A Festive Venue Opens In Clitheroe for Christmas. πŸŽ„β„οΈ

A Christmas Styled Cafe Bar has opened in Clitheroe for Christmas!

Miracle On Shawbridge Street is located in the former Smug Fox interiors shop on Shawbridge Street, just a little further down from and opposite the Dog & Partridge Pub.

The Cafe Bar is family friendly and festive themed, perfect for snapping snuggly selfies with Santa’s reindeer and a giant Nutcracker Soldier.

On the menu are various winter warming drinks such as mulled cider, mulled wine and fancy pants hot chocolates, , coffees, cocktails and milkshakes.

Image via Facebook.

Local delicatessen Georgonzola provides tempting cheese and charcuterie boards and Finch Bakery cakes are always a delicious treat.

Miracle is open Thursday to Sunday 11am to 11pm and well behaved dogs are welcome during the day.

I did wonder what might happen to the venue once Christmas is over? Well the owners are hoping to style the space to coincide with the different seasons. Beach bar in the Summer maybe??

But for now, why not head on down to Miracle On Shawbridge Street πŸŽ„ for festive tunes and cheer.

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November ~ Round Up. πŸ’œ

I haven’t been blogging much recently, though life has been good in November, my Birthday Month!

Reading ~ it’s always fab when someone gives you books for your birthday. I am currently reading I Belong Here by Anita Sethi ,which was a present and on my wishlist of books to read. Having experienced a racial hate crime on a train, Anita bravely decides to reclaim the countryside of Northern England, on an inspirational solo hiking journey across the Pennines. I am looking forward to how things go. Will the natural world be more welcoming than the people she meets along the way ? I hope she finds goodness in both.

Bowling ~ For my Birthday some friends and I tried out the Duck Pin Bowling at Holmes Mill in Clitheroe. This is a bowling alley in miniature and was certainly alot of fun. Happy Days!

Fabulous Fungi ~ It’s been a great month for finding Fungi , especially colourful waxcaps it seems. These above were spotted on local walks here in Lancs and up at the caravan in Cumbria. My faves as always are the pale pink ones which look like opened flowers, I think they are called Ballerina Waxcaps.

Listening to ~ Records! Birthday money went towards a cute portable record player from Argos. I’ve wanted one for ages, despite having no vinyl to my name. I charity shopped them all years ago! Not that I had an impressive collection. Think Wham, Bucks Fizz and Aha. πŸ˜€ Back to the charity shops again for me..

Weekending ~ in the Southern Lakes Peninsula, or should I say Grange Over Sands. I am hoping to write a post about my time there. Until then here’s a photo of myself and Wil on the promenade ,which looks out over Salt Marsh and Sea.

The English.

Watching ~ I really watch too too much telly. Having a spare few hours in the daytime , because I work split shifts , does mean I binge watch new seasons and find a fair few films. Some good, some not so good. My faves from November are…

The Wonder ~ Film. An English nurse is sent to observe an apparent miracle in 19th century Ireland, a girl who hasn’t eaten in months, surviving on the Virgin Mary’s love. Beautifully filmed and told. Netflix. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Last Kingdom ~ Series. A Saxon boy is raised by Marauding Danes who killed his Earl father. Later when his Viking family are slaughtered , Uhtred pursues the kingdom that is rightfully his to inherit, taking him on a dangerous journey. Netflix. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mrs Harris Goes To Paris ~ Film. Off to the pictures for this charming 1950s set movie about a cleaning lady who falls in love with a Dior dress and pursues her dream of owning one , to Paris. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The English ~ Series. Gorgeously filmed Western that brings together a Native American looking for home and a refined English Woman looking for revenge. BBC I Player. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday ~ Series. Wednesday Adams gets her own show that follows her student years at Nevermore Academy, where she navigates solving spooky mysteries and school life, in her own dead pan way. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

That’s all folks!

Pendle Witchery.

My hometown is Clitheroe, a bustling settlement nestling at the foot of Pendle Hill in Lancashire. You may have heard of Pendle, the hill and the whole area is famed for its legendary association with witches.

It was in 1612 that twelve people from the Pendle area were put on trial for witchcraft . Lancashire in those days was mired in superstition. Seen as a remote and heathern backwater , accusations of sorcery were rife. Several of the accused ‘witches’ were made to walk the 40 miles from Barrowford to Lancaster Castle , where they were imprisoned underground , awaiting their fate.

