Category Archives: Places to visit

Hugo’s Lake & Tarn Tally.

To mark our labradors 8th Birthday this year, I thought I would turn his ‘ Lakes Paddled in’ map, into a blog post. Looking back over the last 8 years, well we’ve certainly spent quite a bit of time in the English Lake District! Though even before Hugo ,we were bagging lakes and tarns with his predecessor Jake. Hugo still has several lakes and countless tarns to discover, as do we. Here are the ones hes doggy paddled in…so far.

Bassenthwaite Lake. At 4 miles long Bassenthwaite is one of the largest lakes in The Lake District and the only body of water actually called a lake. All the others are waters or meres. Ospreys fish in Bassenthwaite and nearby pooch friendly attractions include Dodd Wood, Mirehouse Gardens & Grounds and The Orient Express at Bassenthwaite Lake Station. This beautiful lake is alot quieter than neighboring Derwent water , it’s so nice to visit!

Bassenthwaite Lake.

Beacon Tarn. We’ve walked to this pretty tarn twice when staying in nearby Torver near Coniston. Charmingly serene Beacon Tarn is getting more popular with Wild Swimmers and even hosts a yearly naturist Skinny Dip!

Beacon Tarn.

Bowscale Tarn. There’s a nice walk up to this Corrie Tarn from the hamlet of Bowscale. It was a popular hike with tourists in Victorian times and the water is said to contain two Immortal Fish, they are mentioned in a poem by William Wordsworth. No fish were spotted on our visit , but Hugo loved his paddles.

Bowscale Tarn.

Brotherswater. Located at the foot of the Kirkstone Pass, Brotherswater is a small picturesque lake with lily pads. Formerly called Broad Water, the lake was renamed Brotherswater in the 19th century after two brothers drowned there. Here’s a walk found on Miles Without Stiles , a great resource, especially if you have a dog who doesn’t like Stiles. Call in at The Brotherswater Inn for refreshment on the way.

Brotherswater.

Buttermere. The scenery around Buttermere is particularly stunning and a Lakeshore path takes advantage of the scenic vistas. Nestled amongst several mountin peaks including Haystacks ,Wainwrights favourite fell, Buttermere is owned by the National Trust. The nearby village of Buttermere sells ice cream made from the Ayrshire Cattle farmed in the Buttermere Valley.

Buttermere.

Coniston Water. Some of my fondest camping memories are of Wil and I stopping with Jake ( Hugo’s predecessor) and later Hugo at a campsite on the shores of Coniston Water. The campsite had some rampaging tent eating goats , you never knew if yours would be next! Coniston is a grand lake known for both Water Speed Record attempts ( Donald Campbell & Bluebird) and elegant leisurely boat trips on the Victorian Stream Yacht Gondola owned by The National Trust. Writer Arthur Ransome based the Swallows and Amazon’s books around here too.

Boat Launch at Coniston.

Derwent water. This is definitely a lake we visited alot ! We especially love the lakeside town of Keswick with all its dog friendly pubs and cafes and attractions including A Puzzling Place and The Pencil Museum. Derwent Water itself has a great 10 Mile Walk around its shores and The Keswick Launch Company provides a hop on and off boat service. You will probably see almost as many dogs here as humans!

Centenary Stone, Derwent water.

Elterwater. There are bodies of water in the Lake District that we have only ever visited once and Elterwater is one of those. However I would love to return as it is such a lovely spot ! Situated in the picturesque Great Langdale Valley this small lake is not far from Windermere and a scenic walk will eventually take you along the banks of the equally pretty River Brathay.

Elterwater.

Ennerdale Water. It is a good few years since our last visit to Ennerdale , today the Wild Ennerdale project looks after the lake and the surrounding countryside. It hopes to introduce Beavers and Pine Martins to the wildly rugged terrain. Ennerdale Water is the most Westerly of the lakes and there is a lakeside path that follows the shoreline. Last time we visited Ennerdale, it was to bag a Wainwright Fell below.

Crag Fell looks over Ennerdale Water.

Grasmere. Proclaimed by Wordsworth as ” the loveliest spot that man hath ever found ” , the picturesque lake, village and surrounding countryside are indeed an idyllic treat. We were here quite recently and I enjoyed a warming mulled apple drink at Faeryland Tea Gardens on the lakeside. Such a magical little place. Nearby National Trust Allan Bank is one of a very few National Trust places that welcomes doggys indoors.

Grasmere.

Haweswater. Although once a lake, Haweswater has been a reservoir since the 1930s, a valley with a village and farms flooded ,so the city folks of Manchester had access to fresh water. Today it is a secluded place with a narrow road that weaves its way down one side and a solitary hotel looking out over the water . We have stayed in the art deco Haweswater Hotel with Hugo twice, a great base for bracing fell walks and red squirrel spotting.

Haweswater.

Rydal Water. This small body of water is attached to nearby Grasmere by the River Rothay. Like Grasmere Rydal Water has many associations with William Wordsworth , one of his favourite views was from a rocky outcrop looking out over the lake, known now as Wordsworth’s Seat. Another landmark is Rydal Cave , a man-made cave accessed by stepping stones.

