Category Archives: lake district

Garrigill to Ashgill Force walk ๐Ÿฅพ๐Ÿ

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Bowscale Tarn. ๐Ÿฆˆ

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ ) 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

๐Ÿฅพ 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. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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. ๐Ÿฎ

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 ๐Ÿฐ cake. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜…

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. ๐Ÿฅพ

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. ๐Ÿ•๏ธ

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. ๐Ÿ˜š

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.

โค๏ธ

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 ๐Ÿ™„) 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. ๐Ÿฆ‡

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..

๐Ÿฆ‡

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. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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 ๐Ÿš€ 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 .
๐Ÿป 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.
โ›ต 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?

๐Ÿš

Melmerby & Ousby Circular walk.

Here are a few images from a 5 mile walk we did on Saturday in The Eden Valley. This is a nice walk in some parts, but we definitely had issues with some very lively cattle, and had to keep making diversions to avoid them. I love cows the most when they are snoozy, and not galloping down a field toward you. ๐Ÿคช

Also, we had to finish the planned route by road ,as the crops in a cornfield we would have walked through ( on a public footpath) were being collected. It was a peaceful country road though, so not so bad.

We walked through Melmerby, passing rosy stone buildings such as this, the village store.
And a bee friendly area, not for mowing.
A pretty pink poppy, buzzing bee inside.
Bluetit on umbelifer.
A track that takes you up the fell.
But we turned right for Gale Hall.
And were passed by a trailer of bales.
Lane to Gale Hall.
Unsurprisingly Gale Hall is a farmhouse.
A calm cow. Unfortunately I didn’t think to get photos of the lively ones.
Think we are safe from cow stampedes in this field!
Distant crops.
I wondered what a Texas Gate is? It is in fact a cattle grid.
Pony who came for a pat.
Pretty pink mallows.
Feverfew.
Postbox in the Row, a part of the straggling village of Ousby.
Sheep being herded in Ousby.
Foxy pub sign.
A Robins Pincushion, which are created by a Gall wasp on wild rose bushes.
Once back in Melmerby I find a pretty painted pebble. ๐Ÿ™‚

Parts of this walk weren’t great, but I did get some nice photos from it at least. ๐Ÿ˜Š

A Garden Of Eden ~ Flora & Fauna In The Eden Valley, Cumbria.

I thought I would share some of the wild treasures I saw recently on my week off in the lovely Eden Valley of Cumbria.

A Wildflower Meadow On The Lowther Estate. Situated between Askham and Whale after the bridge, the estate has put on a colourful display.

Vipers Bugloss.
Daisies & Campions.
Corncockle.

More from Melmerby Village. The village green and surrounding meadows are blessed with colour.

Red Admiral.
Travellers horses. Not particularly wild , but a lovely pair with very big hooves. Saw them clip clopping past pulling a Romany wagon, the occupant took the reins with a crow chattering away on his shoulder.
Bitter Vetch.
Skipper on Betony.
Honeysuckle.
Ringlets on Yarrow.

Langwathby & Edenhall. A perfect place for finding riverside and cornfield flowers.

Mallows.
Chamomile, maybe……
Common Furmitory.
Field Pansy, maybe…..
Giant Bellflower.

Cow Green Reservoir. A haven for moorland birds.

Juvenile wheatear.
Golden Plover.

Eycott Hill Nature Reserve. Definitely a go to if you love your upland wildflowers.

Ruby Tiger Moth.
Common Spotted Orchid.
Marsh Cinqfoil.
Bog Asphodel.
Mountain Pansy, maybe…..
Cotton Grass.

Dalemain Estate, Dacre. Always a pleasure to see the resident deer.

Fallow Deer.
Buzzard.
Fallows.

Hope all the colour and cuteness brightened your day. X

A week At The Caravan.

I feel like it’s been a while since I posted.ย  We recently had a week away at the caravan, which for my other half was a much needed break ,ย  having worked continuously through lockdown. A holiday we booked in Northumberland was cancelled , so I think this year we will try to make the most of our own holiday home. I know we are very lucky to have it !

Here is a quick round-up of what we got up to.ย  We are based in the beautiful Eden Valley, which is a rather undiscovered part of Cumbria. I love where we are as there is so much to explore nearby.


Chilling At The Van.ย  Of course we made a bit of time for relaxing as well. We are fortunate to have a large decking area ( probably three or four times bigger than our little yard at home) ,so it was always nice to sit out and enjoy the sunshine with a glass of wine…..or two. ๐Ÿ˜


Langwathby Riverside Walk.ย  An Eden Valley walk we often enjoy with Hugo is The Ladies Walk from Langwathby, through Edenhall village & back. The circular route is 3 miles long and takes in lots of gorgeous wildflowers, a couple of sculptures, a Celtic cross and pretty cornfields, as well as the lovely river Eden of course. We even enjoyed coffees and flapjacks on the green at the end from Saddleback’s cafe , a converted horsebox.


Eycott Hill Nature Reserve.ย  Oh my goodness, I was in my element here!ย  Eycott Hill near Penrith is run by the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust..and it is such a beautiful place. Sadly I forgot my actual camera, and only had my phone camera to hand, so trying to take photos of all the wonderful wildlife proved impossible. But I did see lots of beautiful wildflowers including Grass of Parnassus, Bog Asphodel & Marsh Cinqefoil, as well as various butterflies and moths. There are Belted Galloway cattle grazing here and views of the surrounding Lakelandย  mountains. Dogs are welcome on leads.



Marmalade March.ย  Having just looked up Marmalade March online, apparently it’s a track by the psychedelic porn crumpets. Who knew! It is also an alternative name for the Dalemain Loop, an extension ofย  The Ullswater Way, which is a twenty mile walkable route round Ullswater. I’m not quite up to that yet, so the five mile Marmalade March was undertaken instead. Dalemain ( an Eden Valley country house famed for its annual marmalade festival) was an excellent rest stop mid way, and we made sure to check on the gnarly stoneย  Dacre churchyard bears as well. ๐Ÿป


Cow Green Reservoir & Cauldron Snout. The caravan is on a site at the foot of the steep Hartside Pass, which resides in the North Pennines AONB. Over that hill lies more beautiful rugged terrain to explore, as Cumbria eventually turns into County Durham. The border between the two counties runs straight through the centre of the Cow Green Reservoir and the area is home to rare wildlife, such asย  Golden Plover. A track takes visitors past the dam and to the top of Cauldron Snout, which is apparently England’s highest waterfall. Even on a bleak day, there was much wild beauty to take in.


Skiddaw Summit. Oh my, did my poor legs suffer after walking ( or should I say crawling) up Skiddaw. This was my 5th Wainwright, and by far the highest at 900 plus metres. Unfortunately we picked the worse day to do it, as a dense fog obscured any views. We ended up dripping wet from the fog and Hugo almost turned white. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Was still worth it though!


Allonby on theย  Cumbrian Coast.ย  It isn’t a holiday without going to the seaside, I say.ย  A sunny Saturday meant a trip to the coast. ๐Ÿ˜ŠWe chose Allonby,ย  as it has a great beach for dog walking and we were looking forward to fish & chips. The Cod father didn’t disappoint.

So there you have it. Can’t wait to go back to the van in September for a week, and there will hopefully be a couple of weekends before then too.

Thanks for dropping by.