Category Archives: Places to visit

Into The Woods. 🌳

Skipton Castle Woods is a lovely place to wander whatever the season. I always seem to be drawn here in the Winter , when it is easier to spot birds busy in the bare branches of this centuries old woodland.

Spirit of the Medieval Huntress by Anna & the Willow.

The Woodland is looked after by The Woodland Trust. Eller Beck runs through the valley and Skipton Castle is nearby. You don’t even have to imagine the medieval hunting that went on amongst the shade of ancient oaks. Anna Crosses evocative willow sculptures give you a glimpse of what it was like here all those years ago.

Stag by Anna & the Willow.
Treecreeper.
Stalking Horse by Anna & the Willow.

After a saunter around the Woods a Hot Chocolate was a welcome treat. The Chocolate Works on the High Street ( there’s one in Clitheroe too) was a great choice. πŸ™‚

The Chocolate Works.
I took this photo purely because of all those smart doggys in the window. Looks quite a specialist shop though!

Skipton Canal.

Do you have a favourite woodland you like to have a wander in?

Silverdale Saunter.

Back to the beach again! But this time it’s a saunter round Silverdale, a Lancashire village ( but only just ! ) on Morecambe Bay near the Cumbria Border. We visited here last Summer whilst staying in nearby Arnside. In fact we have camped in Silverdale before too, but these photos are just from an afternoon saunter in August. For one reason or other I didn’t take as many pictures as usual. Darn!

The Arnside and Silverdale AONB is a breathtakingly beautiful place. I follow a blogger from the area ~Β  Beating The Bounds regularly walks & cycles the meandering lanes and rocky limestone outcrops that make this little coastal corner so special.

But back to our visit. It was a warm but quite grey August day,  showers too I think. There was a summertime vibe in the village, pops of colour from yarn bombing and bunting.

Silverdales Millennium Clock in its vibrant yarn bombed jacket.
Yarn bombed!
Busy day at the Blossom Bird cafe. 🐦

Hugo seemed to know where we should take him ( he is after all  ‘ The Most Important’ ) and pulled us toward the shore. We walked along the sands a while,  finally coming to a little inlet behind woodland at Gibraltar Farm Campsite. We probably weren’t meant to cut through the site, but thought we could get away with looking either lost/ confused / campers. πŸ˜‰

Shoreside cottages.
Morecambe Bay.
Rocky cliffs.
Inlet.

We found ourselves at The Wolf House Gallery opposite Gibraltar Farm and stopped here for a takeaway lunch.

Honesty box eggs & jams ( and wellies πŸ™‚ ) at Gibraltar Farm.
Wolf House. The last Wolf in England was said to be hunted near here.
Outside the gallery.

After lunch we continued up a quiet lane to two local landmarks. Jenny Browns Point is a beautiful viewing point with wide reaching vistas over the bay. There is a lovely looking house here that is said to have been home to Jenny Brown herself. But who was she? It is said she may have been a nanny who tried to save her charges from the waves. Or more romantically, was she a lovelorn maiden waiting for her mate to return , feared lost at sea. No one knows for sure.

Cottage at Jenny Browns Point.
Lime Kiln at Jenny Browns Point.

Nearby is Jack Scout Nature Reserve , managed by the National Trust. We weaved our way through the gorse and other windswept shrubs to find a rather grand stone seat. If your ever around Silverdale be sure to sit on The Giants Chair and enjoy the views.

The Giants Chair.
View from Jack Scout.

Phew! Caught up at last on posts from our week on The Cumbrian ( and Lancashire) Coast in August of 2021.

Bye for now. 🐚

Lovely Lytham.

It’s been a couple of years since I visited the Fylde Coast, Bank Holiday Monday seemed the perfect day for a bracing beach walk. My was it cold! Luckily we wrapped up. The wind was determined and even whipped away our Parking Ticket ( probably into the North Sea! ) so another had to be purchased. Despite that, it was a pleasure to be in Lytham once again….

