A Birds- Eye View Of Primroses.

Spot the teeny cows.

A lovely lady from the village offered to show me the whereabouts of a quite rare species of primrose at the weekend. Leaving Wil to chill at the caravan , I met Linda by the pub and we headed along my favourite bridleway ,which connects the Eden Valley settlements of Melmerby, Gamblesby and Unthank. The flowers are growing on private land but luckily my guide knows the land owner.

Buttercups galore. The fields are covered at the moment.
Red Campions & Dandelion Clocks.

I’m glad the weather has been dry recently because we ended up walking over quite a bit of soggy ground. In the adjoining field some young bulls were having fun chasing a group of ponies , then a hare. They also showed an interest in two crazy women cautiously navigating a bog. 🀣

A covering of Great Bittercress.

Not to be put off by the curious cattle Linda forged ahead and we soon came upon an abundance of wild flowers. Now some of my photos turned out pretty blurry. I blame the bulls, the bog and the bright sunshine!

Heath Spotted Orchid. Often Confused with Common Spotted ,which has broader leaves.
Marsh Valerian.
Blurry Butterwort. These plants are insectivorous and have flat to the ground leaves that resemble stars.

What we came to see of course were the Birds – Eye Primroses. And they did not disappoint. Linda was happy to see that the pretty pink flowers had spread their territory a little further….over the brook and into the bull field. Happily we remained where we were. 😊

Birds eye primrose.
The yellow centre of the flower is the Birds Eye.
Such pretty flowers.
Close up.

Favouring both bog and limestone, the conditions here seems to be perfect for these rare members of the primrose family. The Birds-Eye Primrose tends to be found in the North and flowers in June & July. What beauties. So glad they are thriving in a tiny corner of The Eden Valley. πŸ’—

Distant Bulls.

Exploring Cumbria & The Lake District.

Hi there, I have been stopping at the caravan with friends and we were using it as a base to visit some places in Cumbria and the Lakes! I thought I would update this blog everyday diary style and post at the end of our stay. πŸ₯°

Penrith Castle ~ photo credit Arwen Ball.

Day One. We arrived here last night , so today we nipped to nearby Penrith for supplies, had lunch, did some shopping, went for a few drinks and explored the red ruins of Penrith Castle. The girls had their nails done at a great little nail bar in town and we bought some pretty bits and bobs from a lovely clothes/gift shop called Adlib.

Day Two. An epic start to the day with an informative & interesting Whiskey/Vodka/Gin tasting tour, booked in at The Lakes Distillery near Keswick. Well Somebody had to take the morning slot. πŸ˜€

The Lakes Distillery.

After the tour we headed to The Lake District Wildlife Park nearby. Lots of lovely animals & birdlife to learn about and admire, including Otter, Red Panda, Scottish Wildcat, Flamingo and Zebra. πŸ¦“

Lake District Wildlife Park ~ photo credit ~ Arwen Ball.
Rowing Boat on Derwent Water ~ photo credit Tammy Cardoso.

An impromptu row on Derwent Water rounded up Sundays adventures. πŸš£β€β™€οΈ Look out for the rowing boats for hire next to the Keswick Launch & Jetty.

Day Three. A scorcher of a day! We are happily having untypically warm Bank Holiday sunshine. Our first destination was gorgeous Grasmere, the home of poet William Wordsworth and yummy traditional Gingerbread.

Inside Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread Shop.

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is definitely a must when you visit the village. Although the store is tiny it brims with character and the scrumptious aroma of baking gingerbread is impossible to resist. Yet more sweet treats were purchased at the Grasmere Chocolate Cottage. A short walk was needed to burn off those soon to be consumed calories.

Colourful boats at Faeryland Tea Garden.

After walking to Grasmere lake we called in at Faeryland Tea Garden which has an enviable position overlooking the water, and pretty pastille coloured rowing boats are available for hire. πŸ§šβ€β™€οΈ

Kittchen ‘ Pussy & Pints ‘.

Although I have been to a Cat Cafe before, none of us have ever visited a Cat Bar….until now. Kittchen in Hawkshead is home to seven adorable rescue cats and serves yummy food and alcoholic beverages. Because the weather was so hot most of the furry felines were asleep, but the sunshine did mean we had the cats all to ourselves. A purrfect end to the day. 🐱

Llama Trek to Brougham Castle. Photo Courtesy of Arwen Ball.

