Category Archives: lake district

Easter Staycation.

It’s not often that Wil and I have a week off work together and don’t book at least a few days away. . So recently it’s actually been quite nice for us to spend some time at home pottering, doing a few jobs and erm ….eating cheese!

We started our week with a ginormous order of cheese from Tipsy Cows in Great Harwood. Their amazing cheese bags are £35 and include a pie, pate, smoked sausage,  crackers, bread, a bottle of wine, chutney, grapes and of course a shed load of cheese. Still getting through it now..

From Monday we were allowed to meet up with friends & family for outdoor walks again. We met up with my sister and the kids and walked further into the Dunsop Valley. A truelly beautiful place.

On Wednesday we decided to go up to our caravan in Cumbria, mostly to check that it was still in one piece. Luckily it was! And everywhere we went there were daffodillions of daffodils. On the way we stopped in Kirkby Lonsdale for a walk.

Daffs at St Mary’s in Kirkby Lonsdale.

The caravan ~ still standing.

Daffodillions of daffodils on Melmerby village green.

Gallivanting Geese.

Hugo amongst the daffs.

Easter display.

A pew with a view.

We turned the water back on at the caravan and gave it a quick spring clean. The weather was really warm.


Back in Clitheroe, the new Nature Reserve has opened at last. As we live nearby it has definitely become our go to place for a stroll with Hugo. One morning we bought breakfast from Marks Artisan Bakery on Whalley road after our walk. Sooo good! I am making a note of the wildlife I have spotted at the reserve, which includes Little Egret, Mallards, Teal, Grey Heron and Canada Geese. I will get working on a post soon.

Worsaw Hill.

Looking towards Pendle.

Hugo and Jo having a moment. Or maybe Hugo is watching a ham sandwich, out of shot. 

On Good Friday we met some friends for a walk from Worston to Downham and back. We are so lucky to live in the lovely Ribble Valley and have definitely discovered lots of new local walks and rediscovered old favourites during the numerous lock downs.

There have also been less energetic pursuits. On Saturday I met some friends for a Hip flask walk. We didn’t get very far. From one bench to another in the local park..😀

Park Bench Crawl.

We had planned to stay home on Easter Sunday and enjoy our new fire pit. 🔥

Wil bought a fire pit. 🔥

But after checking the weather forecast we realised we would have to head back up to the caravan again and drain it down. Forcasted minus 7 temperatures meant we had obviously been too previous in opening the van up for Spring. So here are some more lovely Easter views from Melmerby where the van is based.





We also called in at my Mum’s in Askham and had a brew in the garden. Got introduced to these cuties. ❤️

Cute calves.


Farm kitty’s.

Today ( Easter Monday) the sky outside is deceptively blue. It is freezing out there! There was even a smattering of snow this morning.

Happy Easter. 🐇🐣❤️

January 2021 ~ Books I Read. 📚 ❄️

January has been an enjoyable reading month. A couple of the books were birthday or Christmas gifts, two were inspired by other bloggers reads and one was bought on a whim, purely because of the cover. Though in fact all these book covers are asphetically pleasing in my eyes.

