Murlough is cared for as Ireland's first nature reserve since 1967, the fragile 6000 year old sand dune system offers some lovely walks. Due to the reserves wild nature you can discover birds, flowers, butterflies and more, all overlooked by the rounded peaks of the Mourne Mountains to the south.
This weekend was the annual Pumpkinfest at Castle Ward. The festival had many activities and stalls, and the Murlough staff were invited down to help with the pumpkin carving and the scarecrow treasure trial.
The scarecrow trail was a huge success, with our volunteers taking turns to man the start and finish. The children got their maps at the start, then had a great time with their parents following the map around the grounds looking for the scarecrows, and answering questions on them. Though a few did get lost, eventually everyone did find their way down to the courtyard were another of our volunteers was waiting for them with a little prize.
The pumpkin carving was a huge undertaking at the festival. Each participant chose their pumpkin at the start, then took them to have the top cut off before scooping out the insides themselves. Each child or adult then drew up their own design on the pumpkin, before taking it to be cut out by one of the volunteer pumpkin carvers. If we were not professional pumpkin carvers before, we were 2800 pumpkins later, and with cuts and blisters to prove it!