All posts by shazza

My name is Shazza and I live in a small town in North west England with my boyfriend and our black lab Hugo and black cat Slinky. I work in a supermarket full time and in my spare time i enjoy reading,film,food( mostly eating it,I am a terrible cook!),taking photos,travel,camping,wildlife,spending time with my mates and hunting in car boots and charity shops for vintage teacups.This blog is hopefully going to be a collection of my fave things and musings on life,the universe and everything.Xx

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

Have you visited any of these places?

Or hung about in a hammock? πŸ˜ƒ

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Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ July.

Kate’s words for July are Cluttered,Paddle, Pink, Starts with an E, Roof & My Own Choice.

Cluttered. Can I say this field is ‘cluttered with cows’ . Moo!

Paddle. Hugo is the main paddler in this household, though he meets his match down by the river. #doggypaddlers

Pink. Still loving this sculptural pavillion at NT Berrington Hall in Herefordshire. Who can resist a pink pineapple? πŸ˜ƒ

Starts with E. Some might say this is E for Eccentric. πŸ˜ƒ Hugo was a guest at his doggy pals Birthday party recently.

Roof. I really like this house in the village of Melmerby with its clock tower and triangular roof.

My own choice. Beautiful Comma Butterfly spotted on this morning’s dog walk.

Thanks to Kate for organising as usual. X

Chasing Butterflies at Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve.

My sister, niece and nephew have never seen six-spotted burnet moths before, so as I have spied them flying around my local nature reserve, we decided to take a trip to Salthill Quarry this morning. The weather here in the North West is hot and muggy, ideal it seems for butterfly spotting. Here is a small selection of what I managed to photograph, including the elusive and gloriously colourful Burnet Moths.

Brown Ringlet Butterfly.
Caterpillars ~ Are they Cinnabar or Six – Spotted Burnet Moths?
A bee like Hover fly.
Six-Spotted Burnet Moth.
Six-spotted Burnet Moth.
Common Grasshopper.
Meadow Brown Butterfly.
Female Common Blue Butterfly.
Male Common Blue Butterfly.
Small Skippers on Knapweed.

Whilst we were here we decided to use 15 minutes to take part in this year’s Big Butterfly Count. The idea is to note down what butterflies & moths you might see in your garden, local park, field or nature reserve and submit your findings online. It’s a nice way to spend a few minutes of your time and helpful to UK Butterfly conservation too. Here is what we saw.

Brown Ringlet – 4

Large White – 1

Small White – 2

Small Tortoiseshell ~ 1

Common Blue ~ 1

Six Spotted Burnet Moth ~ 4

Small Skipper ~ 6

There were other moths & butterflies too, some that we didn’t manage to photograph and from memory are finding hard to identify. Chasing Butterflies is a warm business, we decamped to a cafe for cooling icecream after. 😁

Will you be taking part in The Big Butterfly Count?

Lovely Ludlow and some places to visit nearby.

When we could tear ourselves away from our cosy Tree Dome accommodation in South Shropshire, we took ourselves off to the nearby market town of Ludlow. A charming mixture of Georgian and Medieval architecture, Ludlow was described by poet John Betjemen as ‘ Probably the loveliest town in England with its hill of Georgian houses ascending from the river Teme to the great tower of the cross-shaped church,rising behind a classic market building.’

We wandered round Ludlow’s lovely streets, the buildings really are a colourful feast for the eyes. I wish I had taken more photos, my pictures don’t really do it justice. The town has lots of fascinating independent shops and olde worldy public houses. We returned later that day for a delicious evening meal at The Unicorn Inn on Corve Street.

Ludlow Castle. Ludlow has imposing castle ruins with Norman, Medieval and Tudor architecture. Constructed in the 11th century as a border stronghold of a Marcher Lord Roger De Lacy, the building was enlarged in the 14th century and was involved in the War of the Roses. Later it became a Royal Palace , used as a honeymoon destination by Prince Arthur ( brother of Henry VIII) and his bride Catherine of Aragon and then by Mary Tudor whose court spent three winters at Ludlow from 1525 to 1528. And in 1689 the Royal Welsh Fusiliers were founded at the castle by Lord Herbert of Chirbury.

Admission to Ludlow Castle is Β£7 for adults, Β£3-50 for children and dogs are welcome on a lead.

Berrington Hall. Just over the border in Herefordshire is National Trust Berrington Hall, a handsome Georgian manor with 250 acres of landscaped grounds, gardens and a small lake, on our visit buzzing with dragonflies. We decided to use our NT membership as even though we couldn’t go inside the house with our dog Hugo, there was plenty to see outside.

The parkland and gardens were designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown , his final commission before his death in 1783. My favourite part of our wander round ( apart from that small lake and dragonflies) was a wonderful pink pineapple-esque sculpture called Look! Look! Look! This striking sculptural pavillion has been designed to sit inside and imagine Browns curved walled garden as it would have looked two hundred years earlier.

