I can’t quite believe how hot the weekend has been, especially Saturday! I am not big on hot weather, but finding nearby water to splash about in certainly helps.
We figured that heading to the Lakes from the caravan might just prove too crowded. So we packed our swimming stuff and found our way to Garrigill in the North Pennines. Having visited Ashgill Force back in October, we thought it might be nice to return to this lovely waterfall on a hot Summers Day.
Unfortunately we hadn’t thought that it might presently be but a trickle and not the mighty force that we remembered. Recent warm weather had dried up the fall. Luckily downstream were some smaller waterfall pools and not a soul in sight.
Unlike most labradors Hugo is not a great swimmer. He will go for a doggy paddle but tends to dip in and out of the water and is mostly only interested in the wet stuff if someone flings a stick/ball/stone in for him to retrieve. We also have to encourage him to have a drink. Daft dog!
I didn’t exactly do much swimming but I definitely cooled down in this mini waterfall which was like a natural jacuzzi. Refreshing and cold. 🙂 Not long afterwards we were startled by a group of Gill Scramblers making their way upstream. I was so surprised I forgot to take a photo! Then we saw the flash of a Red Squirrels tail as it scrambled up a tree. A fab and mostly peaceful morning was spent by the water. 🙂
A friend recommended a good spot for lunch about ten minutes drive from Garrigill. Nook Farm Shop & Cafe on the roadside near Alston is popular with motorcyclists and the food is quite delicious. The farmland is also home to the remains of an ancient Roman Fort which we were too hot and lazy to investigate. This time!
Sunday too was hot though there were a few clouds in the sky. On the way home we met my Mum and brother for Sunday lunch at The Fat Lamb near Ravenstonedale, a quirky country Inn full of classic car memorabilia.
How are you keeping cool? It’s a bit of a heatwave were having!
So the world must slowly be getting back to normal , for I have been out for Afternoon Tea. Oh yes I had my cake and ate it too…..though there were definitely enough goodies left over for a doggy bag.
Gill booked a table for five at the suitably stylish Alexanders Grand Cafe & Restaurant in Skipton. Situated on High Street this elegant venue has botanically inspired decor and a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere. Perfect for whiling the afternoon away with the girls. 💗
Like all the best Afternoon Teas, Alexander’s is served on pretty vintage china. I actually used to own an identical ivy patterned teacup and saucer set , which I turned into a teacup candle in my craft fair days. I still appreciate a vintage tea service. 🙂
The food was delicious. A shot of velvety veloute, three choices of sandwich, pork pie, a selection of cute cakes and of course , a fluffy scone served with jam, strawberries and clotted cream. Tea, coffee or hot chocolate were included in the price of the afternoon tea, which was £25 per person. We additionally paid for a glass of something each, Becky and I chose a refreshing Cherry Blossom Cocktail from the cocktail menu. Cin Cin !
Afterwards I joined the girls for an hour or so, exploring the canal side and shops, before catching the train from Skipton to Langwathby in Cumbria. Langwathby happens to be a village not far from Melmerby where the caravan is based. Wil and Hugo had driven to the van a day earlier and were due to pick me up from Langwathby station. I was quite excited to board the train as I would be travelling on the famed Settle – Carlisle Railway.
This is a very scenic train journey that meanders its way through the stunning Yorkshire Dales and Eden Valley countryside. We passed over the impressive 24 stone arch Ribblehead Viaduct and through England’s highest mainline station at Dent. I did find it pretty impossible to take many good photos out of a speeding train window though, so I borrowed a couple online.
At Garsdale Station a statue of a dog on the platform peeked my interest.
Back in the 1980s the Settle to Carlisle Railway was under threat of closure. On a quest to save the iconic transport link, The Friends of The Settle – Carlisle Line managed to obtain over thirty thousand human signatures plus one pawprint signature. The pawprint belonged to The Friends co – founder Graham Nuttalls 14 year old border collie Ruswarp, a frequent traveller with him on the line.
It was Ruswarps pawprint that swung the decision and after years of campaigning the line was saved in 1989. 💗 🐾
In January 1990 Graham Nuttall and Ruswarp went walking in the Welsh Hills. Graham was never to return, his body was found by a stream eleven weeks later by another hiker. His faithful companion Ruswarp had remained at his master’s side all that time.
Ruswarp was cared for by an RSPCA vet and lived long enough to attend Graham’s funeral but died soon after. A bronze statue of the loyal collie was erected in 2009, a tribute to the many people….and one wonderful dog, who fought to keep the Settle – Carlisle Line open.
