Category Archives: travel

Travel Plans. πŸ™

Hi all I am daring to bare my travel plans on the blog. It sort of feels like we are nearing the light at the end of the tunnel and my first holiday of the year is almost within my grasp. Let’s do this!

North Norfolk Coast.

First up in May we have the North Norfolk Coast. Wil, Hugo and I stayed in an air BnB in the pretty seaside town of Hunstanton 3 years ago and we can’t wait to go back. This time we have rented a cottage near Cley Next The Sea and I’m looking forward to getting my binoculars out , the area is famed for vast beaches, saltmarsh birds and seals. There’s also plenty of seafood which Wil loves and colourful beach huts at Wells for me to gaze longingly at. πŸ™‚

Wells Next The Sea. Image from Scenic Norfolk via Pinterest.

Kirkby Lonsdale.

Kirkby Lonsdale. Image from Pack The Suitcase via Pinterest.

Wil is using some birthday gift vouchers to treat us to a weekend away in the picturesque market town of Kirkby Lonsdale in June. Hurrah! We know the town quite well , even so this informative post by Pack The Suitcase has inspired me to really make the most of it. Kirkby Lonsdale is on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, close to the Forest of Bowland and within the county of Cumbria.

Ravenglass & Eskdale.

It has become a yearly tradition to stop with friends in a holiday cottage in lovely Ravenglass on the Cumbrian coast. The cottage belongs in the family of friends of ours and is right by the beach. In the village a narrow steam gorge railway can transport visitors into the beautiful Eskdale Valley. Last Summer we found the perfect wild swimming spot in a secluded waterfall pool and enjoyed barbeques and sunsets from the cottage balcony. Mostly it will be fab to spend some quality time with chums. πŸ™‚

On the beach ~ Ravenglass.

Our Caravan in the Eden Valley.

The River Eden. Image from Visit Eden via Pinterest.

It will be two years this year since we bought a static caravan halfway between Alston and Penrith in Cumbria. The area is part of the Eden Valley, a lesser visited, but still beautiful neighbor of the Lake District. Due to the pandemic we haven’t yet stopped at the van during April, May or June ,so we are eager to get up there when restrictions are lifted, fingers crossed. I’m looking forward to country walks and country pubs!

Belfast & the Giants Causeway.

Not that long ago The Carlisle Lake District Airport reopened and had started flying to Northern Ireland. I’m not the best flyer but if I were to travel to Belfast, a small local airport not that far from our caravan, would be an ideal starting point. I would love to discover this vibrant city with its Titanic connections and book a trip to the natural wonder that is The Giants Causeway. πŸ€

Giants Causeway. Image from Covington travel via Pinterest.

A Castle in Ayrshire.

My sister has arranged a family holiday for us all in 2022 and she has booked a Scottish Castle! As there will be six adults, two children and a dog, there will be plenty of room for us all at Knock Old Castle near Largs. Doesn’t it look like it’s straight out of a fairytale. Bagsy me my own turret! My siblings and I recall happy memories of our yearly holidays to Scotland as kids, so definitely looking forward to this one. πŸ™‚

Knock Old Castle . Image from the Sawdays website.

What travel plans are you making?

January 2021 ~ Books I Read. πŸ“š ❄️

January has been an enjoyable reading month. A couple of the books were birthday or Christmas gifts, two were inspired by other bloggers reads and one was bought on a whim, purely because of the cover. Though in fact all these book covers are asphetically pleasing in my eyes.

Bookshop Tours Of Britain ~ Louise Boland ( 2020). Whilst our bookshops are sadly closed at the moment, how about browsing through a book that takes the reader on 18 journeys around Britain and its many beautiful independent book stores. This handy guide allows you to plan which parts of the country to visit once lockdown is over, with its indie bookshops in mind. Lots of travel information too and litery snippets. I love this celebration of our indie stores, they really need our support at the moment. A little sad that two lovely book towns that I have visited, Wigtown in Dumfries & Galloway and Sedburgh in Cumbria , weren’t included though. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Wild Life Of The Fox ~ John Lewis – Stemple ( 2020). A slim volume not unlike Adele Brands ‘ The Hidden World Of The Fox’ , packed full of fascinating insights into the life of this mysterious wild creature, who’m we share our countryside and urban landscape with. The author, a prolific nature writer ,starts off by talking about a phone conversation that went on slightly too long, causing him to head out to lock up his chickens that little bit later than usual. Well you can imagine what had happened to the chickens. Yet we can’t help but have a love/hate relationship with the 🦊. And that is explored expertly here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Winter Holiday ~ Arthur Ransome ( 1931). I haven’t actually read any of the other Swallows & Amazon’s books. I assume they are all set in long warm summers. Winter Holiday though is absolutely perfect for this time of year. The frozen lake and surrounding snowy countryside lends itself perfectly to the children’s Arctic Expedition adventures. I love how the adults don’t bat an eyelid at the youngsters playing out from dawn until dusk and how everyone gets their skates on , igloos are built and ice yachts are commondeered. Delightful. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Before The Coffee Gets Cold ~ Toshikazu Kawaguchi (2015). If you could travel back in time to a crossroads moment in your life , would you want to, if you couldn’t change the outcome? In a quiet cafe in Japan , from a particular seat ,it is possible to do just that. As long as you drink your coffee before it gets cold that is. A moving and magical tale. And there is a sequel that I want to read too. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

