Category Archives: lake district

A Long Weekend in Ravenglass.

Ravenglass is a coastal village in Cumbria that looks over the estuary that brings together the rivers of Esk, Irt and Mite. The scenery is ever changing as the ebbing tides create rock pools and sand banks. A melodic sound of tied up boats, their parts clanging in the breeze , permeates the sea front.

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Ravenglass.

I recently stopped in Ravenglass for four nights with Wil and Hugo. Some friends joined us for a couple of the nights. Luckily even in November we found plenty to keep us all occupied!

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Village Green.

The village has two cosy dog friendly pubs as well as a rocky beach ~ home to many wading birds and beach combing treasures, ancient Roman ruins, a nearby Castle with a Hawk & Owl Centre and the Ravenglass to Eskdale Railway, affectionately known as La’l Ratty.

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Hugo and Bel in front of the old fishermen’s cottages.
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Estuary View.
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Anchors Aweigh!
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Rainbow.
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Stonechat.

As well as windy walks on the beach , we enjoyed a stroll to Muncaster Castle which is a pleasant walk through the Muncaster Estate, passing the old ruins of a Roman Bath House.

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The well preserved remains of a Roman Bath house, used by Roman Soldiers from the once nearby Roman Fort ‘Glannoventa’.
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Festival Sheep. πŸ˜‰
Pretty Woodland walk.
Waiting to be pelted by cabbages! Only joking. πŸ˜‰
Waiting for the Owl and Hawk Display. The dogs and their owners watched from a designated area….way in the distance..

We all loved the Bird of Prey Display and it was good to know that the staff are so enthusiastic about conserving the different species, especially Vultures, who do get a bit of bad press in the bird world. Seeing them as a ‘ Clean up Crew’ definitely helped me realise what a useful breed of bird they are.

Speeking of birds, Wil and I also visited Hodbarrow Nature Reserve, an RSPB reserve on the coast between Haverigg and Millom. It was a day of high winds and squawly showers, but we enjoyed the dramatic scenery.

Hodbarrow Lighthouse, a focal point of the Reserve.

Most of all just hanging out in Ravenglass itself was a wonderful experience. I am sure we will return. 😊

Ravenglass from over the railway bridge.

Where on the coast do you like to visit?

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Sightseers at Lowther Castle~ with Picnic Cinema.

So I have a 25 Before 45 Bucket List , which I have been neglecting recently. Still lots to do on there and not very much time left to do it ! Oh well C’est la Vie. Something I listed was ‘ Watch a film outdoors’ and the other weekend I did manage to cross this off my Bucket list, when I dragged Wil up to Lowther Castle in Cumbria, for an open-air cinema event.

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Lowther Castle.

Picnic Cinema specialises in bringing ‘cinema parties’ to some of the most scenic and iconic locations in the North, including castles, forests and in the case of cult classic ‘Withnail & I’ , a remote farmhouse that was used as a location in the movie.

It turned out that a favourite film of both mine and Wils ‘ Sightseers’ was showing at Lowther Castle, a once grand residence now in ruins, but still majestic all the same. Even though Lowther is only a couple of miles from where my Mum lives, I decided to book us camping tickets, as the lovely weather was perfect for an evening under canvas.

The weekend before,the Lowther estate had played host to the ‘Kendal Calling’ music festival, but this was the first time anyone had been allowed to camp so close to the castle , so we felt quite privileged. The fairy tale turrets certainly made for a magical backdrop.

It also happened that a Crafty Vintage fair was underway in the castle courtyard, so there was plenty to keep us entertained after we had pitched the tent.

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Being the rubbish picnickers that we were, we actually forgot to pack a picnic! Couldn’t get enough of this delicious pizza though. 😁

The Picnic Cinema entertainment commenced at around 8pm. We wrapped up warm and took camping chairs, blankets, wine, snacks, and a torch up to where the film screen was situated.

