It’s that time of year when we sadly close our caravan for the Winter. The site it is on doesn’t actually shut down over the colder months, but being two hours away from home in a village that is prone to getting heavy snow, we figure it’s for the best really.
On Friday Eve we made sure we got stuck into the last couple of bottles of wine in the wine rack. 🙂
On Saturday the weather was grey, but the drizzle didn’t dampen our spirits. I had booked us lunch over at Bassenthwaite Lake Station , in a French Steam Engine no less. The disused train station was bought in 2019 by Simon and Diana Parums, who have been busy renovating the buildings. A permanent fixture on the track is the beautiful Steam Train , which is in fact not a real train at all…. . It is actually a replica made especially for the 2017 film version of Murder On The Orient Express , starring Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer,Dame Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. These days the film set is a lovely cafe/restaurant and being slightly wider than a ‘ real train ‘ lends itself to its new life perfectly.
We chose the Brunch Bowls for lunch, followed by cake of course! Delicious. 😁 There’s lots of choice on the menu and a good selection of drinks too. Food is a little more expensive than most cafes in the area. However the setting and the friendly service justifies the price.
It was great that Hugo was made very welcome on the train, even though he did have a habit of lying across the aisle. The staff brought him dog treats and made a real fuss of him. Perhaps the Station dog, a pretty black Labrador called Poppy , had something to do with that. 🤗
After lunch we had a quick look around the rest of the train. Our dining car had been bustling and busy , though a posher salon at the back was empty. Perhaps this is used for special occasions. For a finer day there is also outside seating and the Station building itself with Waiting Room is also part of the cafe.
I really love what the new owners are doing here. Breathing life into what only a couple of years ago, was an abandoned unused space. Hopefully we will visit again next year. I would also like to explore Dubwath Silver Meadows Nature Reserve opposite and of course go for a wander by the lake. 😁
Later in the afternoon we visited my Mum and Brother who live on a farm in The Eden Valley. The farm cats Tibby and Sooty have been used to spending time in the house recently, but weren’t too impressed that a certain Labrador was in residence.
Back at the caravan and Sunday dawned cold and bright, a lovely day for our last one there this year. We enjoyed a walk up the old bridleway from Melmerby to Unthank, I will miss those uninterrupted views toward the Lakeland fells.
After tidying and closing down the van we headed to the nearby village of Langwathby for a sausage butty lunch on the green.
Here’s to a few local adventures closer to home over Winter. Hope you can join me. X
Recent mornings here are chilly and bright. The Autumn colours at Clitheroe Castle have been particularly striking. Hugo and I have spent many a morning walking in the grounds, though I am well aware we need to get a few longer routes in. It’s not just Hugo who is turning into a chunk!
After eighteen months of having nowhere to go for a hot drink in the castle park, the former Bowling Green cafe building is back in business. Now called The 3 C’s Cafe ,it’s a bright cheery place selling coffee, cakes, milkshakes & ice cream. I think it will be very popular with the kids. A quiet brew though, can be snatched early on a week day morning. 🙂
We were recently to be found just over the border in Scotland for a wee break and a complete change of scenery. Our home for two nights was a cute Victorian cottage at Reston called Coveyheugh Lodge. Set in a wooded valley between a railway line and the busy A1, it isn’t quite as peaceful as it looks! However we weren’t put off by the occasional noise, as this home away from home is a wonderful base for exploring the lovely East Scotland coastline.
Although we had originally planned a couple of walks in the local area, we hadn’t realised that poor Wil would still be recovering from sciatica. So what we did was some gentle pottering. Luckily there were fascinating places to visit, only a short drive away.
This small fishing town was once a smugglers paradise. It’s location just North of the border meant it was the nearest Scottish port to the Continent. Tea and Spirits were duly smuggled. A handsome Quayside house Gunsgreen House was apparently built on the proceeds and today houses a museum and smugglers trail.
