The weather in my hometown of Clitheroe in Northern England today was foggy, wet and grey so we decided to pop over the Lancashire border to Skipton in the drizzly Yorkshire Dales. A planned walk up Pendle Hill has been postponed ( I admit I was a teeny bit relieved! ) until a less misty day.
My other half hadn’t seen the newish ( 12 months old) willow sculptures in Skipton Castle Woods ,so I suggested we blow off the cobwebs with a walk there. I have blogged about the Sculptures previously, but it’s nice to share their beauty with you all again. It was Hugo’s first sight of them too. 😁
After our walk and a nosy round some shops we were ready for lunch. I thought we could treat Hugo ( and ourselves! ) to dinner at The Kibble Bakery on Sheep Street. When we arrived it was completely empty of customers so I quickly took a few photos, it was busy with both hounds and humans by the time we left.
The Kibble Bakery & Coffee House is a bright and cosy ( and very dog friendly) cafe. It is run by a mother and daughter team who as well as making and baking delicious food for humans, make and bake for our four legged friends too. Hugo sampled a cheesy pup biscuit, I wish I could tell you he tasted the flavour but being a greedy Labrador , he wolfed it down in seconds…..
On our way home from Skipton we had a bit of a walk down the canal side at East Marten, but the weather had changed for the worst , so no more pictures. Six miles done though so making a good start to the #walk1000miles challenge I’m joining in with again this year. 2019 I managed just over 1900 miles so a big improvement on 2018s 1600 + miles. Although I’m very happy with the mileage done, I know I’m still terribly unfit. Put a hill in front of me and I nearly die. The only remedy to that though is of course practice! And more fells, hills and mountains. So my aim for this year is not to improve my mileage, but to improve my chances of getting up a hill. Wish me luck! 😅
As is now a December tradition, I am sharing my year in photos. It’s been a pretty fab one. Life is looking good!
In January I started the #walk1000miles challenge again, determined to beat the 1600 plus miles I did in 2018. Had great fun doing the RSPB Big Bird Watch with my sister’s family, including Chloe the cat. And spent a weekend in Edinburgh. for Wils birthday.
February was pretty quiet , we changed the colour of the bedroom. I’m glad my other half is a dab hand with a paint brush. 😁
There was a weekend away in March with some walking in the fells near Coniston.
May felt strange, as I left my job of twenty nine years. I took my redundancy and have basically spent the rest of the year spending it! Highlights in May included Badger Watching at RSPB Haweswater and my friend Gills wedding. Wil and I scrubbed up ok.:)
June was the only time we managed to get a camping trip in. This is my fave photo from our weekend in Ingleton with friends. Our dogs on a date 😁~ Hugo & Bel the Bedlington terrier. Later this month I bought a static caravan in the Eden Valley in Cumbria!
In July we spent a tranquil four nights in a Tree Dome in Shropshire ( booked before my impromptu caravan purchase), got the caravan kitted out and I found work in a local cafe. I’m still there but it’s not the most stable of jobs. Who knows what the new year will bring..
August was mainly about exploring the area local to our van. Much of the rest of 2019 was devoted to this pursuit. 😁
I visited Amsterdam for the first time in September and the girls and I spent a chilled weekend at the caravan.
November is my birthday month and Wil treated us to a night away at the Haweswater Hotel. 🙂
And now it’s December and we are away yet again, this time in a cottage in Keswick, also booked before we bought the caravan. Despite losing my job this year, it seems I have taken more trips than any other! I know I have so so much to be thankful for and this little blog is definitely one of those things…..
I’d like to wish you all the best for 2020. Here’s to a healthy & happy New Year. Xx
The River Eden is truly Cumbrian. Beginning high in the fells of Mallestang at its source, it meanders it’s way some ninety miles through Eastern Cumbria up towards Carlisle, and finally merging with other rivers as it enters The Solway Firth. Some twenty years ago ten sculptures were commissioned to celebrate the history and beauty of the area, they are The Eden Benchmarks and I’m hoping to discover them all.
There are other riverside features too. Wil , Hugo and I visited Lacy’s Caves , five chambers cut into the red sandstone cliffs along the Eden at Little Selkeld. Also nearby is a Druid Stone Circle Long Meg & Her Daughters. Faces cut into the rocks by the river at Armathwaite and more red sandstone caves at Wetheral are on my list of places to see. 🙂
Eden Benchmark Sculptures seen so far.
