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.
Hey, I’m pleased to report I finally made it up a fell on Good Friday. To a soundtrack of Meadow Pippits and Skylarks, I conquered Binsey. Binsey is my 9th Wainwright and it’s a diminutive one. Still, it is a hill, and that means a walk uphill and that means me wheezing my way up, a bit like the asmatic guy Stevie from Malcolm in the Middle. Except I’m not asmatic. Wil literally always calls me ‘Stevie’ on these occasions…
Seriously though, if you do fancy bagging a relatively easy Wainwright Fell , Binsey is a grand one to do. It’s in a quiet part of North Lakeland and what it lacks in stature, it makes up for in fantastic views.
To get to Binsey we headed Caldbeck way and over Uldale Common , where we were literally surrounded by mountain peaks. We passed through the little village of Uldale and found roadside parking at a crossroads near Binsey Lodge, a private residence at the bottom of the fell.
You can’t really get lost hiking to the Summit of Binsey. You just head straight up the hill. At the top there is a cairn, a trig point and a wind shelter.
From the top of Binsey there are views of Lake Bassenthwaite, Overwater and the Solway Coast. Out of my rucksack emerged Little Herdy ( affectionately now also known as Little Binsey) to conquer her first Wainwright Fell.
I am never going to be a big fan of hill walking but looking back on the day I bagged Binsey inspires me , to maybe think about my next Wainwright……. 🙂
A favourite walk of mine in the Lake District is the circuit around beautiful Derwent Water. Although 10 Mile long, this hike is mostly low level and if you keep the lake in sight, you can’t really get lost. 🙂 And there’s so much to see, it’s stunning in any weather. Here’s aLink to a map of the route.
I joined my sister, niece and nephew for this walk, we did the route anti clockwise, starting from the small free car parking area by Portinscale Suspension Bridge. We passed through the waterside village of Portinscale and found the path to the lake.
The Lingholm Estate on the shores of Derwent Water surrounds a grand Victorian House where the family of Beatrix Potter would spend their holidays. The garden where the Walled Garden is now inspired Beatrix’s ‘ The Tale Of Peter Rabbit ‘.
A Wooden Hand Sculpture ‘ Entrust ‘ can be found at Brandelhow Park. The Sculpture commemorate s the centenary of The National Trusts first land purchase in 2002. But recent storms seem to have moved the hands from their original position. I susoect they might be seen floating away in the future….
Aw look it’s ‘ Teddy In The Window ‘ a popular landmark on the lakeside path. The unclaimed Teddy Bear gets sent postcards, letters and photos from all over the world. He raises money too for lots of good causes. We stopped to say Hi.
The Chinese Bridge that spans The River Derwent is a great spot for playing poohsticks. In fact there is even an extract from A A Milne’s Christopher Robin underfoot.
The Centenary Stones are another National Trust Sculpture. These are found at Calfclose Bay. Nearby is a bench with a lovely view over the Lake, a bit too wet for us to sit on though.
At Keswick we made a detour into Hope Park to see the bronze statue of Max The Miracle Dog, who had sadly passed away the day before aged 14 and a half. Max was a very special Springer Spaniel therapy dog who raised alot of money for various charities and brought alot of happiness to alot of People. The orange coloured flowers are a tribute to the orange collar he always wore. 🧡🧡
It had been a soggy but very enjoyable walk. Well worth doing. Thanks for joining me.🥾
On Saturday after some shopping and lunch in Keswick we decided to walk the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path. It’s been a few years since we’ve done this. In fact the trail was almost all destroyed by Storm Desmond in 2015. Happily this mostly flat hike that follows the route of the old Keswick to Penrith Railway Line has been completely restored. It’s a popular link-up between Keswick and the nearby village of Threlkeld and is suitable for cycling, walking, prams and wheel chairs. A great route for all. ☺️
The Railway Walk starts from the old Railway Station which is now part of the Keswick Country House Hotel. There is parking close by behind the Swimming Pool ,which sadly looks to have closed.
There have been plenty of changes to the trail in the restoration including the reopening of the Bobbin Mill Railway Tunnel which had been buried for fourty years!
Pews with Views have been placed along the route , looking out over the fast flowing River Greta and surrounding fells.
Storm Desmond had whipped away two bridges and most of the pathway back in 2015. The tarmacked road and new storm strengthened bridges are brilliant improvements though.
The path is 5km from Keswick to Threlkeld and 5km back. Threlkeld is a pretty mountainside village with two pubs and a coffee shop.
