Category Archives: lake district

Three Cumbrian Seaside villages visited with Hugo. πŸ•

If your looking for miles of dog friendly coastline then you’ve hit the jackpot in Cumbria. Because most people head for the lakes and fells, the beaches are almost always quiet, few having any dog restrictions at all.

We recently spent four nights in the coastal village of Ravenglass, and visited a couple of other seaside resorts whilst we were there. All three are served by the Cumbrian Coastal Railwayline.

Ravenglass. A tiny harbor village, Ravenglass has an ancient history. The Roman settlement of Glannoventa stood here and was an important naval base. The remains of a Roman bathhouse lie on the outskirts.

The beach is a mixture of sand, shingle and mud. There are lots of well signposted walks along the coast or up into the fells. Our dog Hugo enjoyed running here and his favourite nearby hill walk from Ravenglass was a mornings yomp up Muncaster Fell.

Nearby pet friendly attractions include Muncaster Castle ( dogs are allowed in the gardens, grounds, cafe and can watch the flying hawk displays & heron feeds) and The Ravenglass & Eskdale Narrow Gauge Railway.

Hugo was made a fuss of in all three of the pubs in Ravenglass. We ate out at The Ratty Arms & The Pennington Hotel. Both were very good. 🐢

Ravenglass
Useful sign. πŸ˜‰
Hugo rides The Ratty ( Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway).
Yummy food at The Pennington Hotel.
Ravenglass.

St Bees. Twenty minutes north of Ravenglass, St Bees is actually named after an Irish medieval Saint, St Bega . Bega ( a beautiful & devout princess) fled across the Irish Sea by boat, having been promised in marriage to a Viking Prince. She had other ideas, preferring to live in religious solitude on the English mainland.

I’m not sure if St Bega liked dogs ( there is a statue of her and her rowing boat in the village center) but the beach she landed on is a great place for a bracing walk. We took Hugo to the sands at Seacote Park, where there is a caravan park, lifeboat station and beach cafe. I don’t think dogs are allowed inside the cafe but as it was a nice day we had icecream on a bench outside and Hugo was brought water & dog treats.

St Bees is the start of the Wainwright Coast to Coast walk and the cliff top ( safely fenced off ~ Phew!) is also ideal for walkies. Look out for all sorts of seabirds. The cliffs at St Bees head are an RSPB bird reserve.

The beach below St Bees Head.
Cliff top flowers.
On the cliffs.
Anchor from shipwreck.

Arnside. A pretty estuary resort, Arnside resides in the Arnside & Silverdale Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is from here that I took part in The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay walk with Wil and Hugo, three years ago. This iconic organized hike across the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay must not be attempted without an official guide.

On our latest visit Hugo had a good run on the beach but there are also plenty of coastal and inland walks to do in the area including Arnside Knott and along the shoreline to Silverdale. Do make sure you listen out for the sirens that are sounded to warn of the incoming Arnside Tidal Bore, a high tidal wave that happens once a month in Arnside’s estuary.

The village has a couple of dog friendly pubs and cafes. We chose to sit outside with the best ever fish & chips from Arnside Chippy. We also visited a very cute little jazz cafe opposite Arnside’s Railway station. Moochin About is a teeny tiny espresso bar with the cutest decor and vinyl jazz records playing on a record player. Sad to say no doggies allowed inside, purely because it is so small. There are two benches outside though, water bowls and the lovely owner brought out biscuits for Hugo and a collie customer. πŸ•

Looking over the Kent Estuary.
Windswept Selfie.
Windswept Hawthorn.
Moochin About.
More Moochin About.

If you have a dog, what beaches do you like to visit with them?

I’d love to know. πŸ©πŸšπŸ¦€

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Ambling round Askham.