Day Four. Another hot day. Our anticipated llama trek was put back to late afternoon, so it wouldn’t be too hot for the above cute camelids, Warrior and Jester. We booked an hour mini trek with Lakeland Llama Treks based in Brougham and Melmerby. It was great fun to groom, learn about and walk with both boys to Brougham Castle ,with our lovely guide Caroline. πŸ¦™

Visiting family.

Day Five. The girls went on a little roadtrip to find a beach, spending a couple of hours relaxing on the sands in Maryport. Meanwhile I met up with family at my Mum’s in Askham and we enjoyed a saunter up the fell.

Face Mask Thursday ~ photo credit Tammy Cardoso.

Day Six. Alot cooler today so we chilled at the caravan, watching films etc. It was Arwen and Tammy’s last full day with me at the van.

Day Seven. After a tasty lunch at The Old Village Bakery in Melmerby, the girls have made it home. I am presently waiting for my other half to arrive. It’s been great spending time here with friends, a treat and a bit of normality all at the same time. 😊

Thanks for dropping by.

North Norfolk Coast. 🐚

A holiday happened! We have not long since returned from a week by the sea. A few years ago we visited the North Norfolk Coast and hoped that one day we would go back. Happily we managed to do just that last week. It was great to get away to such a beautiful part of England. The sea air was a tonic!  Below are a few places we visited, often by using the very handy Coasthopper Bus service.

Brancaster & Brancaster Staithe.

These two adjoining fishing villages were our base for exploring. Both are in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the National Trust looks after the beaches here. Hugo loved the vast stretches of sand and I was forever scanning the saltmarsh for interesting waterbirds. My favourite breakfast spot was marshside at the White Horse pub, from where you can watch skeins of geese taking off.  We found our own secret seal colony when walking on the beach too. πŸ’—

Typical Brancaster Beach Lifeguard.
View over the marshes at Breakfast ~ White Horse ~ Brancaster Staithe.
Marshside Muffin.
Harbor Seal ~ Brancaster Beach.
Brancaster Staithe harbor.
Eating out ( inside) in Brancaster. The Ship Hotel for food  and Bar 71 for a friendly drink with the locals.

Sheringham.

We spent an afternoon on the seafront in the traditional seaside town of Sheringham. With its pops of colour on the promenade ( vibrant murals and rainbow painted beach huts) its a smiley seaside resort. The sandy beach after the huts is dog friendly. 🐾

Sheringham Beach Retro Advert art.
Colourful Beach huts.
Promenade squid.
Kite flying.
Mammoth Trail.
Sheringham Beach.

Burnham Market.

A mile inland from the coast is one of a number of villages called Burnham. This Burnham is full of trendy shops & eateries, looking over a village green. I did remark to Wil that it looks the kind of place where you might find ‘ Made in Chelsea’ being filmed. And researching this post did provide me with the information that the villages nick name is ‘ Chelsea on Sea’ . Fancy that!

Village view.
Admiral Horatio Nelson was born in nearby Burnham Thorpe and frequented a public house in the village.
A pink sweet shop.
Coffee time at the Tuscan Farm Shop.
Inside the Tuscan Farm Shop.

Cley Next The Sea.

Keen birders will have heard about Cley. The marshland between the village and the sea is a renowned Nature Reserve, home to many rare species of birdlife including Pied Avocet, Bittern and Bearded Tit. There is also an impressive 18th Century Windmill ( presently a lovely looking b & b ) and various shops, cafes and galleries. Cley does have a shingle beach, from where you can walk to nearby Salthouse. πŸ¦†

Cley Windmill.
Smokehouse.
Shingle Beach.
Avocet.
Swan family take over.

Salthouse.

Just up the coast from Cley Next The Sea, Salthouse is perhaps it’s quieter counterpart, yet still boasting miles of wildlife packed salt marsh and shingle beach. We spent a lovely afternoon here enjoying some slightly warmer temperatures and fresh tasty seafood. We can recommend the Dun Cow for lunch and I loved the book & gift selection in The Salthouse Store. 🐚

Dun Cow beer garden.
Lunch at the Dun Cow.
Shingle. Much of it contains orangey coloured flint, used in the buildings round here.
Swanning around.
Sign near the Church.
The village store.

Wells Next The Sea.

