I’d like to thank all our customers who send in beautiful pictures and made it very hard to decide on the winners of this years competition.
However after much deliberation here they are, the photos and their homecoming stories.
1st Prize of a week in a Cedar cabin goes to…
Julie and Gordon Steele from Edinburgh for ‘Wedding Tartan’, who had this explaination for their picture…
Gordon and I have had many special breaks at Lochend, including our first weekend away after we met, our engagement, anniversaries, birthdays and other special occassions. As you know, we were married at Lochend on Valentines Day 2009 and exchangeed our vows in the traditional manner of hand fasting where tartan (Dress Gordon) ribbon was tied around our joined hands as a symbolic way of confirming our union.
On our first day of married life we tied a small piece of this ribbon to a tree at Lochend, very close to the spot we were married and every time we visist Lochend it’s a little bit like coming home when we check to make sure that the ribbon is still exactly where we left it (and last time we checked in November it was!)
And our three runners up, receiving £50 vouchers, had great stories attached to their pictures too.
Andrea Reynolds from Swindon ‘On Top of the World!’
Being a Northerner living in the South, it always feels like coming home as we drive up the M6 to you, the pictures that depict these are attached. The thought of returning always makes me smile and being able to do things we would normally do at home, like Halloween, of which Nic will have conquered Guising, apologies if misspelt, by the time we return in October. Being on top of a mountain with my family is such a great feeling and the welcoming bubbles when we return.
Thank you for the many years of fantastic memories and hopefully many more to come.
Brid Morgan from Dundalk, Co. Lough ‘Sunset swimming’
I have spent the last 30 of my 47 (almost 48) years in search of a sense of belonging. My birth place in Lurgan, Co. Armagh, although it is my “home” never seemed to match my expectations of what “home” should be. And there have been countless other homes over the years. Homes in Belfast, in Edinburgh, in Linlithgow, in Galway and in Dublin!
Where I live now…. my “home” now, on the beautifully scenic Cooley Peninsula doesn’t quite meet my expectations either. It comes close, but I still long for a sense of belonging, a real sense of home. That sense of home for me, is somewhere I can be at peace, where there is peace, where there is freedom, freedom to breathe, a deeply spiritual place.
That’s what Lochend gives me. I am continually drawn there. I rush to Lochend knowing that that is what I am looking for and knowing that come rain or shine, it will not fail me. I leave Lochend, recharged, alive, at peace with myself and the world (and my family). As a family at Lochend, we are able to stop squabbling, fighting and running. We breathe collectively if that makes sense? I often wish I could bottle that feeling of peace, of “oneness”. I think that is why year after year I have taken countless photos of the same view out over the lake. In some ways those photographs capture that breath I take when I say “wow, I can breathe”. I have to say I’ve found it hard to choose just one photo so if you don’t mind I’ll send you two. Both simple and not exactly professional quality but nonetheless, amazing and perfect in my eyes. The first, a photo of the jetty, lake and hills, is my phone screensaver, my lifesaver, I breathe it in wherever I am, and I am calm, all is okay. The second is of my three kids playing in the lake in early September 2013 as the sun goes down on them and captures them one at a time in its fading beams.
To finish, as we turned right at the Rob Roy Hotel this year, my 11 year old daughter, completely unprompted, took a deep breath in and said “I can just feel the freedom already”. What a way to start a holiday? And finally, on I suppose a “spiritual” note. My dad passed away some 11 years ago now. In my mind I believe his heaven to be made up of little snippets of all the places and things he loved. I also fervently believe that when it is my time, Lochend will truly be my heaven and I will finally be home.
and finally Dom Sheratte from Macclesfield ‘Fantastic Mr Fish-er’
One of my favourite times spent fly- fishing for England Youth was our stay at Lochend Chalets in July 2011. In the next chalet to us was one of the Welsh competitors. We became very good friends and spent many hours fishing on the lake, days before and after the International. Sadly Scotland won on the day but that didn’t stop it from being one of the best times of my life! On the last night we took out the chalets boats and Lewis caught his personal best rainbow trout: 13lbs. This is one of his best fishing memories …and mine. We cooked the fish on the barbeque outside the chalets and the English and Welsh families shared a great evening. Now I am 19 I will am looking forward to ‘coming home’ to the chalets with my fishing friends to relive those incredible times.
England Youth Fly-Fishing International 2008 – 2012
Thanks again to all our contestants we really appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences with us.
Best wishes for a fabulous festive season. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!