Eyemouths natural harbour is a working fishing harbour and a river called ‘ Eye Water ‘ flows into it. 🙂 Grey Seals can often be seen here, though I suspect this may have something to do with the seal feeding point at the water’s edge. Although it was lovely to see them, I do question whether wild seals should be fed in this way, incase they come to depend on the food. What do you think?
A tragic time in Eyemouths maritime history is brought to life in an evocative and moving sculpture on the sea front. Widows & Bairns by Jill Watson depicts the waiting wives and children of men whose fishing vessels were struck down in the fatal storm of 1881, killing 179. The frantic gestures of the fishermen’s families are heartbreaking to see , especially when many of the boats were destroyed so close to shore ; the sea was just too rough to contemplate rescue. The loss was Scotland’s worst ever fishing disaster.
Eyemouth has a really nice sandy beach ( not pictured 🤣 ) , a couple of pubs with seafaring names like The Contented Sole and we shared fish & chips on the quayside from Giacopazzi’s.
My pictures really don’t do Coldingham Bay justice. It’s the prettiest little sandy inlet, in-between Eyemouth and St Abbs. On our visit this sheltered beach was a balmy 16°c, not bad for the last Wednesday in October. As well as lots of golden sand, there are tidal rock pools and colourful beach huts. What a gem of a setting.
The bay has a Beach cafe ( closed on our visit), toilets and car park. St Vedas Surf Shop was doing a roaring trade in paddle boarding , coffees & cake. I can imagine this place getting busy in the Summer.
Just North of Eyemouth is the picturesque fishing village of St Abbs. It’s dramatic backdrop of jagged purple cliffs gives the harbour side fishermens cottages a very scenic setting. So much so that St Abbs doubles as Thor’s home New Asgard in the Marvel movie Avengers : Endgame. I can’t say I’ve watched any of the recent Avengers films but I can see why the village was picked, it does have a Scandinavian look about it.
And at this time of year St Abbs has its own Pumpkin Patch. 🙂 Love it……
Just outside of the St Abbs Visitor Centre there is another Jill Watson Memorial. St Abbs did not escape the tragic storms that took so many fishermens lives back in 1881.
The cliffs at St Abbs Head are home to various seabirds who make their home on the rugged ledges. And there’s a Grey Seal colony here too. We didn’t walk the cliff top paths of the Nature Reserve , definitely something to think about doing next time. What a wild and unspoilt headland.
Today I am looking back at our weekend away with friends in Ravenglass & Eskdale. It was during the school holidays in August that we stayed in the same lovely cottage that we have booked for previous get togethers. It has become a bit of a tradition of ours to stop in Ravenglass on the Cumbrian Coast. We always seem to find new things to see and do.
As we had set off a little earlier than the others, we decided to take our dog Hugo for a walk on nearby Silecroft Beach. With the Cumbrian Fells ( particularly Black Combe) as it’s backdrop, this sandy stretch of coastline is perfect for exercising four-legged friends. And dogs are not the only ones. You have a very good chance of seeing the Cumbrian Heavy Horses out for a canter here too.
Once settled into our seafront cottage in the estuary village of Ravenglass everyone made for the beach again. And our evening was spent under rugs on the cottage balcony playing games and watching the sun 🌞 set over the bay.
No visit to Ravenglass is complete without a trip on La’al Ratty! Meaning ‘ Little Railway ‘ in Old Cumbrian dialect, this is the affectionate nick name given to The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway 🚂 , a Narrow Steam Gorge Railway that takes visitors on a seven mile journey into the stunning Eskdale countryside.
We were spoiled for choice when it came to walking routes in Eskdale. Many people opt to walk up into the fells. There’s Roman ruins at Hardknott and plenty of wild swimming in the rugged becks and waterfall pools. Speaking of waterfalls, we went in search of Stanley Ghyll and the recently constructed iron viewing platform above it.
Bootle Beach was our destination on Sunday. More swimming for the kids ( they were braver than us!) and a bit of beach combing. We saw two huskies from Horse & Husky being exercised. This beach is great for finding wierd and wonderful pebbles and other flotsam and jetsam.
