Category Archives: eden valley

Alston & The South Tynedale Railway.

Just to confuse you ( and myself ! ) this post includes photos from two separate visits to Alston and The South Tynedale Railway. We were there in the Spring ( I included a brief update in my April Round-Up) and also more recently in July. The weather was actually better in April! Anyway I’ve mixed the best photos together , so you get an idea of what the area is like. 😊

The top of this North Pennines town is 350 metres above sea level, making it England’s highest Market Town. However I haven’t actually stumbled upon a market happening yet !

There are plentiful old buildings in Alston, many have been recently renovated by the Alston Townscape Heritage Scheme. The olde worldy look of the town has been used in the past to its advantage. It was transformed into a Victorian fishing village for a 1999 BBC adaptation of Oliver Twist.

Once upon a time Alston was connected to the Northumberland town of Haltwhistle by rail. The 13 mile track was closed in the seventies , but part of it has been preserved as a Narrow Gauge Heritage Railway. On both our visits we headed to the railway for walks along the adjoining railway footpath.

There’s a fantastic cafe at the Station called Hickins@thecrossing’scafe which is the perfect pitstop for a lovely lunch. It’s so welcoming , I wouldn’t have a problem waiting there a while. 😚 Also at Alston Station is a museum, toilets , shop and ticket office.

Walking the South Tyne Trail ,which runs adjacent to the railway 🚂 is a pleasure. There are bridges, views and wildlife along the way. Springtime saw Lapwings nesting in the fields, undisturbed by passing walkers and trains. Summer blooms such as Orchids and Melencoly Thistles adorn the trackside from June. In April we walked to Kirkhaugh Station and caught the train back and in July we continued on to Slaggyford ( 5 miles ) , which is currently the end of the line.

There are both Steam and Diesel Locomotives in operation and the railway is run by a friendly group of volunteers.

Between Alston and Slaggyford you can hop on and off at both Kirkhaugh and Lintley. Various local Walks leaflets are available from Alston Station.

On our second visit we arrived at Slaggyford Station in perfect time to catch the train back, after a quick brew at the buffet car. Dogs aren’t allowed inside the buffet car, but the pretty waiting room is open to all, including four legged friends.

We didn’t get time to explore the Northumberland village of Slaggyford on this occasion. It’s unusual name possibly derives from the Old English for dirty muddy ford, referencing a fast moving part of the River Tyne that dredged up river mud.

The journey back from Slaggyford takes about 30 minutes on the train. The carriages are more spacious than that of The Ratty Narrow Gauge Railway at Ravenglass & Eskdale.

We ended both our excursions with a pint at the Turks Head Pub in Alston. I had first thought the pub was named after an actual Turkish Man’s bonce, but a Turks Head is actually a decorative knot !

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your Sunday! 😊

A Walk From Shap. 🐑🐮🥾

Bank Holiday Weekend ( also platyjubes of course! ) , we escaped the celebrations for a while, choosing a less obvious Lakeland area for a countryside walk.

Shap is a long grey stoned settlement in the North Eden District. It has a couple of pubs, a shop, cafe, chippy and an open air swimming pool, the highest heated outdoor pool in England. The steady A6 is the main road that meanders through the village, it used to be the principal thoroughfare for the Lake District & Scotland.

Not far away is the busy M6 , but to the West of Shap it is picturesque and remote. I had downloaded this Walk from the Eden’s River Trust. Part of the route is on the Coast To Coast footpath , though we didn’t see one other human being out walking. It was so peaceful.

The hike starts at the Northern end of the village, following a country lane signposted Bampton and Haweswater. We then turned right through gates into a field with a footpath sign saying Rosgill. Lots of ewes with lambs in the fields.
A large boulder in a farmer’s field called The Thunder Stone. ⚡
Cow Parsley aka Queen Anne’s Lace adorning a quiet country lane.
An old disused Lime-Kiln.
There were a few bleached white sheep skeleton remains here. Look at this Skull which I placed on a rock.
Hugo had whizzed off with a bone. We decided to ignore him and he dropped it after a bit of crunching.
Cooling off time.
The weather was warm, the sky blue. A cooling breeze did make it perfect conditions for walking though.
View of Lakeland mountains in the distance. Here is a field where lots of gap walling needs to be done.
This walk does have alot ( alot ! ) of stone Stiles like this one.
A waymarker featuring a Golden Eagle, there used to be a couple nearby in Riggindale. Maybe oneday they will venture South from Scotland again. 🙏

We headed through fields towards the small village of Rosgill.
And down to the River Lowther where we sat by the water for a while.
We veered off a tarmac track to follow the Coast to Coast Footpath through a field.
Bonnie bovines or Cow culprits??