Rydal Water.

Small Water Tarn. Whilst staying at the Haweswater Hotel , we walked amongst the nearby fells to find Small Water, a tiny peaceful tarn. And what a stunning hike it was. I came across this Old post from 2016 about our walk.

Small Water Tarn. Not sure what Hugo is doing here. ๐Ÿคฃ

Thirlmere. We have actually only been to Thirlmere in the Winter with Hugo, we definitely need to return in the warmer seasons. The surroundings in crisp white snow were beautiful, however even Hugo thought it was too cold for a swim! Thirlmere is a reservoir created from two smaller lakes ( like Haweswater) and there is a 10 mile circuit around its shores . One for the list!

In the snow above Thirlmere.

Ullswater. Of all the lakes, waters, tarns and meres , I guess Ullswater is the one that I feel most connected to. I have close family nearby who moved here when I was still a teenager, so I have spent many days out by the lake. I love the old fashioned Ullswater Steamers that connect the walking routes of the Ullswater Way , a 20 mile loop of its beautiful shoreline. Aira Force Waterfall and the lakeside villages of Pooley Bridge and Glenridding are worth a visit.

Ullswater.

Wast Water. At 260 feet deep, Wast Water is the deepest lake in the Lake District. And the deepest lake in England. Surrounded by giant mountain peaks such as Scafell Pike, this glacial lake is located in the remote Wasdale Valley. If you like peace and serenity, the area has that in spades, along with gorgeous scenery. England’s smallest church , St Olaf’s is located at Wasdale Head.

Wast Water.

Windermere. It’s the largest lake in the Lake District and I would say the most popular. Windermere is 10 miles long and 1 mile wide, and in the Summer it’s a tourist mecca. I would like to visit this Southern Lakes area more often, but to be honest Windermere gets a bit too crowded for us. Needless to say, there are some nice lakeside towns and villages here, Ambleside is my favourite. Hugo has been on the Windermere Lake Cruise , his ticket read Well Behaved Dog. ๐Ÿ˜‡

Windermere Lake Cruise.

Shap Happy. ๐Ÿฟ๏ธ

At the weekend we returned to the village of Shap in the Eden Valley of Cumbria, to complete a walk we took back in June. At the time we ended up fleeing from a feisty herd of cows ( and a bull! ) , so didn’t finish our hike properly. This time we opted to do the final part of the walk first, ending at Shap Abbey and then retraced our steps back.

We used roadside parking in Shap near this handsome house called The Hermitage.
We took a footpath a little further on into fields with limestone walls.
And here is The Gobbleby Stone , dating back to 2000 BC. Click on the link for more info about this ancient piece of Shap Granite.
Watched by some wary ewes.
A signpost showing the way to the hamlet of Keld.
Keld.
Keld Chapel, a simple medieval chapel owned by The National Trust. Closed for renovations at present.
A Keld Cat blends into a stone wall.

Keld was actually a slight detour for us. It is a pretty little place and from which a ‘temporary road’ known as The Concrete Road was built in the 1930s for the construction of the Haweswater Reservoir. Cars are not permitted as the cement track is full of pot-holes, though walkers and cyclists may use it apparently. Another time we will explore!

We turned round and found a footpath sign for Shap Abbey just before the hamlet. Scroll down for a surprise little face, peering at

us from a tree. ๐Ÿค—

River Lowther at Keld.
Bright yellow Monkey Flowers on the river bank.
Squirrel Nutkin maybe.
Approaching the abbey ruins.
The 15th Century tower is most of what remains of Shap Abbey.

On the way back to Shap we passed more late summer flowers and some curious cows. Luckily they were safely tucked away behind those lovely dry stone walls.

Restharrow.
Field Scabious.
Safe on the other side of the wall.
Lunch at Abbey Kitchen.

Back in the village and just in time for lunch. I love the little cafe there , which is named after the abbey. Ploughman’s for Wil and homemade quiche for me. A happy morning indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

Great Cumbrae ~ Scotland’s most accessible Island. ๐Ÿ๏ธ

Did you know that there is an island off the West Coast of Scotland that is only a 10 minute ferry crossing from the mainland? Great Cumbrae is one of two islands known as The Cumbraes, they lie between the island of Bute and the seaside town of Largs in North Ayrshire. Little or Wee Cumbrae can be accessed from its larger cousin Great Cumbrae, but it is Great Cumbrae aka The Isle Of Cumbrae that I am visiting today.

Calmac Ferries run ferries every 15 minutes to the island from Largs. And tourists have been travelling over to the seaside resort of Millport on Great Cumbrae for decades. In fact some thirty odd years ago my Uncle Tommy and Auntie Joyce took my family over and we cycled around the Island. We have some happy memories of that time and I’ve always hoped to repeat the experience. So when my sister booked us a family holiday nearby, an island visit was definitely on our itinerary.

A Calmac Ferry docked at Largs.
All aboard for the 10 minute crossing.

The 10 minute crossing was quick and efficient. We went as foot passengers, but you can take your car along too. Many people travel with their bicycles and dogs are welcome on board. You don’t have to book, but you can if you like. Here’s the Calmac Website for guidance.

