Last year I started my 25 Before 45 Bucket List and although progress is quite slow, I have at least achieved a few things on it ! Whilst I have not yet learned to crochet, swum in a Lido or watched a Film Outdoors, I have managed to Trek With Llamas in the Lake District, Picnic on a Village Green with my old-fashioned Picnic Hamper ( Not very successfully, Hugo ate the cake ! ), do a Rail Ale Trail Tour on the East Lancs Railway and take part in The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk led by the Queen’s Official Guide, Cedric Robinson. I have just under 2 years to complete the list, so hopefully in 2017 I will make a sizeable chunk in it. Wish me Luck!
Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk.
Lakeland llama Trekking.
Picnic on the Village Green.
East Lancs Rail Ale Trail Tour.
And now for a bit of Blog love. Here are some links to posts I have enjoyed reading in January. X
I thought I would get in the mood for Autumn, and the best way for me to do that, is to make a list of course! Enjoy. 🙂
1. Go for a woodland walk and admire the changing colours.
2. Refill your hanging baskets with Autumn favourites such as pansies, cyclamen and Ivy.
3. Fill your home with the scents of Autumn. Add cinnamon sticks,orange rind,whole cloves and bay leaves to water and simmer on the stove.
4. Go Blackberry picking and make a lovely crumble.
5. Autumn is the perfect time to get cosy on an Autumn Glamping Break. How about staying in a colourful Shepherd’s Hut in the Lakes, a luxurious Safari Tent in the Trough of Bowland or a beautiful Showman’s Wagon in Cornwall.
At the Weekend I got to tick something off my Bucket List and raise a bit of money for charity. Can’t be bad! For a while now I have wanted to do ‘The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk’ which is a guided walk across the shifting sands between Arnside and Grange-Over-Sands in Cumbria. The walks are led by Cedric Robinson MBE ( the Queen’s Official Guide), who has been escorting thousands of charity fundraisers safely over the bay since 1963. That makes him pretty darn experienced , wouldn’t you agree !
The walk starts on the front at pretty Arnside. No Hugo is not seeing us off. He will be joining us for this 8 mile trek over the bay. 🙂
There are about 200 people joining us too, dressed mostly in shorts and trainers or walking sandals. Some brought the kids and others bring four legged friends. We were soon met by Cedric in his trusty tractor.
Cedric is a bit of a celebrity so he poses for a few photos with fans before we set off.
The sands are so beautiful and stretch out for miles in front of us. They are also very dangerous so it’s important never to cross without a respected guide.
Even in such an impressive turnout, it is possible to enjoy the serenity of the seascape.
Eventually we cross our first channel ! The River Kent creates the channels and we are soon paddling…….
Even these little fellas are doing the doggy paddle. 🙂 One Jack Russell Terrier called Cato still kept paddling with his front paws in mid air,even after his owner picked him up. Aww!
The water comes up to my mid thigh. Yep I’m a short arse! Hugo does swimmingly well. 🙂
I resigned myself to the fact that I would get pretty wet. So did Hugo ! Luckily the weather is kind to us and amazingly we don’t feel cold at all.
We cross several channels in this way. The route is marked by Laurel Branches, chosen because their leaves do not drop.
Cedric keeps an eye out for us all. I ask him if , as the Queen’s Official Guide, he has ever taken Her Majesty across Morecambe Bay. He hasn’t ( yet! ) but he has had the pleasure of accompanying Prince Phillip in the 1980s. He had to tell The Duke off for driving his horse and carriage to fast over the sands!
Our walk takes a little over four hours and ends at Kent Bank station ,just outside Grange-Over-Sands. We amble back to our little B&B muddy, with aching legs and a great sense of achievement. 🙂
If you would like to donate to my Just Giving page please do. We are raising money for ‘East Lancs Hospice’.