Bookshop Tours Of Britain ~ Louise Boland ( 2020). Whilst our bookshops are sadly closed at the moment, how about browsing through a book that takes the reader on 18 journeys around Britain and its many beautiful independent book stores. This handy guide allows you to plan which parts of the country to visit once lockdown is over, with its indie bookshops in mind. Lots of travel information too and litery snippets. I love this celebration of our indie stores, they really need our support at the moment. A little sad that two lovely book towns that I have visited, Wigtown in Dumfries & Galloway and Sedburgh in Cumbria , weren’t included though. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Wild Life Of The Fox ~ John Lewis – Stemple ( 2020). A slim volume not unlike Adele Brands ‘ The Hidden World Of The Fox’ , packed full of fascinating insights into the life of this mysterious wild creature, who’m we share our countryside and urban landscape with. The author, a prolific nature writer ,starts off by talking about a phone conversation that went on slightly too long, causing him to head out to lock up his chickens that little bit later than usual. Well you can imagine what had happened to the chickens. Yet we can’t help but have a love/hate relationship with the 🦊. And that is explored expertly here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Winter Holiday ~ Arthur Ransome ( 1931). I haven’t actually read any of the other Swallows & Amazon’s books. I assume they are all set in long warm summers. Winter Holiday though is absolutely perfect for this time of year. The frozen lake and surrounding snowy countryside lends itself perfectly to the children’s Arctic Expedition adventures. I love how the adults don’t bat an eyelid at the youngsters playing out from dawn until dusk and how everyone gets their skates on , igloos are built and ice yachts are commondeered. Delightful. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Before The Coffee Gets Cold ~ Toshikazu Kawaguchi (2015). If you could travel back in time to a crossroads moment in your life , would you want to, if you couldn’t change the outcome? In a quiet cafe in Japan , from a particular seat ,it is possible to do just that. As long as you drink your coffee before it gets cold that is. A moving and magical tale. And there is a sequel that I want to read too. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

What books did you pick up in January? 📚

2020 ~ My Year In Photos.

I always do a yearly review post, and well even if 2020 has been a bit pants,I’m looking through my photos and there has still been plenty of stuff to be thankful for. We have survived living through a Global Pandemic. That can only be a good thing!

A walk up Pendle Hill in January.

In January was Wil’s 5Oth Birthday and thankfully he got to celebrate with friends in real life. Yay! Though planned trips and gigs to continue the celebrations through the rest of 2020 have been delayed, hopefully he can carry them over to next year……

A Kieffer Sutherland Concert in Blackburn.

February. A pretty quiet month. I think we would have gone out more, if only we had realised that our lives would change quite dramatically, in just a few short weeks.

Celandines.

March. Wil, Hugo and I managed a wknd away at our caravan in Cumbria before lockdown was announced. Then one day in early March I was sent home from work….and never went back. Luckily I was furloughed and Wil has remained in his job throughout 2020. Having him carry on going to work as normal meant our everyday lives didn’t change as much as some people’s.

Something that turned out right ~ Rock Buns.

April. We had a long dry Spring which for me meant lots of walks with Hugo….and lots of baking. I can’t say my baking skills improved that much, but I did manage to make both Banana Bread and Rock Cakes. I never tried the Joe Wicks Workouts though, so I have put on a few pounds. 🧐

A glorious walk along the Lune in Caton.

May. One positive thing about travel restrictions this year , discovering more of my home county of Lancashire. I must admit in previous years we have hopped over the border to The Dales or had days out in The Lake District, rather than explore locally. Lancashire is lovely too. I appreciate what’s on my doorstep more now.

Socially distanced meet up in the park.

June. Sometime in June restrictions eased and friends were allowed to meet up again…outdoors. The new going out became drinking in the park ,like a bunch of teenagers. 😉

Van Life.

July. Finally we were allowed to stay over at our caravan once again. Having bought it in Summer 2019 , Wil and I had been looking forward to spending lots of quality time there this year. Luckily we managed to grab a few weekends away in Summer.

Eskdale with friends.

August. Wow things were beginning to feel almost normal. We had the best time spending a long weekend in Ravenglass & Eskdale with friends.

Bad Hair Day 🤣 Bonscale Pike.

September. Managed to add a few more Wainwright’s to my very short list, using the van as our base. New additions are Arthur’s Pike, Bonscale Pike above, Hallin Fell and even Skiddaw.

Autumn fun.

October. Autumn colours were glorious in 2020 and I noticed far more different species of fungi than any other year. Enjoyed a few nice walks with family , which is always good. Found a new job cleaning in a local secondary school ( phew!) after the cafe business I had worked in until March finally admitted it wouldn’t be opening up again.