Once on the island there are buses waiting to transport travellers the 4 mile journey into Millport if they so desire. Most of Great Cumbraes inhabitants live in the pretty coastal town , which curves around an attractive bay.

Millport.

Millport has a couple of well stocked Bicycle Hire Shops on the main Street , so if your interested in riding around the island, you are spoilt for choice. As for the journey round?? Well it’s a 10 Mile mostly flat route that hugs the coastline. Perfect for a family outing!

Mapes of Millport Bicycle Hire.

Now, we always knew it was probably going to be difficult getting Mum on a bike. She’s In her seventies, with a dodgy knee, I don’t think we all quite thought the logistics through. Especially as Mum hasn’t actually ridden one in over 50 years. And looking back to our trips to Cumbrae, Mum never actually ventured out with us on a bike, even then. Ooops! As determined as poor Mum was to cycle out of Millport , it wasn’t to be. I ended up volunteering to look around the town with her, whilst the others pedalled away. Wil too had forgone the bike ride, to take our dog Hugo for a walk instead. That was my fault though, as I had suddenly jibbed out of putting H into a doggy daycare in Largs. Over-protective Dog Parenting issues…….

Garrison House.

Mum and I took a walk along the promenade and a rather grand looking piece of architecture struck our interest. The 18th Century Garrison House was built to house The Captain and officers of Revenue Ship ‘ The Royal George ‘ which was stationed at Millport, The Royal George played a part in catching smugglers that frequented the area. Today the impressive building contains a Doctor’s Surgery, Council Offices, Library, Cafe, Shop and Museum , it’s quite a hub for the community. Mum and I had a quick look in the Museum and around the pretty sunken garden.

Who knew Valentine cards could be so vicious ! Vinegar Valentines featured in the museum…
Part of the Lighthouse Exhibition.

Another building that we noticed in Millport was The Wedge. Though this abode on Stuart Street is definitely a blink and you’d miss it type of place ! The frontage of the skinny terrace is only 47 inches wide, which means that The Wedge has earned its place in The Guinness Book Of Records, as The World’s Narrowest House. Happily The Wedges shape does mean that the living space widens to 11 feet at the rear. I spied a Purple Bricks sign in the upstairs window and yes the petite property is currently for sale. Anyone fancy buying a Bijou Bolt hole ??

Wedged In…

Time for a brew? On a sunny Thursday morning at the end of August, we would have expected more of the towns shops and cafes to be open, but sadly quite a few were closed. I think perhaps because Scotland’s children returned to school after their summer holidays in mid August, it was no longer the height of the tourist season. The Dancing Midge Cafe ( love the name! ) seemed to be doing a roaring trade however.

The Dancing Midge.
Wil and Mum ( and Hugo) on the promenade.

After purchasing hot drinks to take away, Mum and I sat on the seafront watching the world go by. It wasn’t long before Wil and Hugo arrived back from their walk, joining us for a brew.

Opposite the Dancing Midge Cafe there is a jagged piece of rock called The Crocodile Rock. Astonishingly the brightly painted beast has been the subject of paintings and photos since 1913, when its creator Robert Brown adorned the landmark with its crocodilian features. ๐ŸŠ

Crocodile Rock.
A watery stone jettie . Little Cumbrae in the distance.
The sea was full of jellyfish.
Mum on the pier.

The cyclists arrived back after a couple of hours. Seals and seabirds had been seen. Some legs were tired, some opted to pedal around the island again ! Wil and I would leave Hugo with the family and bicycle around Cumbrae with my nephew and my cousin who had joined us for the day. So after a take-out lunch from The Dancing Midge, four of us set off on our bike ride.

The cyclists returned.

The 10 Mile loop around Great Cumbrae has plenty of stopping off points to admire the beautiful views, across to the mainland and also toward the islands of Bute and Arran. We didn’t stop too many times though, as the hire bikes had to be back by a certain time. Unlike the others , I’m not the fastest on two wheels!

I think it took us about 2 hours to cycle around the island. There are various viewing points and things to see, some of these are incorporated into The Cumbrae Sensory Trail, we passed the green waymarkers on our way round. Another painted rock was spied. The Indian Rock spookily peers out from under trees on the West side of the island. It has been here since the 1920s and was reportedly first painted by a hermit called ‘ Fern Andy’. Nearby the rock is The Fintrybay Cafe, an ideal place to stop off for refreshments.

Sensory trail sign.
Can you see the Red Indian Rock?
A Grey Seal enjoying the sunshine.
Cycling selfie.
Incredible blue sea and the mountains of Arran in the distance.

I was so glad I had gotten to pedal around The Isle of Cumbrae once again, and especially so, on such a beautiful afternoon. My legs were pretty tired by the time we got back to Millport! The rest of the family had been rock pooling and playing crazy golf in our absence.

Crazy Golf.
The Isle of Cumbrae Distillery makes a selection of gins including Croc Roc Gin.
Another view from Millport.
My niece reunited some recently beached Moon Jellies, to the sea.
A fab sweet shop.