If like me you can’t get enough of Beach Huts then the charming seaside town of Wells Next The Sea is a must visit. After perusing the quaint gift shops on Staithe Street take a quay side walk to Wells beautiful golden sandy beach. It’s made all the lovelier by a pine forest backdrop and stunning array of colourful huts. I was memorised. The beach like many in North Norfolk welcomes four legged friends.  πŸ¦€

Poetry on the sea front.
Looks tropical doesn’t it! We were actually wearing winter woolies.
Huts galore.
Mr & Mrs Mallard outside their beach hut.
Lifeboat Horse Sculpture.

Hunstanton & Old Hunstanton.

On our previous visit to the North Norfolk Coast we stayed in the family friendly resort of Hunstanton, known as ‘ Sunny Hunny’ to optimistic holiday makers. We just had to revisit and walk along the beach to neighboring Old Hunstanton.

Lighthouse viewed through the remains of st Edmunds Chapel.
St Edmund was an Anglo Saxon King who was killed and beheaded by Danish raiders. A wolf supposedly protected the king’s head , and when reunited with Edmunds body the head mysteriously reattached itself, a sure sign of sainthood apparently.
Fulmar nesting in Hunstantons stripey cliffs.
Unique striped cliffs.
The Old Town Cafe at Old Hunstanton. A great place for breakfast.
Beach huts in the dunes.

Of course there are lots more places to explore in North Norfolk and what’s above are only a small selection.

We loved the big skies and the stunning variety of coastline. I think Hugo did too. πŸ™‚

Have you ever visited North Norfolk? πŸ¦€

Barbon Bluebells.

Got a bluebell fix on the way home from the van on Sunday. We stopped off at the pretty village of Barbon which happens to be located in both South Lakeland and within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. To my delight a nearby woodland was packed with vivid blue bluebells and other spring flowers.

We hadn’t visited Barbon before. It’s attractions include a cheeseshop/cafe and a thrice yearly car race called the Barbon Hill Climb.

Have you walked amongst the bluebells this year? Head to Barbon whilst the colours are at their best. πŸ’™

Up Melmerby Fell.

I think we can safely say that our caravan in Melmerby is fast becoming our second home. Now that England is coming out of lockdown restrictions, we are hoping to spend more time there, hopefully at least two weekends a month. There’s still so much of the Eden Valley to be explored, not least from our own doorstep. Never one to suggest a hike up a hill, I left it to Wil to persuade me that a fell walk from Melmerby on a clear Spring day was a good idea. πŸ™‚

After breakfast at the van, we set off from the village, following a well defined track up through woodland and into the hills. And there are plenty of hills!  Melmerby sits at the foot of the mighty North Pennines.

Ford and stream.
Hills. ⛰️
Wil waiting for me….as usual.
Looking back.
Looking up.

Eventually after a lot of lagging behind I caught Wil and Hugo up. The views are extraordinary , with the Lake District fells and even the sea in sight on a clear day.

Hills and sky.
Perched on a hill..
Views across to the Lake District Mountains.
A Dunlin.  Although more commonly associated with the coast, dunlins breed in the uplands. This one wears it’s breeding plumage.
A rusty machine skeleton.
Another upland bird, the beautiful Golden Plover.

Now there are several summits in the fells above Melmerby. And Melmerby Fell is certainly one of the bigger ones at 709 metres ( not that much shorter than two of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, and higher than Pen Y Ghent ) but sorting which cairn or trig belongs to which fell is a bit tricky.

Possibly Meikle Awfell.
Knapside Hill, maybe.
This unimpressive looking  Cairn is the top of Melmerby Fell. Yay!
A rest on Melmerby Summit.

Up on the tops the weather had turned from t shirt weather to something a bit more wild and cold. It even tried to snow! We soldiered on along the Maiden Way, a Roman road later used as a Drovers route.

Walking along the Maiden Way. Cross Fell in the distance, I think.
Rosy coloured sheep.
Along the Maiden Way.
Another fell bird ~ the pretty Wheatear.

We made our descent by following an old tramway , now almost given back to nature. It leads down to a large lime kiln by Ardale Beck. I think the kiln looks like a miniature castle. And then on to Townhead, Ousby.

Following the old tramline into the valley below.
Back of Townhead Lime Kiln.
Townhead Lime Kiln.
Below the hills we walked across.
A contented little lamb.

The final part of our walk took us along pretty country lanes from Ousby back to Melmerby.

St Luke’s Church, Ousby. Made from the rosy red sandstone so typical of the area.
A sheepdog sees us off.
Sheep jam on the way out of Ousby.
A pair of partridge.
A Tunncks Tea Cake back at the caravan.