After a coffee we decided to cheat a bit and hopped on the bus back into town. Fortuitously we only had a two minute wait.
We then had enough time to take Hugo down to Derwent Water for a paddle. ☺️
Have you ever walked the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path?
Oh my it’s March already so it must be time to write a quick round up of my February. I have seen snowdrops , experienced some Van Time and watched a bit of good telly. Can’t be bad…..
READING ~ I haven’t finished it yet but I am enjoying reading Helen Russell’s ‘ The Year Of Living Danishly’ an amusing memoir of a Brit couples relocation to the land of Lego and Cinnamon Buns ‘ Denmark’. Apparently Denmark still tops the ‘ Happiest Country Polls ‘ 7 years after this book was published. Pass me a Danish Pastry!
WATCHING ~ I have been in a binge watching mood this February. Blame the horrid weather! I’ve been reaquainting myself with money laundering in Ozark, sinking my fangs into Wolf Like Me, preferring the new Reacher series to the Tom Cruise films and of course adoring all things Midge Maisel in The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. ❤️
EATING ~ I won’t mention my new found addiction to Pot Noodles ( aagh why is this happening! ) but instead share a photo of a delicious curry some friends cooked for us. Quite simply scrumptious.
VAN TIME ~ We did manage a couple of nights away at the caravan in-between Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice. Luckily we felt very safe and cosy inside the van. And managed a walk and a visit to Penrith whilst the weather was calm. Now that Spring is round the corner we are hoping to get away to our bolt hole a couple of times a month.
ENJOYING ~ Going Out Out. Spot Funk & Soul DJ Craig Charles in the background.
~ Signs of Spring. Despite the dismal weather there have been a couple of dry days. The sun came out on Sunday whilst walking round Dean Clough Reservoir near Great Harwood. It was a privilege glimpsing a couple of Great Crested Grebes affirming their relationship with a dazzling Water dance display.
Between the recent storms last week we spent a couple of days up North in The Eden Valley of Cumbria. If you ever fancy a short dog friendly/ pram friendly walk there, I can recommend a nice one between the village of Dacre and the neighboring Dalemain Estate. Situated 2 miles from Ullswater this walk follows a quiet track and mostly avoids mud. Hurrah!
We parked opposite The Horse & Farrier Pub in Dacre and had a quick nosy in St Andrews churchyard to see the Dacre Bears. Four crudely carved stone creatures can be found amongst the gravestones. You can read more about them here.
The Public Footpath took us past Dacre Castle, a 14th Century Pele Tower, now used as a private residence. And then on into the grounds of Dalemain Mansion. We have walked here before from the lakeside village of Pooley Bridge. The route is part of The Ullswater Way known as The Marmalade March, due to The World Famous Marmalade Awards that are held at Dalemain every year.
We soon came across some beautiful snowdrops and other signs of Spring, Winter Aconites and pretty in pink Lungwort. In the fields just above the Mansion , Wil spied someone watching us….
Lunch time beckoned so we headed for the Tea Room inside the Old Barn. Even though it was during the Half Term Holidays the place was deserted. Perhaps the imminence of Storm Eunice had scuppered people’s plans. Dogs are now welcome inside the Tea Room , so no need for us to sit outside in the blustery courtyard. 😁
We enjoyed Ham, Cheese & Chutney rolls and a slice of delicious Marmalade Gingerbread. I then left Wil and Hugo in the Old Barn and went for a quick explore of the gardens. A door led out into a beautiful Snowdrop and Winter Aconite display. Stunning!
There are landscaped formal gardens of course, but what I wanted to see was ‘ the sleeping dragon 🐲 ‘ who lives in the Lower Garden. I made sure to tiptoe around him.
The Lower Garden was definitely one of my favourite outside spaces at Dalemain and not just because of the residing snoozy giant. A rustling in the fallen leaves alerted me to a wispy creature foraging for its own lunch possibilities….
The Red Squirrel was definitely a highlight for me. After showing the friendly staff in the cafe my photos , they gave us a bag of apples to tempt the Fallow Deer Herd down to the carpark wall. I was so excited when lots of them literally came galloping over. They love Apples. Who knew! Another highlight. 😊
For us visiting Dalemain from Dacre was the perfect thing to do on a calmer day between Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice. The Stately Pile is opening its doors for house tours once again from the Spring. No doubt we will return .
