Category Archives: Places to visit

Sea Air ~ Cleveleys & Blackpool.

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Sea Holly, Rossall Beach.

The merest hint of sunshine and dry weather, and we headed for the coast.  I had done a little research into Lancashire beaches, the ones where you can walk your dog all year round, and Bispham beach came up as an option. Set between Blackpool North Shore and Cleveleys, there are no dog restrictions on this quiet stretch of sand.  However, we somehow ended up parking at the Rossall Beach side of Cleveleys instead, which turned out fine, as there were plenty of dog walkers there too!

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Confused in Cleveleys.
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Mary’s Shell.
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Sea Swallow.

Once you arrive at the shiny new promenade at Cleveleys, pop your dog on a lead. There are the usual dog walking beach restrictions here between May and September, but the sea front is definitely worth a look.  A children’s story book called ‘The Sea Swallow’ has been brought to life by several interesting sculptures. Look out for a giant curved shell on the shore , an ogre on the beach and the ogre’s giant paddle on the prom. Apparently the book is based on local coastal myth and legend.

 

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Curved promenade.

 

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Ogre on the Beach.
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Ogre’s paddle.

 

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Hugo on the beach.

It seemed a good idea to continue walking to Blackpool. After all distant views of Blackpool Tower beckoned!  Unfortunately ( or fortunately) there is a lot of work being done on the areas sea defences at the moment, so much of our walk was along the promenade.  At Bispham the famous Blackpool Illuminations start, so I couldn’t help but join this Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. 🙂  Feeling peckish we bought Fish and Chips and continued with our journey.  The walk between Cleveleys and Blackpool North Shore is a bracing 4 miles.

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Illuminations in Bispham. 

 

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Old Sea Cliff Lift.
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North Pier.

As the oldest of Blackpool’s three Victorian piers loomed in front of us, so did Blackpool Tower, which was first opened to the public in 1894 and at 518 feet , is the 120th tallest freestanding tower in the world.  In front of the tower is the remarkable  Comedy Carpet , a wonderful homage to the work of over 1000 comedians and comedy writers, all of whom have performed in Blackpool. A great place for a stick of rock and a chuckle. 🙂

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Blackpool Tower and the Comedy Carpet.

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We took a walk along the North Pier . Crumbling and gentile, there’s life on the old pier yet. A children’s miniature train, a vintage carousel, old fashioned sweets and Dirty Dancing playing in the theatre.

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On the North Pier.
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Sweet Shop on North Pier.
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View of Blackpool Tower.

As it started to drizzle, we decided to catch the Fleetwood Ferry Tram back to Cleveleys.  The trams are a quick and inexpensive way to get around.  Once there we enjoyed coffee and cake sat outside a local cafe, before walking back along Rossall Beach to the car.

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Cream cake in Cleveleys.
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Icecream Van in Cleveleys.

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Young Gull.
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Mary’s Shell.

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Rossall Beach.

It was a nice experience exploring a bit of coastline that we have never ventured to before. Have you ever been to Cleveleys? Are you a fan of Blackpool? Where do you go for some Sea Air? 

Ingleton ~ Camping and Waterfalls.

Oh British Summertime where are you? Oh wait, this is British Summer Time!!  We have just returned from a camping weekend with friends ,in the Yorkshire Dales. We donned our wellies and waterproofs and didn’t let the continuous downpours spoil our fun. 🙂 Happily we found a really good campsite just outside of Ingleton village, which definitely catered to all our needs.

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Meadow Falls is kid and dog friendly.

Meadow Falls is a proper family friendly campsite. Along with the usual campsite facilities, Meadow Falls has the additional benefits of a small shop selling essentials, a children’s play area, fire pit hire, a games room converted from an old barn (great for rainy days ~ there is also a fridge freezer and microwave in there)  and a fairy trail , which proved popular with the youngsters in our group. 🙂

The site also welcomes dogs and has an enclosed dog exercise area ,plus there is even a warm water dog shower!  A recently refurbished family and dog-friendly pub, The Marton Arms, is only a 5 minute walk away. And Ingleton with it’s host of shops, cafes and pubs is about 15 minutes walk.  Pretty much the perfect campsite then for our band of five adults, two kids and two dogs.