Lancashire’s Fylde Coast is home to Seaside resorts such as Blackpool and St Annes. Lytham is the one with the Windmill on the Green, looking out over the Ribble Estuary. Just in case you weren’t aware. The town has changed a little I think, even since my last visit two Winters ago. There are a wealth of new independent shops and cafes on the tree lined wide pavemented streets, away from the chilly seafront. A Summer trip is much overdue.

A Mussel Shell 🐚 Sculpture on the site of the old Mussel Tanks , near the RNLI Lifeboat Station.
Up until the 1940s freshly caught Shellfish were cleaned in the Mussel Tanks. The site has recently been preserved for history.
Adorably kitch Wreath.
Too cold for ice cream.
However , Chells on Clifton Street is a great place for lunch.
My Lunch.
On Clifton Street.
Newly opened Pie & Sausage Shop.
Old favourite ~ Tom Towers Tasty Cheese Shop.

The seafront at Lytham is actually an estuary front , with a 800 metre promenade that links the resort to its nearest neighbour St Anne’s. There are views over the River Ribble towards the twinkling lights of Southport and even to Wales. The marshes are home to thousands of migratory birds. I should have brought a pair of binoculars!

Shipwreck!
Looking towards the marshes.
A White Wagtail. A migratory species whose cousin is the more common Pied Wagtail.
Marshland.
A Kestrel finds a perch.
Lytham Green and Windmill.

Lytham Windmill is undoubtedly the town’s most iconic landmark. Built in 1805 it stands proud on the Green, looking out over the marshes. It was a flour mill but ceased trade in the 1920s. Today it houses a museum, though I have never ventured inside.

Lytham Windmill and old Lifeboat House.
Anchors. These were restored after being caught the nets of a Fishing Trawler called ‘ Biddy’ in the 1980s.
A boardwalk to the sea.
My purchase. Half price Christmas cards from the RNLI shop. I have put them away ‘ somewhere safe’ for this year.

Have you been to the coast this Winter?

2021 ~ My Year In Photos.

2021 is a wrap folks! Here’s my usual yearly round-up in photos, of what has been another very Up and Down twelve months.

Snow up Pendle.

January ~ We started the year still in lock-down , the rare snow in my hometown certainly made folk here completely giddy, everyone seemed to head up Pendle Hill for fun in the white stuff. There were sad times too as I lost a family member to covid.

Resting on a Bolton By Bowland walk.

February ~ From what I remember the first few months of 2021 involved lots of chilly local hikes and tramping through lots of mud. But as a certain Black Labrador loves his walks, this didn’t bother us too much. πŸ™‚

A friends Birthday πŸŽ‰

March ~ This photo was taken on my friend Fi’s Birthday. We were still in lock-down and I’m not even sure that 3 people from 3 households were supposed to meet up actually. We took cans to a local beer garden and celebrated outdoors, not another soul in sight! Fi says it was one of her best birthdays!

Worsaw wander.

April ~ I remember how good it felt in April when we were officially allowed to meet up for walks in larger groups. An Easter walk took us to Downham via a wander up Worsaw Hill. Also in April we could start using our caravan in the Eden Valley again.

Miles of golden sand , Wells Next The Sea.

May ~ Hurrah, restrictions over and a holiday happened! A week in sunny Norfolk with Wil and Hugo, in a cottage by the sea.

Llama trekking , Brougham Castle.

June ~ It was good to spend a few days at the caravan with friends in June. A Cat cafe, the Lakes Zoo and Llama trekking were amongst the fun times had.

Afternoon Tea in Skipton.

July ~ Enjoyed the most decadent Afternoon Tea with pals this month. Life was truly getting back to normal.

All Aboard The Ratty!

August ~ We were fortunate enough to spend a lovely long weekend in Ravenglass & Eskdale in August. It’s become tradition to ride the Ratty on these occasions. πŸ™‚

A Wainwright Memorial above Blackburn.

September ~ I think my favourite walk in September may well have been a local one to find Alfred Wainwright’s memorial, in the hills above Blackburn.

