Category Archives: Places to visit

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ September.

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



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


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


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

Thanks for dropping by.

Lowther Longhorns.

Just a quick and hopefully cute post for you today, featuring some very laid back longhorns. I’ve had a fair few hair raising run ins with coos this year, there have been some frisky heifers and bullish young bulls on summer walks, I can tell you. But these guys, well they are just in full on relaxed mode. Though maybe a little curious about why I’m peering at them from behind a big tree…..

Luckily on my second attempt at capturing this native cattle breed on camera, I got slightly better photos. My first attempt a few weeks earlier was on my camera phone. I quite like that you can see lovely Lowther Castle on these ones though. 😊

The English Longhorns roam freely on the Lowther Castle estate near Penrith in Cumbria. They are a new introduction at the castle, and another introduction may well be on its way. Back in January the Lowther estate was given the go ahead to reintroduce beavers to the river Lowther. Due to coronavirus this has been put on hold at the moment though.

I was quite happy to see these snoozy beasts anyway. English Longhorns are a hardy breed , they will be able to stay outdoors during the cold winter months. I am looking forward to seeing more of them through the seasons. 🐮

Bampton grange & Bampton.

Bank Holiday Monday and the Lake District was swarming with visitors. Our plan to visit Haweswater, usually one of the quieter lakes in the National Park was scuppered, when we realised we were never going to be able to park.

Not far from Haweswater are the adjoining villages of Bampton and Bampton grange. The river Lowther separates the two. We parked by the river and took our labrador Hugo for a walk through the quiet lanes and meadows.

Summer Sky.

The Old Chapel, Bampton.

Jams for sale outside the Old Chapel.

Knipe Moor in the distance.

Mardale Inn.

Bampton Bridge.

Old fashioned Diesel pumps.

Hugo cooling off.

Shop and Tea Room.

Time for 🍰 cake. 🙂

Bampton has a movie connection! The phone box in the village appeared in the 1987 Cult Classic Withnail and I. There is even a visitor book inside and a battered video copy. We found other Withnail film locations here on a walk last year. It’s a bit of a bonkers film. 😅

Withnail and I phonebox.

Visitor Book.

Grass covered roof on a stone building.

Knipe Moor.

Robins Pincushion on Dog Rose bush.

Over the bridge is Bampton grange with its church and pub. The vicarage there houses a library of Latin books called Tinclar’s Library. The bridge walls were covered in pretty painted pebbles.

Bridge over the river Lowther.

Hedgehogs.

Strawberry plants and face masks for sale.

The Crown and Mitre.

The Crown and Mitre.

St Patrick’s Church.

A horse cools off.

It was nice to explore two villages away from the Lake District crowds.

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ August. 📷

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for dropping by. 😊

Whalley Abbey Wander.

Another weekend walk from home. On Sunday we decided to venture from Clitheroe to the nearby village of Whalley, via an old Roman road. The route took us 4 miles through muddy fields, eventually passing under a handsome red brick viaduct into Whalley. We found the cafe at Whalley Abbey was open for take away ( hurrah) and ate our lunch on the benches outside.

As I was meeting friends that afternoon I decided to chance it and catch the bus back, whilst Wil walked home with Hugo. Even though Whalley Abbey is practically on my doorstep, I have never actually explored the grounds. Well , they are beautiful. Can’t believe I haven’t taken time to look around this tranquil hidden gem in Whalley before. Unfortunately I only had about 20 minutes to whizz round taking photos before my bus arrived….so I will have to return and take my time. Whalley Abbey deserves a closer look.

Community woodland at Standen Hey.

Hugo finds a stick.

An old cross base.

Oak trees.

I thought the above few photos show the prettiest part of the walk. You can almost envisage the peddlers and horses & carts that wandered between Whalley and Clitheroe in days gone by.

Totem Pole in the woodland by Calderstone’s park.

Heading through the fields.

Obligatary cows.

Whalley Viaduct.

The abbey’s oldest building is The Gatehouse , it spans a narrow lane into Whalley.

The 49 red brick arches of Whalley Viaduct are a prominent feature in the village. Even these are overshadowed though by the former 14th century Cistercian abbey and it’s pretty gardens.

In 1296 Monks from the flooded Stanlow Abbey in Cheshire relocated to Whalley and work was started on building the monastery on the banks of the river Calder. It became one of the wealthiest abbey’s in the country, eventually dissolved in the reign of Henry VIII.

Below are some images of the abbey grounds. The later Elizabethan buildings are now used as a religious retreat.

It seemed that no time had passed before I had to hurry for the bus. At least I got to admire the beautiful stainless steel sculpture of Three Fishes near the bus stop. The fish possibly represent the three rivers in the area, the Calder, Hodder and Ribble.

Tudor style houses in the village.

Whose looking in my window…

Three Fishes Sculpture.

Do you have any abbey remains near you?

Back On The Tolkien Trail. 🧙‍♂️🥾

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

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

Hurst Green village centre.