Recently I spent a few days with family. The pretty village of Askham in Cumbria has been my Mum’s home now for over 25 years. It’s attractive white washed cottages surround two village greens. The top end of Askham climbs up into the fells whilst the bottom end is all about the river Lowther and the surrounding woodland. Some of the village is still owned by the land owning Lonsdale family, who now live in Askham Hall and once resided in Lowther Castle. There are two pubs in Askham, a lovely village shop, an open air swimming pool and lots of walking trails round the Lowther estate. Here are a few pictures from my ambles round Askham.

Village Greens.
Cuckoo Flower & Water Avens.
Stone bridge over the river Lowther.
River Lowther from the bridge.
St Peters Church.
The Punch Bowl is an 18th Century Inn.
Ramsons in the woods.
Sorry, just had to include Mums handsome cat ‘Biscuit’ who is recovering indoors from some heart problems. Aw. He’s doing ok now though. πŸ™‚
Mum and I had a look round Askham Halls gardens. Β£4 entry.

Askham Hall was built in the 12th Century. It’s now a rather posh boutique hotel and restaurant.
A stone Griffin , originally from Lowther Castle.
The village shop is also a great place to go for a coffee, chat and doggy cuddles. πŸ™‚
Lots of walking trails. I followed this footpath past Askham Hall into some beautiful bluebell woods.
Though I did encounter a miniature Dexter bull on the way. After a short stand off I edged my way past him. He was actually very small, but still quite mean looking!
I was glad to reach this gate into the woods unscathed.
Bluebells.😁
Stitchwort.
Pink Purslane.
Dandelion Clock.

I spent a good couple of hours in the woods, just enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. There were so many flowers, giving the woodland floor a magical fairy land appearance. And I didn’t spy a single other human being! I did see two jays, several woodpeckers, two buzzards and a weasel. 😊

If your visiting the Askham area, here are some useful websites.

Lowther Castle & Gardens.

Askham Hall.

Askham Open Air Swimming Pool.

Punch Bowl Inn.

The Ullswater Way.

Badgers at RSPB Haweswater. 🦑

Have you ever seen a badger? I must admit these nocturnal mammals have always been something of a mystery to me. Stocky with stripey faces and claws made for digging, the badger is apparently as common as the fox, but much more elusive. Some people ( myself included) have only ever spied the bodies of those poor unfortunates, squashed at the side of the road. 😦 So when I heard about the new Badger Hide at Naddle Farm near Haweswater in Cumbria, I was eager to book myself a place. Of course it helped that my Mum lives only 15 minutes away from the new RSPB base and I could coincide the experience with a family visit.

The hide at Naddle Farm can be hired out for private viewings but I chose to book a Monday night place for myself and my brother. A Monday night slot lasts 1.5 hours and on our visit four other people joined us plus two RSPB guides. The price is Β£15 for adults ( Β£12 if your a RSPB member) and children are Β£10.

Badger viewing begins at dusk, so we arrived at the farm just before 9pm. We were then introduced to our guides and shown into the hide, which is at the back of a farm building looking onto a small fenced croft.

For the first 45 minutes no badgers appeared , so it was the brown rats that entertained us. Yikes! You can see one in the foreground of the above photo. They were quite cheeky and only made themselves scarce when the first badger showed up.

The RSPB staff had hidden food under rocks in the croft. But don’t worry, although the thought of some tasty morsels does entice wildlife, a badgers diet consists mostly of worms. A typical nights feed for one badger is a few hundred wiggly worms, which they dig from the ground and suck up like spaghetti. Yum!

Our first visitor was a badger that the guides had got to know from her previous visits. She had been named ‘ Porridge’ by some students. We had been told not to worry if Porridge showed up with bite marks on her rump. Biting each others bums is apparently quite normal in the badger world , as a way of establishing heirachy. Luckily Porridges bite wounds were almost healed and she looked in good health.

Porridge stayed around for a good 15 minutes, flipping rocks and digging in the grass. It was wonderful just to be able to sit in comfort, and watch badgers do what badgers do, in their own natural environment.

