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!
It’s been a while since I have written a post. As I currently have no job, I thought I would be writing lots. But nope. Instead I find myself procrastinating when it comes to things I probably should be doing, like finding a job. Instead I have been booking trips away…..and we’ve bought a caravan.
Yes I am now the proud owner of a 38 ft 2005 Willoughby Vogue static caravan! I can’t quite believe it! Here she is the day we looked round her, and I bought her on the spot. No procastinating there…
She is quite beige inside so for now we are just brightening her up a bit with some rugs and throws. Really not sure how simple it is to paint the inside of a van.
We will probably get around to changing the curtains too. For now though it’s Summer at last, so we might as well enjoy our purchase and start exploring the area. 🙂
Can you guess where we are?
We got the keys on Friday and have been busy kitting out the van whilst Mr Hugo is being looked after for the wknd. Hopefully he will get to see it next wknd, before we head to Shropshire glamping with him, a trip we booked a few months ago, before my impulse buy.
If you had told me back in January that by June I would have taken redundancy and bought a holiday home, I would never have believed you. Life can be crazy like that!
Wow, its the end of another year and happily its been an enjoyable one. 🙂 Its always nice to do a round-up post and I originally found this idea on Bev’s Blog, way back when. Next year I will have been occupying this little space in the blogger sphere for seven years. How did that happen! I still feel a constant compulsion to share my life with you all ~ so here’s my 2018 in photos……..
In January I started a walking challenge. Inspired by fellow blogger Christine, I signed up for the #walk1000miles challenge and joined this helpful facebook page for ideas and motivation. The idea is to walk 1000 miles in twelve months. I was pretty confident I could do it, but how fast? Also in January Wil and I spent A Long Weekend In The Lake District. , where we walked round Derwent Water and made snow angels in the snow. 🙂
February was abundant with snowdrops this year, so I dragged Wil on a Snowdrop Walk near Morecambe and we also saw lots on an amble round Skipton Woods.
We spent the most freezing cold night away in Haworth in March. I have never felt so chilly!
By April Spring had arrived at last! I was still donning my walking boots more than my party shoes. We explored the Tolkien Trail in nearby Middle earth country and discovered this countries very own Ayers Rock on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border.
The wonderful weather continued in June. We had another camping weekend at Bolton Abbey. I walked up another of The Yorkshire Three Peaks and went to a Festival in Gisburn Forest. Fabulous Summer memories.
It was amazing to catch up with my old school friend/now Canadian citizen Lou in July, after not seeing her in nine years. She hasn’t changed a bit!
Highlights from August included reaching 1000 miles in the #walk1000miles challenge. Yay! I didn’t stop walking though. I kept those boots on and hoped to reach 1500 miles by the end of the year. This month Wil, Hugo and I had the best holiday in Scotland with two weeks spent exploring North Uist in the gorgeous Outer Hebrides and Kilmartin Glen.
Lots of walks in September , my favourite being a Railway Children Walk around Haworth, finding locations from the classic film.
Autumn arrived and so did crunching through leaves. We went for a Spooky walk with family in the grounds of Bolton Abbey.
November is my Birthday month so another trip was planned. 🙂 Stopped in Ravenglass on the Cumbrian Coast for a few days with friends, went to a chocolate making evening and enjoyed a birthday night out round Clitheroe.
And so it is December and 2018 is nearly at an end. I feel like its been an enjoyable month and looking back, a pretty fantastic year !
Having walked 1649 miles this year too, I am definitely motivated to carry on walking in 2019, and hopefully get even more mileage under my belt.
Thanks again for stopping by. Wishing you lots of great adventures in 2019. X
So I have a 25 Before 45 Bucket List , which I have been neglecting recently. Still lots to do on there and not very much time left to do it ! Oh well C’est la Vie. Something I listed was ‘ Watch a film outdoors’ and the other weekend I did manage to cross this off my Bucket list, when I dragged Wil up to Lowther Castle in Cumbria, for an open-air cinema event.
Picnic Cinema specialises in bringing ‘cinema parties’ to some of the most scenic and iconic locations in the North, including castles, forests and in the case of cult classic ‘Withnail & I’ , a remote farmhouse that was used as a location in the movie.
