A Wee Borders Break.

We were recently to be found just over the border in Scotland for a wee break and a complete change of scenery. Our home for two nights was a cute Victorian cottage at Reston called Coveyheugh Lodge. Set in a wooded valley between a railway line and the busy A1, it isn’t quite as peaceful as it looks! However we weren’t put off by the occasional noise, as this home away from home is a wonderful base for exploring the lovely East Scotland coastline.

Our home for 2 nights.
Toasty wood burner.
Patio Garden.
Morning walk.
Signage for nearby Mill.

Although we had originally planned a couple of walks in the local area, we hadn’t realised that poor Wil would still be recovering from sciatica. So what we did was some gentle pottering. Luckily there were fascinating places to visit, only a short drive away.

EYEMOUTH.

This small fishing town was once a smugglers paradise. It’s location just North of the border meant it was the nearest Scottish port to the Continent. Tea and Spirits were duly smuggled. A handsome Quayside house Gunsgreen House was apparently built on the proceeds and today houses a museum and smugglers trail.

Gunsgreen House.

Eyemouths natural harbour is a working fishing harbour and a river called ‘ Eye Water ‘ flows into it. πŸ™‚ Grey Seals can often be seen here, though I suspect this may have something to do with the seal feeding point at the water’s edge. Although it was lovely to see them, I do question whether wild seals should be fed in this way, incase they come to depend on the food. What do you think?

Grey Seal waiting for fish.
Grey Seal.
Eider Duck.

A tragic time in Eyemouths maritime history is brought to life in an evocative and moving sculpture on the sea front. Widows & Bairns by Jill Watson depicts the waiting wives and children of men whose fishing vessels were struck down in the fatal storm of 1881, killing 179. The frantic gestures of the fishermen’s families are heartbreaking to see , especially when many of the boats were destroyed so close to shore ; the sea was just too rough to contemplate rescue. The loss was Scotland’s worst ever fishing disaster.

Widows and Bairns is also known locally as ‘ Black Friday’
A very emotive piece.

Eyemouth has a really nice sandy beach ( not pictured 🀣 ) , a couple of pubs with seafaring names like The Contented Sole and we shared fish & chips on the quayside from Giacopazzi’s.

Eyemouth Beach.
Chippy Dinner.

COLDINGHAM BAY.

My pictures really don’t do Coldingham Bay justice. It’s the prettiest little sandy inlet, in-between Eyemouth and St Abbs. On our visit this sheltered beach was a balmy 16Β°c, not bad for the last Wednesday in October. As well as lots of golden sand, there are tidal rock pools and colourful beach huts. What a gem of a setting.

Colourful Beach Huts.
Rocky Shore.

The bay has a Beach cafe ( closed on our visit), toilets and car park. St Vedas Surf Shop was doing a roaring trade in paddle boarding , coffees & cake. I can imagine this place getting busy in the Summer.

ST ABBS.

Just North of Eyemouth is the picturesque fishing village of St Abbs. It’s dramatic backdrop of jagged purple cliffs gives the harbour side fishermens cottages a very scenic setting. So much so that St Abbs doubles as Thor’s home New Asgard in the Marvel movie Avengers : Endgame. I can’t say I’ve watched any of the recent Avengers films but I can see why the village was picked, it does have a Scandinavian look about it.


New Asgard sign.
St Abbs.
Ebbcarrs is famous for its fresh crab sandwiches.
The harbour.
Jetty.
Another jetty juts out onto the rocks.

And at this time of year St Abbs has its own Pumpkin Patch. πŸ™‚ Love it……

St Abbs Memorial.

Just outside of the St Abbs Visitor Centre there is another Jill Watson Memorial. St Abbs did not escape the tragic storms that took so many fishermens lives back in 1881.

St Abbs Head

The cliffs at St Abbs Head are home to various seabirds who make their home on the rugged ledges. And there’s a Grey Seal colony here too. We didn’t walk the cliff top paths of the Nature Reserve , definitely something to think about doing next time. What a wild and unspoilt headland.

I hope so!

The places we visited are joined by the Berwickshire Coastal Path .

Bye for Now. πŸŽƒ

Silecroft, Ravenglass & Eskdale and Bootle.

Today I am looking back at our weekend away with friends in Ravenglass & Eskdale. It was during the school holidays in August that we stayed in the same lovely cottage that we have booked for previous get togethers. It has become a bit of a tradition of ours to stop in Ravenglass on the Cumbrian Coast. We always seem to find new things to see and do.