I have fallen in love with Great Cumbrae once again!

Have you ever been? Which of the Scottish islands is your favourite?

August ~ Round-Up. ๐Ÿงก

Ahaaaah, it’s been a while! August has been a good one though. I’ve been spending most of it either holidaying at home, holidaying in Scotland or holidaying in the caravan. Back to reality tommorrow ( Oh No! ) , with a 7 hour cleaning shift at school. Can’t say I’m looking forward to it. Need to get my ‘ Back To Work Head’ on folks! Before I get back into blogging proper, here’s a quick look at my month…

Reading ~ Wils Mum passed this book onto me, I’m reading Pachinko slowly and I am enjoying this epic historical tale by writer Min Jin Lee. The novel is a sweeping family saga about a Korean girl who moves with her new husband to Japan , a country that is hostile towards the displaced Korean people. Family love and sacrifice are big themes in Pachinko. I believe it may have been turned into a TV series for Apple ๐Ÿ TV.

Reading in a Hammock. ๐Ÿ™‚

Watching~ As usual I’m incredibly late to the party ~ Wil and I have just started watching the brilliant Boardwalk Empire. Has anybody out there watched this series? It’s an American Crime Drama set during Prohibition, full of Mobsters and Molls. There are several characters that the show centres around, I suppose the main one is dodgy city treasurer ‘ Nucky Thompson ‘ played by Steve Buscemi, who seemingly has the whole of Atlantic City at his feet. I found the first season on dvd at a charity shop and we are watching it at the Caravan, Old School, we don’t have wifi there. We are hooked, so I will have to look out for the other seasons, there are 5 altogether. At home I am just catching up on Shetland and seriously wishing poor old DCI Jimmy Perez finds some happiness in this series. ๐Ÿ™

Late to the party.

Eating ~ I’ve definitely been eating far too much lately! Hopefully being back at work will hurl me into a routine again and a New Start/ New healthy eating regime. Maybe…. Meanwhile here’s a photo of the most delicious cake I’ve ever tried. A friend’s sister baked her this amazing creation for her birthday. It’s a super sumptuous ‘ Ferrero Rocher Cake’ and wow, a slice of this was pure heaven. Soo good.

Best Ever Birthday Cake!

Holidaying ~ My family survived a weeks holiday together. We stayed in the most lovely fairytale castle called Knock Old Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland and hopefully I will be blogging about it very soon. Check out those turrets……

Holiday Makers.

Birthdaying ~ A couple of lovely friends celebrated Birthdays in August. And also a certain Labrador Gentleman is now 8 Years Old. Which seems crazy, wasn’t he a wee puppy, only yesterday?? Yes Hugo is now in his early fifties, if you compare dog years to human years. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ Below Hugo poses with his Birthday Moose, only a few days after licking a jellyfish in Wemys Bay and costing us ยฃ90 in vets fees. Love you Hugo!

Birthday Boy!

Walking and Geo Caching ~ Whilst in Scotland we got into Geo Caching , as something to do with the family. Wil and I have gotten quite addicted it seems , and have recently been wandering the Eden Valley looking for treasures ourselves. Have you ever tried it? It’s a good way of discovering new places. ๐Ÿ™‚

Geo Caching.

Thanks for dropping by. I’ve got some blog reading to catch up on myself , so see you soon. ๐Ÿงก

July Round-Up. ๐Ÿ’›

Well July has bound by! So hopefully now I can relax a bit , I’m one of those lucky people that get a whole month off work in the Summer. Here is my July in a nutshell.

Reading ~ an actual book! It happened, I picked up a book and persevered. Maybe my reading mojo has returned. ‘The Tsarina’s Daughter’ gripped me from the beginning. Its a tale of indulgence, trechory, lavish luxury, dastardly plots and deadly revenge. Who is friend and who is foe in the Russian Royal Family? The young Tsarevna Elizabeth Romanov has to keep her wits ( and her head! ) in order to survive and gain what is rightfully hers. A sweeping piece of historical fiction that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The Tsarina’s Daughter.

Watching ~ another Channing Tatum film. Yep , he seems to be everywhere at the moment. Not that I’m complaining! Also Sandra Bullock ( who looks amazing) and Brad Pitt ( still got it) star in The Lost City . Definitely taking inspiration from ‘ Romancing The Stone’ and ‘Indiana Jones’, except with Sandy B in a figure hugging purple sequinned number, this is an amusing and rip roaring watch. Buy in the popcorn!

Sandra in a sequin catsuit ~ The Lost City.

Sipping ~ a Candyfloss Cocktail ๐Ÿ’“. Yep this was definitely my favourite tipple of the month, and you can read all about my experience at Cloud 23 Here! The Cocktail is called a Metropolis if you fancy trying it yourself.

Metropolis in the Metropolis.

Touristing ~ and generally wandering in the general direction of Hadrian’s Wall which is about 45 minutes drive from our caravan in Melmerby. The most iconic site on the wall is probably Sycamore Gap , where a lonely Sycamore Tree sits majestically in a dramatic dip. Not sure if there is a more photographed tree in the country! We spotted The Sill Visitor Centre and walked up from there. I recommend The Sill for a mooch around the lovely gift shop and a walk up and around their wildflower meadow roof.