C’mon Mum, let’s play ball….

November. Back in lockdown for a month. Blah. Bad timing for little old me as I had been looking forward to going out for my birthday, somewhat optimistically. My lovely friends did organize me my first Zoom Party though. 😊

Christmas 🌲☃️

December. Christmas has actually been pretty good , considering. Lots of walks with friends & or family. Socially distanced meet ups & a very nice Christmas dinner bought from Holmes Mill. ❤️

I know that the next few months will probably mean we move up a tier in Lancashire and things will probably get worse before they get better, but here’s hoping for a very happy and healthy 2021.

Thanks for bobbing by occasionally, I really appreciate it.

Garrigill to Ashgill Force walk 🥾🍁

At the weekend we took a walk from Garrigill in the North Pennines to the nearby waterfall of Ashgill Force. We bought an Alston Moor walk leaflet in the outdoors shop in Alston for 60p.

The route begins at Garrigill’s Village Green, we parked near the village church. Garrigill looks to be a lovely little village , whose pub and shop have seen better days.

St John’s Church.

Village Green.

George and Dragon sign.

The leaflet says that there were once two pubs in Garrigill. The George & Dragon was the haunt of visiting gentry, Tories and shooting parties, whilst the Fox was for miners, poachers and Liberals!

Climb the slippy bridleway to Loaning Head.

A Loaning Head cottage.

Views across the Pennines.

Kestrel.

There are lots of very high Stiles to climb over.

Swaledale Sheep.

One moment, blue skies…

the next, sideways rain..

Meadow Cranesbill.

The weather went a bit wild and after navigating about a million steep stiles we came across the waterfall. Unfortunately we had managed to deviate from our maps directions somehow, but we got there in the end.

Gill scramblers at Ashgill Force.

Ashgill Force.

It is apparently possible to walk behind the waterfall, and indeed ‘ Dance with the Fairies’ , although it looked a bit busy with Gill Scramblers the day we visited.

Hugo was joined in the gorge by another Black Labrador boy, which would be lovely if Hugo actually liked other boy labradors. Fortunately Hugo was more interested in the stones Wil were throwing in the water, than fighting. Phew!

Labradors.

Footbridge.

The rest of the walk was more of a gentle meander, following the River South Tyne back to Garrigill.

An almost stone circle.

Another footbridge.

A beautiful place for a dip.

Fly Agarics beside the river.

Autumn colours.

Buzzard.

A mini waterfall.

Attractive stone bridge.

Hips.

And back to the church.

I really enjoyed this scenic 5 mile walk and hopefully we will try it out again, maybe when the meadows are full of wildflowers come early Summer. 🙂

Bowscale Tarn. 🦈

Saturday morning was chilly and bright as we parked in the small parking area in the little hamlet of Bowscale. Our mission was to find a hidden mountain tarn, once popular as a Victorian tourist destination. Well heeled holiday makers would be transported on ponies up the bridleway from Bowscale to enjoy the views. Today the path remains and a few people ( and dogs 🙂 ) still hike to the tarn.

The walk up to Bowscale Tarn is clearly defined and a relatively gentle climb. Just as I was believing the water would never appear ( I’m very impatient! ) , there it was.

Bowscale Tarn is a corrie tarn, a lake formed when a glacier melted and eroded a bowl shape into the mountains. My photos don’t really do the shape of the tarn justice.

Hugo had a good swim. He is in great company with lots of human wild swimmers who have enjoyed taking a dip here. Check out Christine’s blog for her Bowscale Tarn experience. 🙂

Legend has it that the icy waters are home to two immortal fish! Wordsworth mentioned them in his poem Song, at the feast of Brougham Castle, though not sure how the fishy tale started.

There are plentiful Wainwright fells to attempt in the area, so I’m sure we will return. Above is Carrock Fell ,which we could see on our right ,as we walked up to the tarn.

🥾 3-5 mile walk from Bowscale.

