I had been researching Snowdrop Walks in Lancashire and found two. Both were at historic piles and not to far from the sea .Lytham Hall near St Annes and Hornby Castle , a short drive from Morecambe. I managed to persuade Wil that we could incorporate snowdrops and seaside into a good day out for ourselves and our Labrador Hugo. Off we set on a dreary grey day in Clitheroe, heading for Hornby Castle near Lancaster . We actually ended up blessed with some sunshine. 🙂
Hornby Castle in the Lune Valley overlooks the village of Hornby and the river Wenning. Parts of the building date back to the 13th century and the impressive tower that dominates it’s shape is 16th century. The castle is privately owned and the gardens are only opened to the public a few days a year
It was lovely to see all the many varieties of snowdrops in bloom. They carpeted the woodland, grew in thickets by the river and adorned the lovely walled garden. Hugo’s favourite part was exploring the riverside walk.
I wish I had taken more snowdrop pictures for you all. They really were stunning! Entry to the Snowdrop weekend was £4 per person and included a talk about the castle in the drawing room ( which we managed to miss! ) and you could buy plants, hot drinks and cake in the walled garden. A pottery exhibition was also in the grounds. If you wish to visit Hornby castle yourself, the next opening weekend is 19-20 May, Bluebell season. 🙂
The village of Hornby itself is quite pleasant and Hornby Post Office & Tea Rooms are a very good stop off point for a spot of lunch. The picture above is quite deceptive as the place was absolutely rammed, due I think to the Snowdrop Weekend and a second hand book sale in the village. The old fountain in the village depicts a cat with a rat in its mouth, said to represent the former owner of the castle, Pudsey Dawson, who brought in cats to clear the castle of a huge rat population in the 19th century. Yikes!
In the afternoon we headed to the coast and went for a blustery walk on the beach in Morecambe. Luckily at this time of year you can depend on pup friendly beaches, even if it is somewhat freezing! Morecambe has appeared in my blog quite a few times so apologies for any repetitive photos. Its a very photogenic place though, if a bit worn and weather beaten.
The bracing winds encouraged us to head for the Midland Hotel that looks over the bay and the long stone jetty, decorated ( as much of the town is) with seabird sculptures and poems.
The Midland is a Grade II listed Art Deco design hotel , which was built in 1933 by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. Like many grand seaside hotels it fell into disrepair and decline. In 2008 it was re-opened to the public, all restored and its elegant curving façade happily housing a lovely hostelry once again.
After enjoying our hot drinks we headed home through the Trough of Bowland, calling in at my sisters for another brew. Can’t get enough of brews in this weather!
Have you been on any snowdrop walks this year? Or bracing beach walks for that matter! 🙂
On Monday Wil and I had a day off together and as I was in dire need of some new walking pants, we headed up to Skipton, a North Yorkshire market town with a good selection of outdoorsy type shops. Skipton also has an impressive medieval castle and the ancient Skipton Castle Woods are perfect for a walk with the dog.
We entered the woodland via the Bailey entrance where a carpet of snowdrops welcomed us. Apparently the woods really come into their own later in the spring, when bluebells, wild garlic and primroses adorn the forest floor.
Skipton Castle Woods are looked after by The Woodland Trust and there are three short trails that meander their way through the canopy of trees. You can’t tell from the pictures but the weather alternated between rain, sleet and snow! We returned to the town through the woods entrance on Mill Bridge.
The town is the perfect mix of high street and independent shops, quirky cafes, old fashioned pubs with names like ‘The Woolly Sheep’ and colourful canal boats. Great for a wander round and a spot of retail therapy. 🙂
We had lunch in Coopers Cafe Bar on Belmont Street. This is a fave cafe of ours in Skipton. A really friendly and relaxing place with good tasty food. Afterwards we did the tourist thing and bought tickets to look round Skipton Castle. Tickets are £8.30 for Adults, £5.20 for children and dogs are accepted, though not in the shop or tearoom.
A sturdy castle over 900 years old, Skipton is steeped in history. It was the last stronghold in the North of Engand during the English Civil War between Oliver Cromwell and the Royalists. Legend has it that sheep fleeces were hung over the walls to lessen the impact of cannon fire. My favourite part of the castle is the shady inner courtyard, where Lady Anne Clifford planted a Yew Tree and set about restorations after the battle. There are lots of rooms to explore….and its a great place to escape from the rain!