The trouble started when one Alizon Device was accused by a pedlar of putting a curse on him, causing the man to become crippled on the spot. Under questioning the young girl confessed to being a witch and members of her family too.

Alizon’s family were headed by her 80 year old Grandmother Elizabeth Southernes, known as Demdike. These simple folk were dirt poor and made their living begging, often cursing those who wouldn’t entertain them. Demdike in particular had the appearance of an old hag, and had begun to believe in her own witchy powers, especially as people were prone to dying after her hexes. Of course in the seventeenth century illness and death were coincidentally common.


Witches in Chains at Pendle Sculpture Trail, Barley.

As more of the family were implicated in witchy goings on, another local family become embroiled in the accusations. Also headed by an elderly matriarch , known as Chattox , she and her relatives made a living from begging as well. Demdike and Chattox did not get on and both accused each other of and admited to being witches.

With their loved ones incarcerated, a gathering was then held at Malkin Tower. Possibly hoping to find a way to prove the prisoners innocence, things would only go from bad to worse for the ‘ witches ‘ remaining family members, friends and allies. When word got around about the meeting at Malkin Tower, chief prosecutor and magistrate Roger Nowell rounded up the attendees. For surely it had been a devious covern, plotting their kins escape.

The Pendle Witch Trail covers the route the accused walked from Pendle to Lancaster.

It was on the evidence of a nine year old Star Witness that dammed yet more suspected witches. Jennet Device , the younger sister of Alizon and grandaughter of Demdike spoke out against her own mother and brother. She also confirmed the attendance of and gave evidence against several of the folk allegedly seen by her at Malkin Tower. These included landowner Alice Nutter, the only one of the accused who wasn’t of low birth. It seems that although Alice denied being there, she didnt offer up where she was at the time. Some say that Alice may have in fact been with Catholic friends. Being Catholic in protestant ruled England in 1612 was highly dangerous and Alice would not have wanted to implicate them.

So it was that of the 12 people accused of witchcraft, 10 were hanged from the gallows on moorland just above Lancaster. Demdike had already died in prison, and one lucky person, Alice Grey, was actually found innocent. All of the accused were not allowed any defence council, many were put to death on the hearsay of a nine year old child and two families were almost completely wiped out.

Statue of suspected ‘ witch ‘ Alice Nutter in her home village of Roughlee, Pendle. Photo via Pinterest.

Here is a list of the 10 people who were hung as witches in Lancaster.

  • Anne Whittle ( “Chattox”)
  • Ann Redfearn
  • Elizabeth Device
  • Alice Nutter
  • Alizon Device
  • James Device
  • Katherine Hewitt
  • Jane Bulcock
  • John Bulcock
  • Isobel Robey
Isobel Robeys Tercet Wayarker at Clitheroe Castle. Isobels only crimes seemed to be cursing people who didn’t buy the milk she was selling and being disliked by her accuser, her God daughters husband.

The Pendle Witches live on today in the hearts and in the imaginations of many Lancashire people and visitors to the county. There is a 52 mile walking trail that follows in the prisoners footsteps from Barrowford to Lancaster , complete with 10 Tercet waymarkers, one for each of the 10 lives taken.

Witches on a walk in Pendle ~ photo Sarah Pinnington.

Visitors to Pendle can also discover the Pendle Sculpture Trail in Aitken Wood near Barley or buy spooky gifts from Witches Galore in the village of Newchurch. Clitheroe too has a new shop devoted to all things Wiccan, The Cackling Witch is located on Castle Gate.

Witches Galore.

Whether the Pendle Witches were indeed Witches or simply innocent victims of another era, there is no doubt that the scattered villages and wild countryside here hold a quiet air of mystery. And sometimes Pendle Hill itself has been known to cast a spell. After a heavy snowfall melts away, what remains in the ditches and gullys , could be seen to resemble……a Witch on a broomstick.

The Pendle Snow Witch on the Clitheroe side of Pendle Hill ~ image via Pinterest.

Thanks for reading. 🍁

Armathwaite and Coombs Wood Walk.

Saturday dawned grey and drizzley. Time for a woodland walk, somewhere with adequate shelter under a canopy of softly falling leaves. We headed to Armathwaite in Cumbria’s Eden Valley, Coombs Wood with its Riverside path, covered in crunchy copper beech leaves, was our destination.

There are lots of Woodland Walks like this, following the wide River Eden. We came across one of ten Eden Benchmark Sculptures , this one we have seen before, ‘ Vista’ by Graeme Micheson . It depicts a solitary walker who abandons his clothes on a rock , for a dip in the water below.