After googling Ruswarp and Graham’s story, I felt quite emotional, I can tell you. I for one am very glad that the beautiful rail route survives. I enjoyed my one and a half hour train journey from Skipton and was very happy to see my other half plus faithful companion, waiting for me at Langwathby station. ☺️
Ruswarp was not the only dog statue I saw last weekend. On Sunday we happened to be in Keswick, where we came across Max, a popular Springer Spaniel. His handsome bronze statue had only been unveiled the day before in the town’s Hope Park. You can read here about Max The Miracle Dog and his amazing fund raising efforts. I have loved following Max’s walks, along with Paddy & Harry and their owners Kerry ( and Angela behind the scenes) on Facebook, especially through the lockdowns.
Have you been for Afternoon Tea recently?
Have you travelled on the Settle-Carlisle Line?
Do you know of any other monuments to inspirational dogs?
If you were to ever visit the Northumberland town of Haltwhistle and didn’t already know of it’s proud claim to be ‘ the centre of Britain ‘ you would no doubt very soon find out. For this quirky market town has a Centre Of Britain Sweet shop, a Centre of Britain launderette, a Centre of Britain Army Surplus store and a Centre of Britain Hotel, to name but a few of the local businesses. Strolling down the high street here , we definitely felt like we were in the middle of the kingdom! However , coming from a little further South in Lancashire, I know that the true centre of Britain lies 71 miles away near the Trough Of Bowland village of Dunsop Bridge. 😀
Our visit to the town coincided with rumbling tummies, we found the perfect pit stop in the cobbled market square. Brew Bar is definitely the place to go for coffee, brunch and people watching. It looks like a cracking little night time venue too.
Hopefully we will be back to explore Haltwhistle further. The area is rooted in Hadrian’s Wall country, there are several Roman forts to visit and the town is ideally located for finding them.
For now though, here are some photos of our gentle amble alongside Haltwhistle Burn which is a well signposted waterside walk through Burn Gauge , packed full of wildlife and signs of the town’s industrial heritage. The path that runs aside the beck was once a narrow gauge steam railway.
The path eventually opens out onto a limestone meadow, before heading onwards towards Hadrian’s Wall, which I am sure we will add onto a future walk.
Have you ever visited one of Britain’s Centres of the kingdom?
With staycations high on the agenda this year, Wil put the gift cards he received for his 50th birthday towards a couple of nights away in the pretty South Lakeland town of Kirkby Lonsdale . Luckily he invited Hugo and I along too. 😉
Kirkby Lonsdale lies at the edge of the Lake District , retains a Carnforth postcode from its former Lancashire days and is minutes away from the Yorkshire Dales National Park too. An excellent base for lots of exploring then!
The town itself is incredibly picturesque with plenty of old inns, fantastic eateries and quirky independent shops. It’s also very dog friendly, which is great when your holidaying with a certain lovable labrador. 🐾
We stayed in the very accomodating Royal Hotel opposite the Market Square. This elegant Georgian townhouse has tastefully furnished rooms and friendly approachable staff. We couldn’t fault it!
Though to be fair all the local businesses in Kirkby Lonsdale are super friendly and very happy to be recieving visitors once again. 🙂
After arriving and checking in at The Royal on Friday evening we took Hugo for a walk through town and headed straight out for a couple of drinks. Fortunately we managed to find seats without booking ( hurrah!) , everywhere was buzzing but not rammed. We especially liked the warm local feel of The Orange Tree and those good vibes in The King’s Arms .
I took a couple of Summer evening photographs of the town between pubs.
Saturday promised to be a scorcher of a day . After a tasty breakfast at the hotel we went for a wander before the shops opened and then took Hugo for a walk along the river Lune.
The nearby River Lune is spanned by the three arched Devils Bridge and is an attractive riverside amble from the town. The bridge is a popular spot with motorcyclists and there is a long established butty & brew van that always does a roaring trade. We also saw two guys being egged on by friends to dive off the bridge…and they did! It’s a well known dare spot for such jumps, but probably shouldn’t be encouraged. 🙏
In the afternoon we decided to drive to nearby Sizegh Castle . The National Trust property was pretty busy, but the estate is so large, it is quite easy to avoid people. Dogs are unfortunately not allowed in the gardens but are permitted in the cafe and within the grounds. We ended up walking a good eight miles or so around the estate. Phew!
Once back in Kirkby Lonsdale we needed an ice cream to cool down. A long queue was forming outside The Milking Parlour on Jingling Lane. Although this new ice cream shop has very positive reviews, we were keen to jump the queues. Chocolat on New Road is a delightful little chocolatier that also sells deliciously decadent ice cream. They were so good!