It turned out that a favourite film of both mine and Wils ‘ Sightseers’ was showing at Lowther Castle, a once grand residence now in ruins, but still majestic all the same. Even though Lowther is only a couple of miles from where my Mum lives, I decided to book us camping tickets, as the lovely weather was perfect for an evening under canvas.
The weekend before,the Lowther estate had played host to the ‘Kendal Calling’ music festival, but this was the first time anyone had been allowed to camp so close to the castle , so we felt quite privileged. The fairy tale turrets certainly made for a magical backdrop.
It also happened that a Crafty Vintage fair was underway in the castle courtyard, so there was plenty to keep us entertained after we had pitched the tent.
Being the rubbish picnickers that we were, we actually forgot to pack a picnic! Couldn’t get enough of this delicious pizza though. 😁
The Picnic Cinema entertainment commenced at around 8pm. We wrapped up warm and took camping chairs, blankets, wine, snacks, and a torch up to where the film screen was situated.
We were each given a cute goodie bag containing love-heart sweets, a sherbert dib dab, a pencil, a badge and a jigsaw puzzle piece! While we were waiting for the sun to go down, the Picnic Cinema team entertained us with a sightseeing themed quiz, filmed interviews with some obliging campers and various fun and games.
At around 10.15pm it was dark enough for the movie to begin!
If you have never seen Sightseers, then you have missed a treat. Its a British Black Horror Comedy about a couple who go on a touring caravan holiday, visiting various tourist attractions on the way….and leaving a few dead bodies in their wake….. Filmed in the North ( Derbyshire, Yorkshire & The Lake District) , Sightseers is pretty macabre and totally bonkers! It was great to see it on The Big Screen. 😁
I think I would definitely go again to a Picnic Cinema event. I love that the films are screened in such gorgeous settings, the staff were enthusiastic, helpful and friendly and the movies shown are usually quirky and different.
Still to show this Summer.
Saturday 11th August ~ The Big Lebowski at Muncaster Castle, Cumbria.
Saturday 18th August ~ 24 Hour Party People at Kirklinton Hall, Carlisle.
Saturday 22nd September ~ Moulin Rouge at The Festival of Thrift, Redcar.
Whilst in the Lowther area we decided to do our own spot of sightseeing. ‘Long Meg and Her Daughters’ at Hunsonby is a druid stone circle that was used as one of the locations in the film.
Have you ever watched a film outdoors? Are you tempted?
I haven’t just been spending my time yomping up hills recently. At the weekend Wil and I joined some friends at the annual Cloudspotting Festival in Gisburn Forest, a popular family-friendly Arts & Music festival, set in the heart of the beautiful Forest of Bowland in Lancashire.
As this year’s festival was actually on a smaller scale than usual, with two nights camping and one full day devoted to fun events for all the family plus some great Live Bands, it was called A Break In The Clouds. Being my first ever experience of Cloudspotting, I wasn’t sure what to expect!
Apart from the early evening midgie beasts ( we were in a forest after all) , I loved it. When I wasn’t participating in laughter yoga, noshing on yummy festival food, drinking cider in the Bitter Suite Bar, listening to storytelling by the campfire or dancing along to Sweet Baboo’s psychedelic floor- filling tunes, I was chasing butterflies in the surrounding wildflower meadows. 😁
Our friends daughters ( aged 7 and 8 ) had a wonderful time too. There was plenty going on for kids including Forest School, The Highway Rat Trail and Interactive Theatre ‘ The Sorrowful Stag’ . What was lovely about ‘A Break In The Clouds’ was the chilled friendly vibe. It felt very safe and allowed the kids a rare degree of independence, that children don’t get to experience so much these days.
Here are a few images that myself and my friend Fiona took. 😊
The 30,000 acre Bolton Abbey estate encapsulates all that is typical of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside. Rugged moorland, colourful wildflower meadows, shady woodland and meandering riverside walks. As well as the ruins of a magnificent old Priory.
From 1154 to 1539 Augustinian canons lived and worked here until the dissolution of the monasteries. Fortunately the accompanying church was left intact after Prior Moone negotiated with Oliver Cromwell, to keep it as a place of worship for the local community .
I have stayed on nearby campsites in the village of Appletreewick, but never at Catgill Campsite , which is on the Bolton Abbey Estate itself, just a few minutes walk from Bolton Abbey Village.