Lowther Longhorns.

Just a quick and hopefully cute post for you today, featuring some very laid back longhorns. I’ve had a fair few hair raising run ins with coos this year, there have been some frisky heifers and bullish young bulls on summer walks, I can tell you. But these guys, well they are just in full on relaxed mode. Though maybe a little curious about why I’m peering at them from behind a big tree…..

Luckily on my second attempt at capturing this native cattle breed on camera, I got slightly better photos. My first attempt a few weeks earlier was on my camera phone. I quite like that you can see lovely Lowther Castle on these ones though. 😊

The English Longhorns roam freely on the Lowther Castle estate near Penrith in Cumbria. They are a new introduction at the castle, and another introduction may well be on its way. Back in January the Lowther estate was given the go ahead to reintroduce beavers to the river Lowther. Due to coronavirus this has been put on hold at the moment though.

I was quite happy to see these snoozy beasts anyway. English Longhorns are a hardy breed , they will be able to stay outdoors during the cold winter months. I am looking forward to seeing more of them through the seasons. 🐮

Bampton grange & Bampton.

Bank Holiday Monday and the Lake District was swarming with visitors. Our plan to visit Haweswater, usually one of the quieter lakes in the National Park was scuppered, when we realised we were never going to be able to park.

Not far from Haweswater are the adjoining villages of Bampton and Bampton grange. The river Lowther separates the two. We parked by the river and took our labrador Hugo for a walk through the quiet lanes and meadows.

Summer Sky.

The Old Chapel, Bampton.

Jams for sale outside the Old Chapel.

Knipe Moor in the distance.

Mardale Inn.

Bampton Bridge.

Old fashioned Diesel pumps.

Hugo cooling off.

Shop and Tea Room.

Time for 🍰 cake. 🙂

Bampton has a movie connection! The phone box in the village appeared in the 1987 Cult Classic Withnail and I. There is even a visitor book inside and a battered video copy. We found other Withnail film locations here on a walk last year. It’s a bit of a bonkers film. 😅

Withnail and I phonebox.

Visitor Book.

Grass covered roof on a stone building.

Knipe Moor.

Robins Pincushion on Dog Rose bush.

Over the bridge is Bampton grange with its church and pub. The vicarage there houses a library of Latin books called Tinclar’s Library. The bridge walls were covered in pretty painted pebbles.

Bridge over the river Lowther.

Hedgehogs.

Strawberry plants and face masks for sale.

The Crown and Mitre.

The Crown and Mitre.

St Patrick’s Church.

A horse cools off.

It was nice to explore two villages away from the Lake District crowds.

A Wainwright & A Walk Before Noon. 🥾

Sunday saw us getting up bright and early ( ok, definitely less bright than early!) in the hope of catching the sunrise from the top of Hallin Fell. One of the more diminutive Wainwright climbs at 388 metres, Hallin makes up for it’s stature with impressive views of Ullswater lake and it’s surrounding peaks.

We arrived at the little car park by St Peters Church in Martindale very early. In fact it was pitch dark. And the car park was almost full! There were a few overnighting camper vans and other cars possibly belonging to people wild camping out on the fell.

It takes about 40 minutes to walk to the trig point on a clearly defined path. At 5-30am in the morning it looked like we were the first folk heading up there. The views were totally worth the early get up. But unfortunately the sun deemed to stay behind a cloud.

Spot the tent. 🏕️

We enjoyed a flask of coffee and croissants at the top of Hallin Fell, drinking in the stunning vistas. It was calm and still with only a very gentle breeze. This was my 6th Wainwright fell and Hugo’s sixth too, on his 6th Birthday weekend.

Before heading back to the caravan we had a little look in the churchyard of St Peters at the bottom of the fell. There is still a monthly service there apparently. Noticed this grave stone adorned with an anchor.

As we left a few other folk were awake, drinking morning brews and maybe contemplating an early walk to the top.