We had a wonderful time as usual, in this scenic corner of Cumbria.
So here’s a throwback post to August and our stay in Arnside on the Cumbrian Coast. A short train journey away is the characterful town of Ulverston, a place we have visited several times before. The towns cobbled streets and plethora of independent shops, cafes and pubs make it a great destination for generally mooching about. After a ‘ mooch about’ we would be heading along the World’s Shortest, Deepest and Widest Canal, for a walk to the Sea.
The morning we visited Ulverston it was exhibiting typical Lake District weather! To escape the rain we spent a good hour or so in the towns Laurel and Hardy Museum. Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston in 1890 and must surely be it’s most famous resident. The museum has a good selection of the comedy duos memorabilia, as well as a small cinema that plays Laurel & Hardy features on a loop. Our dog Hugo was made welcome and humoured us as we chuckled our way around. 😊
After a lovely lunch at the nearby Stan Laurel Inn we were suitably refreshed for a canal side walk. Ulverston Canal is a former Ship Canal which linked Ulverston to Morecambe Bay, one and a half miles away. Completed in 1796 ,the waterway claimed to be the shortest , deepest, widest …… and straightest Canal in the World. Once upon a time passenger ships to Scotland and London embarked from here as well as cargos of local slate. But when the Railway arrived in Ulverston in the 1840s, the record breaking Canals fortunes were on the wane. By the end of the Second World War Ulverston Canal was no longer in use.
Today the waterway offers a serene amble from Canal Head in the town to Canal Foot with its splendid views over Morecambe Bay. A footpath on the less industrial side of the canal is a popular stroll. There’s even a pub at the end. An incentive indeed!
We saw lots of wildlife as we walked along. Plenty of waterside wildflowers and much of the surface was covered in Lily pads. Mute Swans, Comerants, Moor hens and Mallards swam and dived amongst them.
Half way along Ulverston Canal is a Rolling Bridge, the only one of its kind left in England. Forgotten about for many years , it was a history enthusiast who discovered the significance of the bridge and it was given Grade ll status in 2012.
Before long we were at Hammerside Point , Canal Foot. Here the former Ship Canal meets the Leven Estuary. What a splendidly unexpected place…
For some reason I forgot to take a photo of The Bay Horse Hotel from the outside ,so below is a distant one I found online. The former Coaching Inn enjoys stunning views over the Bay. Once upon a time it was from here that brave travellers would make the perilous journey by stage coach, over the sands to Lancaster. The arrival of the Railway probably saved a lot of lives!
After a drink in the pub we retraced our steps back to Ulverston. On the way an unassuming wooden shed near the Lock Keepers Cottage peeked my interest, especially when I saw its ‘ Welcome Humans ‘ sign?
Whilst looking it up online later, I discovered that the Shed is part of an interactive Art Installation Project called the Last Human Coro Shed . Perhaps not what you would expect to see where a canal meets the sea…..
The Ice Beneath Her ~ Camilla Grebe ( 2016). ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Well this book has a gruesome murder( a decapitated victim, it’s head sat facing the door) and is a somewhat bleak Nordic noir. You can feel the chill in your bones as you read. Lots of twists and turns and narrated by three characters who don’t have much going for them. There is a detective whose just about given up on life, a psychologist recently diagnosed with early onset dementia and a young lady whose fiance disappears on the eve of their engagement dinner. Kept me hooked !
The Hunting Party ~ Lucy Foley(2019). ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Oooh I love the plot idea; a group of thirty something friends spend their Christmas break hauled up together in an exclusive Scottish Hunting Lodge. Old resentments are bound to fizzle. It’s remote, there’s a snow blizzard , there’s a murderer on the loose. Cleverly told , both the murderer and the victim are not revealed until the very end.
