Dogs can enjoy a wild run over the grassy slopes or frolic in the dam. And while you treat yourselves to an afternoon or evening wine tasting at one of the many excellent boutique wineries or restaurants in the area, you can rest assured they’re well secured in a spacious enclosure by each cottage.
Heathcliff’s ghost revisited us yesterday. I woke up in the middle of one of those eerie nights when the fog snakes through the trees and the whisper of the great outdoors was too strong to be resisted.
Putting on my gum boots and pulling a thick sweater over my pyjamas, I took my torch, crept outside into the dense, grey mist and began my lonely walk along the back track down the hill towards the alpacas. I knew that at 2am I’d not meet anyone ~ except, I hoped, Heathcliff. Was it he who had called to me? My heart thundered at the thought of confront him. That tortured man has haunted me since I dissected his dark, unredeemed soul in Year 12 literature.
Strangely, it was Dad, who’s never been a fanciful man and who doesn’t believe in ghosts, who named the property Wuthering Heights after the 19th century Classic written by Emily Bronte about the two star-crossed 18th century lovers, Heathcliff and Cathy.
He thought that the wind ‘wuthering through the trees’ sounded like Heathcliff astride his black stallion calling for his lost love. So, of course we had to call the main house Bronte Manor and the other cottages Cathy’s and Heathcliff. (Glen Morris was named after the original owners of the property in the mid 1800s.)
On some beautiful, still nights, when the moon is full, I don’t need a torch. The property is completely illuminated and at 2am my elongated shadow is my only companion. It’s strangely peaceful and comforting and not at all scary. “A very companionable loneliness,” I call it.
I’ve never found Heathcliff’s ghosts during my wanderings. But he’s there, on the property, somewhere.
And looking for him is a wonderful excuse to set out on these romantic, inspirational walks in all weathers, enjoying all of Wuthering Heights’ many moods.
Emily, Charlotte and Anne have some fierce competition at Wuthering Heights in the Clare valley. The 19th century literary trio grew up traipsing over the remote Yorkshire moors dreaming up their tragic tales – Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
A century and a half later, the three Nettelton sisters – Beverley, Tanika and Penny – gained inspiration of various kinds, tramping over the rolling hills and across dry creek beds at Wuthering Heights.
Some of it was literary. Beverley (who writes historical romance laced with scandal and intrigue as Beverley Eikli and Beverley Oakley) concocted many of her wicked plots during midnight walks on the beautiful Clare Valley property.
Other inspiration that fuelled the fires of creativity led to the building of the mud brick house and cottage.