Snowdrops and the Sea ~ Hornby Castle and Morecambe.

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I had been researching Snowdrop Walks in Lancashire and found two. Both were at historic piles and not to far from the sea .Lytham Hall near St Annes and Hornby Castle , a short drive from Morecambe. I managed to persuade Wil that we could incorporate snowdrops and seaside into a good day out for ourselves and our Labrador Hugo. Off we set on a dreary grey day in Clitheroe, heading for Hornby Castle near Lancaster . We actually ended up blessed with some sunshine. πŸ™‚

Hornby Castle in the Lune Valley overlooks the village of Hornby and the river Wenning. Parts of the building date back to the 13th century and the impressive tower that dominates it’s shape is 16th century. The castle is privately owned and the gardens are only opened to the public a few days a year

Hornby Castle from the weir.

It was lovely to see all the many varieties of snowdrops in bloom. They carpeted the woodland, grew in thickets by the river and adorned the lovely walled garden. Hugo’s favourite part was exploring the riverside walk.

I wish I had taken more snowdrop pictures for you all. They really were stunning! Entry to the Snowdrop weekend was Β£4 per person and included a talk about the castle in the drawing room ( which we managed to miss! ) and you could buy plants, hot drinks and cake in the walled garden. A pottery exhibition was also in the grounds. If you wish to visit Hornby castle yourself, the next opening weekend is 19-20 May, Bluebell season. πŸ™‚

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The village of Hornby itself is quite pleasant and Hornby Post Office & Tea Rooms are a very good stop off point for a spot of lunch. The picture above is quite deceptive as the place was absolutely rammed, due I think to the Snowdrop Weekend and a second hand book sale in the village. The old fountain in the village depicts a cat with a rat in its mouth, said to represent the former owner of the castle, Pudsey Dawson, who brought in cats to clear the castle of a huge rat population in the 19th century. Yikes!

In the afternoon we headed to the coast and went for a blustery walk on the beach in Morecambe. Luckily at this time of year you can depend on pup friendly beaches, even if it is somewhat freezing! Morecambe has appeared in my blog quite a few times so apologies for any repetitive photos. Its a very photogenic place though, if a bit worn and weather beaten.

Eric Morecambe Statue.

The bracing winds encouraged us to head for the Midland Hotel that looks over the bay and the long stone jetty, decorated ( as much of the town is) with seabird sculptures and poems.

The Midland is a Grade II listed Art Deco design hotel , which was built in 1933 by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. Like many grand seaside hotels it fell into disrepair and decline. In 2008 it was re-opened to the public, all restored and its elegant curving façade happily housing a lovely hostelry once again.

After enjoying our hot drinks we headed home through the Trough of Bowland, calling in at my sisters for another brew. Can’t get enough of brews in this weather!

Have you been on any snowdrop walks this year? Or bracing beach walks for that matter! πŸ™‚

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Skipton in-between showers.

On Monday Wil and I had a day off together and as I was in dire need of some new walking pants, we headed up to Skipton, a North Yorkshire market town with a good selection of outdoorsy type shops. Skipton also has an impressive medieval castle and the ancient Skipton Castle Woods are perfect for a walk with the dog.

We entered the woodland via the Bailey entrance where a carpet of snowdrops welcomed us. Apparently the woods really come into their own later in the spring, when bluebells, wild garlic and primroses adorn the forest floor.

Skipton Castle Woods are looked after by The Woodland Trust and there are three short trails that meander their way through the canopy of trees. You can’t tell from the pictures but the weather alternated between rain, sleet and snow! We returned to the town through the woods entrance on Mill Bridge.

The town is the perfect mix of high street and independent shops, quirky cafes, old fashioned pubs with names like ‘The Woolly Sheep’ and colourful canal boats. Great for a wander round and a spot of retail therapy. πŸ™‚

We had lunch in Coopers Cafe Bar on Belmont Street. This is a fave cafe of ours in Skipton. A really friendly and relaxing place with good tasty food. Afterwards we did the tourist thing and bought tickets to look round Skipton Castle. Tickets are Β£8.30 for Adults, Β£5.20 for children and dogs are accepted, though not in the shop or tearoom.

