Hi its Sunday yet again so time for a quick round up of the last 7 days via a Sunday Sevens post. This last week I’ve read two really good books ! I sound surprised because I’ve read a few meh ones recently , so it’s great to find a couple of cracking reads. Firstly The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Wareis a modern day Agatha Christie set on a boutique cruise with plenty of twists and turns. ‘Lo Blacklock’ is a journalist who thinks she’s witnessed a murder , a woman thrown overboard in the dead of night. But nobody seems to have heard of the victim. Paranoia and suspicion engulf Lo and make this’ Who Done It’ an absorbing and scary thriller. Secondly, a just as absorbing but true life tale is The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen. This is Amanda’s own story about how as a youngster she read the James Herriot country vet books and dreamed of working on a hill farm with her own flock of sheep. And amazingly through a lot of hard work and determination she has ended up doing just that. As well as a flock of sheep she has a husband, 8 children and lives and works on a remote farm in the Yorkshire Dales. An inspirational and often funny read, I loved it. 🙂
As well as having my nose in a book this week, I have been using up some holidays and had a couple of days off work. On Thursday my friend Lisa and I had a fun afternoon hanging out in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. She showed me some great independent shops in this creative area of the city and we also had a really tasty lunch at Oak Street Cafe Bar in the Craft & Design Centre. And I got to cross something off my 25 Before 45 Bucket List ! I had booked us a slot in Manchester’s only Cat Cafe, very originally called Cat Cafe which is situated on High Street in the Northern Quarter. Imagine coffee, cake and cats all in one spacious area , adorned with comfy sofas, cushions and cat toys. I will blog about it sooooon. 🙂
On Friday Wil, Hugo and I went to visit family in The Lake District. My family live not far from Ullswater so for some reason Wil , my brother and I thought it would be a good idea to go and check out Aira Force , a waterfall not far from the lake. The problem was, it was an incredibly rainy and windy day , which always annoys me as I can’t take any photos with the rain blowing in my face. We had to agree though that the force looked amazing in the weather and we will definitely have to go back on a much drier day.
Last Sunday it was raining too but not as badly ( Hurrah ! ) so we were tourists in our own town and took The Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail around Brungerley Park. Just in case you missed my post , you can check it out here 🙂
All in all a pretty good week. What did you get up to ?
When planning a break with your four-legged friend , it is always handy to know that one particular Lake District resort has been voted ‘Uk’s Most Dog Friendly Town’ by the Kennel Club for four years on the trot. Lovely Keswick has it all. Stunning countryside with miles and miles of walks, a beautiful lake ( Derwentwater), cosy pubs and cafes, eclectic shops , several dog-friendly parks and a variety of accommodation and visitor attractions that welcome waggy tails. It seemed the ‘Pawfect’ place for a January Break with our labrador Hugo. 🙂 Here’s what we got up to….
Where we stopped. We booked Butterfly Cottage through Sally’s Cottages who are based in Keswick. They have over 230 pet friendly holiday cottages in The Lake District and Cumbria. Our bijou retreat was so cosy with its Wood Burning Stove ( a must for a Winter Break), open plan downstairs space, fully equipped kitchen and beautiful bedroom with comfy King Size Bed. The location was really handy for everything in town and it was super useful to have an enclosed back yard with a muddy boots and paws wash.
Where we walked. Every morning before breakfast we headed to Crow Park on the banks of Derwent Water. This is one of three Dog Friendly Parks in Keswick that we noticed. The others are Hope park and Fitz Park. Each morning depending on the weather, the scenery changed. Sometimes the mountains were bathed in gold, sometimes they were an angry slate blue. It was peaceful there and Hugo had a great run around.
There is a ten mile circular walk around Derwent Water itself which we hope to try on our next visit. We did however revisit a Railway walk which we enjoyed whilst camping in Keswick a couple of years ago. The Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path is now partially destroyed due to last Winter’s storms but what remains, still makes for a pleasant stroll or bike ride. The walk starts from the Swimming Baths near Fitz Park.
We also walked up to Castlerigg Stone Circle situated just outside of Keswick off Castle lane. With the mountains of Helvellyn and High Street as a backdrop, the stone circle is among the earliest in Britain, dating back to 3000 BC. On a clearer day the views are stunning.