We also discovered Talkin Tarn near Carlisle. I wondered if this body of water was man-made, but actually it is a natural glacial lake. It was a bit damp and drizzley on our visit, but still very popular with sailing boats, paddle boards and other watersports. There’s a footpath around the tarn and a small cafe, gift shop and gallery in the boat house. โ›ต

Sycamore Gap.
Talkin Tarn.

Celebrating ~ lots in July! Of course there is the fact that England won the Euros ..at last! I am not a sporty person ,but it is brilliant that such an amazing win will inspire all the young girls out there who love to play football. That includes both my god daughters who are eleven and twelve, they play for their local teams in Clitheroe. My niece too had a wonderful moment in July, she played Matilda in her drama group play. And smashed it! Proud family moment. โค๏ธ

Lionesses Bring It Home!
10 Years !

And I can’t go on without mentioning this little blogs 10th Birthday! Can’t quite believe that in July I had been blogging on WordPress for ten whole years. I have loved documenting the good things in my life, sharing places I’ve enjoyed visiting and of course reading all your lovely blogs. The blogging community are such a supportive and interesting bunch!

To celebrate my 10 Year Blogversary, I am hosting a little giveaway. To be in with a chance of winning the above box of Extra Long Matches ( they are certainly super size! )in a beautiful box adorned with swallows, just leave me a comment below. I will put all names in a hat/teacup and pick one out at random , when I write my next post.

Thanks for reading. ๐Ÿ™

Alston & The South Tynedale Railway.

Just to confuse you ( and myself ! ) this post includes photos from two separate visits to Alston and The South Tynedale Railway. We were there in the Spring ( I included a brief update in my April Round-Up) and also more recently in July. The weather was actually better in April! Anyway I’ve mixed the best photos together , so you get an idea of what the area is like. ๐Ÿ˜Š

The top of this North Pennines town is 350 metres above sea level, making it England’s highest Market Town. However I haven’t actually stumbled upon a market happening yet !

There are plentiful old buildings in Alston, many have been recently renovated by the Alston Townscape Heritage Scheme. The olde worldy look of the town has been used in the past to its advantage. It was transformed into a Victorian fishing village for a 1999 BBC adaptation of Oliver Twist.

Once upon a time Alston was connected to the Northumberland town of Haltwhistle by rail. The 13 mile track was closed in the seventies , but part of it has been preserved as a Narrow Gauge Heritage Railway. On both our visits we headed to the railway for walks along the adjoining railway footpath.

There’s a fantastic cafe at the Station called Hickins@thecrossing’scafe which is the perfect pitstop for a lovely lunch. It’s so welcoming , I wouldn’t have a problem waiting there a while. ๐Ÿ˜š Also at Alston Station is a museum, toilets , shop and ticket office.

Walking the South Tyne Trail ,which runs adjacent to the railway ๐Ÿš‚ is a pleasure. There are bridges, views and wildlife along the way. Springtime saw Lapwings nesting in the fields, undisturbed by passing walkers and trains. Summer blooms such as Orchids and Melencoly Thistles adorn the trackside from June. In April we walked to Kirkhaugh Station and caught the train back and in July we continued on to Slaggyford ( 5 miles ) , which is currently the end of the line.

There are both Steam and Diesel Locomotives in operation and the railway is run by a friendly group of volunteers.

Between Alston and Slaggyford you can hop on and off at both Kirkhaugh and Lintley. Various local Walks leaflets are available from Alston Station.

On our second visit we arrived at Slaggyford Station in perfect time to catch the train back, after a quick brew at the buffet car. Dogs aren’t allowed inside the buffet car, but the pretty waiting room is open to all, including four legged friends.

We didn’t get time to explore the Northumberland village of Slaggyford on this occasion. It’s unusual name possibly derives from the Old English for dirty muddy ford, referencing a fast moving part of the River Tyne that dredged up river mud.

The journey back from Slaggyford takes about 30 minutes on the train. The carriages are more spacious than that of The Ratty Narrow Gauge Railway at Ravenglass & Eskdale.

We ended both our excursions with a pint at the Turks Head Pub in Alston. I had first thought the pub was named after an actual Turkish Man’s bonce, but a Turks Head is actually a decorative knot !

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your Sunday! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Afternoon Tea At Cloud Twenty Three ~ Manchester.

Way up high in Manchester’s Beetham Tower, it is almost possible to indulge in Afternoon Tea……….in the clouds. With 47 floors this landmark skyscraper on Deannsgate is the highest building in Manchester. Comprising of 219 luxury apartments and 16 penthouse suites, the tower is also the tallest residential building in Europe. Floors 1 to 23 are occupied by the Hilton Hotel, and it is indeed on the twenty third floor that it’s Cloud 23 Bar is located. Two friends and I caught the train to the big city last Friday for shopping, cocktails and of course Afternoon Tea. ๐Ÿ˜Š

We had ordered the Cocktail Afternoon Tea as one friend had recently celebrated a special birthday. I was immediately struck by the view in the photo above, now that too is special!

