured that one out?

Anyway, back in the day, donkeys did all the -ahem- donkey work of ferrying people and their chattels up and down the hill. But that’s a hard day’s work for anyone, and these days you’re more likely to see the donkeys taking it easy in the sanctuary at the top of the hill. So if you want to move anything, you’ll be using one of these!
Paddy Hitches a Ride to the Harbour - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThese sledges are what locals use to bring home their shopping. After parking their cars up at the top of the hill, they load up the sledge and bring their deliveries to their front door on foot. At least it’s downhill all the way!

And as you can see, Paddy has found the perfect way to turn this system to his own advantage.
“Hop in, Plunkett! Let’s get a lift to the harbour!”

Their journey took them past some of the achingly pretty shops and houses on the main street…
Clovelly Shops and Houses - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… And soon they could look right into the harbour from above!
Clovelly Harbour from Above - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesIt’s lucky the tide’s out, or Paddy probably would have tried to dive in! The lads decided to opt for a sedate walk down to sea level instead.
Paddy and Plunkett at Clovelly Harbour - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Ooooh! It’s beautiful!”

And the view behind them wasn’t bad either!
Clovelly From the Harbour - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe only thing they have to worry about now is how to get back up that hill!

We’ll be rejoining Paddy and Plunkett in a couple of weeks… Because now it’s MY turn to go on holiday! I’ll be taking a break from blogging while I’m gone, but I’ll be posting on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as I travel.

See you again on the 19th for fresh Beastie fun!