Category Archives: eating out

Skipton Wanderings.

Sometimes I love to revisit places on my blog and Skipton is no exception. On Friday a friend and I took a bus over the Yorkshire border to this pretty market town, often known as The Gateway to the Dales. With its 900 year old Castle, cobbled shopping streets and beautiful woodland walks, Skipton makes for a grand day out. 🙂

As my friend had never visited Skipton Castle, we decided to head there first. The incredibly thick walls of this formidable fortress held off a three year siege in The Civil War. Visitors can explore the many rooms including The Great Hall , the Muniment Tower and the charming Conduit Court. In the grounds Spring brings a glorious display of dancing daffodils.

After aquainting ourselves with the Castle, we felt a bit peckish ! This tasty pie selection in Farmhouse-Fare was to much temptation. Pies bought, we ambled toward Skipton Castle Woods ……. in search of sculptures.

Skipton Castle Woods is a rare ancient woodland with over a thousand years of history. It’s diverse wildlife includes dippers, kingfishers, woodpeckers, deer, bats, badgers and bluebells. Paths follow Eller Beck , meandering through a green carpet of wild garlic leaves. We used the Mill Bridge Entrance to access the woods.

Spirit of the medieval hunter.

Since my last wander in Skipton Castle Woods two beautiful willow sculptures have appeared, both looking incredibly natural in their forest surroundings. Other new installations include an Eller Beck Information Board and a gorgeous kingfisher carved bench.

The stalking Horse.

After our walk and nosy round the shops we finished our day off with cake. 🙂

My favourite place to go for tea and cake in Skipton is the colourful and Quirky Cakeole in the Craven Court Arcade.

Yorkshire Curd Tart, anyone?

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Edinburgh.

When Wil and I visited Edinburgh recently ,we decided to leave be the usual touristy venues such as the Castle, the Camera Obscura, Mary Kings Close and the Scottish National Gallery. All these wonderful attractions are definitely worth visiting ( and we will again, I am sure), but we wanted to explore some other parts of this beautiful city.

The Scottish Capital has extensive parks, extinct volcanos, hidden bars, Harry Potter inspired locations and the most listed buildings in the world. Here are a few images from our trip.

View of Arthur’s Seat from Edinburgh Castle. The peak is an ancient volcano, sitting 251m above sea level.
A William Wallace performs on the Royal Mile.
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A fairy on the Royal Mile.
The colourful curving Victoria Terrace is full of quirky independent shops, and happens to be the main inspiration for Diagon Alley, apparently. J. K. Rowling lived and wrote in the city, so could indeed be true.

Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden is just one mile from the city centre, and well worth the walk, if your feeling active. I must admit I was dying to visit the ornate glass houses, of which there are ten. The Victorian Temperate Palm house below is one of the tallest traditional Palm houses ever built. Because it was quite nippy, it was nice to keep warm inside for a while, so I recommend a Winter trip. Look out for the Gardens cat, a handsome black Tom, called Milo. I didn’t manage to get a picture, but he’ll be the one being fussed over by the tourists. 🙂

You can enter the Palm House for free, and there is a charge to explore the other glass houses.
I think we are in the Cacti Glass House here.
There are lots of quite tame grey squirrels in the park.

From the Botanic Gardens it is a pleasant walk alongside the Water of Leith into Stockbridge, an area of Edinburgh with lots of green spaces and a friendly village atmosphere. It’s plethora of independent shops and cafes makes Stockbridge a great place to linger.

Entrance to Stockbridge Market, a popular Sunday Market.
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Little Free Library.,
A lovely independent bookshop we found called Golden Hare Books on St Stephen Street.
Golden Hare Books.
Cheese and wine in Smith & Gertrude.

Edinburgh is a walkers city! We followed the Dean Path along the waterside to the Dean Village, a beautiful Edinburgh suburb. An Instagrammer’s delight , the Dean Village is incredibly picturesque, but bring a picnic if your planning to eat here. There are no shops or cafes, though plenty in nearby Stockbridge.

St Bernard’s Mineral Well. A statue of Hygeia ` Greek Goddess of Health’ resides here.
Dean Village.
Well Court, Dean Village.

One place we reserved a table for dinner was ‘ The Witchery By The Castle‘ near the castle gates. Fine dining in a gothic setting, this restaurant may set you back a few quid, but it is in a very atmospheric setting and the food is mouth watering.

The Witchery By The Castle.
Dessert at the Witchery. Yummy!

We also discovered some almost hidden bars on our explorations round Edinburgh. Venture down any ginnel off the Royal Mile, and you will find a traditional real ale pub such as The Jolly Judge ( look out for the nearby Writers Museum) and The Jinglin’ Geordie. If your preference is cocktails, The Devil’s Advocate in the Old Town and Brambles in the New Town are both quite hidden from the hustle and bustle, but can get busy even so.