The Woodland in Autumn is ablaze with colour. I have yet to visit in the Spring when Bluebells, Wild Garlic and Yellow Star of Bethlehem cover the forest floor. Now is a good time to find fungi, see blazing gold bracken and patches of blooming Gorse.

Leaving Coombs Wood our route took us through the little hamlet of Longdales and along an old bridleway with Pennine Fell views, on a clearer day.

And then we headed back along the road to the village of Armathwaite, which had two choices for a pub lunch, a hostelry at each side of a bridge that spans the River Eden.

The Fox 🦊 & Pheasant beckoned, it’s the kind of pub that lights a welcoming fire and has some good real ales on tap. The locals hang their hats on a stuffed foxes head. We enjoyed sandwiches with chips on the side.

Have you been on any Autumn walks recently?

October ~ Round Up. 🍁

Time for an October Round-Up of my life lately. I have been enjoying Autumn colours, reading about a psychopath serial killer, eating left overs and finding funky fungi !

Reading.

Presently still reading books at a crawl, though I am enjoying ‘ How to kill your family’ by Bella Mackie. Frustratingly thrown into jail, for a murder she didn’t commit, Grace Bernard is busy writing her memoirs ( whenever her nosy cell-mate isn’t watching), for though she might be innocent of that particular murder, Grace has actually done away with…her entire family. Yes Grace might be a cold hearted killer, but she does have her reasons. A dark but amusing read, so far.

Emma Mackey is brilliant as Emily Bronte in ‘ Emily’.

Watching.

The Empress is a glorious romp through Austrian Royalty history, specifically the beginnings of the reign of Empress Elisabeth. A reluctant Royal , her new hubby The Emperor Franz Joseph had previously been engaged to Elisabeth’s sister. The usually independent Elisabeth or ‘ Sisi ‘ finds life at court full of frosty traditions, plots and intrigue. On Netflix. Subtitles.

I also enjoyed watching medieval coming of age comedy Catherine Called Birdy, which can be found on Amazon Prime. 14 year Lady Catherine ( Birdy to her friends ) is of marriageable age, and with a charming gambler for a father, her families only hope of remaining solvent, is for young Birdy to marry. Determined to thwart all her suitors, the mischievous heiress has other ideas.

My favourite watch this month was on the Big Screen. A friend and I went to see Emily, the new biopic of the life of reclusive writer Emily Bronte. Notoriously private, little is known about Emily in comparison to her siblings, much of what we do know about Emily’s thoughts and feelings are through Charlotte, some of which is probably sensored. This film is a reimagining of Emily’s life, as if she herself experienced some of the darker, some of the more passionate moments , that she wrote about in Wuthering Heights. And whose to say, really, that she didn’t……. A heart wrenching , clever, passionate and sometimes humorous picture about an unconventional and inspirational writer.

Eating.

A friend told us about the Too Good To Go Ap, which lets you know about food that shops and cafes are selling off cheap. For a fixed price you get a carrier bag full of goodies that are nearing their sell by date, known as a Magic Bag. The surprise is you don’t really know what the bag will contain, I was certainly surprised by the amount of stuff in this one from our local garage shop, Londis. For Β£5 we got 2 Sandwiches ,a loaf of bread, broccoli, bag of salad, Mr Kipling cakes, Manchester tarts, cooked chicken pieces, 2 chicken fillets and some butter. Participating places near me include Spa, Morrisons, Subway and Starbucks. Some independent businesses are signing up too. Have you used the ap before? I suspect I’m a bit late to the party. πŸ˜€

Too Good To Go?

Creating. A pumpkin flower arrangement! My friend Fi and I made these at a class in Whalley. Mines the more messy one on the left. Basically you need to hollow out a pumpkin ( happily already done for us), put in some cellophane and a wet piece of water absorbing oasis. Stick flowers, cones etc into the oasis to create an arrangement. And Voila!

Pumpkins.
Robin Hood’s Bay. A place to explore tumbling narrow streets and look for fossilized Monkey Puzzle Tree bark ( Jet) on the beach.

Holidaying. As it is Half Term Holidays we managed to get away to the Yorkshire Coast for a couple of days. Fortunately we have another caravan in the family, Wils brother and his wife own a static on a site half way between Whitby and Robin Hoods Bay. Both are such atmospheric places to visit, especially at this time of year. Anyway we made the most of our location, walking along the cliffs to Robin Hood’s Bay oneday and catching the bus into Whitby on the other.

