Category Archives: photography

Snowdrops and Tabby Cats in Clapham.

On the way  home from a recent weekend away in the Lake District we decided to stop for lunch in the pretty village of Clapham. This lovely Yorkshire village deserves a whole day out to appreciate it’s babbling beck, it’s little stone bridges and it’s wonderful walks and nature trails. We will return!  For now, here are a few snaps I took on a brisk walk round. πŸ™‚

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A  Cafe, sadly not open on a chilly afternoon in January.
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Clapham Beck.
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Market Cross.
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Got warmed up in the Local Pub. πŸ™‚
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Village Shop.
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Always happy to see Snowdrops. πŸ™‚
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Let Me In That Brook!
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Fancy a seat.
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Hedge Dwellers.
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Where to next….
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St James Church.
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A Vintage Shop. πŸ™‚
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Treasures !
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I went into the shop and was greeted by….
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Miss Stella. She sold me a dvd of the film ‘Rebecca’.  πŸ™‚
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The Millennium Stone in the Car Park.

Thanks for stopping by. More posts about my Lake District trip coming soon. X

Wildlife Moments of 2016.

Hi there and Happy New Year everyone!  I’ve decided to have a couple of weeks off blogging whilst a bit of decorating gets done ( hopefully!) but first here are some of my favourite wildlife pics from 2016. Looking through my photos, I hadn’t realised there would be so many great wildlife moments captured on camera.

I loved seeing the  Red Squirrels at Formby Point and Haweswater and later in Scotland. Being so used to their larger grey cousins, it was a real treat to hang out with the little tuftys.: )  Hillwalking near Haweswater in Cumbria also gave me my first sighting of a wheatear ,it was perched on a craggy stone wall singing. And spotting Grey Seals on the rocks below Corsewall Lighthouse in Dumfries & Galloway was a joy. πŸ™‚

Of course there were also the moments closer to home when I didn’t have my camera with me. I know darn it, I should always carry a camera! Earlier in 2016 whilst out walking Hugo, we were accompanied by a silent white shadow gliding slightly ahead of us. I can’t describe how magical it was to witness a Barn Owl hunting in the field.:) And another time I was out with Hugo down by the River Ribble, when we were treated to three Hares boxing on the other side of the river. An amazing sight!

If you click on the photos each should hopefully have a description.I hope I have identified everything correctly! Looking forward to lots more sightings in 2017. πŸ™‚

Have you any of your own favorite Wildlife sightings from 2016?

My 2016 ~In Photos.

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 πŸ™‚  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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚  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 πŸ˜‰  ) 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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

October. We had an unseasonably dry October so this month’s posts are full of Autumn colours. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

December.  This month has been all about meeting up with family. πŸ™‚  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

 

 

 

Sunday Sevens 18th December.

I totally forgot about yesterdays #photanhour challenge , but I do have enough pictures of my week to catch up with you guys via Β Sunday Sevens . Yay! Β Above is last Sunday’s Β 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. πŸ˜‰

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 Β£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. πŸ™‚

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! Β 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. πŸ™‚ 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! Β Another job for today me thinks. πŸ™‚

Hope you had an enjoyable week. Wish me luck with my shopping!

 

How we spent our week in Dumfries & Galloway.

I thought I would write one more holiday post before I say a final goodbye to Scotland as I still have a few more photos to share with you. Stopping in the South West of the country in November meant that a lot of visitor attractions are winding down or already closed, especially in such a relatively quiet area as Dumfries & Galloway. However we still found things to see and do, always accompanied by our Black Labrador Hugo of course. πŸ™‚

Hiked to St Ninian’s Cave.   We took a short hike to visit the sea-cave retreat of Scotland’s first missionary saint. St Ninian set up the first church in nearby Whithorn and also used this cave as a place of solace and prayer. The original Celtic Cross Carvings that adorned the walls can now be found in Whithorn Museum but people from all over the world still make pilgrimages here, leaving gifts and makeshift crosses. We parked at the small car park at Kidsdale ( honesty box payment) , walked down to the shore through a woody glen and the cave can be seen on the right, a short stroll along the rocky beach. The cult movie ‘The Wicker Man’ was filmed in the area.