Sunday Sevens is here once again. I’m joining in with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins whose fab idea of posting 7 piccies of her personal week, has really caught on in the blogging world. 🙂
I’ve made a little bit of progress with my 25 Before 45 Bucket List this past week. Finally used my picnic basket and went on a ‘proper Picnic’,with it, a ton of yummy food ( sadly not homemade though) and a copy of Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee. Unfortunately it was last Tuesday that we decided on a picnic tea….and it was scorching hot, even at 6pm. It was to uncomfortable to read plus Hugo got his paws on the Sainsbury’s lemon cake I bought ! Plenty more time for picnics this summer though, hopefully. 🙂
Another activity I’ve crossed off my Bucket List this week is Llama Trekking in the Lakes. Last Sunday myself and some of my family met up at Brougham, near Penrith in Cumbria, and took a herd of llamas out on a countryside trail. It was a lovely experience. No Llama Dramas! You can read my Llama Trekking in the Lakes. 🙂 post here. 🙂
How do you like my new bag?? I got it in the Orla Kiely Sale. I think it says ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ ,in a subtle way…….
Hugo is officially a magazine star ! A couple of months ago we went camping in the Yorkshire Dales and I happened to take this photo of Hugo curled up on the camp bed with his my favourite magazine. I put it on Twitter , and here he is, looking all nonchalant in the August edition.
Babysitting these two cheeky chappies happened this weekend. Happily all went well. The sunshine, Castle park and the Goosebumps movie on dvd proved suitable entertainment. 🙂
And today Wil and I met up with my sister and family again in the nearby village of Downham. My sister and I went to the village school here, many moons ago 😉 Downham Hall was holding an Open Gardens day for charity. So it was nice to look round the grounds as they are rarely open to the public. Oh and I bought a Bob’s Knoblets Lancashire Cheese!
Llamas are very sociable animals. Llamas can live until their early thirties. Llamas hum when they are happy. 🙂 These are a few of the things we learned about these very interesting, gentle ( and friendly) creatures on a Llama Trek in The Lake District. Lakeland Llama Treks near Penrith in the scenic Eden Valley is a family business, with our hosts Mary and Graham running the trekking side, and other family members looking after the colourful and quirky Llama Karma Kafe. As Llama trekking has been on my Bucket List for a while now, I decided to commandeer the rest of my family in joining me for a’ countryside trail’ in the glorious sunshine on Sunday. 🙂
Seven of us ( 5 adults,2 kids) assembled at the Llama Karma Kafe at 11am. We were joined by another family of three, so there would be ten of us on the trek altogether. Five llamas were loaded into a specially adapted horsebox and we followed Mary and Graham a few minutes down the A66 , parking on a small carpark just off a country lane, where we would start our trek. We were then given a little talk about the llamas and put into pairs. Each pair was then introduced to their llama companion for the walk.
I paired up with my five year old niece imogen and our llama was this little chap called ‘Cuba’. As you can see we are leading Cuba with a double lead, one of us at either side of him.
Llamas come in all shapes and sizes. Cuba was definitely the shortest of our llama friends that day. He suited Imogen and I , being that we are shorties ourselves. 🙂 The funny thing was, he really liked to lower himself down to our level. When I asked Wil to have a hold for a minute, Cuba stretched himself up as tall as he could!
We walked through the fields and along the river, stopping to admire a secluded 17th century church. There were plenty of photo opportunities.
Mary and Graham and our other guide ( I totally forgot to ask her name! ) were very knowledgeable about the llamas and the local history of the area too. When I had told friends, that I was going on a llama trek, their reactions ranged from ‘What your riding llamas ?’ to ‘Be careful of them spitting at you!’ but our guides explained these common misconceptions. Firstly, you can’t really ride llamas. Llamas are strong enough to carry all sorts of things. Originally from South America these placid creatures have been domesticated and used as pack animals by native peoples for centuries. They have longer backs than horses , so weight has to be evenly distributed. Overloaded llamas will just sit down on the ground. A human’s weight all in one spot, would not a happy llama make.
And yes llamas do spit. But only when feeling threatened. If they are used to people like these guys then they will rarely spit at a human being. However they may possibly spit at each other . Females will spit at a male who is making advances she doesn’t want and llama’s may spit at each other when in competition over food. For this reason ( and just the excitement of being together) the llamas are usually sent on treks in single sex groups. We had the company of the lads. Happily the only noise they made was a gentle happy humming as we ambled along through the gorgeous Eden Valley scenery. Llamas don’t spook easily either. As we walked back single file through a meadow several young pheasants flew up out of the grass. Apart from an inquisitive glance beforehand , the llamas didn’t bat an eyelid.