Wil, Hugo ( our labrador) and I arrived at the site early on a Friday afternoon . The campsite accepts tents and camper vans and has a relaxed check-in and departure policy . You can roll up or depart at any time during the day before 9pm. Dogs are welcome too at no extra charge. We payed £40 for 2 nights camping in a tent.
After checking in at reception we were told to pitch up anywhere we wished in either of the two fields. We chose the lower field and set up camp by the stream. Catgill campsite is part of a working farm and has been open since 2014. The facilities still feeling fresh and new, include separate ladies and gents shower blocks, a pot washing room with two fridge freezers, kettle, microwave and plug sockets and a small shop that sells the basics. We were soon ready to explore.
Bolton Abbey village is a small picturesque parish adjacent to the Abbey grounds. It boasts a couple of tea rooms, book shop, village shop/post office and a large car park. We entered the grounds through a small archway called the ‘ Hole in the wall.’ 🙂
Instead of turning left towards the Priory ruins , we headed right along the river Wharfe, in search of the Devonshire Arms pub, which is also a rather posh hotel and spa. Sure enough after a pleasant 15 minute walk , we arrived at the pub and enjoyed a couple of drinks in the beer garden. Named for the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire , the hostelry is part of their Chatsworth Estate. After a while it got a bit chilly, so I asked the young bar staff if we could move into the ‘Dog Lounge’ which I had previously read about here. Unfortunately I was told that the entire hotel had been booked out for a two day wedding! But he kindly agreed to let me take a peek at the cosy dog – themed salon, where guests can relax with a drink and their pampered pooch.
We spent most of the weekend at Catgill either walking on the estate or chilling by the tent, but there is plenty more to entertain anyone who visits. A stones throw from the site ( well literally next door!) is Hesketh Farm Park , which is a popular family day out. If you fancy a ride on a steam train, The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway runs between both villages. And there are miles of walks including a kids adventure trail Welly Walk.
The estate is popular with dog walkers and Hugo had plenty of off-lead time, racing through the woodland and paddling in the river.
Catgill Campsite is a relaxed family-friendly site with helpful amiable hosts and attractive modern facilities.
Shower blocks have family wash rooms.
Pot wash room with two large communal Fridge freezers, Microwave & Kettle.
Small shop selling the basics.
Fire Pit and BBQ hire.
Morning Coffee Shop serving fresh coffee, hot drinks, juice, croissants and other pastries. We especially liked this idea. 🙂
The only downside is trying to find a level pitch as the site is quite sloping in places. Otherwise this is a cracking little find , in the beautiful Wharfedale countryside. 😊
Hope you enjoyed this campsite review. Our next camping trip is to a family-friendly festival in Gisburn Forest next weekend!
more or less perfect. Surrounded by a mountinous back drop and boasting a well stocked shop, cafe and shower block with underfloor heating ( No Less!) , Scotgate has a village location and good bus links to nearby Keswick and Cockermouth. Braithwaite itself is a lovely village with 2 pubs, a tea room ( opening soon) and a friendly village shop.
Here are a few photos of what we got up to on our break away.
A lake we have always wanted to visit ‘Buttermere’ is a six mile drive from Braithwaite. A scenic route passes through the Newlands Valley and once in Buttermere village , there is parking near The Fish Hotel.
We loved our meander round Buttermere and I can’t wait to visit nearby Crummock Water and Loweswater.
Braithwaite is surrounded by mountain fells, so one morning we decided to bag another Wainwright ( mine and Hugo’s second! ) and walked up ‘ Barrow’ , one of the more diminutive Wainwright fells. At 1,494 feet , it still felt enormas to me!
We started our walk from the top of the village ( near the Coledale Inn) and the ascent is a gradual one , there is a clearly defined path up through the bracken. Once at the top, the views all around are stunning! The descent is quite steep. We soon realised we had actually done this walk before!! About 10 years ago, before I even really knew about bagging Wainwrights. So what was to be my second,is actually my first, done twice. Doh! Still, the hike up Barrow is definitely worth a repeat performance. 😁
The nearest town to Braithwaite is Keswick, on the shores of Derwentwater. Known as Queen of the Lakes, Derwentwater has a scenic ten mile waymarked path around it, which we walked on our last visit in January. This time however, we thought we would take advantage of the Keswick Launch , whose pleasure boats have transported tourists around the lake since 1935. Its a hop on/hop off service , so fantastic for taking to a certain point then walking back…or vice versa.