As we had set off a little earlier than the others, we decided to take our dog Hugo for a walk on nearby Silecroft Beach. With the Cumbrian Fells ( particularly Black Combe) as it’s backdrop, this sandy stretch of coastline is perfect for exercising four-legged friends. And dogs are not the only ones. You have a very good chance of seeing the Cumbrian Heavy Horses out for a canter here too.

Black Combe.
Doggy Paddles.
Out to Sea.
Heavy Horse.

Once settled into our seafront cottage in the estuary village of Ravenglass everyone made for the beach again. And our evening was spent under rugs on the cottage balcony playing games and watching the sun 🌞 set over the bay.

Ravenglass Beach.
Sunset.
Owl Window.

No visit to Ravenglass is complete without a trip on La’al Ratty! Meaning ‘ Little Railway ‘ in Old Cumbrian dialect, this is the affectionate nick name given to The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway πŸš‚ , a Narrow Steam Gorge Railway that takes visitors on a seven mile journey into the stunning Eskdale countryside.

On – Line Shop, Ravenglass.
Riding the Ratty.
Choo Choo..

We were spoiled for choice when it came to walking routes in Eskdale. Many people opt to walk up into the fells. There’s Roman ruins at Hardknott and plenty of wild swimming in the rugged becks and waterfall pools. Speaking of waterfalls, we went in search of Stanley Ghyll and the recently constructed iron viewing platform above it.

Clear water and stepping stones.
Bridge over troubled water? Only if you fall off the stepping stones!
Stanley Ghyll Force ~ Photo from Express Article here.
Viewing Platform.
Lush vegetation.
Waiting.
Walking.
And some people braved the water, which was freezing!

Bootle Beach was our destination on Sunday. More swimming for the kids ( they were braver than us!) and a bit of beach combing. We saw two huskies from Horse & Husky being exercised. This beach is great for finding wierd and wonderful pebbles and other flotsam and jetsam.

Huskies.
On the beach.
Maybe a πŸ‘ or even, Bel the Bedlington. πŸ™‚
Prettiest Pebbles.
Other beach finds. 😁
Hugo and Bel the Bedlington on the beach at Ravenglass.

We had a wonderful time as usual, in this scenic corner of Cumbria.

Thanks for dropping by. 🌊

A Canal Walk To The Sea.

So here’s a throwback post to August and our stay in Arnside on the Cumbrian Coast. A short train journey away is the characterful town of Ulverston, a place we have visited several times before. The towns cobbled streets and plethora of independent shops, cafes and pubs make it a great destination for generally mooching about. After a ‘ mooch about’ we would be heading along the World’s Shortest, Deepest and Widest Canal, for a walk to the Sea.

Ulverston.
Laurel & Hardy….and friend.
Movie theatre inside the museum.

The morning we visited Ulverston it was exhibiting typical Lake District weather! To escape the rain we spent a good hour or so in the towns Laurel and Hardy Museum. Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston in 1890 and must surely be  it’s most famous resident. The museum has a good selection of the comedy duos memorabilia,  as well as a small cinema that plays Laurel & Hardy features on a loop. Our dog Hugo was made welcome and humoured us as we chuckled our way around. 😊

After a lovely lunch at the nearby Stan Laurel Inn we were suitably refreshed for a canal side walk. Ulverston Canal is a former Ship Canal which linked Ulverston to Morecambe Bay, one and a half miles away.  Completed in 1796 ,the waterway claimed to be the shortest , deepest, widest …… and straightest Canal in the World. Once upon a time passenger ships to Scotland and London embarked from here as well as cargos of local slate. But when the Railway arrived in Ulverston in the 1840s, the record breaking Canals fortunes were on the wane.  By the end of the Second World War Ulverston Canal was no longer in use.

Start of the walk at Canal Head, with views of The Hoad Monument behind us.

Today the waterway offers a serene amble from Canal Head in the town to Canal Foot with its splendid views over Morecambe Bay.  A footpath on the less industrial side of the canal is a popular stroll. There’s even a pub at the end. An incentive indeed!

Flowering Rushes.
A Map Of Ulverston Canal.
Canal Side Retreat looking out over a  million lily pads.

We saw lots of wildlife as we walked along. Plenty of waterside wildflowers and much of the surface was covered in Lily pads. Mute Swans, Comerants, Moor hens and Mallards swam and dived amongst them.

