The Railway Children Walk.

Back in March when Wil and I spent a particularly Ice Cold Night In Haworth , I picked up a Railway children’s Walks leaflet from the train station. We eventually returned one showery ( but much warmer) day in September and tried out the longer of the two circular walks, which is six miles long.

The Railway Children is a 1970 dramatization of E Nesbit’s Classic novel about three children whose lives change dramatically when their father is sent to prison, and their mother takes them to live in rural Yorkshire, uprooting them from their middle class London life. Their new home backs onto a railway line , which brings unexpected adventures and also new friends, when the going gets tough. The film is an endearing family favourite, and one that can still be enjoyed today. πŸ™‚

Although Howarth is definitely more well known as the home of the literary Bronte family, it’s cobbled streets, old-fashioned railway stations, surrounding buttercup meadows and even the Bronte parsonage itself, made for inspired location casting in the film. Hopefully Author E Nesbit would have been pleased with the result!

The Railway Children ~ Peter, Bobbi & Phyllis.

The walk starts at Howarth Station ( we parked in the main car-park , not far from Haworth Centre), where we were lucky enough to see a steam train puffing into the station:)

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Steam Train Approaching Haworth Station.

Before I could so much as wave a white hanky, we set off from Haworth Station forecourt, crossing the main road and turning right , before turning left up Brow Road. After a short distance we spied a footpath sign on the right and followed a well trodden path through farmyards and passing Oxenhope water treatment works as we walked along side Bridgehouse Beck and Worth Valley Railway, almost to Oxenhope Station.

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Horses near Ives Bottom Farm.

This section of the walk wouldn’t normally take very long, but we found ourselves caught up in a Fell Race, and had to keep stopping and grabbing Hugo, making way for Fell Runner after Fell Runner. Talk about bad timing on our part! One poor runner nearly tripped over the dog! We were relieved when our paths finally divided and we crossed the railway.

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Railway Crossing.
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Perfect spot for lunch. πŸ™‚

We had packed some lunch and after our fraught run ins with the fell runners we decided to sit a while on a bench overlooking the railway line, watching a few straggling runners appear now and again. The race did remind me of the paper chase in the film though. πŸ™‚

After our impromptu picnic we carried on over the stile in the wall behind us and up the meadow where Bents House appears on the left. Better known as Three Chimneys, this is the Yorkshire home of The Railway Children. πŸ™‚

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Three Chimneys. The foliage obscuring it’s actual three chimneys.

By now it had started raining heavily, so we changed into our waterproofs after passing the stone gap stile which “Perks the Station master” has difficulty squeezing through, whilst delivering a basket hamper to Three Chimneys in the film.

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Stone Gap Stile.

The walk then took us to the hamlet of Hole after passing through a farmyard and a large field full of very frisky cows, who were a bit too interested in Hugo. After much shooing we managed to negotiate ourselves around the cattle and the mud. Even though I grew up on a farm and don’t usually mind walking through livestock, these ones were a bit lively, even for me! After this adventure we got a bit lost ( which does usually happen on our walks ;0) ), so we were very glad when the Railway Children Walk signs re-appeared, and we found ourselves walking the short way from Hole into Haworth, via Haworth Churchyard and the Bronte Parsonage Museum, the Doctor’s house in the film.

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Bronte Parsonage Museum is Doctor Forrest’s House.
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The Tourist Info Office was used in the film as the butchers shop.
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Haworth Main Street. In the film the children call in at various shops and houses in Haworth, collecting birthday gifts for Perks.

Various houses and shops in Haworth doubled up as locations in the film. We had a wander down the Main street and shared a ‘ Yorkshire Scallywag’ in the Bronte Boardwalk CafΓ©, before continuing with the walk.