Visited Scotland’s National Book Town.   Yes Scotland has a National Book Town !  Wigtown on the Machars peninsula has a high concentration of book shops ( I counted ten) , including the largest book shop in Scotland, imaginatively called ‘The Book Shop’. The building doesn’t look very vast from the outside, but is deceptively tardis like from the moment you step indoors. And it’s also home to a very cute  Bookshop cat,so Hugo didn’t visit this one !  We found a couple of bookshop/cafes that are pet friendly including ‘Beltie Books’ and ‘Reading Lassies’, the latter has a cute resident collie. Soz, I am slightly dog/cat crazy.  What I should say is, if you love books, you will be in your element here. πŸ™‚ The town has an annual Book Festival every September.

Ate out in pretty Portpatrick.  Although we stayed in most evenings ( we had such a cosy holiday cottage, it was hard to leave after darkness fell) , we did go out for lunch…and even afternoon tea , in the pretty little fishing village of Portpatrick. With it’s pastel coloured cottages and impressive community bought harbor, the village is picture postcard perfect. It’s also a great place to try fresh seafood. Wil can heartily recommend the Cod Loin Au Poivre at the seafront ‘Crown Hotel’ ( I had a taste , and it was delicious) and their Seafood platter sounds impressive. As a Birthday treat for moi , Wil had booked afternoon tea at the Fernhill Hotel. With stunning cliff top views over the harbor and beyond, the Fernhills afternoon tea comes served in darling vintage crockery. Both establishments are down to earth, friendly and welcome dogs too.

Explored Castle Kennedy Gardens and grounds.  Galloway’s most well known gardens are situated between two natural lochs in the grounds of two historic castles near Stranraer. 75 acres  of forest trails, a huge lily pond, lochside walks, rhododendron displays, a walled garden and Champion trees. As well as exploring the parkland, we actually stopped here , in a lovely cottage on the estate.  You can read about our stay here  and check out lots of pictures of the local wildlife, which include Roe Deer and Red squirrels. πŸ™‚

 

Looked for Lighthouses.  The Rhins of Galloway ( rhins means points or headlands) are renowned for their numerous lighthouses, mostly built by members of the same family as the writer Robert Louis Stevenson !  I did write  A separate Lighthouse Post . about our visits to Corsewall Lighthouse and The Mull of Galloway Lighthouse. Both are havens for wildlife including seabird colonies and Grey Seal. πŸ™‚ Depending on the time of year it may be possible to take a lighthouse tour on the Mull. Another Stevenson built beacon that I didn’t include, can be found five miles from Portpatrick, on the Southern Upland Way. Killantringan is privately owned. A 1970s shipwreck can sometimes be viewed at low tide apparently.

 

Visited an Artist’s Town.  The quality of light brought and still brings many artists to the harbor town of Kirkcudbright and there is a popular Arts and Crafts trail for visitors to enjoy. We bobbed here on our journey back to England, and it is somewhere I would love to return to and spend more time . Apart from having a wee wander round, we actually bought a picture of a Lighthouse from one of the local galleries. It is an Artist’s Town after all!  We also enjoyed Fish & Chips from ‘Polar Bites’ and shared them with Hugo.:)

So that is how we spent our week.

Have you ever visited the area?  Where would you recommend a visit in South West Scotland?

Our stay in the grounds of a Scottish Castle.

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Icehouse Cottage.

I can hardly believe that only last week, we were staying in a beautiful cottage in Scotland. A cottage in the grounds of a Castle no less. Two castles in fact !  Lochinch Castle in Dumfries and Galloway is  home to the Count and Countess of Stair. The castle was built in the mid 19th Century some years after their original residence ‘ Castle Kennedy’ was burned to the ground. The ruins of Castle Kennedy can also be found on the Lochinch Estate and the Castle Kennedy Gardens are open to the public. Seventy Five acres of sculptured gardens and woodland to wander in. In November we more or less had it all to ourselves!

Our home for the week was the cosy single story Icehouse Cottage situated close to the original remains of a Victorian Icehouse. With it’s pretty furnishings, toasty wood burner and idyllic location, we couldn’t have wanted for more. Hugo was especially happy led in front of the fire after long walks around the grounds. πŸ™‚

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The ruins of Castle Kennedy.