Whitby. October sees Whitby come alive with spooky goings on and a Goth festival. The Abbey walls are illuminated and you might just see a few corpse brides amongst the gravestones.

Finding Fungi. πŸ„

A day trip to Bolton Abbey and a woodland walk showcased a few fungi finds. Not quite sure if my IDs are correct, but here goes….

Funnel Fungi.
Fly Agaric.
Trembling Crust.
Bonnets.
Shaggy Mane Ink Caps.

Thanks for dropping by and enjoy the rest of October. Let me know if you are watching any spooky films or dressing up for Halloween πŸŽƒ in the comments. X

An Autumn Weekends Wanderings. πŸŽƒ

Believe it or not, there were as many showers as rays of sunshine 🌞 on Saturday. Somehow we managed to dodge the rain quite expertly though, as you can see by my photos. You’ll just have to imagine the speedy dashes to the car , to get out of the sudden downpours.

A trial Pumpkin Patch at Kirkoswald was the mornings destination. It was so close by ( to the caravan) that I just had to drag Wil and Hugo for a wander round a field of giant ( and teeny) pumpkins. The Patch belongs to Eden Valley farmer and writer Hannah Jackson aka The Red Shepherdess . I hadn’t heard of her until very recently , apparently she is quite the celebrity in Cumbria. Anyway if your in the area over the upcoming school holidays Red’s Pumpkin Patch is opening again, until all the Gourds are gone. Just take your wellies!

Later on Saturday we visited family in Askham, first we took Hugo for a walk on the Lowther Estate. Not for us today , the impressive Castle Ruins & Garden , we made the most of the footpaths that fan the parkland instead. The sun shone inbetween showers, a bracing breeze whipped up swirling leaves and buzzards soared in the sky.

The heavens opened on our way to visit Mum . After a lovely tea we headed back to the caravan. There’s no cosier evening than one feeling snug and toasty, whilst rain pitter patters on a tin can roof. 😊

Sunday stayed dry and on our way home we called in at Kirkby Lonsdale in South Cumbria. It was warm enough for ice cream at The Milking Parlour on Jingling Lane. I visited my favourite shops and bought a new bobble hat. Happy days. 🍦

Thanks for dropping by. Are you feeling Autumnal yet? 🍁

On Holiday ~ North Ayrshire.

Back in August we spent a week with family in a Castle. Yes a real Scottish castle! Our holiday was in Ayrshire on the South West Coast of Scotland.

Where We Stayed. 🏰

The whole family stopped in a delightfully quirky 14th century Castle in the grounds of the owners much larger Victorian Castle. Not that our holiday home skimped on fairytale charm or cosy comfort, Knock Old Castle has both in abundance. Situated just outside the coastal town of Largs, Knock Old Castle has been carefully renovated by its present owners, to provide a charming home away from home with lots of colourful and characterful touches. There are four bedrooms, a dining kitchen, living room and snug, as well as a look out tower, sauna and hot tub. The perfect family retreat. 😊

Exterior view of Knock Old Castle.
We were greeted by Gorath the Springer Spaniel who likes to check out any new holiday makers.
Castle 🏰 interiors.
View of the turret look-out.
A foxy chair. 🦊
Piggy stained glass.
Hot tub. The turret above houses a sauna.

We made ourselves very much at home at Knock Old Castle, using all the facilities, especially the hot tub and the sauna. We played table tennis, rounders and croquet on the lawn and sat out for meals at a long oak table with views over the Firth of Clyde. When can we go back??

Eating Out. 🐟

To be honest we cooked most of our meals at the Castle, but there were a few occasions that we ate out in nearby Largs.

The Fish Works.

Wil and I had a very nice Fish & Chips lunch at The Fish Works on the promenade. We sat outside and enjoyed the views of the Calmac Ferries setting off and returning from The Isle Of Cumbrae. You can’t beat fish & chips at the seaside. 😊

Scotts Bar & Restaurant.

Wil loves his seafood, so he was most impressed with this bucket of mussels and other tasty morsels , that he ordered from the menu at Scotts . Situated at Largs Yacht Haven, Scott’s is a relaxed dining experience . Steaks and seafood are their specialties.

Nardinis Ice cream.

The whole family couldn’t get enough of the delicious ice cream from Nardinis, a fabulous art deco ice cream parlour and restaurant on the seafront. Nardinis has 32 different flavours to choose from, I had 3, they were all scrumptious! 🍦

Castles, Castles Everywhere. 🏰

Certainly we were never very far from a Castle on this holiday. 😊 According to Google, Ayrshire has 198 Castles, towers and fortified buildings.