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We were each given a cute goodie bag containing love-heart sweets, a sherbert dib dab, a pencil, a badge and a jigsaw puzzle piece! While we were waiting for the sun to go down, the Picnic Cinema team entertained us with a sightseeing themed quiz, filmed interviews with some obliging campers and various fun and games.

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At around 10.15pm it was dark enough for the movie to begin!

If you have never seen Sightseers, then you have missed a treat. Its a British Black Horror Comedy about a couple who go on a touring caravan holiday, visiting various tourist attractions on the way….and leaving a few dead bodies in their wake….. Filmed in the North ( Derbyshire, Yorkshire & The Lake District) , Sightseers is pretty macabre and totally bonkers! It was great to see it on The Big Screen. 😁

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I think I would definitely go again to a Picnic Cinema event. I love that the films are screened in such gorgeous settings, the staff were enthusiastic, helpful and friendly and the movies shown are usually quirky and different.

Still to show this Summer.

Saturday 11th August ~ The Big Lebowski at Muncaster Castle, Cumbria.

Saturday 18th August ~ 24 Hour Party People at Kirklinton Hall, Carlisle.

Saturday 22nd September ~ Moulin Rouge at The Festival of Thrift, Redcar.

Whilst in the Lowther area we decided to do our own spot of sightseeing. ‘Long Meg and Her Daughters’ at Hunsonby is a druid stone circle that was used as one of the locations in the film.

Have you ever watched a film outdoors? Are you tempted?

Now, back to that Bucket List!

Heather and Haweswater.

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Haweswater is a reservoir in the valley of Mardale in the North East of the Lake District. In the 1930’s this four mile stretch of water was created from the original smaller lake and the flooding of the picturesque Mardale Valley. Two villages, various farms and ‘ The Dun Bull Inn’ were destroyed, so that Manchester and other urban areas could benefit from a decent water supply. The reservoir still provides a good percentage of the North West’s water.

At the moment Haweswater’s water levels are much lower than usual, so it is possible to see the remains of the sunken village of Mardale Green, at the top end of the lake. However after parking at the Haweswater Hotel ( the only residence on the lakeside) and enjoying a spot of lunch, time restricted our planned walk to the ruins. Instead we ambled a couple of miles along the road to a heather strewn viewing point, the purple blooms are just coming into flower, and make for a beautiful backdrop. 😊

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Possibly a Silver Y Moth, but please let me know if I am wrong…

The Haweswater Hotel was built in 1937 by the Manchester Corporation, after the flooding of the valley. Inside it is decorated in an impressive Art Deco style, harking back to it’s 1930’s beginnings. We actually stopped there in 2016 for a couple of nights…and it was almost empty of guests. Happily this Summer’s beautiful weather and the ‘reappearance of the village in the reservoir’ have peeked tourists curiosity, concerning this lesser known (though still idyllic) area of The Lake District….

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Have you seen any heather blooming yet? Its still quite early, so it was lovely to see this pretty plant already flowering on the banks of the lake.

Have you ever been to Haweswater?

A Cumbrian weekend of wanderings and wildlife.

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Chimney Sweeper Moth.

The recent weekend was spent gathered with family at Mums. She didn’t want a big celebration, just time spent together with children and grandchildren on her 70th Birthday. Country walks, playing games, visiting some lovely gardens, and a Birthday Cake. It was a happy couple of days!

Mum lives at the foot of Askham Fell near Penrith in Cumbria. Its a comparitively little explored part of The Lake District, but well worth a visit. On Saturday morning before my sister and niece and nephew arrived, Wil and I armed ourselves with a Askham Fell Marsh Kelpie Tale Trail Map, and headed for a walk up the fell.

There are various Tale Trail maps of different places in The Lake District, aimed at younger walkers ….and the young at heart. 😁 The Marsh Kelpie is a fictional character that lives on the fell. We didn’t find him of course, but we did see lots of wildlife and a stone circle.