Things then got a bit scary , a family of cattle that we hadn’t noticed at first started to take a bit too much interest in us as we tried to cross the field. They had a Bull with them and youngsters, but it was the cows themselves that started kicking up a fuss , fairly galloping towards us. We managed to scare them away , though not before Wil got knocked off his feet and Hugo got butted. I’m not sure how but we legged it into a solitary farmhouse garden with the cattle at our heels. Definitely a hair raising encounter, we were a bit shuck up!

To make matters worse we would have to sneek past the herd again to continue with our walk. We waited until they had calmed down and ambled away, an unconcerned resident of the farmhouse didn’t seem to care that we had hotfooted into their garden or that the cows had chased us there…

We breathed a sigh of relief once we had crossed this packhorse bridge.
Looking back to Fairy Crag, the cows are just behind it.
The remains of some farm buildings.
Following the Coast to Coast to Shap Abbey. The Coast to Coast Footpath was devised by Alfred Wainwright.
A very late blossoming Blackthorn tree.
These lambs look like just the one , with two heads.
Approaching Shap Abbey.

The Preminstratensian Order of Monks from France settled in Shap in the 13th Century and built beautiful Shap Abbey from local stone. The monks became known as The White Cannons because they wore robes made from undyed sheep fleeces.

Here was a lovely place to stop for a while by the river Lowther again. I must admit we had lost our thirst for continuing the planned route , which would take us through the hamlet of Keld and on past another large standing stone called The Goggleby Stone. Instead we made our way back to Shap through a couple of cow free fields and along a country lane.

Shap Abbey.
River Lowther.
A bit of a tight squeeze.
Dry stone walls on the way back to Shap.
Time for a brew in Shap.

We ended up having a delicious cheese scone and a cup of coffee each at the Abbey Kitchens cafe in Shap, the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by. I’m so glad Wil and Hugo were non the worse for our ordeal. We will definitely be keeping our distance from any cows in the future. Although apparently there are some handsome looking Highland Cattle in Swindale………..

May ~ Round-Up. 🧡

My goodness these months are whizzing by are they not. May seems to have come and gone in a flash! I am currently off work as it’s the Spring Bank Half Term Holiday ( advantage of being a school cleaner) so it’s a good time for me to do my May Round-Up Post.

Reading ~ not that much to be honest. After recently extending my hours at school with five earlies a week, I find myself frankly too knackered to pick up a book. Wrong I know! I have bought The Lake District In 101 Maps & Infographics to take to the caravan. And I shall learn all about Haunted Cumbria, Cumbrian Film locations and quirky Cumbrian place names, amongst other things. Should keep me going for a while!

Everyman Cinema trip to See Top Gun Maverick. As soon as I heard the original soundtrack music I was hooked!

Watching ~ it’s all about good old nostalgia for me at the moment. I’ve been to the movies! We Clitheronians are very fortunate in that we have a fabulous Everyman Cinema in town and May has not disappointed on the film front. I have enjoyed both Downton Abbey A New Era and Top Gun Maverick , they are both appearing on the big screen right now.

On the box my go to show is Grace & Frankie. I am as usual a bit late to the party with this one. Not sure how a witty comedy series starring Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin escaped my attention until now but I am loving the pairing of uptight Grace and Kooky Frankie. 🙂 Other shows I have returned to in May include Ozark , Bosch Legacy and of course Stranger Things.

A lovely meal at Roundthorn Country House near Penrith.

Eating ~ It is rare that Wil and I spend time up at the caravan without our Black Labrador Mr Hugo, but we did have one weekend in May when we were there without him. It seemed a good time to book a meal out somewhere where you wouldn’t usually take a dog. Roundthorn Country House on the outskirts of Penrith is one such place, there wasn’t a four legged friend in sight. Which was strange for us, though also kind of liberating not eating in front of a drooling hound, eyes transfixed on our dinner. The food was yummy but I couldn’t help missing my boy.