Pumpkin Patch πŸŽƒπŸŽƒ

October ~ Unfortunately Wil got sciatica which put a stop to our walks together for a while. Luckily he’s much better now. For once I was faster on my feet than my other half for a change! We went ahead with a mini break in Scotland, but kept our explorations to a minimum.

Birthday πŸŽ‚

November ~ Unlike 2020 I got to go out for my Birthday this year. Happy days. 😁

Spot the Slinky.

December ~ Theres been Christmas meet ups with family and friends and so far, touchwood, everyone has stayed safe and healthy. Can you spy my moggie Slinky Malinki in the festive photo above?

Wishing my followers and fellow bloggers a Happy and Healthy 2022.

See you on the other side. X

Tockholes Walk. πŸ₯Ύ

Hi there, hope everyone has had a good Christmas break. On Boxing Day, despite it being a bit drizzly and damp, we were up for a good walk to blow away the cobwebs. Out came the Guide To Lancashire Pub Walks by Nick Burton. We decided to try the last route in this handy little pocket size book, taking in moorland and woodland near the West Pennines village of Tockholes. I am sure parts of this trek have been covered by other bloggers I follow, but it is an area myself and Wil definitely need to explore more.

We parked near The Royal Arms pub, which looks to be a popular ramblers Inn with toasty fires , serves food and is dog friendly. In no time we were walking up Darwen Moor, heading into the mist.

Darwen Moor and a sign for its popular landmark, not a rocket πŸš€ but Darwen Tower.
Moorland horse.
On the move.
And so are we, in the opposite direction.
Back onto moorland by Stepback Brook.
We didn’t head for the tower, which at the moment is obscured by scaffolding anyway, but followed the signs across the fell and back down toward woodland.
Zig Zagging across the Moors, we heard Grouse calling to one another.
Once in Roddlesworth Woods saw lots of Winter Fungi.
Witches Butter Fungi aka Yellow Brain.
Turkey Tail Fungi in the Moss.
In the Woods, the rather spooky remains of Hollinshead Hall, including this old Well House, where pilgrims stopped on the way to Whalley Abbey.
This lovely Pack Horse Bridge was perfect for a pit stop.
A view from the bridge over Rocky Brook.
Tockholes Tourists.
Some kind person had spread bird seed along the opposite bridge wall. Coal Tits, Nuthatch and even Grey Wagtail ( above) were enjoying their Christmas feast.
Nuthatch.
Hugo found an Orange ball which he decided to roll down every little hill he came across.
He also had fun in Rocky Brook.
Pixie Cup Lichen.
We followed the woodland path as far as Roddlesworth Reservoir.
And then turned back on ourselves and found a wooded path back up to The Royal Arms.

This was a good 4 -5 mile walk and I’m hopeful we will make it back to the area soon. Loved all the wildlife seen and the rugged Lancashire landscape.

Ten Places To Enjoy A Hot Chocolate In Clitheroe.

The recent colder weather has made me crave toasty fires, cosy sofas….and hot chocolate! In the interests of this blog I thought I had better go ahead and sample some of the delicious and heavenly hot chocolates that Clitheroe has to offer. 🀩

The Unicorn. Photo Credit ~ Lesley Turner.

Escape Coffee & Cocktails ~ Oh my goodness, have you ever seen anything so crazily colourful as The πŸ¦„ Unicorn. It’s just bound to bring a smile to your face. Escape are renowned for their eye-catching creations and presently feature a Christmas Hot Chocolate and their ever popular Classic Indulgent Hot Chocolate. So why not relax in lovely surroundings and Escape to chocolate heaven.

The Beer Shack ~ If you haven’t realised yet that Craft Ale Bar ‘ The Beer Shack ‘ on King Street opens daily and in the mornings, you probably haven’t sampled one of their cute frothy Hot Chocolates, served with squirty cream and marshmallows. I love the cosy alpine feel of the place and if your lucky you might bagsy the comfy sofa or arm chair in the front room. There’s a home baked cake selection too. Yummy πŸ˜‹.