Our countryside trail trek lasted about an hour and a half and included refreshments at the end in the cafe. Situated at the side of the A66 the Llama Karma Kafe can get quite busy with passers by. We managed to get a seat outside the back where there is a mini menagerie of animals including a giant rabbit, a parrot and a couple of tiny cute marmoset.
The cafe itself is bright and quirky with a peruvian influence. There is also a gift shop so we were sure to buy some souvenirs of our trip. 🙂 We each got a certificate for participating too.
I would definitely recommend Lakeland Llama Treks as a fun experience for all the family, or as a birthday treat or even for a Hen Party. Our guides were friendly and informative and the llamas were incredibly sweet, inquisitive and and a little bit mischievous. Most of all, I think they liked us as much as we liked them. 🙂
The Countryside Llama Trek is £35 per person and includes an easy walking off road trail, beautiful scenery, interesting knowledgeable guides, refreshments at the kafe ( drinks and cakes) and a fun certificate. Suitable for all ages and walking abilities.
Whilst camping in nearby Silverdale , we visited one of my favourite Seaside towns, the charming resort of Grange-Over-Sands. Grange is situated on the southern tip of the Cartmel peninsula and looks out over Morecambe Bay. Salt Marsh meadows reach out towards the sea and mountains rise majestically on the horizon. The town itself was built in 1894 and retains an Edwardian feel. It’s a quiet less touristy area of the Lake District, yet is only 7 miles from Windermere. Here are a few things I spotted on our visit. 🙂
Stripey Geese. Grange has some attractive Ornamental Gardens that feature a large pond , where quite an array of water birds from all over the world reside. My favourites are these Bar Headed Geese with their striking black and white markings. They are apparently one of the world’s highest flying birds , their winter migration from Central Asia to South Asia being one of the most arduous routes ever. But I think these handsome guys just enjoy hanging out in lovely Grange-Over-Sands.
Look! A Lido! The town has a Lido. Unfortunately it seems to have been abandoned . 😦 Obviously I couldn’t really get any great photographs without breaking and entering, so I just had to peer through the wire fence. The lido was built in the 1930s and has amazing views over the bay. Wouldn’t it be great if it could be restored to it’s former glory! Here’s an article I found with some better pictures. 12 Abandoned Lidos. I have ‘swimming in a Lido’ on my Bucket List . Maybe this could be the one.:)
Promenade Colours. Grange-over-sands pretty prom is charmingly colourful,due to its glorious promenade gardens. There’s nothing quite as lovely as eyeing beautiful blooms on one side of you and sea views on the other,as you amble along the Promenade. I especially liked the stunning pink flowers of the ‘Valerian’ a coastal garden escape,with a name straight from a ‘Game of Thrones episode’.;)
Wildlife House. We spotted this very elaborate home for wildlife just across from the train station in Grange. It seems to provide shelter for just about every insect and bug going and at the bottom there is even a room for a hedgehog. Not sure who was in residence. I liked the wooden butterfly. 🙂
Giant Plastic Windmills. I love love love colourful plastic windmills. So I was delighted in a jumping up and down kind of way, when I spied these beauties outside ‘the Curiosity Shop’ on the Main Street. Of course I had to buy one.I’ve planted the polka dot blue windmill in my garden.So much easier to look after than flowers.;)
Tea Tree. The Hazelmere cafe,shop & bakery on Yewbarrow Terrace is definitely worth a visit, if only to purchase some delicious homemade bread or maybe a tea related gift, of which there is an abundant selection. I loved this Tree of tea! I bought an elegant tea strainer and some rosebud tea from here for my June Foodie Penpal. Foodie Penpals has officially stopped now but if any readers ever fancy doing a food parcel swap, let me know. 🙂
Grange-over-sands , I’m sure has plenty more surprises up its genteel Edwardian sleeve. Why not visit next time you are on the Cumbrian coast….