Welcome to my first Links & Likes of 2018. This is a series where I like to include some links to a few posts I have ♡ recently.
February is a funny month. Spring is just around the corner( hopefully!) ,yet I still feel like hibernating! With snow, sleet, rain and hale all forcasted over the next few days in the North West, can you blame me if I cosy up under the duvet and snooze for the forseeable….
Yet I do have plans. 😁 Febuary is Snowdrop Season and I would really love to witness these first signs of Spring in all their gorgeous glory. Here in Lancashire Lytham Hall welcomes all to wander round their lovely grounds over the next couple of Weekends. Frames high-light the blooms for picture opportunities. Hornby Castle near Lancaster is opening to the public for Snowdrop Walks on the 17th & 18th February. Elsewhere The National Trust has details of early blooming gardens on their website. Hopefully I will be out and about searching for snowdrops in the next few days.
Other plans I have for February include a Ghost Walk at Houghton Tower and a Girls Night In Clothes Swap Party. So really, hibernation is not actually an option. 😄
Christine has been playing Colour Bingo with her camera. A great idea for a blog post!
Amanda visits a Train Station , where an iconic Romantic Movie was filmed in the 1940s.
Having recently returned from a 3 night break in the lovely Lake District, I would love to show you some photos from my stay. As per usual Wil and I were accompanied by our labrador Hugo. We stayed once again in Keswick, where we engrossed ourselves in country walks and awesome food. If you have a dog, then this Cumbrian town is super pet-friendly. Hugo must have been given a treat, everwhere we went. Luckily he had plenty of opportunities to run those tasty titbits off!
Friday ~ Snowy Thirlmere.
As we wouldn’t get the key to our accomodation until the late afternoon, we had planned a walk from Harrop Tarn to Thirlmere. The little country roads in the area were pretty icey though, so we scrapped that plan and parked at Station Coppice on the East side of Thirlmere instead. From here we took the underpass to Swirls Car Park . This is a popular starting point for the trek up Helvellyn. If you prefer a gentler stroll ( like me! ), there are various trails up into the woodland, including a Red Squirrel trail. We found a fresh white world ,the whole area was very Narnia like, under a blanket of snow. Hugo pounced in the drifts, I flung myself into snow angel shapes and a solitary herdwick , watched us with mild curiosity.
After enjoying the peaceful woodland we headed to the lake, where Hugo had a bracing paddle. Thirlmere is actually a reservoir ,created from the original smaller lake and the flooding of two hamlets Armboth and Wythburn. The industrial demands of Victorian England meant that Thirlmere was needed to supply water to the growing mill population of Manchester. To this day the 95 mile Thirlmere Aqueduct carries water to Manchester and beyond.
Saturday ~ Around Derwentwater.
Saturday dawned a fine bright cold day, the perfect weather for a winter walk around beautiful Derwentwater. A scenic ten mile waymarked path ambles round the shoreline , taking in stunning snow-capped mountain vistas, often reflected in the lake itself. What I particularly loved about this walk were all the interesting landmarks on route. Starting at the Friar’s Crag Viewpoint just after the Keswick Launch and Jetties, the path will regale you with many photographic opportunities. Look out for The Hundred Year Stone at Calfclose Bay, the Lodore Falls behind the Lodore Falls Hotel, The Chinese Bridge over the river Derwent inscribed with a Winnie The Pooh quote and the giant hand sculpture ‘Entrust’ near Portinscale. There are plenty of refreshment opportunities on route. We stopped off at Mary Mount Hotel for a coffee and a beer and The Lingholm Kitchen near Portinscale for a late lunch. From February The Keswick Launch reopens so if you do try out this circular walk, you can incorporate it with a cruise on the lake too.
Sunday ~ Chilled day in Keswick.
Sunday was a typically wet Lake District day. We decided to mostly chill in warm dry places. 😁 There was the happy discovery of a new pooch themed cafe Jaspers Coffee House on Station street, which does amazing breakfasts ( see above) and has cute doggy decor.
