Category Archives: Places to visit

I’ve walked 1000 Miles. 😁😁

You may remember that at the start of 2018 I decided to join in with the #walk1000miles challenge. There’s a great group on facebook, full of inspirational people who are doing/have done, just that! My hope was to walk 1000 miles by the end of the year. And amazingly I hit that milestone, this weekend. πŸ™‚

My Brother In Law found a great little walk for us to do, starting and finishing at The Inn at Whitewell in the Forest of Bowland AONB. It took in a 19th century cheese press, river stepping-stones, about a thousand pheasants ( no exaggeration!) and of course a good dog- friendly country Inn.

Don’t worry though, I intend to keep on walking and am now aiming to walk another 500 miles by the end of December. Although I have always enjoyed a good walk ( and you kind of have to , as a dog’s human) , I have definitely shyed away from longer routes and hills. The #walk1000miles challenge has absolutely made me more enthusiastic about grabbing my walking boots and getting out there!

Also its a really fun thing to do with friends and family. You never know what you may come accross. πŸ™‚

And every walk should end with a drink at the pub, or cake, or both….😁

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Sightseers at Lowther Castle~ with Picnic Cinema.

So I have a 25 Before 45 Bucket List , which I have been neglecting recently. Still lots to do on there and not very much time left to do it ! Oh well C’est la Vie. Something I listed was ‘ Watch a film outdoors’ and the other weekend I did manage to cross this off my Bucket list, when I dragged Wil up to Lowther Castle in Cumbria, for an open-air cinema event.

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Lowther Castle.

Picnic Cinema specialises in bringing ‘cinema parties’ to some of the most scenic and iconic locations in the North, including castles, forests and in the case of cult classic ‘Withnail & I’ , a remote farmhouse that was used as a location in the movie.

It turned out that a favourite film of both mine and Wils ‘ Sightseers’ was showing at Lowther Castle, a once grand residence now in ruins, but still majestic all the same. Even though Lowther is only a couple of miles from where my Mum lives, I decided to book us camping tickets, as the lovely weather was perfect for an evening under canvas.

The weekend before,the Lowther estate had played host to the ‘Kendal Calling’ music festival, but this was the first time anyone had been allowed to camp so close to the castle , so we felt quite privileged. The fairy tale turrets certainly made for a magical backdrop.

It also happened that a Crafty Vintage fair was underway in the castle courtyard, so there was plenty to keep us entertained after we had pitched the tent.

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Being the rubbish picnickers that we were, we actually forgot to pack a picnic! Couldn’t get enough of this delicious pizza though. 😁

The Picnic Cinema entertainment commenced at around 8pm. We wrapped up warm and took camping chairs, blankets, wine, snacks, and a torch up to where the film screen was situated.

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We were each given a cute goodie bag containing love-heart sweets, a sherbert dib dab, a pencil, a badge and a jigsaw puzzle piece! While we were waiting for the sun to go down, the Picnic Cinema team entertained us with a sightseeing themed quiz, filmed interviews with some obliging campers and various fun and games.

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At around 10.15pm it was dark enough for the movie to begin!

If you have never seen Sightseers, then you have missed a treat. Its a British Black Horror Comedy about a couple who go on a touring caravan holiday, visiting various tourist attractions on the way….and leaving a few dead bodies in their wake….. Filmed in the North ( Derbyshire, Yorkshire & The Lake District) , Sightseers is pretty macabre and totally bonkers! It was great to see it on The Big Screen. 😁

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I think I would definitely go again to a Picnic Cinema event. I love that the films are screened in such gorgeous settings, the staff were enthusiastic, helpful and friendly and the movies shown are usually quirky and different.

Still to show this Summer.

Saturday 11th August ~ The Big Lebowski at Muncaster Castle, Cumbria.

Saturday 18th August ~ 24 Hour Party People at Kirklinton Hall, Carlisle.

Saturday 22nd September ~ Moulin Rouge at The Festival of Thrift, Redcar.

Whilst in the Lowther area we decided to do our own spot of sightseeing. ‘Long Meg and Her Daughters’ at Hunsonby is a druid stone circle that was used as one of the locations in the film.

Have you ever watched a film outdoors? Are you tempted?

Now, back to that Bucket List!

Heather and Haweswater.