A sturdy castle over 900 years old, Skipton is steeped in history. It was the last stronghold in the North of Engand during the English Civil War between Oliver Cromwell and the Royalists. Legend has it that sheep fleeces were hung over the walls to lessen the impact of cannon fire. My favourite part of the castle is the shady inner courtyard, where Lady Anne Clifford planted a Yew Tree and set about restorations after the battle. There are lots of rooms to explore….and its a great place to escape from the rain!

Wintery Spring ~ Links & Likes.

Welcome to my first Links & Likes of 2018. This is a series where I like to include some links to a few posts I have β™‘ recently.

February is a funny month. Spring is just around the corner( hopefully!) ,yet I still feel like hibernating! With snow, sleet, rain and hale all forcasted over the next few days in the North West, can you blame me if I cosy up under the duvet and snooze for the forseeable….

Yet I do have plans. 😁 Febuary is Snowdrop Season and I would really love to witness these first signs of Spring in all their gorgeous glory. Here in Lancashire Lytham Hall welcomes all to wander round their lovely grounds over the next couple of Weekends. Frames high-light the blooms for picture opportunities. Hornby Castle near Lancaster is opening to the public for Snowdrop Walks on the 17th & 18th February. Elsewhere The National Trust has details of early blooming gardens on their website. Hopefully I will be out and about searching for snowdrops in the next few days.

Other plans I have for February include a Ghost Walk at Houghton Tower and a Girls Night In Clothes Swap Party. So really, hibernation is not actually an option. πŸ˜„

Snowdrops at Lytham Hall. Image off Pinterest.

Christine has been playing Colour Bingo with her camera. A great idea for a blog post!

Amanda visits a Train Station , where an iconic Romantic Movie was filmed in the 1940s.

Louise marks the beginning of Spring ( Imbolc ) at the Marsden Fire Festival.

I love Rosie’s post about close encounters with cute seal pups. Aw.

This Tea Time Mango Cake looks and sounds delicious on Shilpi’s blog. 🍰

The Typewriter Girl has some perfect ideas for filling February with fun and light. πŸ™‚

Its going to be A Dog’s Life for Gina, as she prepares to welcome a cute new arrival. πŸ™‚

What are your plans to brighten up a dreary February?

Thanks for dropping by. X

Sunday Sevens February 4th.

Its actually Friday morning as I gather together some pictures for my Sunday Sevens post. Yesterday ( Thursday) I had the day off as I am working for a colleague on Saturday. Yay , I can hardly wait! I know I am totally spoilt really and have become to used to having my weekends off….

I have just finished reading ELeanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and I must say, I really enjoyed it. The story centres round Eleanor, a thirty something office worker who exists according to a regimented timetable during the week….and buys two bottles of vodka to drink at home every weekend. Eleanor thinks her life is rolling along as it should be, in other words she’s completely fine. And then she makes a friend. I found this book to be sweetly funny, heart-breaking and unputdownable. Anyone else read it?

Linden and Holder image saved from abduzeedo.com via Pinterest.

Currently watching ~ The Killing on Netflix. I am probably very late to the party! Based on the Danish TV series Forbrydelsen ( The Crime) , The Killing is a serial detective drama set in the more often than not bleak and rainy Seattle. With Scandi Noir influences and Linden’s Danish knitted jumpers, our crime busting duo are two very different homicide detectives ,with contrasting styles of how to get things done. Although I am very definitely the kind of audience that hides behind a cushion when I think something bad is going to happen, I am seriously hooked on a good mystery at the moment. Other Netflix series that I have enjoyed recently are The Sinner, Godless and The Lizzie Boden Chronicles. Any recommendations?

Thursday and Friday have been bright and cold days. On Thursday I had a good walk round my local Castle grounds. I went up to the top of the keep and it was freezing up there! This gave me an excuse to visit a tearoom and indulge in a pot of hot tea and a slice of Lemon Drizzle Cake. πŸ™‚

Callooh ! Callay in Clitheroe has just re-opened. If your a fan of Alice In Wonderland and your tea served in vintage china, you will love Callooh!

I also did a spot of shopping. I found a couple of cute cards in Roost, a fab new Gifts and Interiors shop on Moor Lane. Plus I purchased a pretty top in a charity shop for Β£4. Can you see it is covered in little cat motifs. Slinky does not care to compliment it. That little fur ball on the edge of the photo is actually Slinky curled up in sleep ( or ignoring! ) mode.