Skylark, Askham Fell.
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Small Heath Butterfly.
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A herd of ‘Wild’ Fell Ponies live on the Fell. This one with Wil is not very wild and shaped like a barrel. πŸ™‚
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Cockpit Stone Circle ~ once used by villagers for cock fighting.
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Linnet. πŸ™‚
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Pied Wagtail.
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Common Bistort on the road side. Mum knows this as ‘Sweaty Feet’ and if you smell it…..it does whiff a bit. : b

Its a good job my family are all wildlife lovers , as we also spent a lot of the weekend pouring over Mum’s Bird book, trying to identify the birds we saw. πŸ™‚ My sister and I forgot our phone chargers ( there’s not much of a signal or wifi anyway) , so it was nice to Id what we saw , the old-fashioned way.

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Siskin on Mum’s Bird feeders.
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Greater Spotted Woodpecker.
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Wil’s photo of a rather dapper Dipper on the River Lowther.

On Saturday afternoon we took Mum to Holehird Gardens near Windermere. She loves gardens and this one which is run by volunteers, is home to the Lakeland Horticultural Society. June is a good time to visit for the rhododendrons and blue Himalayan poppies.

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Blue Himalayan Poppies and Alliums.

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I’m not very well up on my garden flowers, but as you can see the beds were abundant with colour. πŸ™‚

On Sunday we visited somewhere closer to Askham. Acorn Bank gardens and Water Mill at nearby Temple Sowerby. The National Trust looks after the property and the manor house dates back to 1228, its first owners were the Knights Templar.

There is plenty to see at Acorn Bank. We walked along a forest trail to the working water mill, looked for frogs in the lily pond, found fairy doors, enjoyed the gardens, had a lovely brew and cake, browsed the second hand book shop and found Newtopia. πŸ™‚

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Fairy Door.
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A freaky green spider on Bistort…or Sweaty feet. Is this a Cucumber Spider?
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Imogen and Woody Woodpecker.
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Acorn Bank.
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Impressive Coat of Arms.
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Hop It !
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Looking for Newts!

There’s a pond full of Great Crested Newts in the Sunken Garden at Acorn Bank. We had plenty of fun trying to spot them!

Thanks for joining me on a fun family weekend…with lots of wildlife thrown in for good measure. x

Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ May.

Hi and welcome to this months Photo Scavenger Hunt. The words that Kate/Hawthorn chose for May are Cool, Movement, Disaster, Fence/Fencing, Prickly/Spiky & My Own Choice. So in no particular order, here are my photos for each prompt.

Cactus Buds. 😁
My terrarium is home to a tiny cacti and an air plant.

Prickly/Spiky ~ It was very fortuitous that two of my friends and I actually went to a Terrarium making class a couple of weeks ago. 😁. I have become quite fond of cacti in recent months, so it seemed a nice idea to create a home for some. The two hour course was part of The National Festival Of Making, which was held in Blackburn recently. If you fancy learning how to make a Terrarium for your prickly pals, check out Salvaged Gardens for workshop dates. They are based in Leeds.

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Bassenthwaite.

Cool ~ The best way of keeping cool in the recent hot weather? Paddling in a lake. This photo of me was taken at Bassenthwaite last week on a Camping Trip in The Lake District. The water was chilly!

Moo!

Fence ~ This picture was taken whilst out with Hugo yesterday. I tried to make him pose in front of a fence, but he was more interested in the cows . : b

On the hunt for crumbs!

Movement ~ Canada Geese hot-footing it past some rowing boats next to Derwentwater. The Lake is home to gaggles of Greylags and Canada Geese, honking away at the tourists and each other.

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I had my cake….and ate it !

Disaster ~ This was a tough prompt as I can’t think of any recent disasters that have happened ( touchwood!) , so when in doubt, post a picture of cake! I put on 3 1b in the Lake District…which I suppose is a bit of a disaster.

Manchester Street Art.