 

 

The weather did not play ball on this trip, for a splash around in Ingleton’s  Open-air swimming pool , so we decided to have a splash around the Waterfall Trail instead!  The  Ingleton Waterfalls Trail   is a four and a half mile waterfall wonderland and is well signposted in the village.  There is a charge for the upkeep of the trail. Adults £6, Children £3 and a family ticket costs £15.

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The trail winds its way through woodland , following the River Twiss and the River Doe. It also covers rugged moorland and as a geological site, much of the trail has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  Here are a few pictures from our walk.

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Muddy hands and a Money Tree.
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Bridge over the River Twiss.
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Mushroom carvings.
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Pecca Falls.
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The refreshment hut at Pecca Falls makes great hot dogs.
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The sun came out at Thornton Force.
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It is possible to stand behind the waterfall.
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Heather in bloom.
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Bridge Buddies. 🙂
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Swaledale sheep.
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A Wheatear .
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Beezley Falls.
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Rival Falls.
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Emerging Ghyll Scramblers or Canyoners. Brrr , must have been cold!
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Snow Falls.
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Limestone.

Our walk was interlaced with sunshine and showers, but we all agreed it was great fun. It almost looked like the sun was here to stay…….then a sudden downpour sent us scurrying to a pub in Ingleton, for refreshments and card games. 🙂

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Drying off in The Wheatsheaf.

Luckily later on it stayed dry enough for a barbecue and the kids showed us how to make marshmallow toasting sticks, with the aid of potato peelers and gardening gloves!

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Hugo eyes up the BBQ.
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After a stick hunt, the girls make them pointy with potato peelers. Will double up for vampire stakes I expect! Future Buffys in the making.:)
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Toasting on the cobb. We will definitely hire a fire pit next time!

Have you ever done the Ingleton Waterfall Trail? I thoroughly recommend it, even in the rain. 🙂

Ullswater & Aira Force.

Our last visit to Aira Force Waterfall near Ullswater in the Lake District was not very successful photo wise….as it was both tipping it down with rain and howling a gale!  Happily on our return yesterday, the weather was a lot kinder. We decided to park in the lake shore village of Glenridding and take the steamer the short 20 minute journey to the newly erected Aira Force Pier.  The steamers themselves have been pleasure cruising along and around Ullswater for 150 years, and weather permitting , operate 363 days of the year.

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Waiting for the boat at Glenridding Pier.
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One of the beautiful vessels, The Lady Wakefield.
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Stack on The Western Belle.
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Glenridding Pier House.

We bought return tickets from Glenridding Pier House for £8 each and sat and waited with a nice warming brew. There is a coffee shop and gift shop in the pier house as well as lots of local information. Presently our steamer, The Lady Dorothy , arrived to take us to Aira Force.

 

 

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We sat out on deck and admired the passing scenery. Ullswater is the Lake District’s second largest lake and the daffodils that grow on the bank at Glencoyne Bay are said to have inspired Wordsworth’s poem ‘Daffodils’.  The mighty Helvellyn mountain range provided a magnificent backdrop and the waters were tranquil and deep.

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The Lady Dorothy.
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Aira Force is looked after by the National Trust.

Aira Force Waterfall  tumbles a lengthy 65ft and can be reached via a stroll through pretty woodland. There are wooden walkways, gravel footpaths and ornate stone bridges. We looked out for the many different trees on the tree trail and Hugo enjoyed dipping in and out of the babbling brook. 🙂

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Herdwick Sheep.
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Ancient trees along the trail.
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Woodland paths.
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Aira Force.
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Aira Force Platform.