It would have been fabulous to have been seated there, but sadly we were shown into the lounge area. I wasn’t too taken with the carpet, which would look more at home at Manchester Airport. And our first seats were not even by the window, fortunately we were moved on request.

The birthday girl soon got to grips with dancing on the table! Joke. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ She is in fact stood on a glass walkway ( a bit like a mini version of the ‘ Walk of Faith’ up Blackpool tower) where you can see all the way down to the bottom floor. Eye dizzying.

Our Afternoon Teas came served on easy to carry chrome cake stands. And there was a choice of coffees, tea, infusions or hot chocolate. I chose an iced coffee which was very refreshing.

I must say, I really enjoyed the selection of delicate finger sandwiches, petite cakes and decadent desserts. The chocolate bomb was super indulgence. ๐Ÿ˜š

Our cocktails arrived and the one I had chosen was certainly theatrical! Metropolis had the wow factor , it came with a fluffy candy floss topping, rather like a cloud. I loved it. โค๏ธ

The Birthday Girls cocktail didn’t have any flare , though tasted fine, our other friends cocktail tasted…medicinal.

The Cocktail Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23, for me , was a 4 out of 5 stars experience. As it cost an eye watering ยฃ40 , three girls from a tiny town , escaping for the day to the Big City, had high expectations!

Niggles.

. Afternoon Tea high in the clouds should always be situated with a view, when possible. Happily we were relocated.

. The pattern on the crockery made the inside of the cups look stained. They weren’t, though we think a nicer set should be used.

. The cocktails were hit and miss. Mine was fabulous. The others didn’t have the same wow factor.

. Although I had mentioned my friends birthday on the booking form, our server didn’t refer to this at any point.

So I’m definitely not saying I would never go back, but there’s some room for improvment. I did however love the drama of a panoramic afternoon tea.

View from the Ladies. ๐Ÿค—

Have you enjoyed Afternoon Tea in the clouds?

Eleven Things To Do In Clitheroe.

Clitheroe Castle. Photo ~ My own.

It’s time to be a tourist in my own town and write a blog about Clitheroe !

So what exactly is there to do in this vibrant Ribble Valley market town nestled at the foot of Lancashire’s legendary Pendle Hill. Scroll down to find out. โฌ‡๏ธ

1. Wander Up The Second Smallest Castle Keep In England.

Yes! Clitheroe is home to England’s second smallest Castle Keep. Our tiny castle sits proudly on a grassy hill , enjoying commanding views of the town and surrounding fells. Built in the 12th century the Norman Limestone Keep resides over landscaped gardens and parkland. In the grounds there are also a bandstand, skate park and children’s playground. Hugo the labrador and I like to check on the Leaping Salmon sculpture in the former Rose Garden and then head for an ice cream at 3 C’s Indulgence Cafe .

Luscious Lemon Meringue Ice-cream at 3Cs. Photo ~ My Own.

Clitheroe Castle Museum. Photo ~ Lancs.gov.co.uk

2. Take A Tour Of The Castle Museum.

Also within the walls of Clitheroe Castle is the Clitheroe Castle Museum . Situated in the former Stewards House this family friendly attraction displays 350 million years of local history. Little Kids and Big Kids can pick up an Explorers Pack to take on a journey through time then decamp to the museum gift shop. And make sure you take a look in The Stewards Gallery nextdoor. The latest Free Exhibition news can be found here. ๐Ÿšฒ

Number 10 Independent Bookshop. Photo ~ Facebook.

3. Explore The Towns Lovely Independent Shops.

Clitheroe is famous for its variety of independent shops, some such as Cowmans Famous Sausage Shop on Castle Street and D Byrne & Co Fine Wines on King Street are traditional town treasures. Newer foodie retailers have sprung up in recent years too. Check out Georgonzola Delicatessen and Bowland Food Hall for posh picnics and picky teas. And don’t forget to visit the town’s bustling market , which is open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

If I’m looking for gift inspiration I love to browse in The Shop Of Hope for ethical & locally sorced wares, Number Ten Books for reading related gifts and Raffia or Roost for special treats. There are plenty of other lovely shops to have a nosy in as well, we are spoilt for choice. And do break up your browsing with a hot chocolate or coffee & cake in one of Clitheroes many friendly cafes. Check out this POST for ideas.

Toms Table. Photo~My Own.

Did you know that Clitheroe is a top foodie destination? The Ribble Valley as a whole has a variety of renound countryside gastro pubs that regularly appear in Top Ten Best Eaterie Lists. Clitheroe will once again be hosting the areas famous Food Festival on Saturday the 30th of July, bringing the best of Lancashire’s locally sorced produce all together in its bustling streets and market place. I’m all for foodie posts so let’s continue. Read on…..

4. Enjoy Afternoon Tea On The Terrace At Tom’s Table.

On a warm Summers day what could be more decadent than partaking in a sumptuous afternoon tea on a sunny terrace. Toms Table at Lee Carter House is a French inspired bistro with a lovely outside area from where you can enjoy a light lunch or teatime treat. My sister and I loved Toms Afternoon Tea, which of course can be booked indoors too. From ยฃ20 per head. ๐Ÿฐ

Bottomless Brunch at Escape. Photo ~ Facebook.