Maxwells ~ Which festive delight will you partake in before you board the train bound for the twinkling lights of Manchesters Christmas Markets?? Situated near the train station Maxwells Cafe Wine Bar has a Christmas Hot Drinks Menu that includes a fabulous Ferrer Roche Hot Chocolate ( above) and a madly morish Cadburys Chocolate Orange. Both come with a mouthwatering chocolate treat.

Toms Table ~ I must admit I haven’t tried the heavenly Hot Chocolat from French Bistro Toms Table at the time of writing, but I think it may very well find its way onto my Festive Treat List. Ooh la la. 🀩

Take Away Hot Chocolate & Croissants ~ Photo Credit M Fenner.

Fenners Bakes ~ What better way to warm up whilst shopping in the market town of Clitheroe, than a decadent Hot Chocolate from the bustling market itself. Fenners Bakes not only make their own delicious Chocolate Brownies, their continental Hot Chocolate is made from the finest Belgium Dark Chocolate. A real treat , it’s thick and velvety and goes excellently with a warm fluffy croissant. Scrumptious!

Chocolate Works Creations ~ Photo Credit ~ Nicola Gornall.

The Chocolate Works ~ Of all the establishments in Clitheroe that serve sensational Hot Chocolate , its The Chocolate Works that inevitably is always the first on everybody’s lips. This lovely cafe always makes me feel like I have been enfolded in the wrapper of a sublime bar of the finest freshest home made chocolate. Indeed the folks here make their very own chocolate and turn it into waffles, marvellous milkshakes, fondues and winter warming beverages. Heavenly.

Moor ~ Once you’ve tried one of Moor’s marvellous marshmallow loaded mugs of Hot Chocolate, I guarantee you will go back for more. Situated on Moor Lane ( of course ! ), this homely cafe with its unique Clitheroe floor map and pretty decor is also very reasonably priced. I am tempted to return. πŸ€—

Bowland Food Hall at Holmes Mill ~ I always find wandering round the Food Hall at Holmes Mill a treat ,especially at this time of year. There are plenty of mouth watering produce on display, much of it from local suppliers in Lancashire. A friend and I enjoyed a warming Hot Chocolate recently, accompanied by a dainty Portuguese Custard Tart. A delightful combination.

The Secret Garden Cafe ~ Tucked away above Clitheroe Market, this Vegetarian/Vegan Cafe is a hidden gem, a welcoming stop off after perusing the stalls. Serving fresh and tasty food including home baked cakes, their menu features both regular and vegan Hot Chocolate.This one was made using Oat Milk and was super delicious. And if your wondering, the cafe includes an adjacent Health Food Shop and Wool Shop.

Exchange Coffee Company ~ Their Three Storey Coffee House , Roastery and Shop on Wellgate has been a Clitheroe staple for many years. And the well established Coffee Company always knows how to jazz up their Winter warming beverages! I relaxed in the lovely William Morris wallpapered dining room on the second floor with a toasted teacake and a delicious white chocacino topped with half a Tunnocks Snowball. Bliss.

Hope you enjoyed my Ten Places Post. I’m thinking of doing a few others for Clitheroe in the future!

One Night In Settle.

My Other Half treated me to the best early Christmas Present this year. A night away in the lovely Yorkshire Dales town of Settle and a gig in its popular Victoria Hall. It was a Sunday and quite a few shops in town were closed but there was still a festive atmosphere about the place. Here are a few photos from our trip.

The gig venue ~ Victoria Hall.
View from the Market Place.
A beautiful Christmas Tree in the centre.
Inside my favourite Settle gift shop ‘ Car & Kitchen ‘.
Talbot Arms pub.
Mulled Wine moment.

We stayed at The Golden Lion on Duke Street which is one of those welcoming Yorkshire hostelries with a cosy wood burner and a good Full English breakfast. πŸ™‚

The Golden Lion.
Golden Lion Room.
Toasty fire.

In the evening we went to Sydney’s Tapas Bar & Restaurant for a meal, followed by Peat & Diesel at Settle Victoria Hall which amazingly is the World’s oldest surviving Music Hall.