Another ten minutes after Porridge had left ( and the rats had reemerged, only to quickly hide again) another badger came a calling. This one was a new visitor. Neither of the guides had seen this particular mammal before, so they were quite excited. He/she emerged from the woodland on the hillside and spent a good while sniffling around. It is possible there are as many as 40 setts in the Haweswater area, so who knows how many badgers live here.

Our time watching Britain’s largest predatory mammal was all to soon over, but we all agreed it had been well worth it.

For information on how to book the hide look here. 🦑

Have you ever seen a badger?

Sunday Sevens 31st March.

It’s definitely time for a Sunday Sevens, a random collection of seven photos from the past seven days.

Last weekend Wil and I found ourselves in Manchester and of course immediately gravitated to our favourite Manchester bar The Gas Lamp near Spinning fields. This subterranean drinking den is not posh at all , its interior design can only be described as ’tiled toilet’ , but our friends who were in town shopping had the same idea as us, so we met them for a drink or two.

The real reason Wil and I were in Manchester, was to see the singer Amy McDonald at the Apollo. Here’s a short video! Soz my filming is pretty wonky.

Also last weekend my friend Fi talked another friend and I into going with her to a Rock gothic stage show called Circus of Horror’s which was playing in Oswaldtwistle. This near Victorian freak show combines knife throwing, contortionism, scary clowns, strong men, burlesque dancers and near naked dwarves ( don’t ask) with heavy metal music… and is set in a lunatic asylum!

Who isn’t a cast member here. Haha.

This past few days I’ve noticed quite a few wildflowers springing up in my neck of the woods. Below are a few taken with my phone camera. What is your favourite Spring wildflower? I have a soft spot for celandines of course, and I love violets.

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Flower Power.

Yesterday Hugo had lots of fun with his new floating dog toy when we visited Derwentwater, on the way up to my Mums. We walked from Keswick as far as Ashness Bridge. Derwentwater is a great lake to wander along the shores of. There are a few sculptures and other landmarks to discover.

P1000838
Derwent Water.
P1000863
Centenary Stone, Calfclose Bay.

The little National Trust Bothy above Ashness Bridge was open, had a cosy fire lit and free tea, coffee and hot chocolate. A lovely surprise! The NT volunteer had a handsome Golden Doodle called Alfie, who was totally adorable.

We walked a good eight miles yesterday and I am on track to become a Proclaimer next week. I should soon reach 500 miles in the #walk1000miles challenge. πŸ™‚

Hope you are all having a Happy Mother’s Day Weekend. I have especially enjoyed spending time with my fur babies and helping out today with my God daughters 9th Birthday Party. X

Thanks to Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for arranging Sunday Sevens.

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt~ March.

Hi, it’s been a while, fellow Photo Scavenger Hunters. Today ( Thursday) I was trying to find inspiration to interpret Kate’s prompts, whilst out and about with Hugo the Labrador. I did! For three photos anyway. πŸ™‚

Flat. So I took this picture whilst flat on my back on a dirt track. I’m surprised Hugo’s snout didn’t get in shot. A different perspective of the woodland above me.

Wheel. There are wheels galore at the Lakeland Motor Museum near Windermere. This is one of several penny-farthings. There was even old film footage of penny-farthings racing. It was a thing!

Swing. You wouldn’t believe it but I was actually thinking how I would photograph Swing, then I saw one right in front of me. Can you see it ?

Ragged. The not particularly attractive Butterbur came to my rescue here. It’s raggedy tight-knit flowers are popular with bees in early spring and you can find them close to streams from March to May. The Butterbur’s name comes from the fact that it’s large green leaves were once used to pack butter apparently. Other names for this Spring flower include Devils Hat, Bog Rhubarb and Pestilence Wort. The mind boggles!

Pot. A typical pot of Mint tea from my fave cafe in Clitheroe ` Escape’. πŸ™‚

My Own Choice. Last weekend we went for a walk in Gisburn Forest and came across this old church. Dalehead Chapel was rebuilt after the flooding of nearby land to build Stocks Reservoir in the 1930s. The original church was demolished and this is it’s replacement. I seem to remember that in my youth this pretty building had fallen into disrepair and had a reputation as a haunted church! Happily today it is in use again and there are information boards inside detailing the history of the area.