In the end I was glad that Wil persuaded me to join him on this hike up Melmerby fell. πŸ™‚

Os explorer 0L31

11 miles ( 18km).

Walking in Cumbrias Eden Valley ~ Vivienne Crow.

.

Books Read In February, March & April.

Well this year is flying by and I keep forgetting to compile a Books Read post. Here’s a quick catch up from the last three months. πŸ“š

Heroic Animals ~ Clare Balding ( 2020). Wil bought me this and it’s a great book to dip in and out of, or just read through alphabetically. Lots of emotional true stories about animals , many who put their lives on the line for us. Some don’t have happy endings though, so keep a tissue handy. Plus the tale of Mike the headless chicken is quite disturbing. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Duke & I ~ Julia Quinn ( 2000). I enjoyed the first season of Bridgerton on Netflix, this is the novel that it is based upon, written twenty years ago now. A Regency era romance , the book series concerns the lives and loves of the Bridgerton siblings, this one in particular focuses on the lovely Daphnes quest to find a suitable husband. There is one scene in the book ( thankfully not in the TV series) that does sour the story a bit. ⭐⭐⭐

The Moth And The Mountain ~ Ed Caesar ( 2020 ). Many men who survived the first world war brought their physical and mental scars back home with them, some like Maurice Wilson must have thought they were invincible. Wilson who had never been to Asia, nor ever flown an aeroplane before, decided it was his life’s mission to fly from England to Everest in a gipsy moth, then climb to the summit of the world’s tallest mountain, completely alone. I had never heard of Maurice Wilson, a brave but foolhardy & flamboyant character. An amazing true story, I would love to see his life up there on the big screen. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bone China ~ Laura Purcell (2019). If you fancy a Victorian Gothic tale, set in a creepy crumbling old house, this is for you. Hester Why is running away. She needs to escape her past and has fled to Cornwall to take up a position as the elderly Miss Pinecrofts nurse maid. But refuge here involves eerie superstitions, damp dark places & bone china with changing patterns. Could Hester be in even more grim peril than she was before…. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Magpies Nest : A Treasury Of Bird Folk Tales ~ Taffy Thomas ( 2020). Storyteller Taffy Thomas has brought together a collection of short stories and myths about some of our most well loved birds. Charmingly illustrated too, a lovely book for young and old readers alike. Taffy himself is a storyteller at the Storytelling Garden in Grasmere. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Snapshot Of Murder ~ Frances Brody (2018). So apparently this is the tenth Kate Shackleton mystery, but I am completely new to the book series. Snapshot was passed onto me and has alighted my curiosity! It is 1928 and lady detective Kate is taking a break from solving murders. Her other passion is photography and the local camera club has planned an outing to Haworth and Stanbury, homeland of the Brontes. But one of her fellow enthusiasts will not return from the trip and Mrs Shackletons investigative skills are called upon in Wuthering Heights country. ⭐⭐⭐

Happy Reading. ❀️

Pom Poms Of Pink.

My hometown is adorned with pretty pink blossom, pom poms of pink. Take a walk with me up to the castle park and stop to admire the blooms. They look particularly striking , offset by a beautiful blue sky.

Bonnygrass Terrace.
Japanese Cherry Blossom.
Pink pom poms.
This poem made me smile as mother’s today were snapping their children amongst the cherry blossoms too. 😊
Cabbage White Butterfly.
Magnolia.
Pink 🌷
Clitheroe Castle.
Labyrinth.
Holly Blue Butterfly.
Tulips.

Hope you enjoyed my little tour of some of Clitheroes blossom trees. ❀️

Along The Riverside At Sedburgh.

At the weekend we made our first trip of the year to stay over at the caravan. πŸ₯° We decided to deviate from our normal route up the M6 after Kirkby Lonsdale. Instead we meandered through the Dales and into the Eden Valley via the charming town of Sedburgh, nestling at the foot of the Howgills. This part of the Yorkshire Dales is pretty new to us, we usually only view the Howgills from the motorway. Alfred Wainwright once described the fells as ‘ looking like a herd of sleeping elephants’. 🐘🐘🐘

After parking in the town we made our way to the River Rawthey. It was certainly turning out to be a beautiful Spring day.

A well maintained Playing Field.
Pebbles at New Bridge.
Those Sleeping Elephants. πŸ™‚
A stoney brook. No water but lots of pebbles.
By the river Rawthey.

Presently we came to a field where three Highland cows were residing. They seemed completely happy for us to pass by. Very chilled in the morning sunshine.