South Rising. Carved from local Lazonby red sandstone, South Rising by Vivien Mousdell is situated on The Ladies Walk at Edenhall near Langwathby. It comprises of two curved rock seats, apparently representing the rivers perpetual journey and the annual migrations of the Eden’s fish and birds. Although not terribly intricate , this sculpture has stood the test of time, twenty years hasn’t weathered the carving too much. Though it was quite hard to find amongst the undergrowth! The Ladies Walk is especially nice in the summer with river, cornfield and woodland views. Lots of wild flowers and the possibility of refreshments at The Edenhall Hotel.
Vista. Definitely my favourite of the Eden Benchmarks we’ve seen so far is Vista by Graeme Mitcheson. Carved into a large sandstone boulder are the discarded boots, clothing and map of a walker who has decided to chance a paddle ( or maybe even a wild swim) in the river below. Vista is situated in Coombs Wood, a pleasant riverside walk from the lovely village of Armathwaite. Below the sculpture ( and unbeknownst to us at the time) are several carved faces in the cliffs as well as a poem etched into the red sandstone. Definitely a reason to return, maybe when the bluebells are out in the spring.
Cypher Piece. In the picnic area near the Eden Bridge at Lazonby lies Cypher Piece by Frances Pelly. Two adjacent rocks have been carved with clues about the Eden’s human history. Unfortunately this benchmark has really succumbed to nature and moss covers the entire piece. We could make out a fish but other detail such as a Celtic horses head, a ram’s horn and a Norse Tomb Decoration were invisible to our untrained eyes.
Red River. Looking out over the Eden at Temple Sowerby, Red River by Victoria Brailsford can be accessed by a footpath from the cricket field at the North of the village. This local Lazonby sandstone sculpture is still in good nick, the steps are carved with water ripples, the balls apparently representing large pebbles in fast flowing water. Not far from Temple Sowerby is NT Acorn Bank where we saw our first Eden Valley Red Squirrel in its adjacent woodland. 🙂
So there you have it, four of the ten Eden Benchmark Sculptures and six more to find…
Hey there I’ve just had a week off work ( not that I am putting in many hours at the moment, it’s the quiet period before Christmas) so I thought I would join in with Natalie’s Sunday Sevens.
We took a few days off to spend time at the caravan. Definitely noticing the cold more there now though. Having bought hot water bottles and an electric blanket ( oh yes!) we should be toasty enough on our next couple of visits, before we close it down for the winter. Did a couple of walks including a circular 4 mile route from the Bowder Stone at Rosthwaite to Grange. I can now tick this large Andesite Lava boulder off my copy of 111 Places In The Lake District That You Shouldn’t Miss. 🙂
We also had a wander up to The Beacon Tower which stands on a woody fell above Penrith. That morning the skies were a brilliant blue!
Wil booked us into the Haweswater Hotel for a night as an early birthday present. Hugo here looks a bit like a Devil Dog. 🙂
And here he is at the caravan watching Wil make a cheeseboard. His eyes are on the prize!
We gave in and bought a TV and blu ray player for the van. We don’t have WiFi up there so no Netflix etc. A chance to get reaquainted with our old dvds! Watched two seasons of the fun flatmates comedy Spaced from 1999-2001. It’s hilarious!
This aft I went for Bottomless Brunch at Escape in Clitheroe. My friend Fi brought her daughter Bronte ( here she is above with her god mother’s 🙂 ) and she proved very helpful in ordering us our ‘ bottomless’ glasses of Prosecco from the bar downstairs. Without her I’m not sure our Bottomless Brunch would have been very bottomless! Not the best service but a pleasant afternoon out anyways.
All in all I have had a very nice Birthday week. 🙂
An early birthday treat from my other half was a night away in the secluded Haweswater Hotel, located on the banks of one of The Lake Districts lesser known lakes. We had stayed here previously a couple of years earlier and since then a few more rooms have been refurbished in a 1930s art deco style, in keeping with the hotels history having being built by The Manchester Water Corporation in 1937. Back then the Haweswater Reservoir had been created by flooding the Mardale Valley, it’s villages and farms forever condemned to a watery grave. A picture of the former Dun Bull Inn has pride of place above the fire place in the reception/entrance hall.