Lowther Castle.
A walk through Cow Parsley.

Exercise ~ Our pet free weekend was all because we actually won a prize! We won half a days E-Biking at Lowther Castle In the Lakes , it was great fun. However I still felt like I had done some proper exercise even if it was power assisted cycling. 🙂 There haven’t really been many notable walks this month, just my normal dog walking routes. I have loved seeing the wild flower displays, the lacey blooms of Cow Parsley have been beautiful lately.

Relaxing at the van.
Lilac Time. 🙂

Enjoying ~ Relaxing at the caravan ~ My favourite area at the van is probably the front bit of decking, which is a real sun trap and perfect for lounging about on a deck chair with a brew. I especially like to look up and watch all the Swift’s whizzing about the sky, now they have returned from Africa. The scent of a lovely lilac bush in the garden there was a real treat too.

~ Friends Reunited ~ On the last day of May it was great to meet up with some friends I haven’t seen for two years. I love how normality has returned at last, I’m not taking it for granted.

Catching up in Holmes Mill.

Thanks for dropping by. Hope your May has been a good one. 🧡

E Biking At Lowther Castle.

Whats the best way to get around the lovely Lowther Castle Estate? By Bike, you say! Well yes, but how about hiring an E Bike…….

Arragons Cycles are a bicycle shop and hire company that are based in Penrith and also rent bikes at Lowther Castle in Cumbria’s beautiful Eden Valley. Amazingly a few weeks ago Wil and I actually won half a days E Bike Hire in a raffle , so at the weekend off we went for our first ever cycling adventure together. 😀 Let’s just say we are not very well matched when it comes to bike riding. But get me on an E Bike and it’s a bit of a game changer!

Well Signedposted.
Trails Map.

There are several cycling trails around the Lowther Estate. We were handed a map by the helpful lady at the Cycle Hire and she gave us a quick tutorial. They also provide bike helmets though Wil brought his own and I borrowed his spare. The bikes we hired were Royal Dutch Gazelles which are all terrain E Bikes, unfortunately despite having my saddle lowered, my bike felt too big for me. Getting on it took me forever and as for dismounting, well basically I couldn’t stop without falling off. So all the photos I took for this post were taken after I had fallen off my bike, sometimes on purpose, and sometimes not. 😝

Low Gardens Bridge over the River Lowther.

Apart from my stopping and starting challenges the actual cycling was alot of fun and it did truly feel wonderful whizzing up hills with ease. After practicing on the trails around the Castle and River Lowther, we headed through the nearby village of Askham and up Askham Fell.

There are a criss cross of walking and cycling trails around Askham Fell. One option is to head up and over to the lakeside village of Pooley Bridge. Maybe next time! We wheeled it to Whale via Helton instead, where I hoped the Lowther Estates Long Horn Cattle would be hanging out.

The fell was abuzz with the sound of Skylarks, it’s simply wonderful up there on a sunny day. 🙂

Road from Askham up the fell.
Askham Fell.
Askham Fell.

We had a short refreshment stop on the Green in the village of Helton. A nice soft grass landing anyway! If you do fancy finding somewhere for a brew, there are cafes and pubs in both Pooley Bridge and Askham , Lowther Castle of course and Lowther itself has a walled Garden Tea Room at the Bird of Prey Centre.

Helton.
A lovely bridge near Whale.

Before the hamlet of Whale we followed the trail signposts back to Lowther Castle, passing, to my delight, a very placid herd of Long Horn Cattle. Some had gorgeous calves too.

Native Long Horns.
The cows were not bothered by passing cyclists.
One young un was particularly curious.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos as we cycled through woodland, stunning bluebells & wild garlic galore. Spring might just be the prettiest time to hire a bicycle at Lowther Castle.

I’m not used to riding a bike so I wasn’t sure whether I would become accustomed to all the different Speeds etc, but I did, it was fun and I would definitely consider hiring an E Bike again. Even Wil ( who is a bit of a middle aged man in lycra, he has a couple of road bikes ) enjoyed the advantages of power assisted cycling!

Lowther Castle.
Lowther Castle.