What books did you pick up in January? πŸ“š

2020 ~ My Year In Photos.

I always do a yearly review post, and well even if 2020 has been a bit pants,I’m looking through my photos and there has still been plenty of stuff to be thankful for. We have survived living through a Global Pandemic. That can only be a good thing!

A walk up Pendle Hill in January.

In January was Wil’s 5Oth Birthday and thankfully he got to celebrate with friends in real life. Yay! Though planned trips and gigs to continue the celebrations through the rest of 2020 have been delayed, hopefully he can carry them over to next year……

A Kieffer Sutherland Concert in Blackburn.

February. A pretty quiet month. I think we would have gone out more, if only we had realised that our lives would change quite dramatically, in just a few short weeks.

Celandines.

March. Wil, Hugo and I managed a wknd away at our caravan in Cumbria before lockdown was announced. Then one day in early March I was sent home from work….and never went back. Luckily I was furloughed and Wil has remained in his job throughout 2020. Having him carry on going to work as normal meant our everyday lives didn’t change as much as some people’s.

Something that turned out right ~ Rock Buns.

April. We had a long dry Spring which for me meant lots of walks with Hugo….and lots of baking. I can’t say my baking skills improved that much, but I did manage to make both Banana Bread and Rock Cakes. I never tried the Joe Wicks Workouts though, so I have put on a few pounds. 🧐

A glorious walk along the Lune in Caton.

May. One positive thing about travel restrictions this year , discovering more of my home county of Lancashire. I must admit in previous years we have hopped over the border to The Dales or had days out in The Lake District, rather than explore locally. Lancashire is lovely too. I appreciate what’s on my doorstep more now.

Socially distanced meet up in the park.

June. Sometime in June restrictions eased and friends were allowed to meet up again…outdoors. The new going out became drinking in the park ,like a bunch of teenagers. πŸ˜‰

Van Life.

July. Finally we were allowed to stay over at our caravan once again. Having bought it in Summer 2019 , Wil and I had been looking forward to spending lots of quality time there this year. Luckily we managed to grab a few weekends away in Summer.

Eskdale with friends.

August. Wow things were beginning to feel almost normal. We had the best time spending a long weekend in Ravenglass & Eskdale with friends.

Bad Hair Day 🀣 Bonscale Pike.

September. Managed to add a few more Wainwright’s to my very short list, using the van as our base. New additions are Arthur’s Pike, Bonscale Pike above, Hallin Fell and even Skiddaw.

Autumn fun.

October. Autumn colours were glorious in 2020 and I noticed far more different species of fungi than any other year. Enjoyed a few nice walks with family , which is always good. Found a new job cleaning in a local secondary school ( phew!) after the cafe business I had worked in until March finally admitted it wouldn’t be opening up again.

C’mon Mum, let’s play ball….

November. Back in lockdown for a month. Blah. Bad timing for little old me as I had been looking forward to going out for my birthday, somewhat optimistically. My lovely friends did organize me my first Zoom Party though. 😊

Christmas πŸŒ²β˜ƒοΈ

December. Christmas has actually been pretty good , considering. Lots of walks with friends & or family. Socially distanced meet ups & a very nice Christmas dinner bought from Holmes Mill. ❀️

I know that the next few months will probably mean we move up a tier in Lancashire and things will probably get worse before they get better, but here’s hoping for a very happy and healthy 2021.

Thanks for bobbing by occasionally, I really appreciate it.

Garrigill to Ashgill Force walk πŸ₯ΎπŸ

At the weekend we took a walk from Garrigill in the North Pennines to the nearby waterfall of Ashgill Force. We bought an Alston Moor walk leaflet in the outdoors shop in Alston for 60p.

The route begins at Garrigill’s Village Green, we parked near the village church. Garrigill looks to be a lovely little village , whose pub and shop have seen better days.

St John’s Church.

Village Green.

