Having been blown away by the Kingfishers up at Kirkcudbright last year, I’d been looking at when we could go back for another visit but struggling to come up with a plan due to it being so far away – originally, there was a possibility of visiting during our holiday in October but this was scuppered when we decided that we’re now going to the other side of the country! More on that once plans are finalised.
However, imagine my delight when I found out that there was a hide only a couple of hours away in Lincolnshire – well, I jumped at the chance and duly booked my space for a Monday in July. Once the booking was accepted and I found out the start time (7am), I decided that I didn’t fancy driving up on the day so I set about finding a cheap place to stay overnight.
A quick search on Google and I’d found one – the alarm bells did start ringing when I was quoted £30 for the night and, even more so when they reduced the price to £25 because I didn’t need the breakfast, but I kept telling myself that “it’s only for one night” and it was only 5 minutes from the hide.
Sunday afternoon arrived and I loaded up the car – how much ‘stuff’ does one person need for an overnight stay? – but was a little put out to see Mrs A dancing a jig as I left (I think she’d planned a cosy afternoon curled up on the sofa with the dogs and a film).
The journey started off OK but fell apart when I arrived at Milton Keynes – I don’t do satnavs so had mapped out my route and was following the instructions, but decided I’d taken a wrong turn and back tracked a couple of miles before realising that I had been going the right way in the first place!
Anyway, I finally found my way through MK and the rest of the journey was uneventful – until I arrived at the B and B. As I made my way through the town, I decided to scout out where I was staying and then drive to the hide to time the journey so that I could get as much sleep as possible (wishful thinking, as it turned out!).
Having timed the journey and stocked up with food, I parked up at the guest house and was met by the owner who took me to the back of the house where the ‘rooms’ were – the ‘rooms’ were in an extension off the main house and each one was off a corridor which meant that, when I opened the curtains, the view I had was of a brick wall about 3 feet away!
The room itself was small but at least it was clean, although a bit ‘dated’ and had an ensuite – I couldn’t open the door to the ensuite fully because the bed was in the way, but that’s a minor issue.
You’ll notice that there’s a bit of a theme going on here because the ensuite wasn’t the biggest I’ve seen and neither were the beds, as I found out when I tried to get to sleep and found my feet hanging over the end – which probably contributed to the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever had or rather didn’t have – I haven’t mentioned about the gate into the corridor that was attached to the outside wall of the room I was in and banged every time someone came through it!
“IT’S ONLY FOR ONE NIGHT” I kept telling myself.
OK, so enough of that – the highlight was still to follow, and on the Monday morning I arrived at the site to meet up with two other photographers before being taken off to the hide which was a couple of miles drive away.
We settled in – this is probably the most comfortable hide I’ve ever visited (upholstered seats, coffee facilities, carpet and a toilet!) – and we didn’t have to wait too long
before a male Kingfisher arrived, perched up and posed for us.
The visits continued throughout the day, mainly the male, although we did have one visit from the female, and had no more than 20-30 minutes between each visit – a long but brilliant day, which was so good that I delayed leaving for 2 hours because I simply couldn’t tear myself away.
Once again, I have to say that we have found an absolute gem of a place and will be visiting again in the near future – many thanks to Tom Robinson for providing such a terrific opportunity and one I can thoroughly recommend.