A Tolkien quote near The Shireburn Arms.

A glorious clump of Purple Loosestrife. ❤️

Aqueduct.

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

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

River depth gage.

Hugo.

Hacking Hall in the background.

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

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

Winckley Hall Farm.

Tree climbers.

Cromwell’s Bridge from Lower Hodder.

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

Corn crops a long the Holder.

Cuckoo Pint Berry Stalks.

Windey path through the woods.

Up above.

Stepping out.

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

Stonyhurst college grounds from behind.

Alm houses in Hurst Green.

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

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

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

Walks Around Clitheroe ~ Terry Marsh.

A Weekend In Ravenglass & Eskdale.

Back in January a group of friends booked a holiday cottage on the Cumbrian coast. Little did we know then what a strange turn of events would unfold in 2020. A global pandemic would envelop the world, like something out of a Sci Fi film. We were definitely thankful that we had arranged our mini break for August in Ravenglass….and happily for us , it could still go ahead. Fortunately this little corner of the Lake District is relatively quiet and social distancing was easy. We also had amazing weather, which always helps. 😎

Looking over to Ravenglass.

Sunshine & Sunsets. So it was that 6 adults, 2 children and 2 dogs spent a happy 3 nights in lovely Ravenglass. Friday was enjoyed mostly on the beach in front of the cottage and admiring an incredible sunset from the balcony. One friend brought a Water Bottle Rocket 🚀 whose launches into the sky gave us endless entertainment on the sand.

Life’s A Beach.

Launching A Bottle Rocket.

Balcony view.

A Glorious Sunset.

A Ratty Trip , Walk To Eel Tarn & Wild Swimming. You can’t visit Ravenglass in the Summer without a ride on The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. Affectionately known as La’al Ratty, this narrow steam gauge railway takes passengers into the seriously scenic Eskdale Valley. We booked return tickets to Dalegarth Station near Boot, from where there are plentiful beautiful riverside and fell walks. Face coverings were advised though not enforced on the platform and inside covered carriages.

Our plan was to walk to a remote tarn for some wild swimming. However as stunning as the hike was, Eel Tarn itself wasn’t really suitable for water pursuits. Surrounded by boggy marsh, only Hugo the Labrador managed to spring in there for a cooling off doggy paddle. However the kids had discovered a promising looking waterfall pool in Whillan Beck , which we managed to visit later.

All aboard.

Eskdale Mill.

Whillan Beck Waterfall pool behind Eskdale Mill.

Sign to Eel Tarn and Scarfell Pike.

Heading up the fell.

Distant cattle.

Eel Tarn.

Picnic lunch.

Stone Peat Hut ruins.

Spot the Herdwick’s.

Direction to the pub.

A choice of destinations to head to from the Woolpack .

🐻 Bear at the Woolpack.

Time for a swim in the waterfall pool behind Eskdale Mill.

Saturday was a really hot day so the cool clear water in the beck was just perfect for swimming in. We had it all to ourselves too. As we left a local family arrived, the father had been coming to the waterfall for 40 years. To us it was an accidental ( and totally wonderful) discovery.

Eskmeals Nature Reserve. Having visited Ravenglass several times now, I hadn’t actually realised that the dunes I had seen on the other side of the estuary are part of Eskmeals Nature Reserve . We decided to visit here on Sunday for a walk. The dunes are home to rare natterjack toads ( we didn’t see any though) and many species of wildflower. There is parking by the viaduct at nearby Waberthwaite. Look out for a yellow flag. If it is flying the adjoining MOD land is in use.

Entrance to the reserve.

⛵ Boat.

Almost deserted beach.

Barrel jellyfish.

Sea Buckthorn.

We came across this pebble Union Jack in the sand.

Pebbles galore on a shingle spit.

A Few More Images From Ravenglass.

Tranquil waters.

Ravenglass has been a Roman port and was also visited by Vikings.

On a garden wall.

Hugo and yacht.

Little Egret.

The Queen wears a face mask in The Ratty Arms.

Anchor.

Bladderwrack seaweed.

A sea plane on the beach.

As we were leaving Ravenglass on Monday morning a man was setting up his sea plane for a 40 minute journey to a lochside cafe near Dumfries for a coffee. Can’t be bad!

Have you ever visited any places mentioned in this post?

🐚

A Garden Of Eden ~ Flora & Fauna In The Eden Valley, Cumbria.

I thought I would share some of the wild treasures I saw recently on my week off in the lovely Eden Valley of Cumbria.

A Wildflower Meadow On The Lowther Estate. Situated between Askham and Whale after the bridge, the estate has put on a colourful display.

Vipers Bugloss.

Daisies & Campions.

Corncockle.

More from Melmerby Village. The village green and surrounding meadows are blessed with colour.

Red Admiral.

Travellers horses. Not particularly wild , but a lovely pair with very big hooves. Saw them clip clopping past pulling a Romany wagon, the occupant took the reins with a crow chattering away on his shoulder.