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A Scallywag is a Yorkshire Scone. πŸ™‚

The next part of the walk took us to Oakworth Station, which is the railway station used in the film. We headed down Main Street , turning left opposite The Fleece Public House, crossed over the busy main road and walked down the cobblestones of Butt Lane ,before following a diagonal path over some playing fields onto Mytholmes Lane. We then ambled down hill and the route re-joined the footpath after a row of cottages on the right. The path follows the railway and in the winter when the views aren’t obscured by foilage, you can apparently get a better view of the embankment where the landslide was filmed and the children waved the girls red petticoats to warn the driver of the 11.29 train of the danger.

We then encountered some danger ourselves, when two curious ( and very mahoosive! ) horses came cantering up out of nowhere, as we were giving Hugo a drink from his portable water dish. The gigantic beasts probably thought food was on the menu, and chased us to the nearest stile. Presently we found ourselves walking down a main road toward the station , and noticed some unusual little houses painted into the wall.

Oakworth Station is an Edwardian Railway Station with a very olde worlde charm. We purchased a platform ticket for 50p and had a quick wander round. Much of the action in The Railway Children movie features on the platform and in the station rooms here.

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The platform.
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Picture postcard platform.

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The station even has a ladies waiting room, decked out as a perfect replica of the Edwardian one in the film. There are also Railway Children merchandise and mementos on display.

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Ladies Waiting Room.

Its a nice thought that you can actually sit in such a nostalgic lounge and wait for your train. I wonder if the fire is lit on cold winters days? I did spot a couple of burly British Rail workers in the station enjoying a tea break at a tea clothed table , complete with doilys and vintage China. πŸ™‚ Both steamers and diesel trains pass through Oakworth Station on a regular basis. πŸ™‚

We continued the walk, crossing over the level crossings and passing Station Cottage which is Mr Perks home in the film. We kept following the road past Vale Fold Cottages and crossed a stile onto the footpath which runs parallel to the railway line again.

Station Keepers Cottage.
Mytholmes Tunnel. In the paper chase scene , one of the grammar school boys gets stuck in the tunnel.
Another approaching Steamer. πŸ™‚

It was fun to see another Steam Train puffing its way towards us as we followed the footpath over a road and watched it chug under the bridge below us. We then walked up a main road again ( Ebor Lane) and back into Haworth.

I really enjoyed our Railway Children Walk despite the rain, run-ins with fell runners, frisky cows and hungry horses. ; )

Is this a walk that you would try?

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Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ September.

Time for another Scavenger Hunt with Kate & co , over at I Live, I Love, I Craft, I am Me. The words that kate chose are Brightly Coloured, Pattern, Ink, Upside Down, Bag & My Own Choice.

Brightly Coloured ~ Not my hanging basket unfortunately! Mine did not do well at all this year, so here’s one of the lovely brightly coloured ones at The Aspinall Arms in Mitton, a pub we occasionally walk to, across the fields . I love the vibrant pink fuchsia.

Bag ~ Not exactly a bag, but more of a picnic basket ! The above items are on display at a lovely olde worldy train station I visited recently. And they are from a film. Can you guess which one? Blog post to follow. πŸ™‚

Upside Down ~ We managed to take a wrong turn on a walk near Haworth in Yorkshire a couple of weeks ago and ended up walking past this great kids Welly storage. πŸ™‚ It was however the perfect photo opportunity for upside down.

Pattern ~ I always think Speckled Wood Butterflies wings are adorned with a very Autumnal pattern. πŸ™‚

Ink ~ Didn’t really know what to photograph for Ink, but then I thought, well I am writing most days in my Nature Diary. I’m jotting down all the wildlife that I see when I’m out and about ,walking the dog, walking to work etc ,and I have being doing so since April. It has encouraged me to ID various insects and flowers and is a useful way of recording the changing of the seasons, and what wildlife lives where. I’m quite addicted!

My Own Choice ~ Whilst walking to nearby Mitton recently, one of the fields we walk through was full of horses, including these two little Shetlands. They were too busy munching to be bothered by us. I just thought they were so cute!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend. ❀️

Early Autumn.