George and Dragon sign.

The leaflet says that there were once two pubs in Garrigill. The George & Dragon was the haunt of visiting gentry, Tories and shooting parties, whilst the Fox was for miners, poachers and Liberals!

Climb the slippy bridleway to Loaning Head.

A Loaning Head cottage.

Views across the Pennines.

Kestrel.

There are lots of very high Stiles to climb over.

Swaledale Sheep.

One moment, blue skies…

the next, sideways rain..

Meadow Cranesbill.

The weather went a bit wild and after navigating about a million steep stiles we came across the waterfall. Unfortunately we had managed to deviate from our maps directions somehow, but we got there in the end.

Gill scramblers at Ashgill Force.

Ashgill Force.

It is apparently possible to walk behind the waterfall, and indeed ‘ Dance with the Fairies’ , although it looked a bit busy with Gill Scramblers the day we visited.

Hugo was joined in the gorge by another Black Labrador boy, which would be lovely if Hugo actually liked other boy labradors. Fortunately Hugo was more interested in the stones Wil were throwing in the water, than fighting. Phew!

Labradors.

Footbridge.

The rest of the walk was more of a gentle meander, following the River South Tyne back to Garrigill.

An almost stone circle.

Another footbridge.

A beautiful place for a dip.

Fly Agarics beside the river.

Autumn colours.

Buzzard.

A mini waterfall.

Attractive stone bridge.

Hips.

And back to the church.

I really enjoyed this scenic 5 mile walk and hopefully we will try it out again, maybe when the meadows are full of wildflowers come early Summer. πŸ™‚

Bronte Connections ~ Cowan Bridge.

In recent days I have written about a village with a movie connection and two villages visited by vampires. This next one has an association with members of perhaps England’s most famous literary family ‘ the Brontes’ .

I have passed through Cowan Bridge numerous times as it sits on the busy A65 in between Ingleton and Kirkby Lonsdale, our usual route up to the Lake District. In days gone by it would have been much quieter, the continuous traffic noise definitely distances the imagination away from the 1820s , when siblings Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily attended The Clergy Daughter’s School in the village.

We had decided to stop off for lunch on the way home from Cumbria on a busy bank holiday Monday. I must admit I suggested Cowan Bridge because I thought it may be easier to get lunch there than its more touristy neighbors. I have also always been curious about where on earth the Bronte school is……

It turned out the Tea Room was busy inside, but there was space outside next to the noisy road with the traffic whooshing by. πŸ˜… We just decided on coffee and prepackaged sandwiches and ate them in the pretty seating area.

Afterwards we pottered about the village in totally the wrong direction. Eventually a kind local pointed us toward the original bridge that Cowan Bridge takes its name from. After crossing it we came to a row of old stone cottages. These are what remain of The Clergy Daughter’s School.

An inscription on the end cottage wall reads :

Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte & Emily Bronte

Lived here as pupils of the Clergy Daughter’s School 18-24 – 25.

The school was moved to Casterton 1833.

Patrick Bronte was a clergyman living in Haworth with six young children. His wife Maria had sadly died a couple of years earlier. Sending four of their offspring to a respected boarding school for clergy children would no doubt have seemed the right thing for this busy man of the cloth to do.

Unfortunately the harsh environment at the school would contribute to the untimely deaths of the two eldest girls. Poor quality food, cold damp conditions and cruel unjust punishments were the norm. Maria, then Elizabeth were sent home suffering from consumption , both would die within weeks of one another. Patrick sent for Charlotte and Emily and they never returned to Cowan Bridge.

A still from the 1944 film version of Jane Eyre.

For Charlotte , her experiences at the Clergy Daughter’s School were to be drawn upon for her novel Jane Eyre. In the book young Jane is sent to Lowood School where she makes a new friend, Helen Burns. Helens and Jane’s life there mirrors that of her and her sisters harrowing time at Cowan Bridge.

Today one of the remaining cottages is available as an attractive Holiday Let , so fans of the Brontes’ can experience a little part of Bronte history. A short walk and you are away from the road noise and out into beautiful rolling countryside.

I am glad the buildings stand as a reminder of how harsh life could be back then, and also as a celebration of what the Bronte family would eventually achieve.

Have you visited any places where the Brontes’ lived, worked or played? πŸ“–

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ August. πŸ“·

Here are Kate/Hawthorns words for this month’s Photo Scavenger Hunt. πŸ“·

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. πŸ™‚

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 πŸ₯ 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. πŸ”

Thanks for dropping by. 😊

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 πŸš€ 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.

β›΅ 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?

🐚

To The Sea.

