Saturday morning was chilly and bright as we parked in the small parking area in the little hamlet of Bowscale. Our mission was to find a hidden mountain tarn, once popular as a Victorian tourist destination. Well heeled holiday makers would be transported on ponies up the bridleway from Bowscale to enjoy the views. Today the path remains and a few people ( and dogs 🙂 ) still hike to the tarn.
The walk up to Bowscale Tarn is clearly defined and a relatively gentle climb. Just as I was believing the water would never appear ( I’m very impatient! ) , there it was.
Bowscale Tarn is a corrie tarn, a lake formed when a glacier melted and eroded a bowl shape into the mountains. My photos don’t really do the shape of the tarn justice.
Hugo had a good swim. He is in great company with lots of human wild swimmers who have enjoyed taking a dip here. Check out Christine’s blog for her Bowscale Tarn experience. 🙂
Legend has it that the icy waters are home to two immortal fish! Wordsworth mentioned them in his poem Song, at the feast of Brougham Castle, though not sure how the fishy tale started.
There are plentiful Wainwright fells to attempt in the area, so I’m sure we will return. Above is Carrock Fell ,which we could see on our right ,as we walked up to the tarn.
Hi it’s Scavenger Hunt time again. I am linking up with Kate’s Blog and choosing a photo for each prompt.
Seasonal. At the beginning of the month we had a walk around RSPB Campfield Marsh near Bowness on Solway. It looked particularly lovely with the late summer seasonal heather in bloom.
Favourite seat/place to sit. I haven’t really got a favourite, but if I had, how about a pew with a view. This was taken 2 years ago on Berneray in the Outer Hebrides. Oh to be back! Comforting/cosy. Speaking of seats, a lovely friend made me a cushion over lockdown. It’s perfect as an armrest on my bench in the back yard. Delight/ed/ful. I was delighted to capture this delightful Red Admiral on camera a few days ago. Now it’s September butterflies are becoming fewer and far between. Micro/mini/tiny. These Shetland ponies might be small, but they are feisty characters. Hugo is keeping his distance. 😅
My own choice. Slinky hasn’t made an appearance on the blog in a while. Never fear she is still here. Here she is hogging Hugo’s bed. Luckily he has two!
Just a quick and hopefully cute post for you today, featuring some very laid back longhorns. I’ve had a fair few hair raising run ins with coos this year, there have been some frisky heifers and bullish young bulls on summer walks, I can tell you. But these guys, well they are just in full on relaxed mode. Though maybe a little curious about why I’m peering at them from behind a big tree…..
Luckily on my second attempt at capturing this native cattle breed on camera, I got slightly better photos. My first attempt a few weeks earlier was on my camera phone. I quite like that you can see lovely Lowther Castle on these ones though. 😊
The English Longhorns roam freely on the Lowther Castle estate near Penrith in Cumbria. They are a new introduction at the castle, and another introduction may well be on its way. Back in January the Lowther estate was given the go ahead to reintroduce beavers to the river Lowther. Due to coronavirus this has been put on hold at the moment though.
I was quite happy to see these snoozy beasts anyway. English Longhorns are a hardy breed , they will be able to stay outdoors during the cold winter months. I am looking forward to seeing more of them through the seasons. 🐮
In recent days I have written about a village with a movie connection and two villages visited by vampires. This next one has an association with members of perhaps England’s most famous literary family ‘ the Brontes’ .
I have passed through Cowan Bridge numerous times as it sits on the busy A65 in between Ingleton and Kirkby Lonsdale, our usual route up to the Lake District. In days gone by it would have been much quieter, the continuous traffic noise definitely distances the imagination away from the 1820s , when siblings Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily attended The Clergy Daughter’s School in the village.
We had decided to stop off for lunch on the way home from Cumbria on a busy bank holiday Monday. I must admit I suggested Cowan Bridge because I thought it may be easier to get lunch there than its more touristy neighbors. I have also always been curious about where on earth the Bronte school is……
It turned out the Tea Room was busy inside, but there was space outside next to the noisy road with the traffic whooshing by. 😅 We just decided on coffee and prepackaged sandwiches and ate them in the pretty seating area.
Afterwards we pottered about the village in totally the wrong direction. Eventually a kind local pointed us toward the original bridge that Cowan Bridge takes its name from. After crossing it we came to a row of old stone cottages. These are what remain of The Clergy Daughter’s School.
An inscription on the end cottage wall reads :
Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte & Emily Bronte
Lived here as pupils of the Clergy Daughter’s School 18-24 – 25.
The school was moved to Casterton 1833.
Patrick Bronte was a clergyman living in Haworth with six young children. His wife Maria had sadly died a couple of years earlier. Sending four of their offspring to a respected boarding school for clergy children would no doubt have seemed the right thing for this busy man of the cloth to do.
Unfortunately the harsh environment at the school would contribute to the untimely deaths of the two eldest girls. Poor quality food, cold damp conditions and cruel unjust punishments were the norm. Maria, then Elizabeth were sent home suffering from consumption , both would die within weeks of one another. Patrick sent for Charlotte and Emily and they never returned to Cowan Bridge.
For Charlotte , her experiences at the Clergy Daughter’s School were to be drawn upon for her novel Jane Eyre. In the book young Jane is sent to Lowood School where she makes a new friend, Helen Burns. Helens and Jane’s life there mirrors that of her and her sisters harrowing time at Cowan Bridge.
Today one of the remaining cottages is available as an attractive Holiday Let , so fans of the Brontes’ can experience a little part of Bronte history. A short walk and you are away from the road noise and out into beautiful rolling countryside.