E Bike Hire at Lowther Castle costs £35 for 3 hours cycling, including helmet hire and a small tutorial.

My Tips ~ Take a rucksack with plenty of water.

~ Wear padded cycling shorts!

~ Cycle in the morning when the trails aren’t as busy.

Have you ever ridden an E Bike?

Temple Sowerby Walk. 🥾

Today’s walk is one from the weekend. A gentle saunter starting at NT Acorn Bank and taking in the pretty village of Temple Sowerby in the Eden Valley district of Cumbria. The route can be found on the Acorn Bank Website. Because we are members of the National Trust we parked on the car park at Acorn Bank. Non members may have to adapt the walk a little.

Shepherds Hut at Acorn Bank entrance.
Walk Map.
Beautiful Bluebells.
Pear Blossom and Daffodils.
Walking through Wild Garlic.
Crowdundle Beck, a tributary of the River Eden.
We passed under a railway viaduct.
What Ewe Looking At?
Bridge over the Beck.

We passed through a small village called Newbiggin , one of several Newbiggins in Cumbria. I love the rosie coloured sandstone that the buildings are made of. Here it was taken from Crowdundle Beck.

St Edmunds Church, Newbiggin.
A farmhouse at the crossroads built in 1695.
And curious cattle.
A bit of road walking. Very peaceful though.
Lots of stitchwort out in the hedgerows.
Distant Hare.
Heading through Borough Fields and on to Temple Sowerby.
Temple Sowerby through a ginnel.
The houses are set around a village green.
St James Church, Temple Sowerby.

Temple Sowerby is an attractive village , once known as the Queen Of Westmorland villages. It was named after the Knights Templar who briefly owned the settlement and nearby Acorn Bank. Temple Sowerby was once a tanning village and other industries in the area included the mini ng of gypsum. There is still a gypsum plant at Kirkby Thore.

Victory Hall.
The House at Temple Sowerby B & B. Cafe for residents and non residents called Temple Velo.
Lunch at Temple Velo.
Heading out of the village.
A short country lane walk and then we are back in Acorn Banks parkland.
Parkland.
Acorn Bank.
Mellow yellow.
Flowers galore.
A peek in the orchard.
Clock Tower.

After a look in the second hand book shop at Acorn Bank it was time to head home. What a lovely walk. 😘

April ~ Round-Up. 💚

It’s a wrap! April is over and here’s what I’ve got up to….

Chasing Lions.

READING. Again I have turned into a real slow coach on the reading front. I downloaded Amanda Marks memoir of her time driving around Africa in a truck for an adventure holiday company. Tiny Amanda worked in finance and after a mugging by a gang of school kids, she decides things have got to change! I am dipping in and out of this book and enjoying finding out about Amanda’s travels and whether she does indeed, find her inner lion 🦁.

Hacks.

WATCHING. Lots! Here are some shows I’ve enjoyed watching in April.

Derry Girls ~ Ongoing on Channel 4 and All 4. Hilarious comedy about five teens attending a Catholic school for girls during the troubles in nineties Northern Ireland. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Hacks ~ Amazon Prime. An old pro Comedienne and a disgraced young comedy writer team up in this clever slow burner comedy drama. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Thief, His Wife And The Canoe. ITV Hub. The bizarre true story of a man who faked his own death to claim the insurance money, whilst continuing to live in the house next door. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Killing Eve ~ BBC I Player. It’s officially finished! The serial killing shenanigans of Villianelle take a backseat as the characters get their emotive…. and explosive endings. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Anatomy Of A Scandal ~ Netflix. Timely courtroom drama about a seemingly happily married politician put on trial for scandalous behaviour. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Life After Life ~ BBC I Player. Be prepared with your hankies if you watch this incredibly emotional war time drama. Ursula, a girl with an incredible sense of deja vu navigates the pitfalls of her life, again and again and again. Don’t think I will ever be able to look at silently falling snowflakes in the same way. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Life After Life After Life After Life …….

What have you been watching recently? Any recommendations?

Toms Table.

EATING. Finally went out for a meal to a popular little bistro in Clitheroe, and my, the food was delicious! See above.

Greatest Days Movie ~ being filmed down that road!