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Haweswater is a reservoir in the valley of Mardale in the North East of the Lake District. In the 1930’s this four mile stretch of water was created from the original smaller lake and the flooding of the picturesque Mardale Valley. Two villages, various farms and ‘ The Dun Bull Inn’ were destroyed, so that Manchester and other urban areas could benefit from a decent water supply. The reservoir still provides a good percentage of the North West’s water.

At the moment Haweswater’s water levels are much lower than usual, so it is possible to see the remains of the sunken village of Mardale Green, at the top end of the lake. However after parking at the Haweswater Hotel ( the only residence on the lakeside) and enjoying a spot of lunch, time restricted our planned walk to the ruins. Instead we ambled a couple of miles along the road to a heather strewn viewing point, the purple blooms are just coming into flower, and make for a beautiful backdrop. 😊

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Possibly a Silver Y Moth, but please let me know if I am wrong…

The Haweswater Hotel was built in 1937 by the Manchester Corporation, after the flooding of the valley. Inside it is decorated in an impressive Art Deco style, harking back to it’s 1930’s beginnings. We actually stopped there in 2016 for a couple of nights…and it was almost empty of guests. Happily this Summer’s beautiful weather and the ‘reappearance of the village in the reservoir’ have peeked tourists curiosity, concerning this lesser known (though still idyllic) area of The Lake District….

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Have you seen any heather blooming yet? Its still quite early, so it was lovely to see this pretty plant already flowering on the banks of the lake.

Have you ever been to Haweswater?

Sea Air ~ Heysham.

On Sunday we found ourselves on the Lancashire coast, sipping Nettle Beer and surrounded by vikings!

We drove to the sea, passing through the brackened moorland of the Trough Of Bowland.

Heysham Power Station.

Then on through Lancaster and toward Heysham, an ancient fishing port, now more widely known for it’s ferry terminal and power station.

We had decided upon Heysham as a dog-friendly beach destination. One that hopefully would not be too busy with daytrippers. Fellow blogger Christine had mentioned that the area has a Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve, so we used it’s small free carpark and went for a wander.

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Gatekeeper.
Common Blue.

Heysham Nature Reserve covers 17.00 Hectares of various habitats, leading down to a rocky beach, lorded over by a whopping big power station. Beauty can be found in industry. Numerous butterflies fluttered busily around the reserve, the shore was a sea of pretty purple, and snowy white egrets pecked for tasty morsels on the strandline.

Stunning Sea Lavender.
Little Egret.
Lighthouse near the ferry terminal.

Popular with dog walkers ,the nature reserve has walking trails, plenty of dog waste bins and even provides drinking water for thirsty hounds. There is a dog-free portion to explore too, for those of you who prefer to wildlife watch in relative peace. πŸ˜‰ After our walk we ate a packed lunch at the small picnic area by the car park.

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Picnic Area at Heysham Nature Reserve.

We then decided to drive round to Half Moon Bay on the other side of the ferry terminal. The car park here was very busy. It soon became apparent we were visiting Heysham on it’s annual Viking Festival Weekend! The cliff top walk into the village was teaming with tourists, admiring the far reaching views over Morecambe Bay. You can’t tell from my pictures how busy ( or warm! ) it actually was..

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The coastal walk to the headland with views over Morecambe Bay.
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Next to the ruins of St Patricks Chapel are six coffin graves cut into the cliff. An image of them appears on the Black Sabbath album ‘The Best of Black Sabbath’.
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Relaxing on the headland.
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Small Copper Butterfly.

Heysham’s Viking history dates back 1000 years , with the grounds of St Peter’s Church in the village containing both Saxon and Viking remains. I wrote more about the area on a previous visit ~ Heysham and Half Moon Bay.

Once in the Village it was obvious that everyone had embraced the Viking connection!

Feeling rather thirsty at this point, I decided to try a glass of the local delicacy ‘Granny’s Home Brewed Nettle Drink’. After Wil and I visited Heysham last year, I was telling my Mum all about our day there, and it turns out Heysham holds many happy childhood seaside memories for her. One of those was drinking a non-alcoholic tonic called Nettle Beer. It turns out a well known local personality called Granny Hutchinson used to brew the drink in her cottage, using nettles found round and about. Today the old recipe has been passed down through the generations and is still on sale in Heysham’s cafes. Keen to sample this traditional fare, I bought a Β£1 glass of the unassuming brown liquid. It definitely has the Famous Five ‘lashings of ginger beer’ factor!