Lit up Shop.
Fish & Chips at Sydney’s.
Support act singer ~ Cody Feechan.
Stornoway band Peat & Diesel rocked on the last day of their UK tour.

The next morning we had a leisurely lie in ( for us!) followed by breakfast at the pub. Then there was a small detour on the way home……

Dining room and tree.
Love the Highland Coos.
Golden Lion Breakfast. No egg on mine as I’m not a fan.

It was absolutely pouring it down as we set off back. Still time for a quick visit to award winning Cheese Monger The Courtyard Dairy to finish off our trip. Cheese was tasted and cheese was bought. 😁

Merry Christmas Cow.
Indeed!
Cheese Grommit!
Too cold for ice cream today.
Quite random but , Ski Lifts. 😁

Hope you are enjoying your December so far. β™₯️

Our Last Wknd At The Caravan Until Spring.

It’s that time of year when we sadly close our caravan for the Winter. The site it is on doesn’t actually shut down over the colder months, but being two hours away from home in a village that is prone to getting heavy snow, we figure it’s for the best really.

On Friday Eve we made sure we got stuck into the last couple of bottles of wine in the wine rack. πŸ™‚

On Saturday the weather was grey, but the drizzle didn’t dampen our spirits. I had booked us lunch over at Bassenthwaite Lake Station , in a French Steam Engine no less. The disused train station was bought in 2019 by Simon and Diana Parums, who have been busy renovating the buildings. A permanent fixture on the track is the beautiful Steam Train , which is in fact not a real train at all…. . It is actually a replica made especially for the 2017 film version of Murder On The Orient Express , starring Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer,Dame Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. These days the film set is a lovely cafe/restaurant and being slightly wider than a ‘ real train ‘ lends itself to its new life perfectly.

We chose the Brunch Bowls for lunch, followed by cake of course! Delicious. 😁 There’s lots of choice on the menu and a good selection of drinks too. Food is a little more expensive than most cafes in the area. However the setting and the friendly service justifies the price.

It was great that Hugo was made very welcome on the train, even though he did have a habit of lying across the aisle. The staff brought him dog treats and made a real fuss of him. Perhaps the Station dog, a pretty black Labrador called Poppy , had something to do with that. πŸ€—

After lunch we had a quick look around the rest of the train. Our dining car had been bustling and busy , though a posher salon at the back was empty. Perhaps this is used for special occasions. For a finer day there is also outside seating and the Station building itself with Waiting Room is also part of the cafe.

I really love what the new owners are doing here. Breathing life into what only a couple of years ago, was an abandoned unused space. Hopefully we will visit again next year. I would also like to explore Dubwath Silver Meadows Nature Reserve opposite and of course go for a wander by the lake. 😁

Later in the afternoon we visited my Mum and Brother who live on a farm in The Eden Valley. The farm cats Tibby and Sooty have been used to spending time in the house recently, but weren’t too impressed that a certain Labrador was in residence.

Back at the caravan and Sunday dawned cold and bright, a lovely day for our last one there this year. We enjoyed a walk up the old bridleway from Melmerby to Unthank, I will miss those uninterrupted views toward the Lakeland fells.

After tidying and closing down the van we headed to the nearby village of Langwathby for a sausage butty lunch on the green.

Here’s to a few local adventures closer to home over Winter. Hope you can join me. X

Clitheroe Castle Wanders.

Recent mornings here are chilly and bright. The Autumn colours at Clitheroe Castle have been particularly striking. Hugo and I have spent many a morning walking in the grounds, though I am well aware we need to get a few longer routes in. It’s not just Hugo who is turning into a chunk!

After eighteen months of having nowhere to go for a hot drink in the castle park, the former Bowling Green cafe building is back in business. Now called The 3 C’s Cafe ,it’s a bright cheery place selling coffee, cakes, milkshakes & ice cream. I think it will be very popular with the kids. A quiet brew though, can be snatched early on a week day morning. πŸ™‚

See you soon. πŸ€—

A Wee Borders Break.