Places to Eat & Drink. Keswick is great for dog friendly pubs and cafes. In fact all the pubs in Keswick welcome dogs except for the Wetherspoons. Of course we made it our mission to try out as many as we could ! My favourites were The George Hotel with it’s cosy seating area by the fire, The Wainwright Pub, The Packhorse Inn, and of course The Dog and Gun famed for it’s ‘Homemade Goulash’ and doggy treat menu. 🙂
I don’t know about you but for breakfast on holidays I love pancakes. 🙂 Keswick has that sorted . We loved Merienda on the main street. It’s a fab Cafe Restaurant open for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner. With an 8am opening time Mon-Sats and 9am on Sunday it is the perfect place to refuel before yomping up those hills. Another great venue for early starters is CafeBar 26 on Lake Road which does amazing Full Spanish Breakfasts. And both do make delicious pancakes. 🙂
Many of the pubs serve great food ( try the Royal Oak for their amazing Cheese Boards & Platters) and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in Keswick that welcome dogs. As well as Bar 26 and Merienda look out for The Square Orange Bar/Cafe, Java Chocolate & Coffee Shop, Lakes Bistro & Bar, The Filling Station, Little Chamonix, Laura in The lakes, Kat’s Kitchen ( Veggie ) and Mrs F’s Fine Food emporium, to name but a few.
Shopping. Plenty of shops in the town don’t mind you being accompanied by your four legged friend. I find the best thing to do is always ask first. Lots of the Outdoorsy shops are dog friendly and so are many others. Hugo visited lovely gift emporiums Cherrydidi and Love The lakes on St John’s Street,for holiday souvenirs. He also bobbed into Keswick’s well loved Pet Store Podgy Paws which is a great place to visit for advice on local walks and dog friendly places, activities and attractions.
Visitor Attractions. Here is a quick list of pet friendly things to do and places to visit in Keswick and the surrounding area. 🙂
Cumberland Pencil Museum. Carding Mill Lane. Journey through the history of pencils and pencil making. Home to the biggest colouring pencil in the world! pencilmuseum.co.uk
Keswick Launch Company. Derwentwater. See the gorgeous scenery of Derwentwater on a lake cruise. keswicklaunch.co.uk
A Puzzling Place. 9 Museum Square. An exhibition of optical illusions and trickery. puzzlingplace.co.uk
Whinlatter Forest Park. England’s only true Mountain Forest with walks, trails and adventure play. forestry.gov.uk
Mirehouse & Gardens. Stately Home and gardens on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. Dogs welcome in the gardens and grounds. mirehouse.co.uk
The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden. Portinscale. Beatrix Potter often holidayed here and the garden was the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale Of Peter Rabbit. Reachable via a lake jetty or car. thelingholmestate.co.uk
I shall certainly take a look at the list on our next visit to Keswick. Hugo cannot wait to go again…and nor can we. 🙂
Rydal in the Lake District is forever linked with poet William Wordsworth and the stunning scenery here , including Rydal Lake and his impressive residence Rydal Mount. Also worth a visit is nearby 17th Century Rydal Hall and Estate. 40 acres of park and woodland, free for all to explore. Here you can find an interesting Sculpture trail amongst the Woodland, pretty gardens with ornate statues, ancient trees and a fairytale Waterfall. Take a look around with me. 🙂
The Sculpture Path weaves its way through the Woods and starts at ‘The Old School Room Tea Shop’. Apparently it is the first permanent outdoor exhibition of textile sculpture in Britain.
The art on the trail is made from recycled and sustainable materials and each season brings changes to the sculpture’s , as they interact with nature and the elements.
There were lots more textile sculptures including the above ‘Jubilee Figures’ made from chain links. They are meant to highlight the effects of third world debt.
After we had walked round the woodland and spied some Shepherd’s Huts through the trees…
we went to the Tea Room for a brew, as it was quite a cold January day. The Old School Room Tea Shop is open all year round and welcomes Dogs and Muddy Boots. Perfect!
After warming up we headed out to explore the grounds. You can pick up a little map from the cafe which will give you an idea of what to look for. Or you can just stumble upon some hidden delights. 🙂
Look out for this old gnarled Sweet Chestnut Tree which at 400 plus years old, is one of the oldest in Cumbria. I would love to see this abundant with Chestnuts in the Autumn.
The beautiful Grot and Waterfall can be found via a path leading from The ‘Quiet Garden’. Built in 1668, the Grot is one of the earliest examples of a viewing station. It’s window perfectly frames a vista of the lower Rydal waterfalls tumbling into a serene pool.