My Own Choice ~ I love this colourful Blue tit mural , found in the Northern Quarter area of Manchester. There is lots of unusual street art here, so its fun to grab your camera and go on a hunt. πŸ™‚

Thanks for dropping by. X

Postcard From The Lakes.

Well, we couldn’t have picked a better time for our first camping trip of the year! This very un-British like weather is having its advantages. πŸ™‚

Last week we spent four nights at Scotgate Holiday Park in Braithwaite, near Keswick.

Hugo chilling at ScotGate.

The campsite ( although a little overlooked) is

more or less perfect. Surrounded by a mountinous back drop and boasting a well stocked shop, cafe and shower block with underfloor heating ( No Less!) , Scotgate has a village location and good bus links to nearby Keswick and Cockermouth. Braithwaite itself is a lovely village with 2 pubs, a tea room ( opening soon) and a friendly village shop.

Here are a few photos of what we got up to on our break away.

Buttermere.

A lake we have always wanted to visit ‘Buttermere’ is a six mile drive from Braithwaite. A scenic route passes through the Newlands Valley and once in Buttermere village , there is parking near The Fish Hotel.

The Fish Hotel ~ once home to famed beauty Mary Robinson, known as the ‘Maid of Buttermere.’
There is a four and a half mile low-level walk around the lake.
Beautiful views everywhere you look.
Herdwick sheep and new borns.
My favourite view of Buttermere.

We loved our meander round Buttermere and I can’t wait to visit nearby Crummock Water and Loweswater.

Braithwaite is surrounded by mountain fells, so one morning we decided to bag another Wainwright ( mine and Hugo’s second! ) and walked up ‘ Barrow’ , one of the more diminutive Wainwright fells. At 1,494 feet , it still felt enormas to me!

A very rewarding view from the top! Both Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite can be seen from the summit.
Hugo enjoying a mountain breeze. πŸ™‚
Wil and Hugo.

We started our walk from the top of the village ( near the Coledale Inn) and the ascent is a gradual one , there is a clearly defined path up through the bracken. Once at the top, the views all around are stunning! The descent is quite steep. We soon realised we had actually done this walk before!! About 10 years ago, before I even really knew about bagging Wainwrights. So what was to be my second,is actually my first, done twice. Doh! Still, the hike up Barrow is definitely worth a repeat performance. 😁

Keswick Launch , Derwentwater.

The nearest town to Braithwaite is Keswick, on the shores of Derwentwater. Known as Queen of the Lakes, Derwentwater has a scenic ten mile waymarked path around it, which we walked on our last visit in January. This time however, we thought we would take advantage of the Keswick Launch , whose pleasure boats have transported tourists around the lake since 1935. Its a hop on/hop off service , so fantastic for taking to a certain point then walking back…or vice versa.

We walked from Friars Crag to Ashness Gate , passing The National Trust Centenary Stone at Calfclose Bay. I have wanted to visit the most photographed packhorse bridge in The Lake District, Ashness Bridge since seeing its iconic image on a postcard. A short hike from Ashness Gate, and there it is!! A little further and another wonderful photographic opportunity is Surprise View, where we had a vast uninterrupted vista of Derwentwater.

Doggy Paddle. πŸ˜‰
The Centenary Stone.
Ashness Bridge.( Wil’s photo).
Bugles.
Surprise View.

It was beautiful up there and so tranquil. Imagine clumps of pretty Wild flowers, curling ferns and the sounds of cuckoos calling. :). A cooling boat trip back and a delicious tea at The Square Orange in Keswick. Bliss…

Pigging out at The Square Orange.