September, a month where Summer’s warmth lingers on as Autumn brings in nippy mornings and changing colours. These past couple of weeks I have definitely been feeling the Autumn vibe. Nuts and berries are abundant on the trees, sycamore helicopters are spinning in the breeze and the path through a nearby woodland is carpeted with acorns and conkers.

Woodland walk.

I am feeling especially Autumnal lately as I actually won this lovely Autumn themed Giveaway over on Paula’s ‘Typewriter Girl’ blog. What a wonderful surprise! I opened my parcel yesterday to find it filled with gorgeous gifts. There is a beautiful fabric covered notebook, a rather jaunty journal, four Fall themed notecards ( the photos taken by Paula herself) and even a bar of Green & Black’s Dark Chocolate, velvet edition. I feel utterly spoilt! Paula writes about her native Ireland, her glorious flower garden and her adorable Basset Hound Boris, amongst other things. Bob by her blog and say Hi. πŸ™‚

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A parcel of goodies πŸ™‚
More Treats at The Chocolate Works.

A combination of sunshine and showers today sent me ducking into a local cafΓ© for coffee and a treat. I couldn’t resist. πŸ™‚

What films remind you of Autumn?

I have been searching on good old Pinterest for films that get you in the mood for Autumn. Movies where you can snuggle cosy under a blanket and watch characters crunch about on golden leaves or get their hands on a book of spells. Here is a list of ~

Autumn Inspired Films.

You’ve Got Mail ( 1998), The Fantastic Mr Fox ( 2009), Practical Magic ( 1998), Dead Poets Society ( 1989), St Elmo’s Fire ( 1985), When Harry met sally ( 1989), Rushmore ( 1998), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Far From Heaven ( 2002), Beetlejuice (1988) and Hocus Pocus ( 1993).

What plans have you this Autumn?

A week on a Scottish Island ~ North Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

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Rocky beach on North Uist.

Back in August ( was it really that long ago?) we made the journey North to the Isle of Skye, stopping overnight in the small ferry port of Uig, before our crossing to Lochmaddy on North Uist, the following afternoon. So why did we choose a remote island in the Outer Hebrides as our holiday destination?

Some years earlier we had enjoyed watching a TV show called Monty Hall’s Great Hebridean Escape, where marine biologist Monty Halls and his madcap dog Reubs stayed in a restored crofters cottage on North Uist whilst working as a volunteer Wildlife Ranger on the island. The TV programme definitely put the thought into our heads about visiting the Outer Hebrides but it wasn’t until eight years later that we were flicking through a Unique Cottages holiday brochure and saw the cottage they had lived in for six months had been renamed Montys Cottage and is now a holiday let. We decided to book it there and then. πŸ™‚

Over The Sea From Skye. Our time on Skye was brief but we did manage to visit a couple of places on the Saturday morning. After a comfortable stay in the Uig Hotel ( very friendly and welcoming, especially to our dog Hugo πŸ™‚ ) we took ourselves off to the mystical Fairy Glen. Its miniature round grassy hills, one of which is basalt topped and from a distance resembles a ruined castle, have been used as landscapes in fairy tale films ‘Stardust’ and ‘The BFG’. We also visited The Skye Museum Of Island Life at Kilmuir. This collection of thatched Highland cottages housed everything a typical crofters village would have needed to make a living from the land and the sea.

The crossing from Uig to Lochmaddy on North Uist takes a little under two hours. Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries operate services to the islands and we spent the trip up on the deck, watching shearwaters skim the surface of the water and gannets dive-bombing the waves. There are dog-friendly areas inside too, so this journey is easy to make with a four-legged friend. πŸ™‚

As we approached Lochmaddy we were welcomed by late afternoon sunshine and we couldn’t wait to get into the car and drive the 40 minutes north to our accommodation.

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Monty’s Cottage.
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Interior.
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Lochan in front of the cottage.
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Ruins on the way to the headland.
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Highland Cows on nearby beach.