As you walk round the grounds you will come across plenty more beautiful things to see.
In the ‘Quiet Garden’ there were some lovely bird spheres including a ‘Barn Owl’ and lots of signs of Spring.
Head towards the Formal Gardens and you will find impressive views, follies and fountains.
Our time at Rydal Hall was only brief as it was a stop-off point , on our way to a holiday cottage in Keswick. However I think we will definitely return at some point as it would be lovely to see the place in full bloom. There are various walks in the area including an old footpath called ‘The Coffin Route’ which passes through the estate between Grasmere and Ambleside. You can also stay at Rydal hall. For more information go to rydalhall.org
We also found a great dog-friendly pub very nearby. The Badger Bar at The Glen Rothay Inn has cosy fires, real ales and great food.
Hi this is my first Sunday Sevens of 2017! Here is what I have been up to in the last week.
I have been on a roll reading this month. Three of the above were Christmas presents and all four books I have given solid 4 ☆☆☆☆ on Good Reads. A whimsical romance with books, a quirky story about a young adventuress who doesn’t recall her adventures, a laugh out loud romp with our favourite singleton Bridget and and an interesting novel about the reintroduction of wolves into Northern England. All good.
Last weekend was spent enjoying a mini break in The Lake District. We stopped in a cosy cottage in Keswick with our dog Hugo.Keswick has been voted ‘Most Dog-friendly town’ several years on the run. More about that coming soon. The above pictures show reflections in beautiful Derwentwater and the nearby ancient Castlerigg Stone Circle with its mountainous backdrop.
On the way home from Cumbria we dropped by a Yorkshire village called Clapham and I met the proprietor of a local vintage shop, who was actually a tabby cat called Stella. 🙂
Whilst I was away I bought two new mugs from a shop in Keswick called Love The Lakes. Mine is the one with the sheep on. 🙂
This weekends job is lots of sanding and getting the stairs and landing ready for decorating and a new carpet. I can’t claim that I have done much to help as Wil does not trust me with a paint brush! To speed up proceedings Mr Hugo has decamped to a boarding kennels for the weekend. It is really wierd without him. 😦
After lots of decorating prep we stayed in with a Chinese ( do you like my dragon puppet? ) and watched anti-superhero film ‘Deadpool’. Quite amusing!
As is now tradition, I am posting a quick photo round-up of my year. All in all it’s been a pretty good one! I have been slightly more organized than normal and included some post links. Yay!
January. Woh this seems such a long time ago now. January gave us the only snow of the year. Hugo loved it of course but it only lasted one snow day. 😦 It was still frosty and cold however on our visit to Formby Point where we saw Red squirrels 🙂 And yep thats me with a naked man at Another Place , the Anthony Gormley Art Installation on Crosby Beach.
February. It was a pretty quiet month in February. We did manage a day out in Manchester however and I had a fun time photographing the Street Art in the Northern Quarter. I also attended my God daughter Mady’s sons christening. I’m not one for holding babies but baby Jason was very chilled. 🙂
March. Wil and I had a weekend away in Coventry and stopped at the lovely Coombe Abbey Hotel & Country Park. We also visited Coventry itself which had lots of surprises. And later in the month I was in Manchester again , this time for a friends birthday. You can read my post about it here.
April. Spring arrived at last ( hurrah! ) and I couldn’t wait to get out and about with my camera and my Ladybird Book Guide To spring. 🙂 A day out at Bolton Abbey in the Easter Holidays was great fun and I treated Wil to a trip on a steam train ( with lots of Real Ale involved 😉 ) on the East Lancs Railway.
May. The weather was great in May and included a day out in Kirkby Lonsdale with my sister and her family. We even managed a paddle in the river. 🙂 A walk along the banks of Derwent Water in the Lake District was made all the more interesting , when Wil, Hugo and I came across a giant hand sculpture! Our Holiday Season started in May.:) A camping trip in the Yorkshire Dales , not too far from Fountain Abbey. And a stay in a hotel looking over Haweswater. 🙂
June. I loved our day out in Malham where we walked up to the Cove and paddled in Janet’s Foss. Think that was Hugo’s favourite part.:) We also went camping in Silverdale and Hugo enjoyed his second ever boat trip, on Lake Windermere.