Did you know that Keswick’s Pencil Museum is home of the first pencil! The newly refurbished collection is a fun place to spend an hour out of the weather, especially if you get competitive doing the ‘Whats the point?’ Pencil Quiz. 😉
There are lots of great places to eat and drink in the town, many are very dog friendly. We always frequent the characterful Dog & Gun on Lake Road and finally managed to fit into the tiny tapas & cafe bar The Square Orange for a leisurely lunch. Definitely worth the wait!
Monday ~ Soggy Wet Sleddale.
Today we left Keswick and stopped off at Shap near Penrith. Again I had plans , this time for us to walk round Wet Sleddale Reservoir. But the lane down to Wet Sleddale looked pretty hazardous, so we parked in Shap and walked the 3 miles there. Maybe it is always wet and bleak here ( hence the name! ) but we didn’t make it round the reservoir. 😐 Still I am up for a return visit! We saw lots of Buzzards and kestrels and the area has a connection with a cult British film. Sleddale Hall was a film location in back comedy Withnil and I.
Where have you visited in January? Or are you enjoying a spot of hibernation. 😁
As my other half and I are ‘owned’ by a bouncy black labrador, our days out and holidays are often planned round walks and pet friendly places. With this in mind, here are a few of Hugo’s ( and our) favourite haunts, over the last 3 years.
Allan Bank , Grasmere, Cumbria. There are not many National Trust properties that allow dogs inside. A charming exception, a short walk from Grasmere, is a former home of poet William Wordsworth. Not every room is decorated however, so this Georgian Manor has a relaxed carefree vibe. The grounds are worth an explore too and include a woodland walk and gardens. Sadly there is no cafe on site at present, though you are welcome to make yourself a brew. Open this year from the 10th February. You can read about our visit here.
St Annes Beach Huts, St Annes, Lancashire. What better base for a day at the seaside than a beautiful beach hut! We spent a memorable day with Hugo in St Annes a couple of summers ago…. and we do need to repeat the experience. The huts are fully equipped with a fridge, microwave and radio. The sands in front of them are dog-friendly all year round. stannesbeachhuts.co.uk
Another Place, Crosby Beach, Merseyside. An atmospheric and thought-provoking art installation. 100 iron figures grace Crosby Beach, all identical , all modelled on their creator Antony Gormley, all stand staring out to sea. A stunning spectacle and a great place for a bracing beach walk. Pay and display parking but there is also free parking at nearby Crosby leisure centre.
Castle Kennedy Gardens, Dumfries & Galloway. If you find yourself in Scotland’s much underrated Dumfries & Galloway , these 75 acre gardens surround two lochs and the ruins of a 14th century castle. Great for exploring, you can stay on the estate too, as we did here. 🙂
Conishead Priory, Ulverston, Cumbria. Although this Gothic Priory is now a Buddhist Retreat , the grounds, gift shop and cafe are all open to the public. We have visited maybe three times now with Hugo, for lovely woodland walks that lead down to the beach. A January trip saw the woods abundant with snowdrops. Look out for the Buddhist temple and a giant golden buddha! Parking is free and you can eat with your dog in a comfy lounge, next to the cafe.
East Lancashire Panopticans. Have you heard of The Singing Ringing Tree, The Atom or The Haslingden Halo? All three of these unusual structures are found locally in East Lancashire, and can be incorporated into interesting walks. For more information check out midpenninearts.org.uk
Formby Point Red Squirrel Reserve, Formby, Merseyside. Formby has a great dog-friendly beach with sand dunes and coastal pine forests which are home to Lancashire’s only native red squirrel population. 🙂 The Squirrel Walk is a must if you wish to see these cute tufty creatures. Parking at The National Trust Car park. Dogs on leads in the reserve. You can read about my visit Sea Air ~ Squirrels and Naked Men on the Sefton Coast. .
Ingleborough Show Cave, Clapham, Yorkshire. We had no intention of touring this grand Victorian Show Cave but having stumbled upon it whilst walking along Clapham Nature Trail, we found that dogs are admitted. 🙂 The tunnels are well lit, though low in places. The tours are interesting and the shop at the entrance sells snacks and souvenirs. Find out more here .