FILMING. Ok I have not actually been filming anything, but Clitheroe was taken over by a film crew for two weeks in April. Along with London and Athens, Clitheroe is one of the locations for new Rom Com Greatest Days ! The movie is about a group of Take That Fans navigating their lives, through the nineties until now. To a Take That Soundtrack. The town was rife with rumours that Gary, Mark and co would actually make an appearance. They will no doubt show up on location in Athens 😉 instead.

It was raining and blowing a hoolie when this scene was filmed. And it took 28 takes. Photo from The Sun Online.

So what’s it like when your home town becomes a film set? At first I sought out the action, accidentally on purpose walking Hugo where I thought the filming might be taking place. But soon I couldn’t avoid it. Bursts of Never Forget and Could it Be Magic greeted us wherever we went. Oneday I popped to the market, only to find that nothing was for sale, the stalls had been paid to open as film props. Wil was surprised when a new hardware shop appeared , then disappeared a couple of days later. I bet all the Nineties shop signage did confuse a few people. 😀

Greatest Days will be out in 2023 !

Dodd Fell.

WALKS & Wainwrights. A favourite walk of mine that I did in April was a circuit of Derwent Water near Keswick with my sister & family. I also huffed up a couple of hills. Dodd Fell above ( see exciting exploring collage) and my favourately named fell Binsey, which really should become the moniker of my next pet. What a cute name. 😘

Pink Cherry Blossom.
Lilac.
Laburnum.

ENJOYING. Spring Blossom ~ My local town is adundant with beautiful blossom at the moment. Gorgeous! Which is your favourite ?

Around Alston.

Discovering New To Us Places ~ Alston is only 20 minutes drive from the caravan ,but we haven’t spent as much time there as another nearby town, Penrith. We’ve been trying to remedy that recently! Surrounded by wild moorland, Alston is known as the highest Market town in England.With cobbles and a market cross, I love this description I found online via Sally’s Cottages Guide To Alston ~ Alston is Steep, Unique and chock-full of charm ! Here’s my mini guide to my own personal favourite bits of Alston so far…….

Alston Wholefoods ~ Ethical Grocers and Delicatessen, famous for their large stock of cheeses.

Mellow Yellow ~ Aladdins Cave of clothes, accessories and gifts.

Hi Pennine Outdoor Shop ~ Outdoor clothing, equipment, maps and giftware.

Once Upon A Time ~ Eclectic Second hand book shop situated in The Alston Emporium.

Saddlers Bakery Bistro ~ Contemporary cafe and craft bakery.

Turks Head Pub ~ Cosy traditional drinkers pub with open fires, Real Ales and dog friendly.

The High Plaice ~ Popular Fish & Chips.

South Tynedale Railway ~ Charming Narrow Gauge Railway to nearby Slaggyford. Run by friendly volunteers. Lovely newly renovated cafe on the platform too.

Thanks for dropping by. 😘

Spring In Melmerby.

Over the Easter Weekend we spent quite a bit of time walking the dog around Melmerby. We are still discovering new footpaths there, it’s a lovely place for a wander, especially at this time of year.

I still love my original What To Look For In The Seasons Ladybird Nature Books , which were first published in the fifties and sixties. Ladybird brought out a new set last year, they are also quite charming. The Spring book accompanied me on my recent walks.

Melmerby is the kind of village , where I often find myself doing double-takes! This Easter I have seen 2 children walking their pet ferrets, a Grandmother taking the little ones bare back riding on a sturdy horse, a man whizzing round a field in a pony and trap and several llamas being led along the Village Green.

Here are a few photos from Melmerby in the Spring.

Daffodils on the Green.
Lungwort.
Melmerby mud and Rosie Sandstone buildings.
Pied Wagtail.
Blossom.
Honesty.
Peacock Butterfly 🦋 enjoying a sunny spot.
Little Ford.
Little Lamb.
New Life in the fields.
Dog Violet.
Yellow Hammer.

Thanks for dropping by. 🦋🌼

Ten Things To Do In Melmerby Without Using The Car.

Today I am blogging about our second home, our bolt hole ~ The village of Melmerby in Cumbria’s Eden Valley.