We walked from Friars Crag to Ashness Gate , passing The National Trust Centenary Stone at Calfclose Bay. I have wanted to visit the most photographed packhorse bridge in The Lake District, Ashness Bridge since seeing its iconic image on a postcard. A short hike from Ashness Gate, and there it is!! A little further and another wonderful photographic opportunity is Surprise View, where we had a vast uninterrupted vista of Derwentwater.
It was beautiful up there and so tranquil. Imagine clumps of pretty Wild flowers, curling ferns and the sounds of cuckoos calling. :). A cooling boat trip back and a delicious tea at The Square Orange in Keswick. Bliss…
Our last full day of our holiday was also the Royal Wedding day. During the day we visited Dodd Wood where there are two Osprey viewing points , trained over Bassenthwaite Lake. Unfortunately the Osprey were in hiding, but these magnificent raptors nest nearby every year and are often seen flying over the water. Opposite the Dodd Wood car park is the entrance for Mirehouse & Gardens , a beautiful historic mansion and grounds , open to the public. Dogs are allowed in the gardens and grounds, so I persuaded Wil, that we should take a look. 🙂
Mirehouse’s gardens are a riot of colour and there is lots to explore including a Heather Maze, Fernery, Herb Garden, Bee Garden, Poets Walk and nature trails. The grounds reach as far as the lakeside and there are woodland walks with surprises at every corner.
We were definitely late to the Wedding celebrations, but in the evening I did indulge in a Meghan Markle Mac N Cheese at the Coledale Inn , back in Braithwaite. : b
I must admit I am prone to taking for granted the fact that I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. If England is a ‘green and pleasant land’ then the gorgeous ‘Ribble Valley’ encapsulates this. Tucked away in the Forest of Bowland AONB , it’s lush meadows, picture-postcard villages and the historic market town of Clitheroe are all lorded over by the scenic slopes of Pendle Hill. Meandering brooks and rivers criss-cross the valley, including it’s namesake ‘the River Ribble’. Hailing from the nearby Yorkshire Dales ,the river makes its merry way through Lancashire and towards the sea, lending it’s name to an often overlooked area of the county. But with it’s thriving foodie scene, cosy watering holes, quirky independent retailers, stunning countryside and fascinating history, the Ribble Valley is the perfect destination for a break away.
With this in mind , I thought I would look into the glamping scene here. Over the last twelve months several glamping options have sprung up in the Ribble valley. And what better way to enjoy an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 😊
Camping Podsat Bowland Wild Boar Animal Park.
No tent needed for this back to basics style of glamping. Bring with you everything you’d need whilst camping, except for the tent. The pods are fully insulated and all usual campsite facilities can be found on site. The real charm of these camping pods is the fab location, inside the grounds of Bowland Wild Boar Park near Chipping, which is a very popular visitors attraction, especially with families. With wild animals and farm animals on your doorstep, a large kids adventure playground, tractor rides, riverside walks and a lovely café, this glamping option sounds like a fun family favourite. Pods from £65 per night. Dogs may stay too for an extra £5 per night. wildboarpark.co.uk
Ribble Valley Wigwams.
Set on a family run farm near Langho, these six luxury heated en-suite wigwams have views towards Pendle Hill and Longridge Fell. All cabins have an integrated shower room with walk-in shower, hand basin & toilet, electric hob, toaster, kettle, microwave, fridge and television. A home away from home! You might prefer to bring your own bedding, however you can hire a bedding pack as an additional extra. A picnic bench and fire-pit outside completes the cosy camp. There is a small shop on site in reception and a riverside walk will take you into the charming village of Ribchester, with it’s Roman Museum, art gallery and selection of eateries. Wigwam prices from £75 per night. Three of the cabins are dog friendly. wigwamholidays.com
Yurts at the Red Pump Inn.
I have long coveted a stay in a yurt and these beauties are only up the road from where I live in Clitheroe, in the tiny village of Bashall Eaves. Owned by the Red Pump Inn, there are four fabulous Yurts, set in a private garden area adjacent to the Inn. Each yurt has a king size bed with fur throws, a cosy wood burning stove, fairy lights, electric lamps and sockets and it’s own ensuite bathroom. Breakfast is included in the price and is taken inside the Red Pump , which is also a popular steakhouse and real ale pub. Nearby attractions include Bashall Barn Food Visitor Centre and the historic town of Clitheroe with its many pubs, independent shops and Norman Castle Keep. Yurts prices for a two night stay from £250. Dogs are welcome for an additional charge of £12.50 per night. theredpumpinn.co.uk
Hobbit Hill Glamping Cabins.