Ingleton Falls Trail, Ingleton, Yorkshire Dales. This 7km walk from Ingleton village is £6 per adult, including car parking. The trail takes in several stunning waterfalls and there are a couple of refreshment kiosks along the route. Walking boots are best worn and dogs may need to be on lead in some areas. www.ingletonwaterfallstrailco.uk
Janet’s Foss & Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales. The Yorkshire Dales is renowned for its beautiful waterfalls and Janet’s Foss is no exception. There is a stunning woodland walk from Malham village ( start at the Smithy) leading to the falls ( home to a fairy) and Gordale Scar. Another walk from the village takes you to the impressive Malham Cove , with its unusual limestone rock formations. I blogged about Malham here .
Lake District Boat Trips, Cumbria. Did you know that four-legged friends are welcome on the pleasure boats that cruise four lakes in the Lake District? Hugo has taken trips with us on Windermere, Ullswater , and Coniston. I am sure Derwent Water will be on our itinerary for 2018. 🙂
Lowther Castle & Gardens, Penrith, Cumbria. The imposing ruins and gardens within gardens of this nineteenth century castle are a joy to explore. Lots of events all year round and an amazing castle themed adventure playground for the kids. Dogs are also welcome in the cafe and the gift shop. lowthercastle.org
Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk, Arnside, Cumbria. In 2016 we walked across the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay between Arnside and Grange-Over-Sands. As you can see walking actually means wading…partly. And some swimming for Hugo! Bay walks are organized group walks and should not be attempted otherwise. You can read about our attempt here.
Pendle Sculpture Trail, Barley, Lancashire. The natural world and the Pendle Witches have inspired this informative ( and stunning ) trail through woodland near Barley. Park at the village car park ( pay via an Honesty Box) and walk for one mile, passing a reservoir, to Aitken Wood. I blogged about a pre Hugo visit here.
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, Ravenglass, Cumbria. Traveling 7 miles through gorgeous Lake District Countryside on a miniature steam train is something you can happily do, in the company of a four-legged friend. 🙂 There are hop on and off stops with many opportunities for lovely lakeland walks.Parking and Refreshments available at Ravenglass and Boot. ravenglass-railway.co.uk
Temple Seal Trips, Morston, Norfolk. Dogs are welcome on these popular boat trips, where you can see seals basking on Blakeney point. Colonies of Grey and Common Seals as well as rare arctic terns. Definitely a must do. The red and white boats even have a part canine crew! We loved our experience and here’s my blog to prove it. 🙂
I can only apologise that most of our days out have been in the North of England. But maybe that will be an incentive to holiday here with your hound. 🙂 If you have any recommendations for dog-friendly places to visit ( anywhere) please comment below.
Here I am back again with the last Sunday Sevens of the year. Cannot quite believe how incredibly quickly 2017 has gone. Here are 7 photos from the last 7 days of December. 🌲
1. Christmas Morning ( beween present opening and lunch! ) a walk with friends and hounds, with a couple of kids thrown in for good measure. Our friend Fi organizes this every year, so it has fast become tradition for anyone who is available to meet up. The location is always Brungerly Park which is home to the ‘ Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail’ and we always have a standard photo taken by the festively decorated Sikka Deer sculptures. I think Hugo is in there somewhere, hiding behind Sophie the deer hound. 🐕
2. Another yearly Xmas Tradition found me joining in with Janet’s Thrifty Christmas Gift Swap. I always love hunting for gifts from craft fairs and charity shops to send to my recipient, usually another blogger or instagrammer ( is that a word? ) that Janet matches me up with. This year I had to send to Janet herself and I found a few bits and bobs that I hope she likes. These included a Virginia Wolf book, a snowflake tree decoration, a small bottle of toffee vodka and a bundle of pretty fabrics , as I know she is a dab hand with a sewing machine. Sadly I forgot to take any pics but below is the lovely gift stash I got from Hanna , who lives in Washington DC. 🎁 I especially like the frosted fir scented candle and the plush pink mushroom tree decoration. Thanks Hanna. X
3. Hugo loved opening his presents. If he didn’t have his own, he would definitely be trying to open ours. 😁
4. Yet another Christmas Tradition! When visiting Mum over the festive period ,the whole family gets together for a photo. My brother sets up the camera, then we have 10 seconds to scrabble into position. We basically have the same photo every year, with slight variations. In 2017 Mum is looking startled, Brother in law’s head is almost obscured by a light bulb, my Step Dad has his trouser buttons undone and Hugo is showing us his butt. Ho Ho Ho. 😁
5. My most favourite Christmas Tipple this year has been rhubarb & ginger liqueur from the Edinburgh Gin Distillery served with ice and ginger ale. Bottoms up! 🍸
6. Well we have booked a holiday! Can you guess where we are going next Summer? Clue ~ rather remote and hopefully we shall see Sea Eagles and Corncrakes, white sandy beaches and crofters cottages. 😊 In fact we shall be staying in the crofters cottage above!