After all the walking and the ice cream treats we headed back to the hotel for a while. We reemerged later for another night out , having booked a table at a lovely restaurant called Plato’s . The food here was excellent and the staff made a big fuss of Hugo. We also had a couple of drinks in local brewery tap house The Royal Barn ~ my favourite tipple was the rhubarb flavoured Rosie Pig Cider. 🐷
On Sunday morning it was time to check out of our hotel after breakfast. We had such an enjoyable stay, stopping in the Royal had been a great experience. The whole town is loving recieving visitors once again. 💗
Before heading home we drove thirty minutes to the coast for a walk along the foreshore at Hest Bank near Morecambe. It felt good to take in the sea air and enjoy the vast views of Morecambe Bay.
There is free shoreside car parking over the level crossing at Hest Bank and a couple of cafe options on route between there and Bolton Le Sands. Lots more in Morecambe.
Hi there, I have been stopping at the caravan with friends and we were using it as a base to visit some places in Cumbria and the Lakes! I thought I would update this blog everyday diary style and post at the end of our stay. 🥰
Day One. We arrived here last night , so today we nipped to nearby Penrith for supplies, had lunch, did some shopping, went for a few drinks and explored the red ruins of Penrith Castle. The girls had their nails done at a great little nail bar in town and we bought some pretty bits and bobs from a lovely clothes/gift shop called Adlib.
Day Two. An epic start to the day with an informative & interesting Whiskey/Vodka/Gin tasting tour, booked in at The Lakes Distillery near Keswick. Well Somebody had to take the morning slot. 😀
After the tour we headed to The Lake District Wildlife Park nearby. Lots of lovely animals & birdlife to learn about and admire, including Otter, Red Panda, Scottish Wildcat, Flamingo and Zebra. 🦓
An impromptu row on Derwent Water rounded up Sundays adventures. 🚣♀️ Look out for the rowing boats for hire next to the Keswick Launch & Jetty.
Day Three. A scorcher of a day! We are happily having untypically warm Bank Holiday sunshine. Our first destination was gorgeous Grasmere, the home of poet William Wordsworth and yummy traditional Gingerbread.
Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is definitely a must when you visit the village. Although the store is tiny it brims with character and the scrumptious aroma of baking gingerbread is impossible to resist. Yet more sweet treats were purchased at the Grasmere Chocolate Cottage. A short walk was needed to burn off those soon to be consumed calories.
After walking to Grasmere lake we called in at Faeryland Tea Garden which has an enviable position overlooking the water, and pretty pastille coloured rowing boats are available for hire. 🧚♀️
Although I have been to a Cat Cafe before, none of us have ever visited a Cat Bar….until now. Kittchen in Hawkshead is home to seven adorable rescue cats and serves yummy food and alcoholic beverages. Because the weather was so hot most of the furry felines were asleep, but the sunshine did mean we had the cats all to ourselves. A purrfect end to the day. 🐱
Day Four. Another hot day. Our anticipated llama trek was put back to late afternoon, so it wouldn’t be too hot for the above cute camelids, Warrior and Jester. We booked an hour mini trek with Lakeland Llama Treks based in Brougham and Melmerby. It was great fun to groom, learn about and walk with both boys to Brougham Castle ,with our lovely guide Caroline. 🦙
Day Five. The girls went on a little roadtrip to find a beach, spending a couple of hours relaxing on the sands in Maryport. Meanwhile I met up with family at my Mum’s in Askham and we enjoyed a saunter up the fell.
Day Six. Alot cooler today so we chilled at the caravan, watching films etc. It was Arwen and Tammy’s last full day with me at the van.
Day Seven. After a tasty lunch at The Old Village Bakery in Melmerby, the girls have made it home. I am presently waiting for my other half to arrive. It’s been great spending time here with friends, a treat and a bit of normality all at the same time. 😊
A holiday happened! We have not long since returned from a week by the sea. A few years ago we visited the North Norfolk Coast and hoped that one day we would go back. Happily we managed to do just that last week. It was great to get away to such a beautiful part of England. The sea air was a tonic! Below are a few places we visited, often by using the very handy Coasthopper Bus service.
Brancaster & Brancaster Staithe.
These two adjoining fishing villages were our base for exploring. Both are in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the National Trust looks after the beaches here. Hugo loved the vast stretches of sand and I was forever scanning the saltmarsh for interesting waterbirds. My favourite breakfast spot was marshside at the White Horse pub, from where you can watch skeins of geese taking off. We found our own secret seal colony when walking on the beach too. 💗
We spent an afternoon on the seafront in the traditional seaside town of Sheringham. With its pops of colour on the promenade ( vibrant murals and rainbow painted beach huts) its a smiley seaside resort. The sandy beach after the huts is dog friendly. 🐾
A mile inland from the coast is one of a number of villages called Burnham. This Burnham is full of trendy shops & eateries, looking over a village green. I did remark to Wil that it looks the kind of place where you might find ‘ Made in Chelsea’ being filmed. And researching this post did provide me with the information that the villages nick name is ‘ Chelsea on Sea’ . Fancy that!