The Little Bookshop On The Seine ~ Rebecca Raisin ( 2015). ⭐⭐⭐ Sarah Smith is offered the chance of a lifetime. A bookshop swap for six months in the wonderful city of light ‘ Paris’. It will mean leaving her jet-setting boyfriend Ridge behind, but Oh the possibilities! This is a light-hearted read about Sarah’s quest for independence ,whilst indulging her love for books and navigating life in a new city.
The Family Upstairs ~ Lisa Jewell ( 2019) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Years ago a baby girl is found happy and well cared for in a London house, a group of adults lie dead on the floor. Now on her 25th Birthday Libby Page, since adopted , finds herself sole inheritor of the house and the mystery surrounding it. As missing relatives turn up one by one, Libby is unsure of whether to embrace her new family. A twisty psychological thriller.
Invictus ~ Ryan Graudin ( 2017) ⭐⭐⭐ Faraway McCarthy ( I love that name) was born outside time. His Mother a renowned History Recorder disappeared on a later mission. Now that Faraway is of age he lands a job captaining a treasure hunting ship. But an annoying time- traveller called Elliot always seems to be one step ahead of him. This is a fun and fast paced Y A novel which includes a heist on the Titanic and a gladiatorial battle.
The Penguin Lessons ~ Tom Mitchell ( 2015) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I think it was another blogger who may have recommended this book, but I can’t remember who? Anyway I am glad they did as this is the quirky true story of a Penguin called Juan Salvador. The author Tom Mitchell recounts the time in his early twenties whilst working as a teacher in South America, and his rescue of an oil slicked Magellanic Penguin. Toms memories of smuggling his new friend out of Uruguay and into Argentina and Juan Salvador’s stay in the boys boarding school Tom works at are funny, touching and inspiring.
We started off Saturday with a yummy brunch at a lovely cafe bar in Clitheroe called Jungle. Oh so good! Definitely the best place for brunch in town. And all fueled up for the return of The Ribble Valley Mod Weekender ; the highlight of this popular event of course being The Scooter Rally through the centre.
The town centre was closed off to other traffic for the day. The smokey scent of 2- Stroke Engine Oil filled the air as hundreds of scooters drove through town at 1-30pm, it was quite a spectacle!
I love all the different colours and styles, there were some striking paint jobs.
Doe Bakehouse got in on the action with some scrumptious ‘ The Who’ donuts.
As well as scooters galore , there were 32 gigs in 14 venues around Clitheroe, most of which were on the Saturday. We only saw one band , The Racoons in Keystreet’s Acoustic Garden. They were great and the whole town was buzzing. 🛵
The village of Wetheral near Carlisle was our destination at the weekend, after our planned walk up Hartside was scuppered by mist and drizzle. A mizzley start to our Saturday did have its benefits though. Wetheral has woodland and riverside walks……and not a hill in sight. 🙂 Never mind Wil, you can drag me up the fells next time.
Wetheral has red sandstone dwellings and an attractive village green, so typical of settlements in Cumbria’s Eden Valley. Notable buildings include the Holy Trinity church with its octagonal tower and the 15th Century Priory Gatehouse ; all that remains of a small Benedictine monastery.
By the River Eden footpaths through ancient woodland lead down stone steps to man-made caves, cut into the red rock. The caves were used by the monks to hide during times of border warfare. Etched into the stone are years of signatures.
The caves are named after a St Constantine, who may or may not have inhabited them before the monks saught refuge there. It is possible to explore inside and peer through the slit windows into the river below.
On the other side of the river sits Corby Castle , the ancestral home of the Howard family. It’s Neo-classical facade can be glimpsed from a little beach, along with terraced gardens and folly’s.
My own personal favourite discovery was a wonderful winged bench! Flight Of Fancy is one of ten contemporary stone sculptures to be found along the length of the River Eden. They are called The Eden Benchmarks and here are Some more we found earlier. 🙂
From the benchmarks vantage point we had a clear view of Wetherals 5 Arch Viaduct, known as Corby Bridge. Trains still travel overhead , bound for Newcastle and Glasgow.
