Another of my 60 by 60 ticked off!

We had been told that this was perhaps the best weekend for rhis visit, as the season was about at its height for this year. What season am I talking of? The birthing of new baby seals at Donna Nook in Lincolnshire.

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Donna Nook is normally an RAF bombing range, but during the autumn months it becomes a huge tourist attraction with visitors coming many miles to see the spectacle of hundred of seal pups, cows and bulls coming right up to the fencing. Its a photographers paradise.

I was brought almost to tears by the sight of so many beautiful creatures so close. And the noise! The bulls chase each other along the beach, protecting their territory, however small it seemed to us, they sure knew the boundaries. Pups cried and called to their mums who shuffled over to them before rolling over to allow the pups to suckle. Image

We saw one pup who the warden informed us was only 30 minutes old! It was the first time we had ever witnessed this natural spectacle, it certainly won’t be the last!

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Dragon Hunting

As part of my challenge to visit 60 places in the UK where I have never been by the time I am 60 (60 by 60) a few weeks ago, along with some friends, I went in search of a Dragon! This place is literally 15 minutes drive from my house, and I had never been in 15 years of living here!

There is a legend in and around Scunthorpe that says  that above the small village of Dragonby there is the body of a dragon that was turned to stone by a wizard. Another story claims that it is the top of a church that sank into the earth with the congregation still inside and that once a year the ghostly bells can still be heard ringing. The oddly shaped rock formation is actually thought to be completely natural, although there is a small channel that runs all the way down its back, that it is thought was put there, possibly by the people of the iron age settlement that was there. The village name Dragonby is only fairly recent, it was changed by local land owners, the Elwes family, from the original name of Conesby Cliff in honour of the dragon.

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This picture is taken from the head end looking down the Dragon’s back.

This was the first time I had been here, despite living only 15 minutes drive away for the last 15 years, but better late than never I think! The scale of it is quite staggering, and impossible to capture in a single photograph as the ‘tail’ snakes across the top of the hill on which it rests. It is easy to see where the legends came from as it was so easy to believe the Dragon was merely sleeping, even the stone felt surprisingly warm to the touch. Maybe the Dragon still lives after all!

Samhain Celebrating

Our Samhain ritual was to take place beside an ancient turf labyrinth, high up on an escarpement overlooking the confluence of 3 rivers, a truly magical place as sacred and special to us today as it once must have been to our ancestors. As we walked towards the place where our circle would be, in deep darkness, it began to sleet, only slightly, but somehow it seemed appropriate.

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We laughed as we tried to set the circle up in the dark, but soon iy was done and we could begin. All the children, 4 boys, went to the labyrinth to play hide and seek in the dark, all that is, except for the lovely Molly who joined our circle and took the part of the bread bearer.

We were a small circle tonight, just eight of us, but we were joined by many others in spirit, both Coritani members who couldn’t be there, and our ancestors of blood and bone and also the spirits of that place. As we prepared to open the circle I noticed the sleet had stopped, and a Moon just past full was peeping out from behind the clouds.

For me the ritual was deep and meaningful, as I hope it was for others too, and the releasing of the old and worn out things to the Cailleach felt very real. We shared our energies and made our connections to the land, the ancestors and of course to each other. For an evening that had shown us sleet it was surprisingly warm in that circle, but maybe not so surprising really. When we had closed the circle, the Moon, which had been out throughout our ritual, retreated back behind the clouds, not to return again that evening.

As we went back to one of our members houses, it started to rain, and by the time we left it was raining heavily, but while it counted, the Goddess once again blessed us with dry weather.

We retired inside for a lovely evening of wine, food, friendship and good humour. And as I reflect on it all this morning, I consider myself very blessed indeed to be a part of such a wonderful family, as that is most certainly what we have become, a wonderful, spiritual family.