Kirkoswald and Raven Beck Wander.

It was still early morning so after a chill at the caravan we drove the short distance to the Eden valley village of Kirkoswald. The village is named after the church of St Oswald. Oswald was a King of Northumbria in the 7th century. We took Hugo for a walk along Raven Beck, bought supplies from Raven Bridge Stores and I generally kept an eye out for ravens , though I didn’t see any. 😚

The cobbled market Square and cross.

Fetherston Arms.

Another raven name.

Ginger Tom.

Wildlife board alongside Raven Beck.

Woodland path.

Raven Beck.

Hidden tree den.

Raven Bridge Stores.

Water Wheel in the village.

Thatched cottage.

Herdwick sheep.

Treated ourselves to some jam & chutney.

By Noon we were ready for a relaxing afternoon at the caravan. It had been a really enjoyable morning.

❤️

Eden Valley Villages ~ A Vampire & A Cockatrice.

Forget Whitby’s Count Dracula connections. Cumbria’s own Eden Valley has had its share of batty experiences. Two villages in particular have suffered attacks by supernatural beings……..

First let’s visit Croglin , a pretty fell side settlement, about ten miles south of Carlisle. Here the houses are rosy stoned and few. There is a pub called The Robin Hood and a little church.

The Vampie Of Croglin Grange is a retelling of a story told at a dinner party to a collector of horror stories, a Victorian writer called ‘Dr Augustus Hare’.

The story goes that two brothers and a sister rented the property called Croglin Grange in the village. One hot summers night the siblings retired to bed. Unable to sleep, the sister Amelia watched the moonlit night from her bedroom window, noticing a couple of moving lights heading from the nearby church yard, towards the house.

Suddenly Amelia found herself frozen to the spot. A wizened gnarled figure with long boney fingers was scratching at the lead around the window. Before long the glass window fell through and the terrifying figure flung itself onto Amelia, biting her neck. Her petrified screams awoke her brothers who came to her aid, one of whom chased the creature , losing sight of it in the church grounds.

Amelia’s brothers took her to Switzerland to recover. Being a non superstitious trio the three returned to the grange ( I think I would have stayed away 🙄) to carry on with their tenancy. Unfortunately Amelia was not to be left in peace. Her persistent attacker returned!

This time the brothers managed to shoot the figure , tracking it down to a vault in the cemetery. They waited until daylight to surprise the ‘vampire’ who they found resting in a coffin, a fresh bullet wound in its leg. They then dragged the creature outdoors into the churchyard and burned it. 🦇

Cottages in Croglin.

Somebody’s watching me…

Somebody else is watching me….

St John’s Church, Croglin.

So is The Vampire Of Croglin Grange a true story? There does not appear to be a building called Croglin Grange in Croglin. However is it coincidence that another Eden valley village, not to far from Croglin, has a peculiar legend too…..

Renwick is a red sandstone built small settlement, formerly known as Ravenwick, there is a Raven Beck running through the village.

In the early 1600s residents of Renwick suffered the appearance of the Renwick Cockatrice. The extraordinary tale is mentioned in William Hutchinson’s ‘ The History Of The County Of Cumberland’ , published many years later in 1794.

Workmen were dismantling the old village church in order to build a new one on the site we see today. Suddenly a vicious winged creature flew up from the vaults and started attacking the villagers. It apparently resembled half cockerel/half lizard, known in legend as a ‘ cockatrice’. As a bite or even a glare from a cockatrice was said to be deadly, people ran for cover.

Only one villager was brave enough to fight off the beast. John Tallantire of nearby Scale houses slayed it with a Rowan branch. His reward was that he and his family were let off paying rents for years and years after.

The cockatrice has also become known as ‘The Renwick Bat’ …and apparently last made an appearance in the 1950s!

All Saints Church, Renwick.

Rowan trees are found locally, known for fending off evil.

Twisty tree.

Sun dial bird.

John Tallantire’s headstone.