Croquet at Knock Old Castle.

Our hosts at Knock Old Castle lived at nearby Knock Castle, we were holidaying at the bottom of their garden really. On the first two days of our trip, they were holding a ‘Crictoberfest’ ( a cross between their love of cricket and their love of Octoberfest? ) and there were a few people camping on their front lawn, as well as lawnbots efficiently speeding around keeping the grass short. We later saw a golden retriever chasing one of the lawnbots and I swear I saw a gigantic penguin at their front door, maybe the butler perhaps? Yes our hosts were certainly eccentric. 😁

Knock Castle was built in the 1800s by the Steele Boat Building family.
Knock Castle.

We did visit a couple of other castles whilst in Ayrshire. A castle that my Scottish cousin recommended was Portencross Castle , somewhere my Aunt & Uncle would take him for beach days as a child. Legend has it that this 12th century scheduled ancient monument housed several of the Great Kings of Scotland. Though they wouldn’t remember much as Portencross was where they lay in state,on their way to their final resting place on the island of Iona. The Castle wasn’t open on our visit, but we still enjoyed the surrounding scenery and peering into rock pools.

Sea Asters and Portencross Castle.
Portencross Castle.
Kelburn Castle.

A very colourful Castle , just outside of Largs, is Kelburn Castle. Just look at the brightly painted turret ! The graffiti tower was painted in 2007 by Brazilian Street artists, it’s quite the focal point. The castle dates back to the 1500s and is still lived in by the Earls of Glasgow. An unpretentious place, Kelburn has an estate of forest and glen to wander in, with plenty of quirky things to see.

Little Museum in the grounds of Kelburn Castle.
Inside the museum that chronicles the travels and explorations of the 7th Earl of Glasgow.
Can you see the invisible Man?
Graffiti Castle.

Let’s head to South Ayrshire for our final castle visit. Perched high on the cliffs near Maybole , Culzean Castle is an impressive stately building owned by The National Trust for Scotland. Happily we are NT members so entry was free. 😁 Having Hugo with us meant that Wil and I didn’t go inside, there is much to entertain in the grounds though. The estate stretches 120 hectares and includes sandy coves, woodland and gardens.

Culzean Castle was completed in the late 18th Century.
I love this Kraken sculpture, it actually cleverly hides a refuse bin.
The Deer Park plays host to Red Deer and llamas.
Labrador with a gigantic pear.
Who is this in the Swan Pond…
Walled Garden at Culzean Castle.

Largs.

The nearest town to Knock Old Castle is Largs, a pleasant seaside destination that looks out over the Firth Of Clyde. Largs is known for its role in defeating Norse Invaders, hence the yearly Viking Festival held every August. A giant Viking statue stands looking inland on the green.

Erm, is that a Viking behind us??
Magnus The Viking.
Giant Ferris Wheel.
The Pencil ✏️ Monument.

If you fancy a walk along Largs attractive esplanade head toward the marina for a glimpse of The Pencil Monument , it commemorates the Battle Of Largs in 1263 , when the Scots ( and the bad weather! ) defeated the Viking army. And don’t forget to head back to Nardinis Ice Cream Parlour for a well deserved treat afterwards. 😊

Nardinis.
Viking Longboat.

Fairlie.

If our Labrador had only behaved and not taken a liking to licking jellyfish, I think we would have spent more time on the beach. The seaside village of Fairlie just South of Largs is a nice place for a wander, especially along the Ayrshire Coastal Path. Oh and The Village Inn does a very nice take-out Cream Tea too.

Fairlie.
Fairlie was once renowned for its yacht building.
A street in Fairlie.
Fairlie flowers. In the background a huge floating oil vessel from Shetland is being decommissioned off the Ayrshire Coast.

Fairlie Beach.

Knock Hill.

When the Castle your staying in is named after a hill ( or vise versa) ,then someone is bound to say ‘ let’s walk up that hill ! ‘ Off we all trundled , and I have to say, the views from the top of Knock Hill are pretty impressive. The Cumbraes, Arran and Bute are all included in the stunning vistas.

Approaching Knock Hill.
Knock Hill Summit.
Trig Point, Knock Hill.

Isle of Cumbrae.

I have to include The Isle Of Cumbrae in my post even though I have already devoted a Blog to our day out there. This was definitely my favourite outing on our North Ayrshire holiday.