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
Today I am looking back at our weekend away with friends in Ravenglass & Eskdale. It was during the school holidays in August that we stayed in the same lovely cottage that we have booked for previous get togethers. It has become a bit of a tradition of ours to stop in Ravenglass on the Cumbrian Coast. We always seem to find new things to see and do.
As we had set off a little earlier than the others, we decided to take our dog Hugo for a walk on nearby Silecroft Beach. With the Cumbrian Fells ( particularly Black Combe) as it’s backdrop, this sandy stretch of coastline is perfect for exercising four-legged friends. And dogs are not the only ones. You have a very good chance of seeing the Cumbrian Heavy Horses out for a canter here too.
Once settled into our seafront cottage in the estuary village of Ravenglass everyone made for the beach again. And our evening was spent under rugs on the cottage balcony playing games and watching the sun 🌞 set over the bay.
No visit to Ravenglass is complete without a trip on La’al Ratty! Meaning ‘ Little Railway ‘ in Old Cumbrian dialect, this is the affectionate nick name given to The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway 🚂 , a Narrow Steam Gorge Railway that takes visitors on a seven mile journey into the stunning Eskdale countryside.
We were spoiled for choice when it came to walking routes in Eskdale. Many people opt to walk up into the fells. There’s Roman ruins at Hardknott and plenty of wild swimming in the rugged becks and waterfall pools. Speaking of waterfalls, we went in search of Stanley Ghyll and the recently constructed iron viewing platform above it.
Bootle Beach was our destination on Sunday. More swimming for the kids ( they were braver than us!) and a bit of beach combing. We saw two huskies from Horse & Husky being exercised. This beach is great for finding wierd and wonderful pebbles and other flotsam and jetsam.
We had a wonderful time as usual, in this scenic corner of Cumbria.
So here’s a throwback post to August and our stay in Arnside on the Cumbrian Coast. A short train journey away is the characterful town of Ulverston, a place we have visited several times before. The towns cobbled streets and plethora of independent shops, cafes and pubs make it a great destination for generally mooching about. After a ‘ mooch about’ we would be heading along the World’s Shortest, Deepest and Widest Canal, for a walk to the Sea.
The morning we visited Ulverston it was exhibiting typical Lake District weather! To escape the rain we spent a good hour or so in the towns Laurel and Hardy Museum. Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston in 1890 and must surely be it’s most famous resident. The museum has a good selection of the comedy duos memorabilia, as well as a small cinema that plays Laurel & Hardy features on a loop. Our dog Hugo was made welcome and humoured us as we chuckled our way around. 😊
After a lovely lunch at the nearby Stan Laurel Inn we were suitably refreshed for a canal side walk. Ulverston Canal is a former Ship Canal which linked Ulverston to Morecambe Bay, one and a half miles away. Completed in 1796 ,the waterway claimed to be the shortest , deepest, widest …… and straightest Canal in the World. Once upon a time passenger ships to Scotland and London embarked from here as well as cargos of local slate. But when the Railway arrived in Ulverston in the 1840s, the record breaking Canals fortunes were on the wane. By the end of the Second World War Ulverston Canal was no longer in use.
Today the waterway offers a serene amble from Canal Head in the town to Canal Foot with its splendid views over Morecambe Bay. A footpath on the less industrial side of the canal is a popular stroll. There’s even a pub at the end. An incentive indeed!
We saw lots of wildlife as we walked along. Plenty of waterside wildflowers and much of the surface was covered in Lily pads. Mute Swans, Comerants, Moor hens and Mallards swam and dived amongst them.
Half way along Ulverston Canal is a Rolling Bridge, the only one of its kind left in England. Forgotten about for many years , it was a history enthusiast who discovered the significance of the bridge and it was given Grade ll status in 2012.
Before long we were at Hammerside Point , Canal Foot. Here the former Ship Canal meets the Leven Estuary. What a splendidly unexpected place…
For some reason I forgot to take a photo of The Bay Horse Hotel from the outside ,so below is a distant one I found online. The former Coaching Inn enjoys stunning views over the Bay. Once upon a time it was from here that brave travellers would make the perilous journey by stage coach, over the sands to Lancaster. The arrival of the Railway probably saved a lot of lives!
After a drink in the pub we retraced our steps back to Ulverston. On the way an unassuming wooden shed near the Lock Keepers Cottage peeked my interest, especially when I saw its ‘ Welcome Humans ‘ sign?
Whilst looking it up online later, I discovered that the Shed is part of an interactive Art Installation Project called the Last Human Coro Shed . Perhaps not what you would expect to see where a canal meets the sea…..
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.
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