Monty’s Cottage. Located down its own secluded lane, a few minutes walk from the sea at Griminish, Montys Cottage looks just like it does in the brochure. A cute white washed crofters cottage with a thatched roof and incredibly thick walls, surrounded by the most beautiful countryside. It felt surreal that this place where Monty Halls had mapped out walking routes for the islands and Reubs the dog had run free on the sands, was to be our home for a week. 😁. Inside the cottage was cosy and well equipped. The owner had left us fresh milk, bread, eggs ect, which did prove a godsend as there were no shops open the following day. Be prepared that shops in the Outer Hebrides don’t usually open on a Sunday!

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Compass Jellyfish.
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European Otter!
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Red deer on the way to Cheese Bay.
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Curious Seal.

P1090593 Female Wheatear.
Wildlife On North Uist. The landscape of North Uist is more like a waterscape. There are over 800 freshwater lochans on the island. The watery habitat is perfect for wading birds and for one of Britain’s more elusive species of mammal, the European Otter. European Otters will swim in seawater but also need to bathe in fresh water to protect their coats. We were lucky enough to be able to watch two otters playing in the sea nearby the cottage. A magical experience indeed. πŸ™‚ Other wildlife we spotted on North Uist included several birds of prey, red deer, grey and common seals, many beautiful wildflowers and….. jellyfish galore.

All this wonderful wildlife was on our doorstep, literally. Gaggles of greylag geese flew over every day, a merlin regularly hunted for small birds and field mice in the meadow next to the garden, seals watched us watching them as they bobbed in the bay and scores of compass and lion’s mane jellyfish washed up in one of the several little coves nearby. Corn buntings and countless other small birds make their home on North Uist and it’s neighboring islands. They are basically a nature lovers paradise.

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A typical traffic sign. πŸ™‚
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Balranald Rspb Nature Reserve, North Uist.
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Seal watching on Berneray.
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Snoozy seal and pal, Berneray.
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Our Lady of the Isles, South Uist.

Island Hopping. Very handily North Uist is one of several Outer Hebridean islands connected by causeway roads, making it very easy to visit it’s equally picturesque neighbors. Collectively they are known as The Uists. In the north is beautiful Berneray , which in my opinion boasts the most stunning beaches. All white sand and turquoise ocean. To the south is Benbecula and South Uist, both worth exploring too. And further South is pretty Eriskay , where Bonnie Prince Charlie first landed on Scottish soil. Eriskay is also the real-life location of the shipwreck and lost cargo that inspired the film ‘Whisky Galore’. We didn’t manage to visit the islands of Barra and Vatersay which are accessed by boat. Maybe another time!

Never ending sands, Sollas, North Uist.
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Eriskay. Beach in front of the Am Politician Bar.
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One of Berneray’s stunning stretches of white sand.
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South Uist. Beach near Howmore.

Life’s A Beach. How I long to stroll again on those never ending white sandy shores. The beaches in the Outer Hebrides can match any in the Caribbean I bet. Though we occasionally had to wrap up to walk on them..even in August! There are so many stunning stretches of sand that it’s hard to pick a favourite. 🌞

As you can imagine Hugo had a riot chasing sticks and balls along countless beautiful beaches. Our far from chunky labrador ended up almost whippet thin after a week in the Uists.

Berneray Shop & Bistro.
Lobster at Namara Seafood CafΓ©.

Food & Drink. I must admit we cooked most of our evening meals at the cottage, stocking up at the co op 5 miles away in Sollas. Having Hugo with us meant that we had to find pet-friendly places to eat and there are only a few on North Uist. We found both the Lochmaddy Hotel and Langass Lodge near Locheport to be excellent when it came to eating out. Both welcome dogs and have good locally sourced menus.

Wil was really happy when oneday by chance we discovered Namara Seafood Cafe. This place feels a bit like a hushed up secret ,as it is located in a remote working harbor at Kallin on Grimsay ( another small causeway island), miles off the beaten track. The cafe is part of a chandlery ( boat supplies shop) and is by no means posh. It does serve the best fresh lobsters and crab though, straight from the ocean. Wil was one happy man as he tucked into delicious lobster & chips for Β£13, sat on a bench outside.