Bitter Vetch.

Skipper on Betony.

Honeysuckle.

Ringlets on Yarrow.

Langwathby & Edenhall. A perfect place for finding riverside and cornfield flowers.

Mallows.

Chamomile, maybe……

Common Furmitory.

Field Pansy, maybe…..

Giant Bellflower.

Cow Green Reservoir. A haven for moorland birds.

Juvenile wheatear.

Golden Plover.

Eycott Hill Nature Reserve. Definitely a go to if you love your upland wildflowers.

Ruby Tiger Moth.

Common Spotted Orchid.

Marsh Cinqfoil.

Bog Asphodel.

Mountain Pansy, maybe…..

Cotton Grass.

Dalemain Estate, Dacre. Always a pleasure to see the resident deer.

Fallow Deer.

Buzzard.

Fallows.

Hope all the colour and cuteness brightened your day. X

A week At The Caravan.

I feel like it’s been a while since I posted.  We recently had a week away at the caravan, which for my other half was a much needed break ,  having worked continuously through lockdown. A holiday we booked in Northumberland was cancelled , so I think this year we will try to make the most of our own holiday home. I know we are very lucky to have it !

Here is a quick round-up of what we got up to.  We are based in the beautiful Eden Valley, which is a rather undiscovered part of Cumbria. I love where we are as there is so much to explore nearby.


Chilling At The Van.  Of course we made a bit of time for relaxing as well. We are fortunate to have a large decking area ( probably three or four times bigger than our little yard at home) ,so it was always nice to sit out and enjoy the sunshine with a glass of wine…..or two. 😁


Langwathby Riverside Walk.  An Eden Valley walk we often enjoy with Hugo is The Ladies Walk from Langwathby, through Edenhall village & back. The circular route is 3 miles long and takes in lots of gorgeous wildflowers, a couple of sculptures, a Celtic cross and pretty cornfields, as well as the lovely river Eden of course. We even enjoyed coffees and flapjacks on the green at the end from Saddleback’s cafe , a converted horsebox.


Eycott Hill Nature Reserve.  Oh my goodness, I was in my element here!  Eycott Hill near Penrith is run by the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust..and it is such a beautiful place. Sadly I forgot my actual camera, and only had my phone camera to hand, so trying to take photos of all the wonderful wildlife proved impossible. But I did see lots of beautiful wildflowers including Grass of Parnassus, Bog Asphodel & Marsh Cinqefoil, as well as various butterflies and moths. There are Belted Galloway cattle grazing here and views of the surrounding Lakeland  mountains. Dogs are welcome on leads.



Marmalade March.  Having just looked up Marmalade March online, apparently it’s a track by the psychedelic porn crumpets. Who knew! It is also an alternative name for the Dalemain Loop, an extension of  The Ullswater Way, which is a twenty mile walkable route round Ullswater. I’m not quite up to that yet, so the five mile Marmalade March was undertaken instead. Dalemain ( an Eden Valley country house famed for its annual marmalade festival) was an excellent rest stop mid way, and we made sure to check on the gnarly stone  Dacre churchyard bears as well. 🐻


Cow Green Reservoir & Cauldron Snout. The caravan is on a site at the foot of the steep Hartside Pass, which resides in the North Pennines AONB. Over that hill lies more beautiful rugged terrain to explore, as Cumbria eventually turns into County Durham. The border between the two counties runs straight through the centre of the Cow Green Reservoir and the area is home to rare wildlife, such as  Golden Plover. A track takes visitors past the dam and to the top of Cauldron Snout, which is apparently England’s highest waterfall. Even on a bleak day, there was much wild beauty to take in.


Skiddaw Summit. Oh my, did my poor legs suffer after walking ( or should I say crawling) up Skiddaw. This was my 5th Wainwright, and by far the highest at 900 plus metres. Unfortunately we picked the worse day to do it, as a dense fog obscured any views. We ended up dripping wet from the fog and Hugo almost turned white. 😮 Was still worth it though!


Allonby on the  Cumbrian Coast.  It isn’t a holiday without going to the seaside, I say.  A sunny Saturday meant a trip to the coast. 😊We chose Allonby,  as it has a great beach for dog walking and we were looking forward to fish & chips. The Cod father didn’t disappoint.

So there you have it. Can’t wait to go back to the van in September for a week, and there will hopefully be a couple of weekends before then too.

Thanks for dropping by.

A Night Away At The Caravan.

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

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

Pretty painted pebbles lined the riverside path.

Rather nice art on the public toilet doors.

An old fashioned float in Kirkby Lonsdale.

The River Lune looking choppy.

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

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

Pied Wagtail almost camaflaged in the wall.

Betony.

Sheepfold.

Harebells.

Postbox in the village.

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

Peppers.

Quiet on site.

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

Hugo in Ullswater.

Bought a sausage roll in here. 😁

And had a socially distanced coffee in The Crown .

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

Pooley Bridge Inn sign.

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

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