7. I shall end this post and this year with a piccie of Miss Slinky enjoying her latest comfy spot on the sofa. 🙂
See you in 2018. Enjoy whatever celebrating you do tonight. X
As it is now a yearly tradition of mine to post a quick photo round-up of the year, I thought I had better get cracking with this 2017 post. I definitely have no regrets about 2017. It has been pretty fantastic with lots of short trips away, days out and fun times with family and friends. 🙂
January. We celebrated Wil’s Birthday with a weekend break in his favourite Lake District town Keswick.
Mostly this consisted of walks by beautiful Derwent Water and of course frequenting Keswick’s many watering holes. 🙂
April. It was my little sister’s 40th Birthday this month and we celebrated with a mini break in the Big City ( London) with our younger brother and other halves. Our trip included The Natural History Museum, Afternoon Tea at Claridges and watching The Lion King. You can read all about it here.
June. This month I participated in The Wildlife Trust’s #30dayswild challenge , where I attempted ( though that’s no hardship!) to appreciate the beauty in nature every day in June, whether that meant noticing the different wildlife I would see on my daily walks with Hugo, or using natural ingredients in recipes such as Rose Petal Jelly. The challenge also coincided with my first ever visit to Norfolk, which I shall always remember for it’s many many beach huts, beautiful wildflowers and those yummy Dutch Pancakes in Wells-Next-The-Sea. 🙂
Beach Huts Galore in Norfolk.
Dutch Pancake on The Albatross.
July. Already well into Summer now. We spent a couple of nights camping in the Dales and walked this tiny stretch of The Dales Way and we took Hugo on his first ever trip on The Ullswater Steamer . I think this is my fave ever photo of my two boys. 🙂
August. Anyone for Afternoon Tea? I can certainly recommend a fun, quirky and delicious one at The Cake ‘Ole in Skipton. And August is a great time to go camping with the kids, as we found out when we accompanied friends to Meadow Falls near Ingleton.
September. We had a bit of an Indian Summer this month, which made up for a damp squibby August. Luckily we got to make the most of the sunshine on a day out with my niece and nephew in Morecambe and we spent a week in the The Lake District , bagging my first wainwright fell and enjoying the incredible views over Wastwater.
October. Days out in October included A family friendly bike ride on the Lancashire Cycleway from Lancaster to Morecambe and back. It was my first time on a bicycle for many a year, so I was pretty happy that I made it!
November. My Birthday month was made so special when Wil booked us two nights in the Yorkshire Spa town of Harrogate.
I have always wanted to visit the Turkish Baths there so I checked us in for a morning, which was really enjoyable. We also visited nearby Knaresborough with its ancient castle and railway viaduct.
December. And its nearing the end of 2017 now after a fairly quiet but lovely December. Highlights included Hugo opening his Christmas presents ( he is very good at unwrapping, just need to train him to wrap up 😉 ), The traditional Christmas Morning Walk, Willow Angel Weaving and a Festive Afternoon Tea at Alexanders in Skipton.
I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who drops in on my little blog every now and again. It really has made my year. 😁
All the best for 2018. I hope its a great one for everyone. Xx
Because I am a traveller I can look down on the birds and up at the fishes. I collect moments and can venture back in time to lost worlds. I seize life and simultaneously escape it at will. Because I am a traveller I envy no man at home.