On the Sunday before catching our train home, we took a stroll up Calton Hill which is home to several skyline monuments. From here there are far reaching views over the city and some quite interesting structures, including a building that was once called ‘Scotland’s Disgrace’. It is in fact a half finished replica of the Athens Parthenon , a tribute to the fallen of the Napoleonic Wars. The money ran out and building of the National Monument was never completed. I quite like it though! Other iconic buildings include The Nelson Monument, The Royal Observatory and Rock House, which you can actually rent as a holiday let.

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Nelson Monument.
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Dugald Stewart Monument.
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Royal Observatory.

National Monument.

So there you have it, a weekend in Edinburgh.

Where do you like to visit in the city?

Sunday Sevens 27th January.

Sunday Sevens is a collection of seven or more photos from the last seven days.

Last Sunday Wil and I were still in Edinburgh, where we had spent the weekend for Wil’s birthday. Sunday morning was spent exploring the monuments on Calton Hill. Well worth a visit! I will have to get round to writing a proper post.

Calton Hill.

Our favourite meal in Edinburgh and a tick off my bucket list, was this lamb Wellington at The Witchery by the Castle. Talk about melt in the mouth dining , in a sumptuous setting.

Lamb Wellington at The Witchery

Back home to a foggy England. I have actually had the week off work, due to having some holidays to get in before the end of March. Wil took Monday off and we went for a misty wander round the Pendle Sculpture Trail.

Tree Nymph on the trail.
Swans on the Riverside path. 😂

Clitheroe had one gorgeous bright cold frosty day which Hugo and I made the most of , with a long walk by the Ribble. I was amused when these two swans emerged from the river and promptly plonked themselves on the path in front of us.

Cranachan.

Even though I have been in Scotland this week, I didn’t try Haggis or the traditional Scottish dessert Cranachan. Made from double cream, honey, oats, whisky & raspberries, cranachan is a simple pudding to make….even for me. 🙂 Delicious not only on Burns Night.

Noticed a few clumps of snowdrops whilst out and about this week. And discovered some hiding in my flower beds, once I tidied them up a bit. If your interested, here are a few links to snowdrop walks & weekends. Not sure I will get to go to one myself this year, as were on with decorating the bedroom.

Lytham Hall, Lancs.

Hornby Castle, Lancs.

National Trust Snowdrop walks.

Goldsborough Hall, Harrogate.

Hopton Hall, Derbyshire.

National Garden Schemes snowdrop days.

Ruby red Amaryllis.

I will leave you with this cheery amaryllis, a Christmas present that is now blooming beautifully. 🙂

Thanks to Natalie at Threads and Bobbins for devising Sunday Sevens.

Photo An Hour January 19th.

So I was in the beautiful Scottish Capital when #photoanhour was happening over on Instagram on Saturday. Time to join in and post a few photos of my day. 🙂

First of all I had the best ever lie in. Usually I am up and about before 7am. Being away from our pets for a weekend meant no early morning wake up calls. Definitely bliss on Saturday. By Sunday though, we were missing the noisy little blighters, and fussing over every cat and dog we came across. 😉

So anyway here is how Saturday panned out in Edinburgh…..

9am ~ As we had strolled up the Royal Mile on Friday, today we decided to head over to the New Town for breakfast. We passed the impressive Scott Monument, a stunning gothic pinnacle.

10am ~ Found an Italian cafe , which I can’t remember the name of. Good coffee though and tasty breakfasts. 🙂

11am ~ It was a bracing cold day, so where better to head for some warmth, than The Glass Houses at The Royal Botanic Gardens. We kept toasty as we explored the ferns, tropical plants & cacti.

Noon ~ Time for a brew in the Terrace Cafe, and a nice slice of cake. 🙂

1pm ~ We had headed out of the centre of Edinburgh to a lovely neighborhood called Stockbridge, which has a wealth of independent shops and cool cafes. This bookshop called Golden Hare Books on St Stephen Street has so many titles to choose from…and a cosy wood burning stove.

2pm ~ Not far from Stockbridge is Dean Village, a picturesque and very Instagram able residential area which we found by following the waterside path. The beck is known as The Water of Leith and the buildings are quite beautiful.

3pm ~ There are no shops or cafes in Dean Village, so we retraced our steps back to Stockbridge and found Smith & Gertrude , which is all about cheese and wine. We indulged!

4pm ~ I’m glad we had walked everywhere today because we also ate a lot and drank a lot! These are cocktails at an almost hidden subterranean bar called Bramble on Queen Street in the New town.

5pm ~ Back at the hotel slobbing out and watching Dogs Behaving Badly. The eerie violet light can only mean, we are stopping in a Premier Inn. I actually thought I had booked us into the Hubs By Premier Inn nextdoor, but somehow I hadn’t. Not sure what happened there!

6pm ~ A quick shower before heading out.

7pm ~ A snapshot taken on the Royal Mile. The cathedral is st Giles Cathedral and on the left is the Mercat Cross. Look out for the tiny unicorn on the top.

8pm ~ Pudding at an American Diner on the Royal Mile.