Are there any pubs on the islands? Well, not many! And none within walking distance of Monty’s Cottage. In fact the only pub on North Uist is The Westford Inn which we never got round to visiting. It looks like a good one though, serves meals and is dog friendly.

Reflections ~This road ends sculpture is a sweeping ceramic tiled seat at Claddach Baleshore, North Uist.
Sanctuary is a road ends sculpture at Locheport, North Uist.
Mosaic Mackerel on the shoreline near the arts centre in Lochmaddy.

Public Art & Landmarks. The Uists are home to many artists and creative talents, so it was fun to search out the various sculptures and art instillations on the islands. Even in a week we did not find them all. Interesting historic landmarks include the Neolithic chambered cairn Barpa Langais at the top of Beinn Langais , resplendent in heather by August. Also look out for the Hut Of Shadows at Sponnish, which hides a camera obscura within.

Dotted round the islands are several working craft studios. I noticed beautiful pottery at Shoreline Stoneware in Locheport and bought a lovely print of the machair ( coastal wildflower meadows) at Puffin Studio Crafts on Benbecula.

Heather,Grimsay.
Hugo, Berneray.
Rocky coastline, Lochmaddy.
Clachan Sands, North Uist.
Monty’s Cottage.
Berneray. It’s western beach once stood in for Thailand in a tourist brochure!

Are the Uists for you?

If you don’t mind not seeing a soul when you walk on the beach, don’t mind a short drive to the nearest shop and don’t expect a phone signal or WiFi, you will love holidaying on these Hebridean Islands.

Walking, wildlife, stunning beaches, turquoise sea, friendly folk( when you bump into any πŸ˜‰), fresh seafood, creative art and spectacular scenery. What’s not to love!

The Uists are definitely for us..X

Ten fido-friendly Country pubs you can walk to from Clitheroe.

Over the past few months we have been checking out lots of local pubs, all in the name of blog research, of course. πŸ˜‰ I actually have the #walk1000miles challenge to thank for this post. If it wasn’t for hearing about this great walking incentive from the lovely Christine , I probably would never have given my walking boots such welly…or discovered how easy it is to reach all these lovely Ribble Valley hostelries on foot, from my home town of Clitheroe. As you probably know by now, we do have the perfect pub dog, a certain bouncy black lab called Hugo. He has definitely enjoyed some longer weekend walks recently….as well as a few extra treats!

As ever if you are walking in the countryside, please keep dogs on lead where there are livestock, shut gates behind you securely and always pick up after your pooch.

The Aspinall Arms, Mitton. Book in advance for a table with your dog, and he will be saved a place, brought water and given a saucer of dog biscuits at this attractive former Coaching Inn . Yep the Aspinall Arms is one very pooch friendly pub! Even though we have only visited here with Hugo for morning coffee ( the bar opens at 10.30am) or afternoon drinks, Hugo was still brought water, treats and made a fuss of. The Aspinall makes the most of it’s enviable riverside location and has a large beer garden, looking over the Ribble. There is a handy muddy boots & dog wash in the courtyard outside and every last Sunday of the month, an organized 3 mile dog walk starts from the pub, with complimentary bacon butties and brews. www.aspinallarmsmitton.co.uk Walk. 4 miles there and back. Head down Henthorn rd, through Shuttleworth farm and follow the Ribble Way to Mitton, where you will see The Aspinall Arms on the riverside. Retrace your steps home.