Cley Next The Sea.
Keen birders will have heard about Cley. The marshland between the village and the sea is a renowned Nature Reserve, home to many rare species of birdlife including Pied Avocet, Bittern and Bearded Tit. There is also an impressive 18th Century Windmill ( presently a lovely looking b & b ) and various shops, cafes and galleries. Cley does have a shingle beach, from where you can walk to nearby Salthouse. 🦆
Just up the coast from Cley Next The Sea, Salthouse is perhaps it’s quieter counterpart, yet still boasting miles of wildlife packed salt marsh and shingle beach. We spent a lovely afternoon here enjoying some slightly warmer temperatures and fresh tasty seafood. We can recommend the Dun Cow for lunch and I loved the book & gift selection in The Salthouse Store. 🐚
Wells Next The Sea.
If like me you can’t get enough of Beach Huts then the charming seaside town of Wells Next The Sea is a must visit. After perusing the quaint gift shops on Staithe Street take a quay side walk to Wells beautiful golden sandy beach. It’s made all the lovelier by a pine forest backdrop and stunning array of colourful huts. I was memorised. The beach like many in North Norfolk welcomes four legged friends. 🦀
Hunstanton & Old Hunstanton.
On our previous visit to the North Norfolk Coast we stayed in the family friendly resort of Hunstanton, known as ‘ Sunny Hunny’ to optimistic holiday makers. We just had to revisit and walk along the beach to neighboring Old Hunstanton.
Of course there are lots more places to explore in North Norfolk and what’s above are only a small selection.
We loved the big skies and the stunning variety of coastline. I think Hugo did too. 🙂
Got a bluebell fix on the way home from the van on Sunday. We stopped off at the pretty village of Barbon which happens to be located in both South Lakeland and within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. To my delight a nearby woodland was packed with vivid blue bluebells and other spring flowers.
We hadn’t visited Barbon before. It’s attractions include a cheeseshop/cafe and a thrice yearly car race called the Barbon Hill Climb.
Have you walked amongst the bluebells this year? Head to Barbon whilst the colours are at their best. 💙
At the weekend we made our first trip of the year to stay over at the caravan. 🥰 We decided to deviate from our normal route up the M6 after Kirkby Lonsdale. Instead we meandered through the Dales and into the Eden Valley via the charming town of Sedburgh, nestling at the foot of the Howgills. This part of the Yorkshire Dales is pretty new to us, we usually only view the Howgills from the motorway. Alfred Wainwright once described the fells as ‘ looking like a herd of sleeping elephants’. 🐘🐘🐘
After parking in the town we made our way to the River Rawthey. It was certainly turning out to be a beautiful Spring day.
Presently we came to a field where three Highland cows were residing. They seemed completely happy for us to pass by. Very chilled in the morning sunshine.
I had a plan of course! A little further on along the Rawthey I had read of an old Victorian Wool Mill. Farfield Mill hosts art & craft exhibitions, has a shop and a tearoom ,presently open as a takeaway with tables outside.
Heading back now along the river, there are more cute livestock to see. 🙂
So Sedburgh Is England’s Book Town and has more second hand book shops than Birmingham apparently!
After buying some bread from the Three Hares Cafe Bakery, it was time for us to continue on to our van in the equally lovely Eden Valley. I am sure we will be visiting Sedburgh and the surrounding area again soon though. 🙂
Recently Hugo and I have spent a lot of time treading the boardwalks…..at the new Nature Reserve in town. Primrose Nature Reserve has opened at last! What was once an overgrown wasteland containing a mill lodge of stagnant water has been transformed, with walkways, a viewing platform and even a Monet style bridge spanning Mearley Brook. A fish pass has been installed close to the old Primrose Mill to allow salmon, trout and eels to travel upstream and gallons of silt has been removed from the lodge. I have taken a few photos which I hope will give a feel for the place. The reserve is suitable for wheel chairs, push chairs and prams and it doesn’t take very long to walk through.
To view the fish pass you have to walk up Woone Lane to the top of the nature reserve and you will be able to see it from the road next to Primrose Mill. At the moment the mill is being turned into apartments so whilst renovations are going on, here’s a photo from Instagram.
I am looking forward to the changing seasons ,to see how the area becomes established. I think the reserve is a lovely little addition to Clitheroe. A wild space in an urban landscape. 😊
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