Below are a few photos from the Viking Festival.

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Spirit of Heysham sculpture.

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We did not stop to long at the festival as it was incredibly warm, especially for Hugo. I’m not sure how the people in Viking costumes fared in the heat!

Have you ever been to Heysham?

Salthill Quarry Local Nature Reserve.

To ease my England V Sweden viewing angst, I thought I would write this post at the same time. Ha! I am a very nervy audience…

This morning I had a wander round one of my local town’s two Nature Reserves. Salthill Quarry has appeared on my blog a couple times, but as I haven’t visited for over twelve months, I thought I would drop by for a nosy. The Quarry is a designated SSSI because of its geological formations…but I was there for the flowers…and the butterflies. πŸ™‚

The 7.00 hectare Nature Reserve has grassland and woodland habitats. I was certainly glad of a little shade. The sun beat down as I looked for betony, orchids and scabious. Some of the land was dry and parched. Still no sign of approaching rain here in the North West.

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Roses on the way to the reserve.
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And a Painted Lady on Buddleia.
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Into the Woods.
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A Swallow-Tailed Moth ~ I think..
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Speckled Wood.
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Feeling parched.
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Hmmm Spray painter, if your going to do this , at least do a neat job! This is the Crinoid Seat that looks across to Pendle Hill.
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Lady’s Bedstraw.
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Orchids.
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Almost hidden ~ a blue damselfly.
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Marjoram.
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Scabious.
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Under the Umbels.
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Brown Ringlet.
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Harebell.
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Green Damselfly , maybe?
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Six-spotted Burnett Moth.

Feeling slightly calmer now. …

Thanks for accompanying me on a wander round Salthill Quarry Local Nature Reserve.

A Walk up Whernside.

After being dragged ( almost kicking and screaming πŸ˜‰ ) up Ingleborough (one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks) , I actually do now feel compelled to conquer the other two.

So on Sunday , Whernside was our destination. At 736 m ,Whernside is the highest of the three. The weather didn’t look to promising as we made our way by car over to Ingleton. Cloudy, drizzly and blustery, the conditions were certainly not reminiscent of the hot sunny day we climbed nearby Ingleborough.

We parked near Ribblehead Viaduct , which is a popular starting point for the walk. Happily there is plenty of roadside parking there. We donned our waterproofs and met our friends , including my 6 year old god daughter Bronte, all set to climb her 3rd peak. Before her 7th birthday!

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Ribble Head Viaduct.

The impressive Ribblehead Viaduct was completed in 1874. Its twenty four arches made for a stunning start to our ten mile circular walk.

Ribble Head Viaduct.

We followed the Settle to Carlisle Railway for some way , passing a railway hut and an abandoned railway house.

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Blea Moor Railway Hut.
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Foxgloves.

I always keep an eye out for wildlife on any walk, so it was lovely to see lots of clumps of foxgloves and hear the melodic calls of curlews. We even heard a cuckoo. πŸ™‚

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Beck.
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Force Gill Waterfall.
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Blea Moor Tunnel.

So far, so good. The walk had been pretty easy so far. The weather wasn’t sure what it was doing though. Black clouds were soon upon us and more blustery showers as we started the gradual climb to the summit. But then a peek of blue sky, and I for one, was to warm to keep my jacket on!

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Greensett Tarn.

A resting point ( Hurrah!) gave us lovely views of a small mountain tarn. We wondered what would live in such an isolated place…..

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And then it was a yomp up to the Trig Point. To me , walking up Whernside was lots easier than our previous of the Three Peaks, Ingleborough. Our friend D had chosen the most comfortable route, a gradual ascent that included stone slab steps and an almost level path. The weather too, was a lot cooler.

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Trig Point. We made it !

At the summit of Whernside , we met a few more walkers all pleased to have made it to the top. We ate a packed lunch and there was even homemade liver cake for the dogs. Thanks Fiona!

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The descent with Ingleborough in front of us.

From the top we had great views of both Ingleborough and Pen Y Ghent, as well as Ribblehead, and even towards the Sea. We walked across the top of the mountain and then started our steep descent. I was thankful we hadn’t taken this route up! Still, a few of us did end up on our bums. πŸ™‚

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Looking back towards Whernside.

The longest part of our walk, was probably the journey back to Ribblehead, which passes through a couple of farms and wild flower meadows.