July. Clitheroe has had lots of great new eating and drinking venues open in 2016 and the biggest surprise is probably Bowland Beer Hall at Holmes Mill. It’s an amazing space in an old textile mill, host to a listed steam engine and what appears to be England’s longest continuous bar. I attended the opening evening with Wil and some friends in July. I also crossed Llama Trekking off my Bucket List when myself and some of my family enjoyed a half day with these adorable animals here. Oh and Hugo found himself inside the July edition of The Simple Things Magazine. 🙂
August. In August there was a holiday at Spring Park in Cornwall. We stayed in ‘The Duke’ , a beautifully restored Showman’s wagon. On the way down to Cornwall we stopped one night in the spa town of Bath.I would love to return to both places. 🙂 Hugo has been busy bagging lakes all year. Here he is in Grasmere, over the bank holiday.
September. The poor pooch wasn’t quite sure what to think of The The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk. as it involved a lot of doggy paddling. I got pretty soaked too! The new Bridget Jones film turned into a bit of an event for us ladies.:) And if you like cake ( doesn’t everyone) you will like my post about my friend Nicolas Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.. She certainly didn’t scrimp on her baking. 🙂
October. We had an unseasonably dry October so this month’s posts are full of Autumn colours. 🙂 I joined in with #30dayswild, and enjoyed fun days out at Lowther Castle & Gardens and The Forbidden Corner with family.
November. November is my Birthday month so it was great to get away with Wil and Hugo to a holiday cottage in Scotland . The Afternoon Tea in Portpatrick was a Birthday treat courtesy of Wil and it was also nice to get together with friends. 🙂
December. This month has been all about meeting up with family. 🙂 I’ve included a piccie of my cat Slinky as she does tend to get overshadowed by a certain Black Labrador. And I took part in Janet’s ‘Thrifty Christmas Gift Swap’ which I will post about separately I’m sure.
Despite the radical changes in this country and abroad in 2016, I guess the best thing to do is just carry on and LIVE. Life is just to short to get depressed about it. So all the best for 2017 guys ….. and see you soon. X
I totally forgot about yesterdays #photanhour challenge , but I do have enough pictures of my week to catch up with you guys via Sunday Sevens . Yay! Above is last Sunday’s attempt at making Chestnut & Mushroom pate from a recipe in December’s edition of’The Simple Things’ magazine. Turned out pretty well actually…but neither Wil or I are really that keen on it. Oh well…..maybe a jar will find itself with you. 😉
Last Sunday I went to a local craft fair and found this charming stag head candle, which I couldn’t resist buying. He was only £5 and he is beautiful. A fellow blogger says he looks like a Sidney or a Sheridan. Sheridan it is ! I shall not be lighting Sheridan though. 🙂
And also on Sunday I went to Mitton Hall near Whalley with a few ladies from work. We had a Christmassy Afternoon tea by Candlelight, gossiped quite a bit ( girls will be girls!) and admired the beautiful Christmas tree which stands by the fire and is HUGE.
I bobbed into ‘The Boiler Room Cafe’ at Holmes Mill in Clitheroe during the week for a gift voucher….and ended up with a free coffee and a sticky blueberry Danish ! There was a problem with the till so I got a complementary elevenses, while I waited. Seemed a good time to bring out ‘The Little Book Of Hygge’. Has anybody read it?
Yesterday Wil and I had a Christmas Shopping for ‘each other’ day In two Southern Lakes Towns. We had planned to not buy anything this year, but that’s snow fun! First we visited Kendal where we had coffee in a little Tea & Coffee house called Farrer’s. It was very cute and Dickensian. Also got chatting to an owl charity and petted a Barn Owl , a Tawny owl and a Little Owl. 🙂 I am a lot easier to buy for than my fussy OH so Wil purchased some goodies for me in Kendal but alas he found nothing he liked. 😦
Kirkby Lonsdale is smaller than kendal but has some lovely shops and quirky street names, such as Salt Pie Lane & Jingling Lane. Whilst I did find some unusual Victorian Whale tree decorations ( I bought one for our yet to put up tree ~ thats todays job) , I came away with nothing at all for Wil. He is one of those annoying people who doesn’t care about opening presents on Xmas Day. Tough, I shall get him something , whether he likes it or not! Another job for today me thinks. 🙂
Hope you had an enjoyable week. Wish me luck with my shopping!