The Assheton Arms, Downham. We arrived at this historic Grade II listed village pub one Sunday morning for coffee and sat out front enjoying the May sunshine. Inside you can dine with your dog in the relaxed bar area and enjoy the Seafood Pub Company menu. Bagsy the cosy nook by the fire. πŸ™‚ Walkers may be happy to know that the Assheton Arms opens early for weekend breakfasts too. On our visit water bowls were provided and Hugo was brought a sausage . If you wish to stay here with your four legged friend, there are pet-friendly rooms available. www.asshetonarms.com Walk. 8 miles there and back. Cross the A59 and walk to the village of Worston , using the cycleway. After the Calf’s Head pub turn left along a track with a public footpath sign. Continue through fields passing Worsaw Hill on the left and Pendle Hill on the right. Once in Downham the pub is at the top of the village. Retrace your footsteps back, perhaps stopping for a pint in Worston. πŸ˜‰

The Brown Cow, Chatburn. Newly refurbished with an attractive beer garden, the Brown Cow was our destination for a Saturday walk and lunch with family. Dogs are welcome in the bar area and Hugo was given a treat by a friendly member of staff. We all enjoyed our food which was great value for money. I particularly liked the pudding! Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos here. 😦 Walk. 6 miles there and back. Walk through Brungerly Park, turn left at the otter sculpture and follow the footpath along the river to West Bradford Bridge. Cross over the road and follow the riverside on the right hand side path. Eventually it takes you up through a patch of woodland and fields into Chatburn. The pub is the second of the two pubs on the left. Retrace your steps back to Clitheroe.

The Buck Inn, Grindleton. Since our walk to this friendly village pub, I think it may have temporarily stopped serving food. But business as usual when it comes to enjoying a pint of good real ale and the Buck has a roaring fire to snuggle next to on cold days. Walk. 6 miles there and back. Walk through Brungerly Park, turn left at the Otter sculpture and follow the footpath along the river to West Bradford Bridge. Cross over the road and follow the riverside on the left hand side path. Eventually it will take you into the village of Grindleton where you will find The Buck on the main road out of the village. Retrace your steps back into town.

The Calf’s Head, Worston. The large beer garden complete with stream and views of Pendle Hill is definitely a big draw for this popular watering hole and eaterie. On a Winter’s day walk with Hugo however, we enjoyed sitting by the roaring fire in the bar area. One of the friendly staff brought Hugo an ice cream tub of water and there are dog treats available at the bar. www.calfshead.com Walk. 4 miles there and back. Cross the A59 , turn left and use the cycle way to walk into Worston. The pub is a short walk through the village on the right. Retrace your footsteps back.

The Dog Inn, Whalley. Originally this traditional village Inn was called The Spotted Dog! Having a canine name pretty much guarantees a warm welcome to four-legged friends and their humans. Hugo was given lots of fuss and attention by the bubbly bar attendant and we enjoyed a delicious and great value light lunch and refreshments. www.dog-innwhalley.co.uk Walk. 9miles there and back. Head out of Clitheroe up Whalley Road, turning right after Barraclough house. Walk along the country lane until you reach a small hamlet, bear left round the side of a cottage and go through a gate. Follow a trodden path through Standen Hey, crossing over the railway and walk through fields until you cross Barrow Brook and enter a small wooded area that brings you to Mitton Road. Cross the road , turn left and walk a short way before turning right up a track. From there follow the footpath signs to Whalley, eventually going under the busy A59, Whalley Viaduct and through the abbey gatehouse. The Dog is on the main street in the village where you will find other pubs, bars and shops. If you fancy a few pints you could always cut this walk short and catch a bus or train back to Clitheroe. If not, retrace your steps back to town.

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Edisford Bridge.

The Edisford Bridge, Clitheroe. Clitheroe is surrounded by lovely pubs and Inns in the neighboring countryside. However, if you don’t wish to venture to far, The Edisford Bridge sits on the outkirts of the town, looking down towards the river and the bridge that it is named after. Why not combine some splashing time in the Ribble with a pint or meal here. Although dogs are allowed in the bar area, there are only two tables that you can dine at with your dog, so booking is advisable. Outdoor seating at the front and beer garden at the rear. Walk. 3 mile circular route. Walk to the end of Woone Lane then bear right past a new housing estate and down a track towards fields. Head under the railway bridge and follow the stream down the fields until you get to Henthorn road. Cross over and continue straight ahead and join the Ribble Way. Follow the river towards the bridge. You will see the Edisford Bridge Pub over the bridge and up the hill on your left. To return, walk down the hill, over the bridge and follow the road into Clitheroe.