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Bunk Barn Accomodation.
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Sheep near a rocky cave that the girls discovered.
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Bel the Bedlington looking towards Ribblehead.

Once back at the viaduct we stopped to admire the stone that commemorates the builders who restored the railway bridge in the 1990s, as well as the Navvies who toiled to constuct it, a century earlier.

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So, time to celebrate! We drove a couple of miles along the road to the cosy shelter of The Old Hill Inn near Ingleton.

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Bronte and her friend Tabby enjoyed chocolate brownies and the rest of us tucked into a delicious Apricot Frangipane tart. 😁

Apparently if you are skinny enough to shimmy through the spokes of the giant cartwheel above, you are skinny enough to go pot holeing. Umm I’ll stick to eating cake. πŸ˜‰

Congratulations to Bronte, Tabby and Fiona who on this day walked up their third and final of the Three Peaks! I’m sure they will now be aiming to climb all three in one day. 😁. As for me, next stop Pen Y Ghent, so watch this space….

Camping trip ~ Catgill Campsite, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales.

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The 30,000 acre Bolton Abbey estate encapsulates all that is typical of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside. Rugged moorland, colourful wildflower meadows, shady woodland and meandering riverside walks. As well as the ruins of a magnificent old Priory.

From 1154 to 1539 Augustinian canons lived and worked here until the dissolution of the monasteries. Fortunately the accompanying church was left intact after Prior Moone negotiated with Oliver Cromwell, to keep it as a place of worship for the local community .

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I have stayed on nearby campsites in the village of Appletreewick, but never at Catgill Campsite , which is on the Bolton Abbey Estate itself, just a few minutes walk from Bolton Abbey Village.

Wil, Hugo ( our labrador) and I arrived at the site early on a Friday afternoon . The campsite accepts tents and camper vans and has a relaxed check-in and departure policy . You can roll up or depart at any time during the day before 9pm. Dogs are welcome too at no extra charge. We payed Β£40 for 2 nights camping in a tent.

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After checking in at reception we were told to pitch up anywhere we wished in either of the two fields. We chose the lower field and set up camp by the stream. Catgill campsite is part of a working farm and has been open since 2014. The facilities still feeling fresh and new, include separate ladies and gents shower blocks, a pot washing room with two fridge freezers, kettle, microwave and plug sockets and a small shop that sells the basics. We were soon ready to explore.

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Bolton Abbey village is a small picturesque parish adjacent to the Abbey grounds. It boasts a couple of tea rooms, book shop, village shop/post office and a large car park. We entered the grounds through a small archway called the ‘ Hole in the wall.’ πŸ™‚

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Instead of turning left towards the Priory ruins , we headed right along the river Wharfe, in search of the Devonshire Arms pub, which is also a rather posh hotel and spa. Sure enough after a pleasant 15 minute walk , we arrived at the pub and enjoyed a couple of drinks in the beer garden. Named for the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire , the hostelry is part of their Chatsworth Estate. After a while it got a bit chilly, so I asked the young bar staff if we could move into the ‘Dog Lounge’ which I had previously read about here. Unfortunately I was told that the entire hotel had been booked out for a two day wedding! But he kindly agreed to let me take a peek at the cosy dog – themed salon, where guests can relax with a drink and their pampered pooch.

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We spent most of the weekend at Catgill either walking on the estate or chilling by the tent, but there is plenty more to entertain anyone who visits. A stones throw from the site ( well literally next door!) is Hesketh Farm Park , which is a popular family day out. If you fancy a ride on a steam train, The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway runs between both villages. And there are miles of walks including a kids adventure trail Welly Walk.

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The estate is popular with dog walkers and Hugo had plenty of off-lead time, racing through the woodland and paddling in the river.

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Catgill Campsite is a relaxed family-friendly site with helpful amiable hosts and attractive modern facilities.

Shower blocks have family wash rooms.

Pot wash room with two large communal Fridge freezers, Microwave & Kettle.

Local Information.

Small shop selling the basics.

Fire Pit and BBQ hire.

Morning Coffee Shop serving fresh coffee, hot drinks, juice, croissants and other pastries. We especially liked this idea. πŸ™‚

The only downside is trying to find a level pitch as the site is quite sloping in places. Otherwise this is a cracking little find , in the beautiful Wharfedale countryside. 😊

Hope you enjoyed this campsite review. Our next camping trip is to a family-friendly festival in Gisburn Forest next weekend!