The island is easily accessible from Largs, there are ferries every 30 minutes from the mainland. Pedestrians, Cyclists and Cars can take the short journey over. Dogs are welcome too.

Many people go over to Cumbrae, specifically to ride a bike around the perimeter of the island. There are 2 Cycle Hire Shops in the small seaside town of Millport. Bicycle hire for the day starts at Β£10.

Watersports are popular on the island as are trips over to it’s little cousin Wee Cumbrae. I recently found these great new eco friendly cabins at Jack’s Alt Stays , which look an interesting alternative to the usual camping, cottages and b&bs.

Calmac Ferry from Largs.
The iconic Crocodile 🐊 Rock.
Rocky shoreline.
On a bike ride.
One of Mapes Of Millports more unusual cycles.
Millport.

Thanks very much for reading. Hope this post inspires you to visit a lovely part of Scotland.

Goodnight from Knock Old Castle.

September ~ Round Up. πŸ’œ

There’s an Autumnal nip in the air as I write this post. Summer is slipping away. Though actually, I am more than ready for cosy throws and candles. πŸ™‚

Although September has had its sadness , with the loss of our monarch, there is much to celebrate about our Queens long life and reign. And it will be interesting to see what changes will unfold in this new non Elizabethan era.

The Bloody Chamber and other stories by Angela Carter.

Reading. A sensual and sometimes disturbing gothic retelling of fairytales and legends, often with a feisty female heroine at the heart of the stories. Angela Carter twists the tales around , recreating a carnival of familiar characters. One for the nights drawing in.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo.

Watching. My favourite BBC comedy series is back for Autumn. And by golly, I’ve binge watched it already. Ghosts sees the return of Alison & Mike ( the only living residents of stately mansion ‘ Button House ‘. ) hoping to transform an estate cottage into an Airbnb. Help ( or hindrance) is on hand from a motley collection of ghosts, of which only Alison can see. I love that the ghosts are all from differing time periods, and each has their own particular life ( and death! ) story. Apparently there’s now a US version of this show. Surely can’t be better than ours. πŸ˜€

I am also loving Korean Comedy Drama Extraordinary Attorney Woo on Netflix. In fact merely writing this blog post is keeping me from watching it right now, I’m becoming addicted ! And that’s no mean feat ,with subtitles and hour long episodes involved. Attorney Woo is an attorney with autism, navigating life at a high ranking law firm. There’s the intricacies of Korean law to contend with ( she’s good at that) and the intricacies of everyday life ( not always so good), an endearing obsession with whales & dolphins and a sweet burgeoning romance with a work colleague. I am adoring this show.

Eating. Gingerbread! Traditional Gingerbread from Grasmere no less. Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread has been made in the village since the 1850s, Sarah herself created the secret recipe and first sold it from a tree stump outside her front door. Eventually moving her business into a tiny old school house , that is still used today. The gorgeous gingerbread smell wafts around Grasmere attracting locals and tourists alike. I got in that queue. Always delicious πŸ˜‹.

Weekend wandering. Speeking of Grasmere, we ended up here by mistake. Our plan had actually been to walk up Raven Crag from Thirlmere, adding another Wainwright to our short list. However we somehow failed to find the carpark, drove right past the lake and ended up at Grasmere. No complaints though, it was a lovely late Summers day, perfect for a stroll around the village and the water.

Pastille coloured rowing boats on the lakeside at Faeryland Tea Garden.
Hot drinks and a Gypsy Wagon.
Traveller Hugo.
Doggy paddling.

Another day we headed over Alston Moor to Garrigill for a hike taking in Ashgill Force. I love the beckside walk , which is usually peaceful, sometimes the quiet is interupted by the odd group of Gill Scramblers! Not sure I would want to try that myself though. We found a lovely cafe for lunch in a converted chapel in nearby Nenthead.

Highland Cattle on Alston Moor.
Ashgill Force.
Distant Gill Scramblers.
The Hive at Nenthead. There’s still an Organ inside.

Wildlife. The amount of times I see Kingfishers is ridiculous ( I realise I’m very lucky) , though getting a photo of one doesn’t happen very often. I was gobsmacked when one of these beautiful birds posed for me, only a few metres away. ❀️

Kingfisher.

Hanging out with. Star Wars Characters! And other supernatural beings at Blackburn Comic Convention. As I have still never actually watched the Star Wars films ( I know, what! ) this might appear a little strange. Blame my friends A and M who love all this kind of stuff. And it was actually fun.

Hanging out

So that was my September. How was yours?

Hugo’s Lake & Tarn Tally.