Slinky Malinki

Speaking of which, I was disappointed to read ( yet again ) this week, that black cats in rescue centres are finding it hard to be re-homed due to them not being seen as photogenic enough for Instagram or selfies. If a person only wants a pet to decorate their social media feed, then I’m afraid they don’t deserve one. There are some eejits out there!

Walkies!

My final photo shows Pendle Hill in the back ground and is a view I tend to see a lot, when we are out and about with Hugo. I am hoping to #walk1000miles in 2018 and my progress in January has been pretty good. I have walked 120 miles in the first month. However I am probably only walking what I have always walked, its just that I haven’t bothered to record the distance before. If we didn’t have Hugo, would I have the motivation??? I think I would struggle!

Thanks as always to Natalie at Threads and Bobbins for organizing Sunday Sevens.

Birdies in the back yard.

This weekend was the Big Garden Birdwatch in the UK and because my little back yard has been quite busy with bird visitors recently, I decided to join in. Apparently the Big Garden Birdwatch, organized by the rspb is the world’s largest wildlife survey! From previous years results the data collected has shown which birdlife is thriving and which breeds are not doing so well. Once common garden visitors such as the starling are now on the decline, though numbers of the tiny wren are happilly……on the up. Through January both of these birdie breeds have frequented my yard. Of course when you only have one hour to record the species that visit, its pot luck which , if any , will turn up. πŸ˜‰

Female sparrow.

The survey was short and sweet…..and quite relaxing too. The idea being that you took one hour out of your time on Friday, Saturday or Sunday to sit and watch which birds appear. I chose an hour on Friday morning, settling down with a brew, cereal bar and my Big Garden Birdwatch Pack.

For what seemed like ages, I sat there wondering if anyone would arrive. 😐 But then luckilly a sparrow and a dunnock turned up. Dunnocks are shy brown and grey birds that mostly forage on the ground ,as they like to nibble what has dropped from the feeders.

Male Blackbird.

My next visitor was a male blackbird. He and his mate are frequently seen feeding on the fat balls, swinging on the feeder. I was pleased to see him.

Bluetit.

The true acrobats at the feeders are the pretty bluetits with their yellow fronts and black eye stripes. Usually I see quite a few enjoying the half coconut shells , but during the hour, only one graced the yard with its presence.

Snowdrops. πŸ™‚

So there you go, I recorded 4 bird species in the hour. Not as good as I hoped, but it was still interesting and I hope my filled in survey helps the RSPB.

Did you take part this year?

What wildlife visits you?

A Long Weekend In The Lake District.

Having recently returned from a 3 night break in the lovely Lake District, I would love to show you some photos from my stay. As per usual Wil and I were accompanied by our labrador Hugo. We stayed once again in Keswick, where we engrossed ourselves in country walks and awesome food. If you have a dog, then this Cumbrian town is super pet-friendly. Hugo must have been given a treat, everwhere we went. Luckily he had plenty of opportunities to run those tasty titbits off!

Thirlmere.

Friday ~ Snowy Thirlmere.

As we wouldn’t get the key to our accomodation until the late afternoon, we had planned a walk from Harrop Tarn to Thirlmere. The little country roads in the area were pretty icey though, so we scrapped that plan and parked at Station Coppice on the East side of Thirlmere instead. From here we took the underpass to Swirls Car Park . This is a popular starting point for the trek up Helvellyn. If you prefer a gentler stroll ( like me! ), there are various trails up into the woodland, including a Red Squirrel trail. We found a fresh white world ,the whole area was very Narnia like, under a blanket of snow. Hugo pounced in the drifts, I flung myself into snow angel shapes and a solitary herdwick , watched us with mild curiosity.

After enjoying the peaceful woodland we headed to the lake, where Hugo had a bracing paddle. Thirlmere is actually a reservoir ,created from the original smaller lake and the flooding of two hamlets Armboth and Wythburn. The industrial demands of Victorian England meant that Thirlmere was needed to supply water to the growing mill population of Manchester. To this day the 95 mile Thirlmere Aqueduct carries water to Manchester and beyond.

Around Derwentwater.

Saturday ~ Around Derwentwater.