Highlands in the Howgills.
Happy Highland Cow.
Watching. πŸ™‚

I had a plan of course! A little further on along the Rawthey I had read of an old Victorian Wool Mill. Farfield Mill hosts art & craft exhibitions, has a shop and a tearoom ,presently open as a takeaway with tables outside.

Farfield Mill.
Refreshment stop.
Views over the Rawthey.
A cottage by the mill. If I were to name this little house, I would call it ‘ Wild πŸ“ Strawberry cottage’.
Lungwort.
Country Lane.
Wood Sorrel.

Heading back now along the river, there are more cute livestock to see. πŸ™‚

Hebridean Sheep..
A wooly white donkey.
I think Hugo likes the Rawthey. πŸ™‚
Obligitary Goosander.
Sunbathing.
Back into town.

So Sedburgh Is England’s Book Town and has more second hand book shops than Birmingham apparently!

Clutter books.
Sleepy Elephant.🐘
A disused bus shelter, now a book shelter.
Three Hares Cafe Bakery.
One of many independent shops.
St Andrews Church.

After buying some bread from the Three Hares Cafe Bakery, it was time for us to continue on to our van in the equally lovely Eden Valley. I am sure we will be visiting Sedburgh and the surrounding area again soon though. πŸ™‚

Ribble side ramble. πŸ¦†

The weather is so surprising at the moment. Blue skies then snow. Warm sunshine. Then snow. And repeat.

I am wondering what to wear for a week night beer garden drink. Looking in my wardrobe, I seriously haven’t bought any new going out clothes since 2019! Pjamas ~ yes. Walking pants~ yes. But no new tops or dresses. However I suspect I will still be frequenting my warm puffa jacket for any approaching social activities!

At present social activities still revolve around walking, so here are some photos from yesterday’s walk along the river to Chatburn and back. A repeat of a post I did earlier in the year, but a little more wildlife on display. πŸ™‚

One of many picture slabs in Brungerley park. A fox and a hare gaze at the moon.
A hunched heron.
Greylag and Canada Geese.
Golden forsythia blossom.
A lone mute swan.
Hipping Stones.
Mary Horner’s bench.
Gushing.
Beautiful blackthorn.
Twisty tree.
Bridge at Grindleton.
In the Woods.
Primrose.
By the Ribble.
Hipping Stones.
Hipping Stones.
Female Goosander. A favourite water bird. Love her Nut brown quiff.
Hugo waiting to play ball.
Wood Anemones or Wind Flowers.
Dog Violet.
Love this cherry blossom painting.

Hope you have had a pleasant weekend.

A New Nature Reserve In Town. πŸ¦†πŸ¦‹πŸŒ³

Recently Hugo and I have spent a lot of time
treading the boardwalks…..at the new Nature Reserve in town. Primrose Nature Reserve has opened at last! What was once an overgrown wasteland containing a mill lodge of stagnant water has been transformed, with walkways, a viewing platform and even a Monet style bridge spanning Mearley Brook. A fish pass has been installed close to the old Primrose Mill to allow salmon, trout and eels to travel upstream and gallons of silt has been removed from the lodge. I have taken a few photos which I hope will give a feel for the place. The reserve is suitable for wheel chairs, push chairs and prams and it doesn’t take very long to walk through.

Owl carving at the Woone Lane entrance.
Wildlife the reserve hopes to attract more of.
Green Winged Teal. There are several of these. Such pretty water birds.
Bird accomodation.
Moorhen.
Habitats have been created using fallen logs.
Butterbur frequent the brook side.
Monet style bridge.
Facing Woone Lane.
A bluetit furnishes its new home, number 5. πŸ™‚
Little Egret seen from the bridge.
Sluice gates were used to control the flow of water to the mill.
Old Industry.
Mallard and ten ducklings.
I was happy to see there are actually primroses at Primrose Nature Reserve. πŸ™‚
Flowering currant.
Dunnock.
Willow arch near the Whalley road entrance.
Reserve map at the Whalley road entrance.

To view the fish pass you have to walk up Woone Lane to the top of the nature reserve and you will be able to see it from the road next to Primrose Mill. At the moment the mill is being turned into apartments so whilst renovations are going on, here’s a photo from Instagram.

Alaskan Fish Pass, one of the largest in England.

I am looking forward to the changing seasons ,to see how the area becomes established. I think the reserve is a lovely little addition to Clitheroe. A wild space in an urban landscape. 😊

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