Did you know that the lush green Ribble Valley inspired the writings of Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien? His son boarded at Stonyhurst College near Hurst Green and Tolkien often visited and penned much of his beloved novel here,perhaps taking inspiration from the surrounding countryside for Middle Earth and the Shire. The glamping cabins at Hobbit Hill are set on the Tolkien Trail….and look cosy enough for any discerning Hobbit. Two of the five cabins have king size beds and all have sockets, fridges, toaster and microwave plus a firepit/bbq area outside. There are toilets and shower facilities on site and some very good country pubs and cafes in the nearby villages of Mitton and Hurst Green. Glamping Cabin prices from £70 per night. hobbithill.co.uk
As it is now a yearly tradition of mine to post a quick photo round-up of the year, I thought I had better get cracking with this 2017 post. I definitely have no regrets about 2017. It has been pretty fantastic with lots of short trips away, days out and fun times with family and friends. 🙂
January. We celebrated Wil’s Birthday with a weekend break in his favourite Lake District town Keswick.
Mostly this consisted of walks by beautiful Derwent Water and of course frequenting Keswick’s many watering holes. 🙂
April. It was my little sister’s 40th Birthday this month and we celebrated with a mini break in the Big City ( London) with our younger brother and other halves. Our trip included The Natural History Museum, Afternoon Tea at Claridges and watching The Lion King. You can read all about it here.
June. This month I participated in The Wildlife Trust’s #30dayswild challenge , where I attempted ( though that’s no hardship!) to appreciate the beauty in nature every day in June, whether that meant noticing the different wildlife I would see on my daily walks with Hugo, or using natural ingredients in recipes such as Rose Petal Jelly. The challenge also coincided with my first ever visit to Norfolk, which I shall always remember for it’s many many beach huts, beautiful wildflowers and those yummy Dutch Pancakes in Wells-Next-The-Sea. 🙂
Beach Huts Galore in Norfolk.
Dutch Pancake on The Albatross.
July. Already well into Summer now. We spent a couple of nights camping in the Dales and walked this tiny stretch of The Dales Way and we took Hugo on his first ever trip on The Ullswater Steamer . I think this is my fave ever photo of my two boys. 🙂
August. Anyone for Afternoon Tea? I can certainly recommend a fun, quirky and delicious one at The Cake ‘Ole in Skipton. And August is a great time to go camping with the kids, as we found out when we accompanied friends to Meadow Falls near Ingleton.
September. We had a bit of an Indian Summer this month, which made up for a damp squibby August. Luckily we got to make the most of the sunshine on a day out with my niece and nephew in Morecambe and we spent a week in the The Lake District , bagging my first wainwright fell and enjoying the incredible views over Wastwater.
October. Days out in October included A family friendly bike ride on the Lancashire Cycleway from Lancaster to Morecambe and back. It was my first time on a bicycle for many a year, so I was pretty happy that I made it!
November. My Birthday month was made so special when Wil booked us two nights in the Yorkshire Spa town of Harrogate.
I have always wanted to visit the Turkish Baths there so I checked us in for a morning, which was really enjoyable. We also visited nearby Knaresborough with its ancient castle and railway viaduct.
December. And its nearing the end of 2017 now after a fairly quiet but lovely December. Highlights included Hugo opening his Christmas presents ( he is very good at unwrapping, just need to train him to wrap up 😉 ), The traditional Christmas Morning Walk, Willow Angel Weaving and a Festive Afternoon Tea at Alexanders in Skipton.
I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who drops in on my little blog every now and again. It really has made my year. 😁
All the best for 2018. I hope its a great one for everyone. Xx
Helloo! I’m back with a few more links to blog posts that I have enjoyed over the summer. I can’t quite believe we are almost into September though ! Plans for September include a week away in The Lake District. Here’s hoping for an Indian Summer. 🙂
How about a recipe for some refreshing Lavender Lemonade over at Everyday Cheer.