You may be forgiven for thinking that the sleepy Eden Valley village of Melmerby doesn’t have that much to do for the discerning Holiday Maker. But times, they are a changing. 2022 is looking good as established businesses are back on their feet and welcoming visitors once again. I have found ten things you can experience whilst stopping in Melmerby, without starting up your car. So relax and Enjoy. 🥰

Head To The Local. A Village doesn’t feel like a village unless it has a local pub. Luckily Melmerby does have a lovely local , which also serves pretty decent food too. The Shepherds Inn usually has at least three Real Ales on tap and theres a good selection of gins. My favourite spot in the pub is on the sofa by the wood burning stove. Find us there with a tipple, a tapas board and a Labrador by our feet.

Explore The Village Green. My favourite part of Melmerby is it’s huge Village Green. Much of it is kept by the locals as a Wildflower Meadow, which proves popular with a variety of insects and butterflies. In March Daffodils dance in the breeze and in late Summer/ Autumn ,colourful waxcaps appear in the grass. Theres a small pitch for a game of football and a Swing from which to admire the view. Look out for an Andy Goldsworthy Sheepfold sculpture by the beck.

Walk To A Nearby Pub. If you fancy a Pub Walk, then a nice idea ( one that we have yet to try! ) would be to walk to the nearby village of Ousby and enjoy a pint at The Fox 🦊 Inn , which is opposite the Caravan Park there. Hopefully I will get around to doing this in 2022!

Get Up Close and Personal with Adorable Llamas. Happy days for Melmerby visitors! Lakeland Llama Treks have relocated to the village and it is an adorable sight seeing these beautiful pack animals being exercised on the green. I have been on two Llama treks with them in the past and I would love to walk with llamas again. A mini Llama Trek lasts an hour and is £25 per person.

Animal Encounters. Lakeland Llama Treks are also offering Animal Encounters at their new home ‘ Ravenstone Country Manor’ in Melmerby . I am dying to get here for a nosy. 😋 I am not entirely sure which animals are involved but the website does mention rabbits, llamas and Shetland ponies. £15 per person.

Book The Indoor Swimming Pool. Hurrah, Melmerbys own private Indoor Swimming Pool has reopened its doors once again for 2022. The Tower House Pool looks perfect for small groups to hire ( no more than 8) at a charge of £30 for an hour and a further £5 to book the sauna too.

Get Your Walking Boots On. Yes Melmerby literally sits at the foot of Melmerby Fell, one of a range of North Pennine Summits you can bag on a walk from the village. Well worth the hike for views of the better known Lake District Fells and a chance to walk part of The Maiden Way, an old Roman Road. For lower level walks, there is also a pretty bridle way from Melmerby to the hamlet of Unthank.

Breakfast And Retail Therapy. We often pop to The Old Village Bakery for breakfast. It’s lovely inside and has a pleasant outdoor seating area too. Serving breakfast, lunch and a scrumptious selection of home baked cakes, the bakery also has an alcohol liscence, so is a good day time alternative to the Shepherds Inn. Upstairs you will find boutique clothing and accessories, whilst alongside the cafe are homewares, greeting cards and foodie gifts. Happy Shopping.

Relaxing Spa Day. I think I could quite happily relax in the hot tub above with a glass of wine , whilst gazing out at the lovable llamas in the next field. Ravenstone Country Manor in Melmerby offers four hour private spa sessions for small groups that include a treatment and Afternoon Tea in the Orangerie. Ooh La La.

Wanderlust Horse & Cart Day. Melmerby has a long association with the travellers who stop off here ( at the Village Green) every year on route to Appleby’s famous Horse Fair. Along the Bridle Path to nearby Gamblesby and Unthank, it is not uncommon to see one particular Romany Wagon all year round. Wanderlust Gipsy Caravans specialize in horsedrawn holidays , stopping over at peaceful camping spots along the way. They also offer Horse & Cart Days ~ £200 for 4 people, for the day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Melmerby Accommodation.

The Byre Holiday Cottage.

The Rowley Estates.

Coachman’s Country Cottage.

Wanderlusts Gipsy Caravans.

Thanks for dropping by. ❤️

Our Last Wknd At The Caravan Until Spring.

It’s that time of year when we sadly close our caravan for the Winter. The site it is on doesn’t actually shut down over the colder months, but being two hours away from home in a village that is prone to getting heavy snow, we figure it’s for the best really.