5. Fill Up On Bottomless Brunch At Escape.

Those inspired folk over at at Escape have exciting plans for Summer! Already noted for their exquisite cocktails and Thursday Pizza nights, this rustic coffee & cocktail bar has recently opened an outdoor terrace. Yep we are definitely loving sun trap terraces in Clitheroe right now! And what better place to fill up on Boozy Bottomless Brunch. ยฃ30 per head.

Brizola. Photo ~ Facebook.

6. Share A Sunday Platter At Brizola Bar & Grill.

Bringing a little bit of Greece to Clitheroe, Brizola Bar & Grill has recently won a Best Medetreanean Restaurant Award at the coveted Food Awards. Serving simple yet tasty Greek style dishes, this bijou eaterie does an amazing looking Sunday Platter. Book me in ! Find Brizola in the Swan Courtyard. ยฃ15 per person for the Sunday Platter.

Corto Bar. Photo ~ Facebook.

7. Discover Clitheroe’s Many Bars, Old and New.

And there are alot! Clitheroe has a fantastic selection of varied pubs and bars, at least six of which only opened in the past two years. The pandemic doesn’t seem to have done our bar scene much harm. Here are a few suggestions.

Good For Real Ale & Cider ~ Settle down for a pint with the locals in a proper old fashioned pub, The New Inn on Parson Lane. Marvel at one of the country’s longest continuous bars at Bowland Beer Hall Holmes Mill , there are 42 handpulls. Enjoy your Craft Beers with Beer Snacks at The Beer Shack . Chill out with a local craft beer/cider/natural wine at Corto. Like your micro bar with live music? Head over to The Ale House .

Good For Gin & Cocktails ~ I love the cocktail menu at bijou bar The Parlour , it’s packed with parlour tricks. Escape are famous for their hand crafted cocktails. Flavourful gins and instagrammable interiors await at The Dispensary. Also on Moor Lane SauceBox know how to conjor up a cocktail. A little out of town, but worth the walk is The King’s Wine & Cocktail Bar.

Good For Other Stuff ~ Grab a comfy sofa and bottle of wine to share with friends at Parisian style brasserie & wine bar The Emporium . Make the most of the sunshine and people watch from the roof terrace at Maxwell’s Cafe & Wine Bar. Popular Brunch venue Jungle on Moor Lane is a lively bar on Saturday nights. Retro feels galore at The Old SchoolRoom. Plenty more pubs and bars in Clitheroe, so enjoy exploring. It’s the perfect town for a pub crawl !

Holmes Mill. Photo ~ My Own.

8. Go Duck Pin Bowling At Holmes Mill.

I am waiting in anticipation for Clitheroes latest addition! Holmes Mill is opening a Duck Pin Bowling Alley in the Old Boiler House. According to the link above ‘ this new attraction will include four duckpin bowling lanes โ€“ similar to ten-pin bowling but the pins and bowling balls are smaller, the lanes are shorter, and the action is even more intense.’ As things stand now the alley is currently behind schedule. Let’s hope it opens soon…

Everyman Cinema. Photo ~ Facebook.

9. Catch A Film At Everyman Cinema.

Also in the popular Holmes Mill Complex, my town is lucky enough to have a fabulous Picture House. If you love the comfort of curling up on a snug sofa whilst watching a film, having your food & drinks orders delivered to your seat and even hiding behind a cushion during a scary movie moment, then you will enjoy visiting Everyman Cinema , an evening there is such a treat! Food and drinks can also be eaten in the bar from The Speilburger Menu.

Platform Gallery. Photo ~ Lancs.gov.co.uk.

10. Buy A Piece Of Local Art.

There are several lovely art galleries in Clitheroe, where you can browse an eclectic selection of art by local artists. My favourite is Platform Gallery & Visitor Information Centre located by the railway Station, I love the cards there and have bought some cute gifts. There’s a list of the towns gallery’s and art studios on the Art Walk Website. Another arty event happening in Clitheroe Draw Clitheroe is a day of fun activities to inspire a love of drawing and art, pencil the 6th August in your diaries! Oh and don’t forget to check out local bar Corto and it’s Bog Art gallery.

Deer Sculpture in Brungerley Park. Photo ~ my own.

11. Get Your Walking Boots On.

Clitheroe nestles at the foot of Pendle Hill , which at 557m is the highest point in the Ribble Valley. If you like a challenging hike, this Route will take you from the town, through fields and up Pendle, a mystical hill , famed for its association with both Quakers and Witches. Clitheroe is also on The Ribble Way, a long distance ramble that takes you along the River Ribble from its source in North Yorkshire to the Irish Sea. Shorter walks in Clitheroe can be enjoyed in Brungerley Park, which is home to a Nature Reserve and a Sculpture Trail , along the river at Edisford Bridge with its miniature railway or around Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve. There are numerous footpaths to explore!