The name Aira comes from the Old Norse ‘ river at the gravel bank’ and Force is a derivation of the Old Norse word ‘ fors’ meaning Waterfall.  So Aira Force is apparently a waterfall on the gravel-bank river. Head further into the woodland to discover the less dramatic High Force.

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Money-tree stump.
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Wet Doog!

There is a National Trust shop and tea room on site. We had a spot of lunch and another walk before heading back to catch the steamer. 🙂

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The Ullswater Way ( a 20 mile walk around Ullswater) takes in the waterfalls.
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Inside the cafe. Hugo eyes up dinner.
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Pretty window box.
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Wildflowers on the banks of Ullswater.
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Ullswater.
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Big skies and Aira Force Pier.
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Back in Glenridding. Can’t help taking pictures of these beautiful steamers!
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Have to have cake in the Lakes!

Thanks for joining me in the lovely Lakes. 🙂

www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/aira-force

A Dales Camping Trip. 30 Days Wild ~Days 23 to 25. 

Day 23 ~ Set up Camp.  Less than a week to go now, of the Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild challenge. It is becoming a challenge to find new things to do in the wild, but a camping trip can surely help with that.  However looking back to my wild moments of 2015 , I can see we went camping then too. And to the same place! Still, you can’t go wrong with a firm favourite, and Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales is somewhere we have returned to again and again.  Howgill Lodge Campsite is a 30 minutes walk along the river from the village, and is a great little site, popular with families and walkers. And it’s dog friendly too. 🙂

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The chickens usually arrive whilst camp is being set up. 🙂
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And bunnies play their part at keeping the grass short.

Howgill Lodge tries to do its bit for the environment and encourage wildlife. There are bird boxes around the site, wildflower areas, and solar panels for water, heating and lighting in the shower blocks.

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There is a Wildlife Board near the site entrance.

After setting up camp in the Yorkshire drizzle, we walked along the River Wharfe and ended up in one of the pubs in Appletreewick for a few drinks. Then we got comfy , the rain got worse, so we stopped for tea and more liquid refreshment! If you find yourself in the area I can definitely recommend the Craven Arms and Cruck Barn  for real ales, ciders and amazing food, adorned with wildflowers. 🙂

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Pan-fried Cod with Mussels. Spot the cornflower.

And the walk along the river is always beautiful, even in the rain. Some things reassuringly never change. Lots of glorious Common spotted orchids in bloom and a young Wild Swimmer, forever immortalised by a poignant plaque, as the Wharfe winds it’s way  through the woodland.

Day 24 ~ Wildlife along the River Wharfe.  As is tradition when we visit these parts, we decided to walk to Bolton Abbey and back.  With a lunch break, and me forever stopping to take pictures ( much to the annoyance of my other half, tee hee) , we were probably out walking for about 6 hours. Anyone else would be much quicker!  Here are a few million photos from the day.

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Giant Bellflower.
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You don’t need a wrist watch on this walk.
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Common Sandpiper.
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Not sure about this striking blue flower, maybe a garden escape.
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A lesser spotted Hugo.
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Nuthatch.
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Bolton Abbey.
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Grey Heron.  
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Goosander.
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Great Tits.
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Betony.
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Willow Warbler.
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Hugo has a Wild moment !
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Skippers on Scabious.

Day 25 ~ More from the Riverside.  Before heading home we took Hugo a walk from nearby Burnsall village to Hebden.  There is a choice of wibbly wobbly suspension bridge or stepping stones to cross the river.  Which would you choose?

And look out for these beautiful yellow flowers that adorn the river bank. I have seen them on previous visits, but only just managed to Id them.

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Mimulus aka Monkey Flower.