On Friday Eve we made sure we got stuck into the last couple of bottles of wine in the wine rack. 🙂

On Saturday the weather was grey, but the drizzle didn’t dampen our spirits. I had booked us lunch over at Bassenthwaite Lake Station , in a French Steam Engine no less. The disused train station was bought in 2019 by Simon and Diana Parums, who have been busy renovating the buildings. A permanent fixture on the track is the beautiful Steam Train , which is in fact not a real train at all…. . It is actually a replica made especially for the 2017 film version of Murder On The Orient Express , starring Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer,Dame Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. These days the film set is a lovely cafe/restaurant and being slightly wider than a ‘ real train ‘ lends itself to its new life perfectly.

We chose the Brunch Bowls for lunch, followed by cake of course! Delicious. 😁 There’s lots of choice on the menu and a good selection of drinks too. Food is a little more expensive than most cafes in the area. However the setting and the friendly service justifies the price.

It was great that Hugo was made very welcome on the train, even though he did have a habit of lying across the aisle. The staff brought him dog treats and made a real fuss of him. Perhaps the Station dog, a pretty black Labrador called Poppy , had something to do with that. 🤗

After lunch we had a quick look around the rest of the train. Our dining car had been bustling and busy , though a posher salon at the back was empty. Perhaps this is used for special occasions. For a finer day there is also outside seating and the Station building itself with Waiting Room is also part of the cafe.

I really love what the new owners are doing here. Breathing life into what only a couple of years ago, was an abandoned unused space. Hopefully we will visit again next year. I would also like to explore Dubwath Silver Meadows Nature Reserve opposite and of course go for a wander by the lake. 😁

Later in the afternoon we visited my Mum and Brother who live on a farm in The Eden Valley. The farm cats Tibby and Sooty have been used to spending time in the house recently, but weren’t too impressed that a certain Labrador was in residence.

Back at the caravan and Sunday dawned cold and bright, a lovely day for our last one there this year. We enjoyed a walk up the old bridleway from Melmerby to Unthank, I will miss those uninterrupted views toward the Lakeland fells.

After tidying and closing down the van we headed to the nearby village of Langwathby for a sausage butty lunch on the green.

Here’s to a few local adventures closer to home over Winter. Hope you can join me. X

Wetheral With You.

The village of Wetheral near Carlisle was our destination at the weekend, after our planned walk up Hartside was scuppered by mist and drizzle. A mizzley start to our Saturday did have its benefits though. Wetheral has woodland and riverside walks……and not a hill in sight. 🙂 Never mind Wil, you can drag me up the fells next time.

Wetheral has red sandstone dwellings and an attractive village green, so typical of settlements in Cumbria’s Eden Valley. Notable buildings include the Holy Trinity church with its octagonal tower and the 15th Century Priory Gatehouse ; all that remains of a small Benedictine monastery.

By the River Eden footpaths through ancient woodland lead down stone steps to man-made caves, cut into the red rock. The caves were used by the monks to hide during times of border warfare. Etched into the stone are years of signatures.

The caves are named after a St Constantine, who may or may not have inhabited them before the monks saught refuge there. It is possible to explore inside and peer through the slit windows into the river below.

On the other side of the river sits Corby Castle , the ancestral home of the Howard family. It’s Neo-classical facade can be glimpsed from a little beach, along with terraced gardens and folly’s.

My own personal favourite discovery was a wonderful winged bench! Flight Of Fancy is one of ten contemporary stone sculptures to be found along the length of the River Eden. They are called The Eden Benchmarks and here are Some more we found earlier. 🙂

From the benchmarks vantage point we had a clear view of Wetherals 5 Arch Viaduct, known as Corby Bridge. Trains still travel overhead , bound for Newcastle and Glasgow.

After our potter around Wetheral it was time for a spot of lunch. The village store and Post Office is also a cafe called The Posting Pot. We sat at one of the outside tables and people watched. My cream of tomato soup and savoury cheese scone were divine. 🍅

And on the way home I got Wil to pull up at a roadside farm selling one of my most favourite Autumn blooms, the Chinese Lantern. Those flame coloured flowers certainly brought a hint of colour to the caravan decking.

Thanks for dropping by. x