The Centre Of Britain. πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§

If you were to ever visit the Northumberland town of Haltwhistle and didn’t already know of it’s proud claim to be ‘ the centre of Britain ‘ you would no doubt very soon find out. For this quirky market town has a Centre Of Britain Sweet shop, a Centre of Britain launderette, a Centre of Britain Army Surplus store and a Centre of Britain Hotel, to name but a few of the local businesses. Strolling down the high street here , we definitely felt like we were in the middle of the kingdom! However , coming from a little further South in Lancashire, I know that the true centre of Britain lies 71 miles away near the Trough Of Bowland village of Dunsop Bridge. πŸ˜€

Haltwhistle certainly knows how to advertise it’s central position , much more so than our understated Dunsop. To really confuse matters though, there are also several other places that like to call themselves ‘ In the middle’ and you can read about them all here. https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/newsroom/blog/where-is-the-centre-of-great-britain-2 Such a controversial topic. πŸ˜‰

Our visit to the town coincided with rumbling tummies, we found the perfect pit stop in the cobbled market square. Brew Bar is definitely the place to go for coffee, brunch and people watching. It looks like a cracking little night time venue too.

Hopefully we will be back to explore Haltwhistle further. The area is rooted in Hadrian’s Wall country, there are several Roman forts to visit and the town is ideally located for finding them.

For now though, here are some photos of our gentle amble alongside Haltwhistle Burn which is a well signposted waterside walk through Burn Gauge , packed full of wildlife and signs of the town’s industrial heritage. The path that runs aside the beck was once a narrow gauge steam railway.

Dipper.
Wood Cranes – Bill.

The path eventually opens out onto a limestone meadow, before heading onwards towards Hadrian’s Wall, which I am sure we will add onto a future walk.

A species of Marsh Orchid.
Mother of Thyme.
Yellow poppies.
Orange Poppies.
Columbine.

Have you ever visited one of Britain’s Centres of the kingdom?

Kirkby Lonsdale.

With staycations high on the agenda this year, Wil put the gift cards he received for his 50th birthday towards a couple of nights away in the pretty South Lakeland town of Kirkby Lonsdale . Luckily he invited Hugo and I along too. πŸ˜‰

Kirkby Lonsdale lies at the edge of the Lake District , retains a Carnforth postcode from its former Lancashire days and is minutes away from the Yorkshire Dales National Park too. An excellent base for lots of exploring then!

The town itself is incredibly picturesque with plenty of old inns, fantastic eateries and quirky independent shops. It’s also very dog friendly, which is great when your holidaying with a certain lovable labrador. 🐾

The Royal Hotel on Main Street.
Room 2.
The Bath πŸ›€.

We stayed in the very accomodating Royal Hotel opposite the Market Square. This elegant Georgian townhouse has tastefully furnished rooms and friendly approachable staff. We couldn’t fault it!

Though to be fair all the local businesses in Kirkby Lonsdale are super friendly and very happy to be recieving visitors once again. πŸ™‚

After arriving and checking in at The Royal on Friday evening we took Hugo for a walk through town and headed straight out for a couple of drinks. Fortunately we managed to find seats without booking ( hurrah!) , everywhere was buzzing but not rammed. We especially liked the warm local feel of The Orange Tree and those good vibes in The King’s Arms .

Orange 🍊 Tree Refreshments.
Belated Birthday πŸŽ‰ the King’s Arms.

I took a couple of Summer evening photographs of the town between pubs.

St Mary’s Church and The Sun Inn.
Ruskin’s View. A painting of this vista by Turner was much admired by Ruskin, who described it as ‘ One of the loveliest views in England’.
St Mary’s churchyard is a haven for wildlife.

Saturday promised to be a scorcher of a day . After a tasty breakfast at the hotel we went for a wander before the shops opened and then took Hugo for a walk along the river Lune.

Royal Hotel Breakfast.
Devil’s Bridge.
Hugo living his best life. 🀣

The nearby River Lune is spanned by the three arched Devils Bridge and is an attractive riverside amble from the town. The bridge is a popular spot with motorcyclists and there is a long established butty & brew van that always does a roaring trade. We also saw two guys being egged on by friends to dive off the bridge…and they did! It’s a well known dare spot for such jumps, but probably shouldn’t be encouraged. πŸ™

Beautiful listed building ‘ The Old Manor House’.
I love the street names in Kirkby Lonsdale. Salt Pie Lane named after the hot salted mutton pies on sale here in former days.
Jingling Lane. πŸ€—
There are plenty of cute shops in town , such as Abraham’s Store.
Bath goodies shop.
And Parma Violet, to name but a few…

In the afternoon we decided to drive to nearby Sizegh Castle . The National Trust property was pretty busy, but the estate is so large, it is quite easy to avoid people. Dogs are unfortunately not allowed in the gardens but are permitted in the cafe and within the grounds. We ended up walking a good eight miles or so around the estate. Phew!

I did have a peek in the garden.
Vivid blue irises were in bloom in the garden.
Buttercups.
Small Heath πŸ¦‹.
Views across to the sea from the estate.

Once back in Kirkby Lonsdale we needed an ice cream to cool down. A long queue was forming outside The Milking Parlour on Jingling Lane. Although this new ice cream shop has very positive reviews, we were keen to jump the queues. Chocolat on New Road is a delightful little chocolatier that also sells deliciously decadent ice cream. They were so good!

Ice Cream Waffle Cones in Chocolat. Oh yes. 😊

After all the walking and the ice cream treats we headed back to the hotel for a while. We reemerged later for another night out , having booked a table at a lovely restaurant called Plato’s . The food here was excellent and the staff made a big fuss of Hugo. We also had a couple of drinks in local brewery tap house The Royal Barn ~ my favourite tipple was the rhubarb flavoured Rosie Pig Cider. 🐷

The Royal Barn.
Plato’s.
A savoury custart tart in Plato’s. Yummy. πŸ™‚

On Sunday morning it was time to check out of our hotel after breakfast. We had such an enjoyable stay, stopping in the Royal had been a great experience. The whole town is loving recieving visitors once again. πŸ’—

Before heading home we drove thirty minutes to the coast for a walk along the foreshore at Hest Bank near Morecambe. It felt good to take in the sea air and enjoy the vast views of Morecambe Bay.

Wading bird sculpture by the car park at Hest Bank.
Along the foreshore to nearby Bolton Le Sands.
Windswept trees.
Praying Seashell at Red Bank Farm, Bolton Le Sands. The sculpture looks over the mudflats where 21 Chinese cockle pickers lost their lives in 2004, they were caught by the incoming tide. 😦
Rocks at Bolton Le Sands.
Yellow Flag Iris. Spot the snail.
The Shore Cafe, Hest Bank.

There is free shoreside car parking over the level crossing at Hest Bank and a couple of cafe options on route between there and Bolton Le Sands. Lots more in Morecambe.

Have you any weekends away planned?

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.