Category Archives: Pets

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ September.

Hi it’s Scavenger Hunt time again. I am linking up with Kate’s Blog and choosing a photo for each prompt.



Seasonal. At the beginning of the month we had a walk around RSPB Campfield Marsh near Bowness on Solway. It looked particularly lovely with the late summer seasonal heather in bloom.


Favourite seat/place to sit. I haven’t really got a favourite, but if I had, how about a pew with a view. This was taken 2 years ago on Berneray in the Outer Hebrides. Oh to be back!
Comforting/cosy. Speaking of seats, a lovely friend made me a cushion over lockdown. It’s perfect as an armrest on my bench in the back yard.
Delight/ed/ful. I was delighted to capture this delightful Red Admiral on camera a few days ago. Now it’s September butterflies are becoming fewer and far between.
Micro/mini/tiny. These Shetland ponies might be small, but they are feisty characters. Hugo is keeping his distance. 😅


My own choice. Slinky hasn’t made an appearance on the blog in a while. Never fear she is still here. Here she is hogging Hugo’s bed. Luckily he has two!

Thanks for dropping by.

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.

❤️

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ August. 📷

Here are Kate/Hawthorns words for this month’s Photo Scavenger Hunt. 📷

MOVING. I love this stainless steel fish sculpture in nearby Whalley. The fish appear as though they are moving in a circular motion. They represent the three local rivers in the area.

BOXES. I couldn’t find any boxes to photograph , so here’s a picture of a British beach that ticks all my boxes. Two years ago we visited North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. White sands and turquoise sea galore. At the moment a friend is filling my Facebook feed with images from an equally stunning Hebridean Island, Harris. Very envious indeed.

STARTS WITH ….D. A doggo of course. This is Bel the Bedlington Terrier who is totally the boss of our labrador. She always pinches Hugo’s bed whenever we go away with her family. Think Bel does suit pink better than Hugo though. 🙂

BREAKFAST. I snuck out for coffee and a pastry one morning whilst the Eat Out To Help Out offer was on. It was a lovely morning so I ate my breakfast 🥐 alfresco.

MAKING. I’m not really a crafter or maker , so here is a Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredient meal we were making for tea recently. It’s SicillianTuna Pasta and contains pasta, tuna, cherry tomatoes, oregano and capers.

MY OWN CHOICE. Walking past a church yesterday, and who should be walking along the wall but this cute chicken. 🐔

Thanks for dropping by. 😊

Back On The Tolkien Trail. 🧙‍♂️🥾

Although I’ve posted about The Tolkien Trail on my blog before, I walked it again recently with my sister and family, and thought it worth another look. Undoubtedly this tranquil area of Lancashire inspired J. R. R. Tolkien , he often stayed here whilst visiting his son John who attended Stonyhurst College. The Lord Of The Rings author enjoyed walking in the lovely leafy Hurst Green countryside and local place names and landmarks made it into his writings.

On this occasion we followed the route starting at The Shireburn Arms , the 17th century Inn was named after the rich land owning Shireburn family. A river Shirebourn features in The Lord Of The Rings.

Hurst Green village centre.

A Tolkien quote near The Shireburn Arms.

A glorious clump of Purple Loosestrife. ❤️

Aqueduct.

Our walk very nearly got abandoned. At this point we were meant to be following the riverside but a herd of frisky cows showed too much interest in Hugo the Labrador. We made a hasty retreat up a hill and managed to rejoin the river later.

A house called ‘ Jumbles’ named after Jumbles’ rocks, pertruding stones in the river Ribble.

River depth gage.

Hugo.

Hacking Hall in the background.

The heavens kept opening ( and the sun shone too! ) as we followed the trail. To be honest the walk could really benefit from a few Lord of the Rings inspired sculptures or scribbles along the route, I reckon. Anyway above is Hacking Hall from where the Hacking Ferry boat still operated in Tolkien’s time at Stonyhurst. The ferry was possibly the inspiration for his ‘ Bucklebury Ferry’ .

This old oak is mentioned in The Woodland Trusts Ancient Tree Inventory.

Winckley Hall Farm.

Tree climbers.

Cromwell’s Bridge from Lower Hodder.

Cromwell’s Bridge over the river Hodder may have been the inspiration for Tolkien’s ‘ Brandywine’ bridge. It is named after Oliver Cromwell ,who along with his troops rode over the skinny stone structure, on their way from Gisburn to The Battle of Preston. We followed the riverside up through shady woodland past Hodder court.

Corn crops a long the Holder.

