A misty morning at Malham Tarn.

The temperatures for Bank Holiday Monday promised to be high, which is great, except if your a black Labrador like Hugo, or indeed if your me. I think I’m more of a snowflake kind of girl than a sunshine kind of girl sometimes. 🙂

We decided to head for water, but we’re keen to avoid the bank holiday traffic, so driving to the Lakes or seaside we’re out. Instead we made our way to Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales. This glacial lake nestles at an altitude of 375 metres and is looked after by the National Trust. There is parking on both sides of the water.. We parked at Water Sinks and walked along a limestone track that leads down to the tarn. Hugo was straight in there. The sun hadn’t yet burnt off the morning mist, so the temperatures were both hound and human friendly. 😉

Although the fog enveloped the water, there was still more than a hint of beauty on show.

A misty Malham Tarn.
Grass of Parnassus.
Young Wagtail.
Malham Tarn.
Female Gadwall.

The tarn and its surroundings are home to many water bird species ( if only we could see them! ) and when its clear you can apparently get a great view from the bird Hide. Other possible sightings include otters who have been spotted swimming at dusk & dawn. It was lovely to see a variety of wildflowers including harebells, devil’s bit scabious and grass of Parnassus. Grass of Parnassus is in fact an honorary grass, named because in Ancient Greece, this pretty white flower was devoured by cattle grazing on Mount Parnassus.

Orchid House.
Not so Incey Wincey!
Hare.
Sleepy Kestrel.
Heron.

The Pennine Way walking route passes Malham Tarn and continues through the grounds of a Field Centre where an old Orchid House provides information about wildlife & geology in the area. We then walked through woodland decorated with various animal & bird sculptures until coming across Tarn Moss & Tarn Fen Nature Reserve.

Peacock Butterfly.

Bog Asphodel.
Sundew.

Due to the fragility of the reserve , dogs & bicycles are not permitted here, so I left Wil and Hugo for a quick nosy. The unusual habitat of groundwater- fed fen and rainwater-fed raised bog is home to rare plant life including insectivorous sundew and yellow globe flowers. There is apparently a herd of wild ponies on the fen, but I didn’t spy them. A wooden boardwalk guides you through the boggy mossy wilderness, but alas I didn’t have time to venture far.

The mist is lifting.

We retraced our steps back to the car and ate a picnic lunch on the grass. The midday sun was definitely starting to scorch , but we thought we would head into Malham and walk up to its lovely waterfall Janet’s Foss. We visited here a couple of years ago, but much earlier in the morning, before it got to busy. On that occasion the Foss was a serene scene , but on a bank holiday, it was crushed and crowded.

Malham.

Bee Library.
Janet’s Foss.

Hugo still managed a few paddles in the babbling brook, so all was not lost. I am definitely up for returning to Malham, especially Malham Tarn. I’m imagining a walk their every season now. A cold crisp November day maybe……

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Exploring Penrith, Cumbria.

Penrith is a bustling Cumbrian Market Town on the edge of the Lake District. Ullswater is about 20 minutes drive away. At the weekend we parked on the very outskirts and walked in. What immediately strikes a visitor are the many attractive red sandstone houses built from the local sandstone, these give Penrith it’s nick name of ‘Old Red Town’.

We looked for somewhere to have lunch, away from the general hustle and bustle. I can recommend the church Square which is just off the centre and has several little cafes looking out over St Andrews churchyard. St Andrews church itself is an impressive looking building ,it’s tower dating back to the 12th century. And in the churchyard resides a Giants Grave…..

Giants Thumb.

The Giants Grave consists of six tombstones, two ancient crosses standing upright and four lower hogback stones. But who is buried there? One legend has it that it is an ancient Cumbrian King ‘ Owen’ , though it could also be the grave of a great boar hunter ‘ Sir Owen Caesarius’ with the hogback stones representing four large boars. I’m liking the second option! Also in the churchyard is another impressive monument, a Norse Wheel cross known as the Giants Thumb, which until the 19th century was used as a whipping post for punishing local criminals. Very Christian behaviour…..

Giants Grave.

Scrumpy Dog.

We had lunch sat outside the Eden Gallery tea rooms, which inside are an eclectic mix of teapots, second hand books & a piano. There is an adorable resident Old English Sheep Dog called Scrumpy and they do a great tuna & cheese panini. 😄

After wandering round the town we headed to Penrith Castle, which can be found up from the centre near the train station. In fact if you arrive in Penrith by train , the red sandstone ruins of this medieval castle are your first view of the town. The once proud fortress helped to defend England from Scottish marauder’s and even became the residence of King Richard III. Today the site is looked after by English Heritage and is part of a public park.

War Memorial.

On the way back to the car we stopped for cake at a cafe bar called Xavier’s. We sat outside , though the cafe like quite a few in Penrith is dog friendly. Good to know for future visits!

Have you ever visited Penrith? What are your impressions?

Long Meg & Her Daughters, Lacy’s Caves And A Pink Flour Mill.

A short drive from our caravan in the Eden Valley is an ancient stone circle called Long Meg & Her Daughters. It is in fact the second largest stone circle in the country. Legend has it that Meg and her daughter’s were turned to stone as they danced on the Sabbath. Meg is the tallest stone and stands tall and proud. A magic spell prevents you from counting the correct number of stones in the circle apparently. The morning we visited we had Megs family all to ourselves, apart from the herd of cows grazing amongst them.

Long Meg.

We parked up near the circle and walked into the nearby village of Little Salkeld. Here we enjoyed a morning brew outside the pink watermill, where we would return later for lunch. Next on our agenda though was a walk to Lacy’s Caves. We admired the red sandstone cottages ( most houses in the area are built using the local rosy coloured stone) which we passed en route.

We followed a farm track passing the buildings of Townend farm and past golden fields of barley on one side and the Settle Carlisle Railway on the other.

A mosaic map of the river Eden, we literally stumbled upon on the way.

Presently we saw a signpost for Ravendale Bridge and so followed the arrow into the woods, walking along the old Long Meg Mine tramline.

Lacy’s Caves were commissioned by Colonel Lacy of Salkeld Hall. They were built into the red sandstone cliffs by the river Eden in the 18th century. It was the fashion in those days to build follies and grottos to entertain guests in, Colonel Lacy even employed a villager to live in his caves as a hermit. A must have for gentry back then apparently! Apart from building the caves, Colonel Lacy was also famous for trying to blow up Long Meg and her daughters. The mystical circle was saved by a very convenient thunderstorm.

Lacy’s Caves.

The hermit would have had a picturesque riverside vista anyway.

Enchanters Nightshade in the woods.

We then retraced our steps back into Little Salkeld, counting numerous butterflies on the way. 🙂 The menu at the mill had looked so tasty, we decided to stop there for lunch. Little Selkeld Watermill is an 18th Century working organic flour mill which has a shop and cafe serving good vegetarian food. I really enjoyed my Homitey Pie. 🙂 There are mill tours , but we just settled on a bench outside to enjoy our dinner.

After lunch we headed back to the van and Wil assembled our hammock! It’s very relaxing , once you figure how to get in and out. 🙂

Have you visited any of these places?

Or hung about in a hammock? 😃