I am glad the buildings stand as a reminder of how harsh life could be back then, and also as a celebration of what the Bronte family would eventually achieve.
Have you visited any places where the Brontes’ lived, worked or played? 📖
Bank Holiday Monday and the Lake District was swarming with visitors. Our plan to visit Haweswater, usually one of the quieter lakes in the National Park was scuppered, when we realised we were never going to be able to park.
Not far from Haweswater are the adjoining villages of Bampton and Bampton grange. The river Lowther separates the two. We parked by the river and took our labrador Hugo for a walk through the quiet lanes and meadows.
Bampton has a movie connection! The phone box in the village appeared in the 1987 Cult Classic Withnail and I. There is even a visitor book inside and a battered video copy. We found other Withnail film locations here on a walk last year. It’s a bit of a bonkers film. 😅
Over the bridge is Bampton grange with its church and pub. The vicarage there houses a library of Latin books called Tinclar’s Library. The bridge walls were covered in pretty painted pebbles.
It was nice to explore two villages away from the Lake District crowds.
Sunday saw us getting up bright and early ( ok, definitely less bright than early!) in the hope of catching the sunrise from the top of Hallin Fell. One of the more diminutive Wainwright climbs at 388 metres, Hallin makes up for it’s stature with impressive views of Ullswater lake and it’s surrounding peaks.
We arrived at the little car park by St Peters Church in Martindale very early. In fact it was pitch dark. And the car park was almost full! There were a few overnighting camper vans and other cars possibly belonging to people wild camping out on the fell.
It takes about 40 minutes to walk to the trig point on a clearly defined path. At 5-30am in the morning it looked like we were the first folk heading up there. The views were totally worth the early get up. But unfortunately the sun deemed to stay behind a cloud.
We enjoyed a flask of coffee and croissants at the top of Hallin Fell, drinking in the stunning vistas. It was calm and still with only a very gentle breeze. This was my 6th Wainwright fell and Hugo’s sixth too, on his 6th Birthday weekend.
Before heading back to the caravan we had a little look in the churchyard of St Peters at the bottom of the fell. There is still a monthly service there apparently. Noticed this grave stone adorned with an anchor.
As we left a few other folk were awake, drinking morning brews and maybe contemplating an early walk to the top.
Kirkoswald and Raven Beck Wander.
It was still early morning so after a chill at the caravan we drove the short distance to the Eden valley village of Kirkoswald. The village is named after the church of St Oswald. Oswald was a King of Northumbria in the 7th century. We took Hugo for a walk along Raven Beck, bought supplies from Raven Bridge Stores and I generally kept an eye out for ravens , though I didn’t see any. 😚
By Noon we were ready for a relaxing afternoon at the caravan. It had been a really enjoyable morning.
Forget Whitby’s Count Dracula connections. Cumbria’s own Eden Valley has had its share of batty experiences. Two villages in particular have suffered attacks by supernatural beings……..
First let’s visit Croglin , a pretty fell side settlement, about ten miles south of Carlisle. Here the houses are rosy stoned and few. There is a pub called The Robin Hood and a little church.
The Vampie Of Croglin Grange is a retelling of a story told at a dinner party to a collector of horror stories, a Victorian writer called ‘Dr Augustus Hare’.
The story goes that two brothers and a sister rented the property called Croglin Grange in the village. One hot summers night the siblings retired to bed. Unable to sleep, the sister Amelia watched the moonlit night from her bedroom window, noticing a couple of moving lights heading from the nearby church yard, towards the house.
Suddenly Amelia found herself frozen to the spot. A wizened gnarled figure with long boney fingers was scratching at the lead around the window. Before long the glass window fell through and the terrifying figure flung itself onto Amelia, biting her neck. Her petrified screams awoke her brothers who came to her aid, one of whom chased the creature , losing sight of it in the church grounds.
Amelia’s brothers took her to Switzerland to recover. Being a non superstitious trio the three returned to the grange ( I think I would have stayed away 🙄) to carry on with their tenancy. Unfortunately Amelia was not to be left in peace. Her persistent attacker returned!
This time the brothers managed to shoot the figure , tracking it down to a vault in the cemetery. They waited until daylight to surprise the ‘vampire’ who they found resting in a coffin, a fresh bullet wound in its leg. They then dragged the creature outdoors into the churchyard and burned it. 🦇
So is The Vampire Of Croglin Grange a true story? There does not appear to be a building called Croglin Grange in Croglin. However is it coincidence that another Eden valley village, not to far from Croglin, has a peculiar legend too…..
Renwick is a red sandstone built small settlement, formerly known as Ravenwick, there is a Raven Beck running through the village.
In the early 1600s residents of Renwick suffered the appearance of the Renwick Cockatrice. The extraordinary tale is mentioned in William Hutchinson’s ‘ The History Of The County Of Cumberland’ , published many years later in 1794.
Workmen were dismantling the old village church in order to build a new one on the site we see today. Suddenly a vicious winged creature flew up from the vaults and started attacking the villagers. It apparently resembled half cockerel/half lizard, known in legend as a ‘ cockatrice’. As a bite or even a glare from a cockatrice was said to be deadly, people ran for cover.
Only one villager was brave enough to fight off the beast. John Tallantire of nearby Scale houses slayed it with a Rowan branch. His reward was that he and his family were let off paying rents for years and years after.
The cockatrice has also become known as ‘The Renwick Bat’ …and apparently last made an appearance in the 1950s!
Is it possible that the Renwick Cockatrice was simply an oversized bat disturbed by the demolition of the church? We shall never know, as like the Croglin Vampire, the villagers burned the evidence..