I have been craving ‘ a sea fix ‘ for some time now. Today was finally the day that I got my fix. We headed to Heysham on the Lancashire coast and parked at Heysham Nature Reserve behind the power station. After typing Heysham Nature Reserve into Google maps it told me that we had visited the reserve two years ago. Scary that it remembered. 😜

Heysham Nature Reserve is still open , however the car park and facilities are currently closed. We managed to find a spot near the entrance and Hugo had an off lead wander. At some point we ended up on the rocky shore in front of the power station. Un surprisingly it was easy to social distance beside a nuclear power station. 😊

We walked as far as the striking rust coloured South Pier lighthouse and retraced our steps back to the car.

Rocky shore.

Behind the power station.

Yellow Rattle.

Greater Knapweed.

Hugo inspects the thin strip of beach.

Sea & sky.

Lesser black backed Gull.

South Pier Lighthouse selfie.

South Pier Lighthouse.

Oyster catchers brunch time.

It was around 11-30 and already cracking the flags at nearby Half Moon Bay when we parked the car on the small car park there. In fact it was getting a bit too hot for Hugo. After a short walk along the cliffs as far as the St Patrick’s chapel remains, we called it a day. Looking back on my post from two years ago, we had a hot weather visit then too! No beautiful new sculptures at that time though. Fab to see the recent editions. 😊

Oyster catcher sculpture.

Half Moon Bay.

Ship Sculpture looking over Half Moon Bay.

Ship Sculpture.

My first ever sighting of a Whitethroat. πŸ™‚

St Patrick’s Chapel.

Rock cut coffin graves.

Goodbye beautiful Lancashire coast. Until next time. ❀️

30 Before 50 Bucket List ~ Update.

Watch a film in an old vintage cinema.

Climb ten more Wainwrights. ( Two down).

Eat out at the Witchery in Edinburgh.

Wildlife walk in the Slaidburn fells. We saw Ring Ouzels and Green Hairstreaks.

Go on a guided Wildlife Walk.

Swim in a lido.

Walk The Dales Way.

Latrigg Fell over Christmas. Another Wainwright ticked off.

See the Northern Lights.

Try a Dutch Pancake in Amsterdam.

Collect sea glass on Seaham beach.

Stop in four quirky holiday lets. ( One down).

Go wild camping.

Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23 in Manchester.

Dutch Pancakes in Amsterdam.

Explore more of the Outer Hebrides.

Spend a few days in the Peak District.

Go to the No 6 Festival in Portmeirion.

Photograph a Barn Owl in the wild.

The Witchery in Edinburgh.

Ride a street car in Lisbon.

Watch a starling murmuration.

Go Ice skating outdoors.

Make an honesty box meal.

Be Nine Stone!

A stay in a quirky holiday let ~ Tree Dome in Shropshire.

Visit Dungeness in Kent.

Eat ice cream in a vintage ice cream parlour.

Cycle round the isle of Cumbrae

Have coffee at Central Perk in the Manchester Primark.

……

……

…….

Meet Felix the Huddersfield Railway Cat.

An evening with The Yorkshire Shepherdess.

Go for a cream tea at the home of the Yorkshire Shepherdess. ( Did go to a very interesting talk by her).

So this is how I’m doing with my 30 Before 50 Bucket List. But don’t worry I still have a few years to go before I complete it! In 2019 I crossed five items off the list and made progress with a couple more. And I still have a few gaps, incase I think of a few more things I’d like to do. What’s on your Bucket List? x

Glamping In A Tree Dome ~ South Shropshire. πŸŒ³πŸŒΏπŸ¦‹

Before we bought our static caravan, I had long ago ( back in early Spring I believe) booked four nights away in a Tree Dome near Ludlow in Shropshire. A Tree Dome you ask? It’s a luxury glamping experience with all mod cons. Under canvas you might be, but there’s still the most comfiest bed I have ever slept in, a plush sofa, a delightful dining table and a toasty wood burner. Not that we needed to light a roaring fire in July, but still….

Tree Dome is situated in the heart of Bowkets Wood near Clee Hill, right on the Shropshire/ Herefordshire border. It is also very near Worcestershire. I am not very good with my counties! We particularly loved the decking area , where I must admit , we spent most of our time. The weather was warm so lounging about on the outdoor furniture with a good book and a glass of wine under the cool woodland canopy was perfection after a day out exploring.

Our woodland hideaway also featured a wood fueled hot tub ( available at extra charge), gas BBQ, fire pit, pizza oven ( added extra), and separate kitchenette & shower. A perfect base for getting to know so many English ( and Welsh too!) Counties. That is if you can ever bring yourself to leave. That hot tub was so enticing!