It was about 3pm when we rocked up to our home for the night, enough time to take Hugo for a short walk along the lake side road. It felt bitterly cold, there was a smattering of snow on the fells. We couldn’t wait to get toasty inside.
Bad news greeted us. The heating wasn’t working! Thank goodness all the fires were lit downstairs and the hotel had raided the local B &Q in Penrith for plug in heaters for the bedrooms. We would have to make the best of it…
Fortunately our room ( Wainwright) seemed to warm up ok with the plug in heater provided. And there was still hot water. Phew! Our room was actually a lake view suite with a cosy sitting area. Quite bijou but totally fine for us and the dog. I certainly loved the decor. 🙂
The thought of a roaring fire enticed us back downstairs. The guest lounge with its huge sofas and twinkly lights was certainly very inviting.
Dogs are allowed to accompany guests into the lounge and bar but not the formal dining room, so we took our evening meal in the bar and enjoyed breakfast there the following morning. The food and service was excellent. My sticky toffee pudding was to die for. 🙂 Hugo was given some treats by the friendly staff.
My only disappointment was not catching a glimpse of the native red squirrels that visit the garden and bird feeders outside. Squirrel food can be obtained at the bar and on our previous visit we were lucky enough to see one of the little fellas.
Despite the heating problems we enjoyed a lovely stay at The Haweswater Hotel. The staff are so friendly and accommodating. I would definitely visit again in the future.
So on Saturday we decided to see what the Eden valley village of Shap has to offer. To be completely honest I have never been the biggest fan of Shap. Partly because it’s one of those places that you mostly just pass through, a road of grey houses on the way North… and partly because I actually stopped there for a night once with an ex in the deathrows of our relationship. These reasons and the fact that it usually rains in Shap ( in my experience!) haven’t exactly endeared the area to me. But I am being unfair. A little bright sunshine and some friendly hospitality has happily changed my mind. We arrived mid morning with a destination in mind, Shap Abbey. Little is left of this twelfth century abbey except the imposing tower which looks striking against both stormy and sunny skies. Information boards scattered around the site give a you a good idea of what was where. The building was one of several used by the Premonstratensian Order of Canons before the disolvation of the monestries by King Henry VIII. The canons were known as ‘The White Canons’ because of their unusual white woollen habits. They were apparently given good pensions when their home was destroyed , some of the abbeys stones were used to build the adjoining farm house. I can’t help but wonder if those canons still walk the grounds of a moonlit night…..
Wandering round the abbey gave us a good appetite. Shap is home to an award winning Fish & Chip shop. We headed there for lunch. Situated in the heart of the village, Shap Chippy is incredibly fresh and clean looking inside & out. The decor has a homely nautical vibe and we recieved a cheery welcome. You can eat in too, and we were pleasantly surprised that dogs are very welcome. Most importantly the fish & chips are excellent. Well recommended!
After that tasty treat we needed a good route to walk off those calories. Nearby Wet Sleddale Reservoir has a 4 mile public footpath & quiet road that circles the water. Set in the Shap Fells this triangular reservoir was built in the sixties, the water like many Lakeland reservoirs is used to supply Manchester. For this walk I recommend wearing wellies! I guess the clue is in the name. Wet Sleddale is indeed quite wet & boggy, even on a dry September day. We parked on the car park near the dam.
The countryside is lovely here and so peaceful. We only saw a couple of other walkers, so its definitely away from the Lake District crowds. Ling Heather, Scabious and Bog Asphodel grow in abundance and buzzards soar in the sky. The area also has connections with the cult ( and rather batty!) movie Withnail and I. Film locations include the stone bridge where Withnail attempts to shoot fish in the brook below and Sleddale Hall where him and his friend try holidaying in the Lake District. I took a sneak peek at the remote Hall, where outdoor screenings of Withnail and I are shown annually in the yard.
At the end of our wander round Wet Sleddale we sat and admired the gushing dam which is 21 metres high.
Have you ever visited Shap or the surrounding area?
Dog friendly hikes and exploring, mostly around New England. Our Adventures includes: waterfalls, the beach, conservation land, lighthouses, state parks, the woods, the mountains, statues, and castles.