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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Flying geese

Pete, Nicola, Lola, 9, and Nell, 6, spent three happy months during the summer of 2007 traveling around Britain. Now we’re home but the travel bug is still there. Join us for occasional sightseeing plus tips on how to shrink your carbon footprint… This post is from Nicola

It’s one of the best sights in the world – skein after skein of geese, some arrow-headed but all making that heart-stopping geese gaggle as they search for the best night time stop over. The pink-footed geese (with distinctive white bottoms and, obviously, pink feet) have been in Iceland all summer but in late September/October thousands appear around the shores, marshes and grass fields of Holkham, Norfolk swiftly followed by bird watchers with hefty binoculars (bins), tripods and industrial sized Thermoses for piping hot mugs of tea.

Seeing the geese is a small miracle - and even more so since the world's total breeding population of these birds (approx 100,000) has been under threat in Iceland as it is at the same spot as the proposed site of two hydro-electric dams. My details are not up to date, but it makes me giddy how easy it could be to destroy these birds' essential habitat for ostensibly a good, low carbon project. What a terrible loss the end of the geese would be.

If you are at Holkham when the geese come in at dusk (or maybe drinking tea or beer in the nearby Victoria Hotel – a Chelsea-on-sea style pub with wit, atmosphere, dogs, Rajasthan fittings and a hearty game menu) then it is easy to suggest the earlier part of your carbon-light day. Go for a cycle around the collection of villages prefixed Burnham so you can hero worship Nelson, enjoy village ponds, prowl around antique and boat yards, stop-off at Bircham Windmill on the B1153 and finally get to Holkham with its craft village, big house and shrine to agriculturalist Coke before going to see those honky tonk stars on the grassy side of the marshes near the pine-wood bordered dunes.

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