Thanks kate/Hawthorn for organising the Scavenger Hunt.

Tucked away in Torver ~ The Lake District.

A perfect Winter break for Wil, Hugo and I definitely involves somewhere with a toasty log burner, a dog friendly pub in close proximity and lots of walks, straight from the door. We chose pretty well I think when we headed for the Lake District village of Torver at the weekend. We had found on Airbnb a quirky little cottage called ‘The Old Dairy’ , one of three holiday Letts at Brocklebank Ground. We arrived in driving sleet and rain so immediately set about getting cosy in our ‘home’ for the weekend.

The Old Dairy ~ a bijou home from home.
Sign swinging in the wind.
Walk research..

Fortunately the next day dawned fine so we decided to get our water proofs on and head out and about. Torver itself is not to far from Coniston Water ( the third largest Lake in the Lake District) so our plan was to walk down to the lake, via a disused railway route. Unfortunately there had been so much rain that the paths we found to the shore were pretty water logged, so we only got as far as Torver Common, which was still a beautiful place to explore.

Hello, Herdwicks!
Old Railway Walk.
Lunch Time.
Torver Common. You can just about spy Coniston Water in the distance.
Hugo posing. πŸ™‚
A sprinkle of snow on the mountains.
Spring Window box at The Wilson’s Arms.

For lunch we bought a couple of bits from the deli in The Wilson Arms, one of two pubs in the village. We ate in both and they are cosy olde worldy pubs with roaring fires, real ales, good pub grub and are dog-friendly too.

After lunch we decided to revisit Beacon Tarn, a beautiful small lake tucked away in the Blawith Fells, about 5 minutes drive from Torver. We first discovered the tarn ten years earlier on a hot summers day, the surrounding fells were green with bracken, and our Labrador Jake dived straight into the water. Our recent visit was sunny, windy and cold, a different Labrador enjoying a bracing dip in the chilly waters.

Beacon Tarn.
My guide book says Beacon Tarn is the ‘Trout Tarn’ of Arthur Ransome’s’ Swallowdale’ ( Swallows And Amazon’s 1930).
The bracken in March, a rusty brown colour.

What follows are a few views of our journey back to Brown Howe Car Park, the nearest proper car park to Blawith Common, where our circular walk began.

A bench with a lake view. πŸ™‚ Brown Howe car park is on the shore of Coniston Water.

Incredibly only a few minutes after we got back to Brown Howe, the heavens opened and giant Hale stones bounced off the car. We had timed our return just right!

On Sunday the bad weather continued as we packed the car and said our goodbyes to Torver. It had been the perfect little get away from it all. πŸ™‚

On our way home we decided to visit Lakeland Motor Museum near Newby Bridge, which is a dog friendly attraction. There aren’t that many museums that welcome four legged friends, so this was a good find! Plus we got to shelter from the weather. It had started snowing!

Well worth a look if your in the area, the museum also has a Donald Campbell Bluebird exhibition and a good sized cafe.

See you soon. X

February Flora and Fauna.

A wonderful few days weather wise. Enough sunshine to put a spring in everyone’s step.😁 Here are some camera shots.. and a few phone photos of birds and blossom taken over the weekend ,and when out and about late this afternoon. The sun shone, bees buzzed and I even saw my first butterfly of the year flutter by. All this as temperatures hit 20Β°c in February!

Rook.
Wild Plum Blossom.
Mute Swan Mum & Offspring.
Gorse in bloom.
Sika Deer in Brungerly Park.:)
White Butterbur.
Pussy Willow.
Hazel Catkins.
Moorhen.
Celandine.
Owl.
Fell Pony.
Blackthorn Blossom.
Meadow Pippit.
Canada Geese.
Crocuses.
Pack horse bridge. Spot Hugo taking a dip in the brook.

What early signs of Spring have you seen recently?