Cuckoo Pint Berry Stalks.

Windey path through the woods.

Up above.

Stepping out.

Eventually we ended up in the grounds of Stonyhurst college, though I didn’t manage to get many photos. And then back to the car parked in Hurst Green. The trail covered 6 or 7 miles in total.

Stonyhurst college grounds from behind.

Alm houses in Hurst Green.

I must confess I have never read any Tolkien, though I enjoyed watching The Lord Of The Rings films. When walking the trail you probably need to research the areas connections beforehand, as there is no signage or information on the route. Nevertheless this was an enjoyable hike around a lovely area. 🥾

Here is a recent post from The Bowland Climber who was in the area too.

The Tolkien Trail can be downloaded online and can be found in numerous local walk books. I used…

Walks Around Clitheroe ~ Terry Marsh.

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?

🐚

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. 🤪

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. 🙂

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

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ July. 📷

Hey, I finally remembered to join in with Kate’s Photo Scavenger Hunt this month. Read on for July’s words.

Something Purple ~ Let me tickle you with a teasel. These spiky specimens appeared in the railway bridge field a few weeks ago, and have slowly been turning purple.

Shades Of Green ~ Not the most original photo, but here’s Hugo wearing a green collar in a newly mowed meadow, where the grass is a few shades of green.

Starts with…..F ~ My niece was ten this week. Double digits! Here is her Fantastic birthday cake with 10 candle Flames.

Still Life ~ And still life went on through lockdown. At least it did for wildlife. A selection of what I saw over that period. ❤️

Snapped At This Moment ~ A moment in time, trying on a mask before heading to my first hair appointment since before lockdown. I really don’t like wearing them as I find them suffocating. However I guess I just need more practice!

My Own Choice ~ The lovely coastline at Grange Over Sands a couple of weekends ago. And Mr Hugo of course. 🙂

Thanks for bobbing by.

A week At The Caravan.

I feel like it’s been a while since I posted.  We recently had a week away at the caravan, which for my other half was a much needed break ,  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.  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.  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. 😁


Langwathby Riverside Walk.  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.  Oh my goodness, I was in my element here!  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 Lakeland  mountains. Dogs are welcome on leads.



Marmalade March.  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 of  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 stone  Dacre churchyard bears as well. 🐻


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 as  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. 😮 Was still worth it though!


Allonby on the  Cumbrian Coast.  It isn’t a holiday without going to the seaside, I say.  A sunny Saturday meant a trip to the coast. 😊We chose Allonby,  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.

A Night Away At The Caravan.

On Saturday we were finally allowed to travel to our caravan and more excitingly, stop overnight! I must admit I was a little worried about our drive to the Lake District. Would we be stuck in traffic for hours? Would everyone in England be heading away for the weekend? It turns out we hardly saw a soul and the roads were not overly busy. There again the weather was not the best and we definitely needed our waterproofs.

Our destination was just under two hours away, so on route we stopped off near Kirkby Lonsdale to take Hugo for a riverside walk. The Lune was nearly bursting it’s banks, there had been so much rain.

Pretty painted pebbles lined the riverside path.

Rather nice art on the public toilet doors.

An old fashioned float in Kirkby Lonsdale.

The River Lune looking choppy.

Once we got to the caravan site we checked over the van , had some lunch then headed up into the fells for a walk. It’s the first time we have done this route, probably because of my general reluctance to drag myself up hill. It was of course worth it! We found a patch of woodland, a clear water beck and lots of foxgloves.

Once back in the village I couldn’t resist looking round the Green. Melmerby Village Green is an 11 acre green that used to be grazed by livestock. It is managed for wildlife and there are lots of lovely wildflowers on display.

Pied Wagtail almost camaflaged in the wall.

Betony.

Sheepfold.

Harebells.

Postbox in the village.

In the evening we left the pub to the locals and had tapas and wine in the van. Wil fried these padron peppers in olive oil and tossed them in sea salt. Delicious!

Peppers.

Quiet on site.

On Sunday morning we headed to Pooley Bridge which is near Ullswater. The lake was lively!

Hugo in Ullswater.

Bought a sausage roll in here. 😁

And had a socially distanced coffee in The Crown .

The River Eamont and the new bridge under construction. Pooley Bridges original stone bridge was destroyed during Storm Desmond.

Pooley Bridge Inn sign.

It felt good to be able to stay overnight at the caravan and it was nice enjoying a coffee in the Crown pub. We are ready for our proper week long break away. Not long now!

Did you go to a cafe or a pub at the weekend?