Looking back over 2016, I hadn’t quite realised how many times we have gone away this year. We’ve camped, we’ve stayed in some fab hotels & B & Bs , stopped in a beautifully restored Showman’s Wagon in Cornwall and we have cosied up in a lovely cottage in the grounds of a Scottish Castle. And what is the common denominator of all our trips. Our cheeky Black Labrador Hugo, that’s who! We hadn’t initially planned to have so many holidays with our pooch ( or indeed so many holidays full-stop ~ oooops) , but it is really handy that dogs are made welcome at such varied types of accommodation, all over the UK. Check out the following.
A Friendly Guest House In Grange. If you ever find yourself in the Cumbrian Seaside town of Grange-Over-Sands, like we did when participating in the Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk , The Elton Guest House is an ideal base for exploring this lovely part of the Lake District. The Elton is a Victorian limestone building with comfy rooms, a hearty breakfast and a very warm welcome from owners Lynn and Liam. Hugo got lots of fuss and attention and was even given a cooked sausage at breakfast. Lynn sorted out a table reservation at a pet-friendly restaurant for us in the evening. Oh and did I say we were welcomed with coffee and homemade chocolate muffins on arrival. 🙂 The little touches really made our stay. Double rooms £82 per night, Singles £50, Dogs £8 per stay.
A Cosy Cottage In Scotland. This beautiful property in the grounds of Lochinch Castle in Dumfries & Galloway was our home away from home for a week in November. With a large enclosed rear garden, a wood burning stove and unlimited access to Castle Kennedy Gardens and Lochinch Castle Estate, it is the perfect countryside retreat. Hugo had plenty of walks in the grounds and the wildlife we spotted was amazing. The cottage is gorgeous inside too and bicycles and a barbecue are also provided. For more photos check out my post here. 4 nights from £229.
A Campsite In The Yorkshire Dales. We have stopped at Howgill Lodge Campsite near the picturesque Yorkshire village of Appletreewick, several times over the years. It’s a friendly little site with stunning views over the Dales and nearby riverside walks to Bolton Abbey and Burnsall kept Hugo happy. Howgill has spacious pitches, each with it’s own picnic bench. There’s a small campsite shop, hot showers, toilets, payphone , laundry room and a dog exercise field. Two great dog-friendly pubs can be found in Appletreewick. Two people & a tent £21 per night. Dogs go free.
A Secluded Lake District Hotel. The Haweswater Hotel is perched right on the lake in one of the lesser known areas of The Lake District. It is just 20 minutes from J39 of the M6 , yet feels very remote and is surrounded by the beautiful Haweswater Nature Reserve. We stopped here over the May Bank Holiday and the chef packed us a lunch to take up into the fells. The hotel has an art deco inspired interior and some of the bedrooms look very elegant on the website. Ours was a wee bit pokey and could have been nicer I think, even though we were staying in a dog-friendly room. The staff were lovely however and if you love wildlife and walking, this hotel is for you. Double rooms on average £85 per night. Dogs £15 per stay.
A restored Showman’s Wagon in the Cornish Countryside. Wow I loved our stay in ‘The Duke’ at Spring Park in North Cornwall so so much. The Duke is a lovingly restored vintage Showman’s Wagon. He lords over his own pretty Wildflower Meadow and is equipped with everything you will need for a cosy stay, including a french enamel wood burner, fully equipped kitchen and a wood fueled hot tub. Hugo got plenty of walks in the surrounding countryside and the nearby Springer Spaniel Pub is dog-friendly and does great food. You can read more about our stay and see lots of photos here. 🙂From £68 per night. Dogs £20 per stay.
Hotel Stays With Pets Pyjamas. If you really want to treat your dog ( and yourself lol 😉 ) , you would definitely benefit from checking out the Pets Pyjamas website. Browse their portfolio of pet-friendly cottages, dog-welcoming hotels, Country Houses and B & Bs .Look out for their unique packages which usually include a personalised box of treats for your pooch and even dinner for your dog. My post Hotel stays with Pets Pyjamas. will give you more information.
Coastal Campsite in Lancashire. By far the most scenic campsite on the Lancashire Coast Gibraltar Farm campsite in Silverdale is a traditional working farm with breathtaking views over Morecambe Bay. You can even stay in ancient woodland adjacent to the site or just enjoy the coastal panorama. Gibraltar Farm has the usual campsite facilities and there are walks and beaches as soon as you step outside your tent. The farm even makes its own icecream. Tents from £12 per night. Dogs £1 per night.
So it looks as though we have certainly enjoyed many a dog-friendly holiday with Hugo in 2016. Next year ~ a cosy cottage in Keswick….then we had better get on with that decorating!