The Lower Buck, Waddington. All three of the pretty village of Waddington’s pubs welcome dogs , so be prepared to be spoilt for choice. The Lower Buck has three open fires and serves good hearty food. This is a proper family friendly and dog friendly pub that embraces muddy paws with open arms…..or at least plenty of friendly warmth and a couple of treats. Lots of fuss from the locals too. www.lowerbuck.com Walk. 6 miles Circular. Wander down Back Commons fields and walk along the Ribble, Waddow Hall is across the river on your left. Walk across Brungerly Bridge and along the road 1.5 miles into Waddington village. The Lower Buck is past St Helens Church on your left. Head back using the back roads to Clitheroe, cut through the grounds of Waddow Hall, cross Brungerly Bridge and retrace your steps along the river.

Three Fishes, Mitton. One of the welcoming Ribble Valley Inns group, this flagged floored country pub has colourful contemporary interiors , crackling log fires and a good selection of local cask ales. Having eaten here with family before , I know that the food is pretty good too. On our visit with Hugo , we were given a very warm reception. I’m not sure he has ever had so much fuss and attention! There again, our naughty Labrador now seems to take it as a given, that bar staff are there especially to give him a treat. πŸ™‚ The nearby medieval All Hallows Church with its alabaster tombs is well worth a visit. And just down the road is another pet friendly pub, The Aspinall Arms. www.thethreefishes.com Walk 5 mile circular. Setting off from Edisford Bridge, walk along the road for 800 yards , turn left onto a farm lane ( with a sign for holiday cottages) and follow the footpath signs that lead you over stiles, through fields and eventually onto Church Lane in Mitton. Turn left at the church and you will see The Three Fishes. To return, turn right as you leave and head over the bridge to The Aspinall Arms pub. Cross a stile to the right of the pub, head up through the fields and follow the Ribble Way signs back to Edisford.

The Waddington Arms, Waddington. James Places pubs in the Ribble Valley are all very welcoming to four-legged friends. The Waddy Arms in the centre of the village is no exception.Boasting outdoor seating to the front and rear, flagged floors and roaring fires, this warm country Inn serves good food & ales and has dog-friendly rooms. Hugo loved the crunchy bonio biscuits he was given by the chatty bar staff. www.waddingtonarms.co.uk Walk. 6 miles Circular. See Lower Buck, Waddington Walk.

A stroll along the Crinan Canal, Britain’s most beautiful short cut.

On the last day of our holiday in Scotland ,we discovered the serenely beautiful Crinan Canal. Often described as ‘Britains Most Beautiful Short Cut’ , the waterway was completed in 1801, as a quick link between the West Coast and Islands and the Clyde Estuary. The 9 mile stretch of canal vanquished the need to travel round the coast of the vast Kintyre Peninsula, a very handy short cut indeed. 😁

After noticing a sign for Crinan near the village of Slockavullin, where we were staying, we decided to go exploring in the car. 15 minutes later and we found ourselves in this picturesque wee harbour village. It is here that the canal enters the Sound of Jura.

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Crinan village harbour.
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Watching the world go by, as Hugo keeps an eye on the cake.
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A pleasure boat sets out for a cruise.

The quayside is an ideal spot to sit with a coffee and watch the world ( and their beautiful boats) go by. Queen Victoria herself took a trip up the canal in 1873.

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A moorhen hitching a lift. πŸ™‚
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Interpretation boards along the tow path tell the waterways history.

We decided to take a short stroll along the tow path, keeping Hugo on lead, as he is prone to jumping into canals given half the chance. The beauty of this walk, the wonderful watery views! On one side you have the calm Crinan canal, and on the other, the coastal vistas of the River Add Estuary.

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Duntrune Castle looks out toward Crinan. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of a handless Piper.
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Rosebay willowherb turning fluffy.
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Sleepy Duck.
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All aboard!
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Lock and Keepers Cottage.