How is 30 Days Wild going for you? Thanks for joining me in the Dales. 🙂

30 Days Wild ~ Days 7 to 9. Seaside fun.

I am pretty fortunate that my holidays fell at the beginning of Thirty Days Wild , so  I don’t need to think too hard about what to post. I was staying on the wildlife rich  Norfolk coast.  🙂

Day Seven.  Rock Pools and Sea Holly.  Today we decided to walk along the North Norfolk Coastal Path, from Hunstanton, where we were staying , to Thornham. About six miles or so. The beach at Hunstanton is full of rock pools, so I was hoping to see a starfish perhaps…or maybe a crab. No such luck!  I think these guys had got their spoils before we even set off.

I loved the rocky beach at Hunstanton. I suspect If we had hunted more thoroughly we may have found more, but with a bouncy labrador sniffing out sea creatures, we couldn’t linger for too long.

As we neared the next village along the coast ‘Old Hunstanton’, the scenery changed to a perfect sandy beach, amongst the sand dunes.

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Hugo amongst the dunes.
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The Strandline is a beautiful gift shop in Old Hunstanton. The owner, an artist,is inspired to create by the scenery, seasons and nature here.

I posted pictures of the many beautiful flowers growing between Old Hunstanton and neighboring Holme Next The Sea, in my last 30 Days Wild Post ,but here are a few more on the way to Thornham. 🙂

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Sea Holly.
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An orchid I believe.
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Any ideas? Maybe Annual Sea Blite.

Approaching the village of Thornham, we came across a welcome coffee stop at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s base at Holme Dunes. A wooden walkway over the marshes then led us to the village, where we caught a handy Coast Hopper Bus back to Hunstanton.

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Shelduck.

Day Eight.  Beach Huts and a Bee.  I posted a separate post about today’s fantastic trip to see The Seals at Blakeney Point.  Before that we had a lovely walk along the beach at Wells Next The Sea. A sudden short shower sent us fleeing to the porch of a vacant Beach Hut to shelter, and weather watch.

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Beach Huts at Wells.
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Sheltering with Hugo.
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The sun came out again so here’s a Bumble Bee on a Viper’s Bugloss.

 

Day Nine.  Our last day in lovely Norfolk. Sob!  A quick early morning walk along the beach at Hunstanton, and I find a Heart shaped Pebble. I think this sums up our stay. We will return. X

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Thanks for dropping by. X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seals at Blakeney Point.

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The National Trust Building at Morston Quay.

One of the things I  looked forward to on our trip to North Norfolk, was a boat trip I had booked, to see the seals at Blakeney Point. Blakeney has the largest seal colony in England.  There are hundreds of  these inquisitive mammals, either bobbing in the water or basking on the point.  As the best way to view them is on a specially organized boat trip, we chose Temples ,who are based at nearby Morston. Typically the day that we had chosen ended up incredibly windy!  But phew, we were able to reschedule for the following day, the last of our holiday. 🙂

After collecting our tickets from The Anchor pub, we were directed to the Quay and boarded ‘The Four Sisters’, one of  Temple’s red and white purpose built boats.

 

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It wasn’t too long before we saw our first seals. There are both Grey and Common Seals at Blakeney Point. Common Seals arrive here in the summer to have their pups , whilst the Greys tend to give birth in November and December.

 

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The boat got up pretty close to the seals, but they didn’t seem to bothered by our clicking cameras.  How beautiful are they! Of course we didn’t outstay our welcome and the skipper turned the boat, to view more groups relaxing in the shallows.

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The Lifeboat House.
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A Grey Seal hanging out with the commoners. 😉

 

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The trip includes a stop off at the point if you wish, where you can walk up to the Old Lighthouse building and watch the various seabirds that nest there.  The boat’s crew pointed out Sandwich, Common, Little and Arctic Terns flying above us.

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Of course me being me, I was just as excited at meeting some particular members of the crew! Three generations of the same  labrador family were on hand for strokes and to snuffle for spare biscuits. Meet Tide, Bella and Gillie. 🙂

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The boat trip with Temple’s was certainly a fun and informative outing. Seabirds, Seals and a canine crew. What more do you need. 🙂

Prices. £12 per adult. £6 per child. Dogs free ( keep on a lead). Tel.01263740791.