Thanks for reading and enjoy your visit. ๐Ÿ™

Latest Weekend Wanderings.

When I haven’t been to the caravan for a couple of weeks, I’m always amazed at the changes in the garden. Not being a gardener at all, I struggled to identify this latest blossoming shrub. Any ideas?

My poor pansy pot has been used by a moth to lay their eggs in the flowers. The culprit is below. I think it’s an Angle Shades Moth. Oh well! It’s good to give back to nature. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Saturday morning in Melmerby and the church was all decorated for a wedding with pretty white wildflowers.

And there’s always something to see on little walks round about the village.

In the afternoon we went to Honister Slate Mine where Wil would be going to Infinity and Beyond! His Birthday present from me this year was an Infinity Bridge Experience at Honister. Rather him than me! Scroll down for Wils photo of the bridge. Meanwhile Hugo and I explored around the site. There are some cool slate sculptures. ๐Ÿ˜š

Wil was buzzing after the Infinity Bridge.

I had noticed several people heading up the fells from the Honister Car Park. Has anyone done a Wainwright from there?

We then went for tea at Mary Mount Hotel near Keswick. The terrace has wonderful views. ๐Ÿฅฐ

How was your weekend?

A Walk From Shap. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฅพ

Bank Holiday Weekend ( also platyjubes of course! ) , we escaped the celebrations for a while, choosing a less obvious Lakeland area for a countryside walk.

Shap is a long grey stoned settlement in the North Eden District. It has a couple of pubs, a shop, cafe, chippy and an open air swimming pool, the highest heated outdoor pool in England. The steady A6 is the main road that meanders through the village, it used to be the principal thoroughfare for the Lake District & Scotland.

Not far away is the busy M6 , but to the West of Shap it is picturesque and remote. I had downloaded this Walk from the Eden’s River Trust. Part of the route is on the Coast To Coast footpath , though we didn’t see one other human being out walking. It was so peaceful.

The hike starts at the Northern end of the village, following a country lane signposted Bampton and Haweswater. We then turned right through gates into a field with a footpath sign saying Rosgill. Lots of ewes with lambs in the fields.
A large boulder in a farmer’s field called The Thunder Stone. โšก
Cow Parsley aka Queen Anne’s Lace adorning a quiet country lane.
An old disused Lime-Kiln.
There were a few bleached white sheep skeleton remains here. Look at this Skull which I placed on a rock.
Hugo had whizzed off with a bone. We decided to ignore him and he dropped it after a bit of crunching.
Cooling off time.
The weather was warm, the sky blue. A cooling breeze did make it perfect conditions for walking though.
View of Lakeland mountains in the distance. Here is a field where lots of gap walling needs to be done.
This walk does have alot ( alot ! ) of stone Stiles like this one.
A waymarker featuring a Golden Eagle, there used to be a couple nearby in Riggindale. Maybe oneday they will venture South from Scotland again. ๐Ÿ™

We headed through fields towards the small village of Rosgill.
And down to the River Lowther where we sat by the water for a while.
We veered off a tarmac track to follow the Coast to Coast Footpath through a field.
Bonnie bovines or Cow culprits??

Things then got a bit scary , a family of cattle that we hadn’t noticed at first started to take a bit too much interest in us as we tried to cross the field. They had a Bull with them and youngsters, but it was the cows themselves that started kicking up a fuss , fairly galloping towards us. We managed to scare them away , though not before Wil got knocked off his feet and Hugo got butted. I’m not sure how but we legged it into a solitary farmhouse garden with the cattle at our heels. Definitely a hair raising encounter, we were a bit shuck up!

To make matters worse we would have to sneek past the herd again to continue with our walk. We waited until they had calmed down and ambled away, an unconcerned resident of the farmhouse didn’t seem to care that we had hotfooted into their garden or that the cows had chased us there…

We breathed a sigh of relief once we had crossed this packhorse bridge.
Looking back to Fairy Crag, the cows are just behind it.
The remains of some farm buildings.
Following the Coast to Coast to Shap Abbey. The Coast to Coast Footpath was devised by Alfred Wainwright.
A very late blossoming Blackthorn tree.
These lambs look like just the one , with two heads.
Approaching Shap Abbey.

The Preminstratensian Order of Monks from France settled in Shap in the 13th Century and built beautiful Shap Abbey from local stone. The monks became known as The White Cannons because they wore robes made from undyed sheep fleeces.

Here was a lovely place to stop for a while by the river Lowther again. I must admit we had lost our thirst for continuing the planned route , which would take us through the hamlet of Keld and on past another large standing stone called The Goggleby Stone. Instead we made our way back to Shap through a couple of cow free fields and along a country lane.

Shap Abbey.
River Lowther.
A bit of a tight squeeze.
Dry stone walls on the way back to Shap.
Time for a brew in Shap.

We ended up having a delicious cheese scone and a cup of coffee each at the Abbey Kitchens cafe in Shap, the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by. I’m so glad Wil and Hugo were non the worse for our ordeal. We will definitely be keeping our distance from any cows in the future. Although apparently there are some handsome looking Highland Cattle in Swindale………..