To mark our labradors 8th Birthday this year, I thought I would turn his ‘ Lakes Paddled in’ map, into a blog post. Looking back over the last 8 years, well we’ve certainly spent quite a bit of time in the English Lake District! Though even before Hugo ,we were bagging lakes and tarns with his predecessor Jake. Hugo still has several lakes and countless tarns to discover, as do we. Here are the ones hes doggy paddled in…so far.

Bassenthwaite Lake. At 4 miles long Bassenthwaite is one of the largest lakes in The Lake District and the only body of water actually called a lake. All the others are waters or meres. Ospreys fish in Bassenthwaite and nearby pooch friendly attractions include Dodd Wood, Mirehouse Gardens & Grounds and The Orient Express at Bassenthwaite Lake Station. This beautiful lake is alot quieter than neighboring Derwent water , it’s so nice to visit!

Bassenthwaite Lake.

Beacon Tarn. We’ve walked to this pretty tarn twice when staying in nearby Torver near Coniston. Charmingly serene Beacon Tarn is getting more popular with Wild Swimmers and even hosts a yearly naturist Skinny Dip!

Beacon Tarn.

Bowscale Tarn. There’s a nice walk up to this Corrie Tarn from the hamlet of Bowscale. It was a popular hike with tourists in Victorian times and the water is said to contain two Immortal Fish, they are mentioned in a poem by William Wordsworth. No fish were spotted on our visit , but Hugo loved his paddles.

Bowscale Tarn.

Brotherswater. Located at the foot of the Kirkstone Pass, Brotherswater is a small picturesque lake with lily pads. Formerly called Broad Water, the lake was renamed Brotherswater in the 19th century after two brothers drowned there. Here’s a walk found on Miles Without Stiles , a great resource, especially if you have a dog who doesn’t like Stiles. Call in at The Brotherswater Inn for refreshment on the way.

Brotherswater.

Buttermere. The scenery around Buttermere is particularly stunning and a Lakeshore path takes advantage of the scenic vistas. Nestled amongst several mountin peaks including Haystacks ,Wainwrights favourite fell, Buttermere is owned by the National Trust. The nearby village of Buttermere sells ice cream made from the Ayrshire Cattle farmed in the Buttermere Valley.

Buttermere.

Coniston Water. Some of my fondest camping memories are of Wil and I stopping with Jake ( Hugo’s predecessor) and later Hugo at a campsite on the shores of Coniston Water. The campsite had some rampaging tent eating goats , you never knew if yours would be next! Coniston is a grand lake known for both Water Speed Record attempts ( Donald Campbell & Bluebird) and elegant leisurely boat trips on the Victorian Stream Yacht Gondola owned by The National Trust. Writer Arthur Ransome based the Swallows and Amazon’s books around here too.

Boat Launch at Coniston.

Derwent water. This is definitely a lake we visited alot ! We especially love the lakeside town of Keswick with all its dog friendly pubs and cafes and attractions including A Puzzling Place and The Pencil Museum. Derwent Water itself has a great 10 Mile Walk around its shores and The Keswick Launch Company provides a hop on and off boat service. You will probably see almost as many dogs here as humans!

Centenary Stone, Derwent water.

Elterwater. There are bodies of water in the Lake District that we have only ever visited once and Elterwater is one of those. However I would love to return as it is such a lovely spot ! Situated in the picturesque Great Langdale Valley this small lake is not far from Windermere and a scenic walk will eventually take you along the banks of the equally pretty River Brathay.

Elterwater.

Ennerdale Water. It is a good few years since our last visit to Ennerdale , today the Wild Ennerdale project looks after the lake and the surrounding countryside. It hopes to introduce Beavers and Pine Martins to the wildly rugged terrain. Ennerdale Water is the most Westerly of the lakes and there is a lakeside path that follows the shoreline. Last time we visited Ennerdale, it was to bag a Wainwright Fell below.

Crag Fell looks over Ennerdale Water.

Grasmere. Proclaimed by Wordsworth as ” the loveliest spot that man hath ever found ” , the picturesque lake, village and surrounding countryside are indeed an idyllic treat. We were here quite recently and I enjoyed a warming mulled apple drink at Faeryland Tea Gardens on the lakeside. Such a magical little place. Nearby National Trust Allan Bank is one of a very few National Trust places that welcomes doggys indoors.

Grasmere.

