Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Britain from A to Z: C


While riding along on our tour bus in Scotland, England, and Wales, I couldn’t help but notice how similar the countryside was to many areas in the United States. Crop farming, animal farming, flat land, rolling hills, and mountainous areas. Grass, trees, shrubs, flowers, and rock. All pretty common stuff. However, there were a few things that were different; as least different as far as my experiences go.

One thing was the amount of sheep. It seemed that 70% of the rural land we saw was devoted to sheep grazing. In fact, one place we stopped at didn’t even have the sheep contained. They just wandered wherever they pleased. If they were in the road, they had the right-of-way. Perhaps there are areas of the US like that, but I don’t recall ever seeing them. The next most popular use of the land I saw was probably split between cattle grazing and growing crops. In the US, these seem to be the top two uses.

In the US, farms make extensive use of fences. They divide people’s properties as well as keep animals off the roads. There were a lot of fences in Britain also, but it seemed as if the great majority of them were stone fences. There were miles and miles of stone fences covering the land, even up on steep hills and mountains. I guess this resulted from how plentiful rock was. In many of these areas, there was much more rock on the hills and mountains than there were trees. I guess that is why many of the towns also used stone for buildings rather than wood.

One final observation. The roadsides appeared to be lined with hedges much more than here in the US. I can’t tell you how many times I would raise my camera to snap a photo and before I could push the shutter button a hedge appeared and blocked my view. I learned quickly that I had to look ahead for potential photo opportunities, ready my camera, and snap just as soon as I could to avoid those hedges. But such are the challenges of a photo enthusiast.

Scotland Countryside

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