Our last full day of our holiday was also the Royal Wedding day. During the day we visited Dodd Wood where there are two Osprey viewing points , trained over Bassenthwaite Lake. Unfortunately the Osprey were in hiding, but these magnificent raptors nest nearby every year and are often seen flying over the water. Opposite the Dodd Wood car park is the entrance for Mirehouse & Gardens , a beautiful historic mansion and grounds , open to the public. Dogs are allowed in the gardens and grounds, so I persuaded Wil, that we should take a look. πŸ™‚

Mirehouse & Gardens
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In the Walled Garden.
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The Wall Garden provides shelter for Bees.
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A surprise find ~ A Snuff Garden. Atchhoooo!
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Pretty pink. πŸ™‚
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Fancy sitting on this throne?
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Lots of colour in the grounds.
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Bluebells.

Mirehouse’s gardens are a riot of colour and there is lots to explore including a Heather Maze, Fernery, Herb Garden, Bee Garden, Poets Walk and nature trails. The grounds reach as far as the lakeside and there are woodland walks with surprises at every corner.

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The Coledale Inn.

We were definitely late to the Wedding celebrations, but in the evening I did indulge in a Meghan Markle Mac N Cheese at the Coledale Inn , back in Braithwaite. : b

Thanks for reading. X

Searching for signs of Spring.

On Saturday we braved The Mini Beast Of The East and headed to Cumbria to visit family. We also packed in two short walks with our labrador Hugo. I kept my camera handy to record any burgeoning signs that Spring might just be making an appearance. πŸ™‚

First stop , Kirkby Lonsdale. This small market town on the edge of the Lake District sits on the banks of the River Lune. An easy stroll from the free car park at Devil’s Bridge takes you along the waterside and up into the town centre.

Devil’s Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale.
Male Goosander.
Pussy Willow.

The only climb is the ’86’ Radical Steps that lead up to ‘Ruskin’s View’ , a beautiful vista painted by Turner and described by John Ruskin as ” the loveliest view in England”. The steep stone steps also take you to St Mary’s Churchyard, which was adorned with a delightful carpet of crocuses when we visited.

St Marys Churchyard.
Ruskin’s View takes in the river Lune.
Male Blackbird.
Such a bonnie house. I think I take a picture of it every time I visit.

The cold weather has meant that the snowdrops here in the North are still in good form! Whilst they continue to bloom, Winter has stubbornly decided to hang on I think. As we headed further up the M6 , the countryside turned whiter and the world got windier.

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Snow near Shap.
Dacre Bear.

Our second walk was later in the afternoon and started off in the pretty village of Dacre, about two miles north of Pooley Bridge. Four stone bears can be seen amongst the gravestones in St Andrews graveyard ( they are not very bear like now! ) and it is claimed that they once rested on the four corners of Dacre’s 14th Century Castle keep.

Could this be the Mini Beast From The East??

The only daffodil in flower that we saw was one solitary yellow trumpet in Dacre. Looking back to this time last year, the nearby village of Askham where my Mum lives was positively trumpeting. Not so in 2018…yet ! We continued on our way amongst snow flurries, bitter cold winds and odd spells of bright sunshine, along the estate path towards Dalemain Mansion. I wrote a post last year about our visit to the gardens here.

Deer park, Dalemain.

Although its a nice dog walk from Dacre to Dalemain, the estate does not allow four-legged friends to accompany you into the house, gardens or cafΓ©. 😦 So we tried to warm up outside with a steaming hot coffee and a delicious slab of ginger cake spread with marmalade. Dalemain is famous for its annual Marmalade Awards and Festival, and it was actually near to the end of the first day of this years festival, when we arrived. If your in the area today, the weekend of marmalade tasting continues. I bought a small jar of Jane’s Marmalade. Jane is the Lady Marmalade of the house apparently.

Crocus and Aconites.
Fallow Deer.
Heading back to Dacre. The 14th century Castle is just ahead.

These two short walks added up to six miles and it was lovely to see some small signs of Spring what has been an unusually cold March.

Walking in Clitheroe this morning.

Of course things are back to the norm, back home in Lancashire today. Yet more snow!

What signs of Spring have you seen in your neck of the woods?

I am linking up with Jo’s Monday Walks so do pop by her lovely blog. X