Saturday dawned a fine bright cold day, the perfect weather for a winter walk around beautiful Derwentwater. A scenic ten mile waymarked path ambles round the shoreline , taking in stunning snow-capped mountain vistas, often reflected in the lake itself. What I particularly loved about this walk were all the interesting landmarks on route. Starting at the Friar’s Crag Viewpoint just after the Keswick Launch and Jetties, the path will regale you with many photographic opportunities. Look out for The Hundred Year Stone at Calfclose Bay, the Lodore Falls behind the Lodore Falls Hotel, The Chinese Bridge over the river Derwent inscribed with a Winnie The Pooh quote and the giant hand sculpture ‘Entrust’ near Portinscale. There are plenty of refreshment opportunities on route. We stopped off at Mary Mount Hotel for a coffee and a beer and The Lingholm Kitchen near Portinscale for a late lunch. From February The Keswick Launch reopens so if you do try out this circular walk, you can incorporate it with a cruise on the lake too.

Sunday ~ Chilled day in Keswick.

Yummy Breakfast at Jaspers in Keswick.
Eyeing up Eggs Benedict.

Sunday was a typically wet Lake District day. We decided to mostly chill in warm dry places. 😁 There was the happy discovery of a new pooch themed cafe Jaspers Coffee House on Station street, which does amazing breakfasts ( see above) and has cute doggy decor.

Hugo at The Pencil Museum.

Did you know that Keswick’s Pencil Museum is home of the first pencil! The newly refurbished collection is a fun place to spend an hour out of the weather, especially if you get competitive doing the ‘Whats the point?’ Pencil Quiz. πŸ˜‰

Four legged customer in the Dog & Gun.
Leisurely Lunch at the Square Orange.🍊

There are lots of great places to eat and drink in the town, many are very dog friendly. We always frequent the characterful Dog & Gun on Lake Road and finally managed to fit into the tiny tapas & cafe bar The Square Orange for a leisurely lunch. Definitely worth the wait!

Wet Sleddale near Shap.

Monday ~ Soggy Wet Sleddale.

Today we left Keswick and stopped off at Shap near Penrith. Again I had plans , this time for us to walk round Wet Sleddale Reservoir. But the lane down to Wet Sleddale looked pretty hazardous, so we parked in Shap and walked the 3 miles there. Maybe it is always wet and bleak here ( hence the name! ) but we didn’t make it round the reservoir. 😐 Still I am up for a return visit! We saw lots of Buzzards and kestrels and the area has a connection with a cult British film. Sleddale Hall was a film location in back comedy Withnil and I.

Where have you visited in January? Or are you enjoying a spot of hibernation. 😁

Sunday Sevens 21st January.

It’s a cold and wuthering January week and here I am joining in with Sunday Sevens devised by the lovely new Mom, Natalie at Threads & Bobbins.

Last Sunday morning I woke up quite hungover after my works Christmas do. Does anyone else have their work’s Xmas party in January! Anyway Wil made English Breakfast Shatshuka from a recipe found on adventuresofcumbrianblondie.co.uk. Was just what I needed. πŸ™‚

jan 18 001

I have signed up to do the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch which takes place on the weekend of the 27-29th January. It’s basically a small way ( only takes up an hour of your time)of helping the RSPB find out about how our garden bird population is doing. This cheeky robin has been a regular visitor recently. πŸ™‚

On Tuesday eve I met up with some ‘old friends’ for tea. We did lots of reminiscing ( turns out Jo, Fi and I have known our pal Suranjan for 17 years. What!) and even though he has moved down south and is married with kids now, the years just melted away. Plus we got to sit at a table with a wooden duck. 😁

The rest of my photos are from where I am currently staying. Yes I am in The Lake District once again! Instead of buying each other Xmas presents last year, Wil and I treated ourselves to 3 nights in Keswick. Its a bit of a tradition ,as we were here this time last year too.

Above Thirlmere.

On Friday we saw Snow. Hugo loved it! Although he is now three and half ,he has only experienced the White Stuff a couple of times before. We parked up near Thirlmere and followed the Red Squirrel Trail. Fun times!

Kendal Mint Liqueur & Kendal Mint Cake.

Yesterday we decided to walk round Derwentwater ( the lake in Keswick) and above are our supplies. 😁

Derwentwater.

It was a beautiful day, the perfect sort of weather to circumnavigate a lake. I will definitely be blogging about Derwentwater in more detail soon…..

And here is last night’s supper! Dined at the lovely Merienda in Keswick. Totally spoilt for choice here. 😊

So there you have it. Thanks for bobbing by. How has your week been?

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