9pm ~ Sad to say I am now tucked up in bed. I was thinking about starting my new book, but I’m absolutely knackered!

I’l be back with more from Edinburgh soon. Thanks to Janey and Louisa for organising #photoanhour.

A Festive Afternoon Tea at Mitton Hall.

There was a time when going out for Afternoon Tea was quite the norm for me. I think one year, I managed to devour ten. I know! But in 2018 I had not participated in this delightful institution until Sunday, when I joined some work colleagues for a Festive themed afternoon tea at Mitton Hall.

Mitton Hall near Whalley in Lancashire is a charming country house hotel. It’s the kind of olde worlde pile where a medieval banquet would not look out of place in its traditional oak panelled Great Hall. At this time of year a mahusive Christmas Tree welcomes you on arrival. 🙂 We immediately felt full of festive cheer.

Our Afternoon tea was booked for 5pm, so it was already dark when we arrived. After a quick refreshment in one of the cosy bars, we were lead to our table in the Brasserie.

It wasn’t long before our Afternoon Teas arrived, served on three tiers and piled high with goodies. We had all chosen the standard option which includes any hot drink of your choice and cost £17-50 each.

The bottom tier contained festive finger sandwiches, smoked salmon canopes and pigs in blankets. I always think it’s a shame that afternoon tea is more geared up for the sweet tooth. We would have loved a few more savoury items to feast upon.

However the cakes were to die for. And I am definitely a fan of cake! My personal favourite was the Lemon Drizzle..

Other sweet treats included a mince pie, a chocolate mousse ( unusually flavoured with mango, a hit with me but not for everyone) , a mini macaroon, a stollen bite and of course, plain and fruit scones, served with jam and clotted cream.

And after all that we just had to have a photo in front of the resplendent tree. 🙂

Will you be indulging in a Christmassy afternoon tea this year?

Hawthorn’s November Photo Scavenger Hunt.

Hi there Scavenger Hunters and those of you just dropping in for a nosy. 😄 It’s Kate/ Hawthorn’s last Scavenger Hunt of 2018, so I thought I’d better make an effort and join in. Though I did find some of the prompts pretty tough this time around. Still I do like a challenge, so here goes….

Post/Mailbox. I’m still loving Postcrossing, which is a fun way of sending and receiving postcards from all around the world. These three are off to Italy, USA and Japan. I have already popped them in the post box.

Decay. Bracket Fungi , according to Wikipedia are an ‘ important agent of wood decay, playing a significant role in nutrient cycling and carbon dioxide production of forest ecosystems’. Go bracket fungi! This one was snapped a couple of weeks ago in Ravenglass.

Second hand. I love this book called Sketches of Bird Life by C. F. Tunnicliffe. It originally belonged to Wils Dad and having been handed down, now lives with us. His drawings are beautiful , and you may recognise his style. Tunnicliffe illustrated the wildlife Ladybird Books. 🙂

Strand. Here are my two god-daughters on the shores strand-line in Ravenglass. Hugo is also there, splashing in the water. We loved our time away in this coastal Cumbrian village. You can read about our weekend Here.

Fold. Sorry, its those ‘Festival Sheep’ again. I ended up using the word ‘fold’ in the context of ‘a flock of sheep’ and these are a colourful meadow full near Ravenglass. The farmer marks the ewes that have been impregnated by a ram. I think the different colours mean different fathers and also the number of lambs expected per mother.

My Own Choice. Definitely making my own mouth water here. Wil took me out for tea on my Birthday to Bowland Beer Hall. This was dessert. Yummy! Who else loves Churros with chocolate sauce??

Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

Postcard From The Lakes.

Well, we couldn’t have picked a better time for our first camping trip of the year! This very un-British like weather is having its advantages. 🙂

Last week we spent four nights at Scotgate Holiday Park in Braithwaite, near Keswick.

Hugo chilling at ScotGate.

The campsite ( although a little overlooked) is

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.

Buttermere.

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.

The Fish Hotel ~ once home to famed beauty Mary Robinson, known as the ‘Maid of Buttermere.’
There is a four and a half mile low-level walk around the lake.
Beautiful views everywhere you look.
Herdwick sheep and new borns.
My favourite view of Buttermere.

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!

A very rewarding view from the top! Both Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite can be seen from the summit.
Hugo enjoying a mountain breeze. 🙂
Wil and Hugo.

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. 😁

Keswick Launch , Derwentwater.

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.

Doggy Paddle. 😉
The Centenary Stone.
Ashness Bridge.( Wil’s photo).
Bugles.
Surprise View.

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…

Pigging out at The Square Orange.

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 & Gardens
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In the Walled Garden.
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The Wall Garden provides shelter for Bees.
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A surprise find ~ A Snuff Garden. Atchhoooo!
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Pretty pink. 🙂
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Fancy sitting on this throne?
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Lots of colour in the grounds.
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Bluebells.

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.

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The Coledale Inn.

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

Thanks for reading. X