We were recently to be found just over the border in Scotland for a wee break and a complete change of scenery. Our home for two nights was a cute Victorian cottage at Reston called Coveyheugh Lodge. Set in a wooded valley between a railway line and the busy A1, it isn’t quite as peaceful as it looks! However we weren’t put off by the occasional noise, as this home away from home is a wonderful base for exploring the lovely East Scotland coastline.

Our home for 2 nights.
Toasty wood burner.
Patio Garden.
Morning walk.
Signage for nearby Mill.

Although we had originally planned a couple of walks in the local area, we hadn’t realised that poor Wil would still be recovering from sciatica. So what we did was some gentle pottering. Luckily there were fascinating places to visit, only a short drive away.

EYEMOUTH.

This small fishing town was once a smugglers paradise. It’s location just North of the border meant it was the nearest Scottish port to the Continent. Tea and Spirits were duly smuggled. A handsome Quayside house Gunsgreen House was apparently built on the proceeds and today houses a museum and smugglers trail.

Gunsgreen House.

Eyemouths natural harbour is a working fishing harbour and a river called ‘ Eye Water ‘ flows into it. πŸ™‚ Grey Seals can often be seen here, though I suspect this may have something to do with the seal feeding point at the water’s edge. Although it was lovely to see them, I do question whether wild seals should be fed in this way, incase they come to depend on the food. What do you think?

Grey Seal waiting for fish.
Grey Seal.
Eider Duck.

A tragic time in Eyemouths maritime history is brought to life in an evocative and moving sculpture on the sea front. Widows & Bairns by Jill Watson depicts the waiting wives and children of men whose fishing vessels were struck down in the fatal storm of 1881, killing 179. The frantic gestures of the fishermen’s families are heartbreaking to see , especially when many of the boats were destroyed so close to shore ; the sea was just too rough to contemplate rescue. The loss was Scotland’s worst ever fishing disaster.

Widows and Bairns is also known locally as ‘ Black Friday’
A very emotive piece.

Eyemouth has a really nice sandy beach ( not pictured 🀣 ) , a couple of pubs with seafaring names like The Contented Sole and we shared fish & chips on the quayside from Giacopazzi’s.

Eyemouth Beach.
Chippy Dinner.

COLDINGHAM BAY.

My pictures really don’t do Coldingham Bay justice. It’s the prettiest little sandy inlet, in-between Eyemouth and St Abbs. On our visit this sheltered beach was a balmy 16Β°c, not bad for the last Wednesday in October. As well as lots of golden sand, there are tidal rock pools and colourful beach huts. What a gem of a setting.

Colourful Beach Huts.
Rocky Shore.

The bay has a Beach cafe ( closed on our visit), toilets and car park. St Vedas Surf Shop was doing a roaring trade in paddle boarding , coffees & cake. I can imagine this place getting busy in the Summer.

ST ABBS.

Just North of Eyemouth is the picturesque fishing village of St Abbs. It’s dramatic backdrop of jagged purple cliffs gives the harbour side fishermens cottages a very scenic setting. So much so that St Abbs doubles as Thor’s home New Asgard in the Marvel movie Avengers : Endgame. I can’t say I’ve watched any of the recent Avengers films but I can see why the village was picked, it does have a Scandinavian look about it.


New Asgard sign.
St Abbs.
Ebbcarrs is famous for its fresh crab sandwiches.
The harbour.
Jetty.
Another jetty juts out onto the rocks.

And at this time of year St Abbs has its own Pumpkin Patch. πŸ™‚ Love it……

St Abbs Memorial.

Just outside of the St Abbs Visitor Centre there is another Jill Watson Memorial. St Abbs did not escape the tragic storms that took so many fishermens lives back in 1881.

St Abbs Head

The cliffs at St Abbs Head are home to various seabirds who make their home on the rugged ledges. And there’s a Grey Seal colony here too. We didn’t walk the cliff top paths of the Nature Reserve , definitely something to think about doing next time. What a wild and unspoilt headland.

I hope so!

The places we visited are joined by the Berwickshire Coastal Path .

Bye for Now. πŸŽƒ