After our potter around Wetheral it was time for a spot of lunch. The village store and Post Office is also a cafe called The Posting Pot. We sat at one of the outside tables and people watched. My cream of tomato soup and savoury cheese scone were divine. 🍅
And on the way home I got Wil to pull up at a roadside farm selling one of my most favourite Autumn blooms, the Chinese Lantern. Those flame coloured flowers certainly brought a hint of colour to the caravan decking.
Welcome back to Lancashire for this walk which is a couple of short train journeys away from my hometown of Clitheroe. We don’t use the train often enough and hope to remedy that when finding future hikes. This walk is featured in the Guide To Lancashire Pub Walks by Nick Burton, a handy little pocket size publication. We did a few of the walks mentioned during the first lockdowns , when the pubs weren’t even open. Happily not so the case now. 🙂
Anyway we caught a train from Clitheroe to Blackburn and then went on to the village of Pleasington from there. The whole journey took about 40 minutes including connection time. The walk took us up The Yellow Hills to see The Wainwright Memorial and then through woodland and Witton Park. Refreshments at The Railway Hotel in the village , at the end.
After walking through some woodland we ascended the gentle slopes of the Yellow Hills to come across the Wainwright Memorial , a fitting tribute to the Blackburn born Fell Walker, writer and illustrator Alfred Wainwright. As a young man Alfred would walk in these hills above Blackburn. On a clear day he would be able to glimpse upon the fells of the Lake District, they would eventually entice him to Cumbria where he recorded his hikes in his famous Pictorial Guides.
We walked on to Witton Park, following woodland paths downwards through Billinge Wood and Crow Wood. The Crow Sculpture I had hoped to see didn’t appear to be there ( unless we somehow missed it !) , though there was an information board near where I thought it should have been. And there were plenty of real crows, magpies and other wildlife in the woods.
Witton Park is vast, covering 480 acres. It is Criss crossed by various walking trails and has a visitor centre. We will have to return oneday as we didn’t come across the centre and only saw a small part of the grounds on our walk. After crossing Butler’s Bridge it was a short meander up past the Priory and back into Pleasington.
Map ~ OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors.
Book ~ Guide To Lancashire Pub Walks by Nick Burton.
So it’s raining cats and dogs and you’re out and about in Clitheroe with your four- legged friend. It’s not Beer Garden weather, so where can you and Rover ( or Hugo in my case! ) go to shelter from the rain, sit down with a coffee, relax with a pint, or indeed indulge in a little re Tail therapy? I have put together a list of such places that you and your pooch can enjoy in our Ribble Valley town. 🐶
SHOPS. Clitheroe has a good selection of shops that welcome dogs, many of which are independent retailers. ❤️
Banana News ~ Friendly News Agents in the centre of town. Castle Street.
Bodycare ~ Discount Health & Beauty products. Castle Street.
PUBS AND BARS. Clitheroe has many a pet friendly pub or bar. We are very lucky. 🐩🐾
The Ale House ~ Town centre Micro pub serving cask ales and bottled beers. Market Place.
The Beer Shack ~ Craft Beer bar specialising in craft beers and ciders. Charcuterie boards and beer snacks served too. Also opening mornings for coffee & cakes. Semi covered outdoor area at the back. King Street.
Bowland Beer Hall At Holmes Mill ~ For the Real Ale fan, the Beer Hall at Holmes Mill has 42 Cask ales on tap and has lots of original features from its industrial heritage , including a huge steam engine. Serves Bar Meals. Greenacre Street.
Corto ~ Craft Beers, Natural Ciders, Natural Wines, Cheese Boards and Good Vibes. King Street.
Edisford Bridge Country Pub ~ Country Pub on the outskirts of Clitheroe. Small indoor area for eating with your dog. Lovely beer garden too. Good food and perfect for river walks.
The Emporium ~ Elegant bar and restaurant with dog friendly ground floor. Moor Lane.
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