On our very first walk we came across three deer just wandering through the forest. πŸ™‚  In fact every walk, thereafter, we would spot roe deer, red squirrels , woodpecker, pheasants, buzzards and other wildlife amongst the canopy of the trees. They became such common sights that it wasn’t even a surprise when we spied deer along the treeline of the woodland  behind the back of the cottage. I’m sure if we had erected a trampoline, the John lewis advert would have come to life there and then!

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Lochinch Castle.

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There are two Lochs on the Lochinch estate poetically named The Black Loch and The White Loch. Both hold lots of wildlife and the White Loch is a site of Special Scientific Interest due to its winter waterfowl and rare invertebrate  fauna and flora. I’m not quite sure why my dog has two tails in the above photograph….

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I think my favourite part of the Castle Kennedy Gardens is The Walled Garden, which somehow reminded me of a Secret Garden. Autumnal colours were out in force and flowering shrubs still bloomed. So beautiful.

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We loved our time in South west Scotland and Lochinch Cottages  ( there are two more in the castle grounds) provided an ideal base to explore Dumfries & Galloway. And a Winter Break there?  Well why not! Being out of the tourist season means you can (almost) imagine your lording over your own estate. πŸ™‚

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As we left we saw a deer wading through the Black loch. πŸ™‚

A Tale Of Two Lighthouses.

What to do on a blustery day in November?  Why ,Visit a Lighthouse of course. πŸ™‚  Whilst holidaying in Dumfries and Galloway recently, there were certainly plenty of blustery days. The first Lighthouse we decided to go look at was The Corsewall Lighthouse which is actually also a hotel. Situated 15 minutes from Stranraer in the North Rhinns of Galloway ( rhinns is gaelic for headlands) ,Corsewall was built in 1817 and still beams a warning light to ships approaching the mouth of Loch Ryan.

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On the rocks near Corsewall Lighthouse.
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A better view. Can you spot the fog horn..

The surrounding rocks are home to many different seabirds including fulmer, kittiwakes and cormorants. We were also excited to see swimming Grey seals and one poser basking in the Winter sun. πŸ™‚

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Watch the birdies.
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Fancy stopping in a Lighthouse??

After scrambling about the rocks for a bit we definitely needed a brew and happily a hot chocolate inside did the trick for me. πŸ™‚  I should have sneaked a look at the rooms. They are quite expensive at Β£100 per person per night!  Maybe the views are worth it. On a clear day you can see towards Ireland, the Isle of Mann, Arran and Ailsa Craig.

What I found fascinating is that this particular Lighthouse was constructed by ‘Robert Louis Stevenson’s’ Grandfather Robert Stevenson. And it isn’t the only one. Robert and many of his descendants are responsible for most of Scotland’s  Lighthouses. Including another, we came across a couple of days later…

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Mull of Galloway Lighthouse. Recognise the paint job. πŸ™‚

Heading south to the Mull of Galloway headland, the lighthouse here dominates the most Southern tip of Scotland. In season tours of the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse   are possible and there is also an exhibition, holiday cottages, a glass encased coffee house and an RSPB Nature reserve.Phew! But of course on a squally November’s day , the most you can expect from the South Rhins is a bracing walk and the odd wildlife sighting.

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Even in November the sea was a surprising shade of blue green. Maybe the West Coast Gulf stream accounts for the comparatively temperate weather here. That didn’t stop us wrapping up warm!  The winds beat up swirls of sea foam from the ocean beneath us.

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Weather Stone!

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RSPB  building.
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Wil took this great picture of a Buzzard on the Mull. πŸ™‚

As the cafe was shut we decided to venture into the nearby village of Drummore , which is the most southerly village in Scotland. It was amazing to see palm trees along the shoreline. :)There I spied  a rough n ready biker’s cafe called ‘The Mariner’s Coffee Shop’ which does a mean hot chocolate and sticky ginger cake.

So there you have it, a tale of two lighthouses, built by the Grandfather of the author of ‘Treasure Island’…..

Have you ever stopped in a Lighthouse?