Croft Castle. Another nearby National Trust property with grounds and gardens that we were able to bring Hugo to was Croft Castle. There are several way marked walks round the parkland and as in a lot of NT houses these days, deck chairs are dotted round the gardens, so you can really make yourself at home. On a walk past the natural play area, I was delighted to catch a glimpse of scarlet pimpernel in the wild. And the gardens in July are vibrantly colourful.

Helpful Websites.

Berrington Hall.

Croft Castle.

Ludlow Castle.

Thanks for dropping by. πŸ™‚

Enjoying Nature Along The River Wharfe, Yorkshire Dales.

My niece and nephew broke up for Summer last week so Hugo and I joined them and my sister for a wander along the River Wharfe. Our plan was to walk from Burnsall to Grassington , a pleasant riverside ramble. However we stopped so many times to admire butterflies, identify insects, look under stones for crayfish and watch waterbirds, that we didn’t make much headway on the timescale we had. Another time perhaps! However we had lots of fun along the way. I come from a nature loving family. πŸ™‚

My 8 year old neice Imogen says that we all have our own talents at identifying things. She is good at insects, Roman knows his reptiles & snakes ( we didn’t see any! ), Auntie Shaz ( me) can name most flowers ( though I might need my blogging friends to help with a couple ) and my sister’s speciality subject is dog breeds. Ok then!

Here are a few photos from our Wharfedale wander.

A lesser spotted Hugo at Hebden Suspension Bridge and Stepping stones.
Betony.
Small Skipper on Yarrow.
White duck.
Hugo helping Imogen I D flowers.
Caterpillar of Peacock Butterfly.
Harebells.
Monkey Flower.
Goosander.
Harebells, Betony and Hawkweed.
Flowers galore.
Any ideas?
Common spotted orchid.
Not sure. I’ve had a look online and came up with Sand Garlic?
Common Grasshopper.
Rest – Harrow.
Would you cross the wibbly wobbly bridge or the stepping stones?
Nature Spotters.

Thanks to my sister for some of the photos. πŸ™‚

Ullswater ~ Messing About On A Boat. β›΅πŸš’

At the weekend we drove over to Ullswater ( about 20 minutes from our caravan in the Northern Lakes) and then on to the pretty lakeside village of Glenridding. Here we hopped onto one of the beautiful Ullswater Steamers for a trip around the lake. Coincidentally the steamer service was celebrating its 160th Birthday! Colourful Bunting adorned these historic vessels and a grey morning turned into a lovely sunny day.

The steamers offer a hop on/ hop off service so we decided to dismount at Pooley Bridge for lunch. The newly painted Pooley Bridge Inn reminds me of a Swiss chalet. Ullswater itself flanked by Some of Britain’s highest mountains has been compared to the stunning lakes and mountains of Switzerland.

After a pootle about the village and Hugo’s obligatory paddle in the lake, we set back sail for Glenridding from Pooley Bridge Pier. The Steamers fleet has five vessels. It was our pleasure to travel back in M.Y Raven, she too was celebrating a Birthday, having been first launched on the 16th July 1889.

All the steamers have indoor and outdoor seating, toilets, serve coffee, teas and light refreshments and have fully licensed bars. Dogs are welcome onboard for a small charge.

I loved all the gorgeous wildflowers by the beck and the lake at Glenridding. Highlights were the swathes of vivid blue Vipers Bugloss and the sunshine yellow Monkey flowers.

Our lazy day on Ullswater finished with refreshments , sat outside The Glenridding Hotel which has a coffee shop called Let it Brew. I wasn’t really expecting such decadence when I ordered a milkshake. πŸ˜‹

Thanks for bobbing by. Have you been messing about on boats lately?

Glamping In A Tree Dome ~ South Shropshire. πŸŒ³πŸŒΏπŸ¦‹

Before we bought our static caravan, I had long ago ( back in early Spring I believe) booked four nights away in a Tree Dome near Ludlow in Shropshire. A Tree Dome you ask? It’s a luxury glamping experience with all mod cons. Under canvas you might be, but there’s still the most comfiest bed I have ever slept in, a plush sofa, a delightful dining table and a toasty wood burner. Not that we needed to light a roaring fire in July, but still….

Tree Dome is situated in the heart of Bowkets Wood near Clee Hill, right on the Shropshire/ Herefordshire border. It is also very near Worcestershire. I am not very good with my counties! We particularly loved the decking area , where I must admit , we spent most of our time. The weather was warm so lounging about on the outdoor furniture with a good book and a glass of wine under the cool woodland canopy was perfection after a day out exploring.

Our woodland hideaway also featured a wood fueled hot tub ( available at extra charge), gas BBQ, fire pit, pizza oven ( added extra), and separate kitchenette & shower. A perfect base for getting to know so many English ( and Welsh too!) Counties. That is if you can ever bring yourself to leave. That hot tub was so enticing!