Our short stroll took us past several boats negotiating the locks. It feels rude to stop and watch though. I’m sure I would get pretty flustered if I had a crowd eyeing my every move! In days gone by the Crinan Canal saw sailing and fishing vessels pass through, as well as Clyde Puffers.

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Fraser MacIver on his roof.

We soon came across a man fixing his waterside cabin roof. I am pretty sure he is the artist who uses the colourful caravan below as a studio.

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Artists studio.
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Art Honesty Box. πŸ™‚

I helped myself to a leaflet that says ‘ Canadian artist Fraser MacIver has lived on the Crinan Canal since 1997, taking inspiration from his canalside environment; as well as from the beautiful surrounding Argyllshire countryside’. I left money for a couple of pretty painted postcards.

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Scabious on the estuary side.

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Has anyone ever explored more of the Crinan Canal?

Would you be tempted to try a canal boat holiday?

A cosy cabin in Slockavullin, Kilmartin Glen.

Although I am back to work now and therefore back to normality, writing blog posts about my trip gives me a chance to reminnis about what was a very enjoyable holiday. After spending a short time on Skye and a week on North Uist ( post coming soon!) ,we fancied a few days on the equally lovely Scottish mainland.

I had booked a cabin in Kilmartin Glen in the heart of Argyll using airbnb. The 1930s hut resembles a wooden train carriage and stands in a small orchard next to the owners garden. Costing a very reasonable Β£170 for 3 nights, the cosy cabin was full of thoughful touches, including a vintage style radio, a wood burning stove and a cupboard brimming with books and games.

The tiny village of Slockavullin where our accommodation was located is almost hidden away, nestled in woodland amongst the many ancient monuments ( 800 apparently! ) that reside in historic Kilmartin Glen. A thirty minute walk will lead you to the slightly larger village of Kilmartin ,where there is a village pub, cafΓ© and museum.

It was very easy to fall in love with the cabin. Its shape definitely reminded me of a train carriage or even the showman’s wagon in Cornwall that we stayed in a couple of years ago. β€˜The Duke’ at Spring Park ~ Our stay in a Showman’s Wagon.

However this cosy retreat was purpose built as a cabin and the present owners have lovingly created a darling holiday home from it.

One quirky touch was the outdoor bath-tub , the water can be heated by lighting a fire underneath. However I never did get round to trying an alfresco dip!

Hugo was eager to explore of course! There are plentiful walks on the doorstep, many lead you past ancient burial cairns, standing stones and stone circles.

Temple Wood Stone Circle.

On our walks we saw lots of……hooded crows. To be honest I got quite excited as there are none in my neck of the woods. πŸ™‚

And your never very far from a Highland Cow. The hardy breed originated in the Hebrides and the Highlands and is now found all over the world.

A short drive from Slockavullin is Dunadd Fort, the Iron-age remains are a steep clamber up a rocky outcrop, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Ancient Gaelic Kings were created here and the Footprint of Fealty was believed to be part of the Dal Riata Kingdoms coronation ritual. They must have had quite small feet though!

2km North of Kilmartin village is Carnasserie Castle, a ruined 16th-Century tower house.

Moine Mhor National Nature Reserve is one of the last wild, raised bogs left in Britain. 242 species of lichens have been recorded here and the reserve is home to the marsh fritillary butterfly and two pairs of nesting hen harriers.

And your never to far from the coast. Crinan Ferry Beach is a long walk or a short drive from the cabin. In the old days a little ferry took sheep and cattle over the estuary. I have a blog post waiting to be written about a lovely walk we did along the picturesque Crinan Canal.

But for now, back to our holiday abode, where the apples and plums in the orchard tempted me to make a crumble. And hot chocolate with marshmallows were very kindly supplied by the owners, as well as fresh milk, eggs, oatcakes, jams, juice and cereals. πŸ™‚

And after a packed day of exploring, little Hugo was always happy to snuggle by the wood burner. πŸ™‚

Future Scotland Posts will include our week in the Outer Hebrides and Britain’s most beautiful shortcut. πŸ™‚