Haweswater. Although once a lake, Haweswater has been a reservoir since the 1930s, a valley with a village and farms flooded ,so the city folks of Manchester had access to fresh water. Today it is a secluded place with a narrow road that weaves its way down one side and a solitary hotel looking out over the water . We have stayed in the art deco Haweswater Hotel with Hugo twice, a great base for bracing fell walks and red squirrel spotting.

Haweswater.

Rydal Water. This small body of water is attached to nearby Grasmere by the River Rothay. Like Grasmere Rydal Water has many associations with William Wordsworth , one of his favourite views was from a rocky outcrop looking out over the lake, known now as Wordsworth’s Seat. Another landmark is Rydal Cave , a man-made cave accessed by stepping stones.

Rydal Water.

Small Water Tarn. Whilst staying at the Haweswater Hotel , we walked amongst the nearby fells to find Small Water, a tiny peaceful tarn. And what a stunning hike it was. I came across this Old post from 2016 about our walk.

Small Water Tarn. Not sure what Hugo is doing here. 🀣

Thirlmere. We have actually only been to Thirlmere in the Winter with Hugo, we definitely need to return in the warmer seasons. The surroundings in crisp white snow were beautiful, however even Hugo thought it was too cold for a swim! Thirlmere is a reservoir created from two smaller lakes ( like Haweswater) and there is a 10 mile circuit around its shores . One for the list!

In the snow above Thirlmere.

Ullswater. Of all the lakes, waters, tarns and meres , I guess Ullswater is the one that I feel most connected to. I have close family nearby who moved here when I was still a teenager, so I have spent many days out by the lake. I love the old fashioned Ullswater Steamers that connect the walking routes of the Ullswater Way , a 20 mile loop of its beautiful shoreline. Aira Force Waterfall and the lakeside villages of Pooley Bridge and Glenridding are worth a visit.

Ullswater.

Wast Water. At 260 feet deep, Wast Water is the deepest lake in the Lake District. And the deepest lake in England. Surrounded by giant mountain peaks such as Scafell Pike, this glacial lake is located in the remote Wasdale Valley. If you like peace and serenity, the area has that in spades, along with gorgeous scenery. England’s smallest church , St Olaf’s is located at Wasdale Head.

Wast Water.

Windermere. It’s the largest lake in the Lake District and I would say the most popular. Windermere is 10 miles long and 1 mile wide, and in the Summer it’s a tourist mecca. I would like to visit this Southern Lakes area more often, but to be honest Windermere gets a bit too crowded for us. Needless to say, there are some nice lakeside towns and villages here, Ambleside is my favourite. Hugo has been on the Windermere Lake Cruise , his ticket read Well Behaved Dog. πŸ˜‡

Windermere Lake Cruise.

Shap Happy. 🐿️

At the weekend we returned to the village of Shap in the Eden Valley of Cumbria, to complete a walk we took back in June. At the time we ended up fleeing from a feisty herd of cows ( and a bull! ) , so didn’t finish our hike properly. This time we opted to do the final part of the walk first, ending at Shap Abbey and then retraced our steps back.

We used roadside parking in Shap near this handsome house called The Hermitage.
We took a footpath a little further on into fields with limestone walls.
And here is The Gobbleby Stone , dating back to 2000 BC. Click on the link for more info about this ancient piece of Shap Granite.
Watched by some wary ewes.
A signpost showing the way to the hamlet of Keld.
Keld.
Keld Chapel, a simple medieval chapel owned by The National Trust. Closed for renovations at present.
A Keld Cat blends into a stone wall.

Keld was actually a slight detour for us. It is a pretty little place and from which a ‘temporary road’ known as The Concrete Road was built in the 1930s for the construction of the Haweswater Reservoir. Cars are not permitted as the cement track is full of pot-holes, though walkers and cyclists may use it apparently. Another time we will explore!

We turned round and found a footpath sign for Shap Abbey just before the hamlet. Scroll down for a surprise little face, peering at

us from a tree. πŸ€—

River Lowther at Keld.
Bright yellow Monkey Flowers on the river bank.
Squirrel Nutkin maybe.
Approaching the abbey ruins.
The 15th Century tower is most of what remains of Shap Abbey.

On the way back to Shap we passed more late summer flowers and some curious cows. Luckily they were safely tucked away behind those lovely dry stone walls.

Restharrow.
Field Scabious.
Safe on the other side of the wall.
Lunch at Abbey Kitchen.

Back in the village and just in time for lunch. I love the little cafe there , which is named after the abbey. Ploughman’s for Wil and homemade quiche for me. A happy morning indeed. πŸ™‚

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