A Renwick cottage.

Is it possible that the Renwick Cockatrice was simply an oversized bat disturbed by the demolition of the church? We shall never know, as like the Croglin Vampire, the villagers burned the evidence..

🦇

A Weekend In Ravenglass & Eskdale.

Back in January a group of friends booked a holiday cottage on the Cumbrian coast. Little did we know then what a strange turn of events would unfold in 2020. A global pandemic would envelop the world, like something out of a Sci Fi film. We were definitely thankful that we had arranged our mini break for August in Ravenglass….and happily for us , it could still go ahead. Fortunately this little corner of the Lake District is relatively quiet and social distancing was easy. We also had amazing weather, which always helps. 😎

Looking over to Ravenglass.

Sunshine & Sunsets. So it was that 6 adults, 2 children and 2 dogs spent a happy 3 nights in lovely Ravenglass. Friday was enjoyed mostly on the beach in front of the cottage and admiring an incredible sunset from the balcony. One friend brought a Water Bottle Rocket 🚀 whose launches into the sky gave us endless entertainment on the sand.

Life’s A Beach.

Launching A Bottle Rocket.

Balcony view.

A Glorious Sunset.

A Ratty Trip , Walk To Eel Tarn & Wild Swimming. You can’t visit Ravenglass in the Summer without a ride on The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. Affectionately known as La’al Ratty, this narrow steam gauge railway takes passengers into the seriously scenic Eskdale Valley. We booked return tickets to Dalegarth Station near Boot, from where there are plentiful beautiful riverside and fell walks. Face coverings were advised though not enforced on the platform and inside covered carriages.

Our plan was to walk to a remote tarn for some wild swimming. However as stunning as the hike was, Eel Tarn itself wasn’t really suitable for water pursuits. Surrounded by boggy marsh, only Hugo the Labrador managed to spring in there for a cooling off doggy paddle. However the kids had discovered a promising looking waterfall pool in Whillan Beck , which we managed to visit later.

All aboard.

Eskdale Mill.

Whillan Beck Waterfall pool behind Eskdale Mill.

Sign to Eel Tarn and Scarfell Pike.

Heading up the fell.

Distant cattle.

Eel Tarn.

Picnic lunch.

Stone Peat Hut ruins.

Spot the Herdwick’s.

Direction to the pub.

A choice of destinations to head to from the Woolpack .

🐻 Bear at the Woolpack.

Time for a swim in the waterfall pool behind Eskdale Mill.

Saturday was a really hot day so the cool clear water in the beck was just perfect for swimming in. We had it all to ourselves too. As we left a local family arrived, the father had been coming to the waterfall for 40 years. To us it was an accidental ( and totally wonderful) discovery.

Eskmeals Nature Reserve. Having visited Ravenglass several times now, I hadn’t actually realised that the dunes I had seen on the other side of the estuary are part of Eskmeals Nature Reserve . We decided to visit here on Sunday for a walk. The dunes are home to rare natterjack toads ( we didn’t see any though) and many species of wildflower. There is parking by the viaduct at nearby Waberthwaite. Look out for a yellow flag. If it is flying the adjoining MOD land is in use.

Entrance to the reserve.

⛵ Boat.

Almost deserted beach.

Barrel jellyfish.

Sea Buckthorn.

We came across this pebble Union Jack in the sand.

Pebbles galore on a shingle spit.

A Few More Images From Ravenglass.

Tranquil waters.

Ravenglass has been a Roman port and was also visited by Vikings.

On a garden wall.

Hugo and yacht.

Little Egret.

The Queen wears a face mask in The Ratty Arms.

Anchor.

Bladderwrack seaweed.

A sea plane on the beach.

As we were leaving Ravenglass on Monday morning a man was setting up his sea plane for a 40 minute journey to a lochside cafe near Dumfries for a coffee. Can’t be bad!

Have you ever visited any places mentioned in this post?

🐚