Old Man’s Beard , aka Travellers Joy.
Swanning off.

Half way along Ulverston Canal is a Rolling Bridge, the only one of its kind left in England. Forgotten about  for many years  , it was a history enthusiast who discovered the significance of the bridge and it was given Grade ll status in 2012.

Rolling Bridge.
More Lily Pads.
Juvenile Swans.
112 Foot Sea Lock, the only lock on the canal.

Before long we were at Hammerside Point , Canal Foot. Here the former Ship Canal meets the Leven Estuary. What a splendidly unexpected place…

Out to Sea.
Sign by the small car park at Canal Foot.
Leven Estuary.

For some reason I forgot to take a photo of The Bay Horse Hotel  from the outside ,so below is a distant one I found online. The former Coaching Inn enjoys stunning views over the Bay. Once upon a time it was from here that brave travellers would make the perilous journey by stage coach, over the sands to Lancaster. The arrival of the Railway probably saved a lot of lives!

Bayhorse Hotel with conservatory.
A white horse, not a Bay 🐎 horse, inside the Inn.

After a drink in the pub we retraced our steps back to Ulverston.  On the way an unassuming wooden shed near the Lock Keepers Cottage peeked my interest, especially when I saw its ‘ Welcome Humans ‘ sign?

Lock Keepers Cottage.
Welcome Humans!
Inside the shed.

Whilst looking it up online later, I discovered that the Shed is part of an interactive Art Installation Project called the Last Human Coro Shed . Perhaps not what you would expect to see where a canal meets the sea…..

Goodbye Morecambe Bay.

Thanks for joining me. 😊

Books Read In August & September. πŸ”–

My late Summer Reads and not a beach in sight. 🐧

The Ice Beneath Her ~ Camilla Grebe ( 2016). ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Well this book has a gruesome murder( a decapitated victim, it’s head sat facing the door) and is a somewhat bleak Nordic noir. You can feel the chill in your bones as you read. Lots of twists and turns and narrated by three characters who don’t have much going for them. There is a detective whose just about given up on life, a psychologist recently diagnosed with early onset dementia and a young lady whose fiance disappears on the eve of their engagement dinner. Kept me hooked !

The Hunting Party ~ Lucy Foley(2019). ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Oooh I love the plot idea; a group of thirty something friends spend their Christmas break hauled up together in an exclusive Scottish Hunting Lodge. Old resentments are bound to fizzle. It’s remote, there’s a snow blizzard , there’s a murderer on the loose. Cleverly told , both the murderer and the victim are not revealed until the very end.

The Little Bookshop On The Seine ~ Rebecca Raisin ( 2015). ⭐⭐⭐ Sarah Smith is offered the chance of a lifetime. A bookshop swap for six months in the wonderful city of light ‘ Paris’. It will mean leaving her jet-setting boyfriend Ridge behind, but Oh the possibilities! This is a light-hearted read about Sarah’s quest for independence ,whilst indulging her love for books and navigating life in a new city.

The Family Upstairs ~ Lisa Jewell ( 2019) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Years ago a baby girl is found happy and well cared for in a London house, a group of adults lie dead on the floor. Now on her 25th Birthday Libby Page, since adopted , finds herself sole inheritor of the house and the mystery surrounding it. As missing relatives turn up one by one, Libby is unsure of whether to embrace her new family. A twisty psychological thriller.

Invictus ~ Ryan Graudin ( 2017) ⭐⭐⭐ Faraway McCarthy ( I love that name) was born outside time. His Mother a renowned History Recorder disappeared on a later mission. Now that Faraway is of age he lands a job captaining a treasure hunting ship. But an annoying time- traveller called Elliot always seems to be one step ahead of him. This is a fun and fast paced Y A novel which includes a heist on the Titanic and a gladiatorial battle.

The Penguin Lessons ~ Tom Mitchell ( 2015) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I think it was another blogger who may have recommended this book, but I can’t remember who? Anyway I am glad they did as this is the quirky true story of a Penguin called Juan Salvador. The author Tom Mitchell recounts the time in his early twenties whilst working as a teacher in South America, and his rescue of an oil slicked Magellanic Penguin. Toms memories of smuggling his new friend out of Uruguay and into Argentina and Juan Salvador’s stay in the boys boarding school Tom works at are funny, touching and inspiring.

What have you been reading lately?