Category Archives: travel

A Canal Walk To The Sea.

So here’s a throwback post to August and our stay in Arnside on the Cumbrian Coast. A short train journey away is the characterful town of Ulverston, a place we have visited several times before. The towns cobbled streets and plethora of independent shops, cafes and pubs make it a great destination for generally mooching about. After a ‘ mooch about’ we would be heading along the World’s Shortest, Deepest and Widest Canal, for a walk to the Sea.

Ulverston.
Laurel & Hardy….and friend.
Movie theatre inside the museum.

The morning we visited Ulverston it was exhibiting typical Lake District weather! To escape the rain we spent a good hour or so in the towns Laurel and Hardy Museum. Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston in 1890 and must surely be  it’s most famous resident. The museum has a good selection of the comedy duos memorabilia,  as well as a small cinema that plays Laurel & Hardy features on a loop. Our dog Hugo was made welcome and humoured us as we chuckled our way around. 😊

After a lovely lunch at the nearby Stan Laurel Inn we were suitably refreshed for a canal side walk. Ulverston Canal is a former Ship Canal which linked Ulverston to Morecambe Bay, one and a half miles away.  Completed in 1796 ,the waterway claimed to be the shortest , deepest, widest …… and straightest Canal in the World. Once upon a time passenger ships to Scotland and London embarked from here as well as cargos of local slate. But when the Railway arrived in Ulverston in the 1840s, the record breaking Canals fortunes were on the wane.  By the end of the Second World War Ulverston Canal was no longer in use.

Start of the walk at Canal Head, with views of The Hoad Monument behind us.

Today the waterway offers a serene amble from Canal Head in the town to Canal Foot with its splendid views over Morecambe Bay.  A footpath on the less industrial side of the canal is a popular stroll. There’s even a pub at the end. An incentive indeed!

Flowering Rushes.
A Map Of Ulverston Canal.
Canal Side Retreat looking out over a  million lily pads.

We saw lots of wildlife as we walked along. Plenty of waterside wildflowers and much of the surface was covered in Lily pads. Mute Swans, Comerants, Moor hens and Mallards swam and dived amongst them.

Old Man’s Beard , aka Travellers Joy.
Swanning off.

Half way along Ulverston Canal is a Rolling Bridge, the only one of its kind left in England. Forgotten about  for many years  , it was a history enthusiast who discovered the significance of the bridge and it was given Grade ll status in 2012.

Rolling Bridge.
More Lily Pads.
Juvenile Swans.
112 Foot Sea Lock, the only lock on the canal.

Before long we were at Hammerside Point , Canal Foot. Here the former Ship Canal meets the Leven Estuary. What a splendidly unexpected place…

Out to Sea.
Sign by the small car park at Canal Foot.
Leven Estuary.

For some reason I forgot to take a photo of The Bay Horse Hotel  from the outside ,so below is a distant one I found online. The former Coaching Inn enjoys stunning views over the Bay. Once upon a time it was from here that brave travellers would make the perilous journey by stage coach, over the sands to Lancaster. The arrival of the Railway probably saved a lot of lives!

Bayhorse Hotel with conservatory.
A white horse, not a Bay 🐎 horse, inside the Inn.

After a drink in the pub we retraced our steps back to Ulverston.  On the way an unassuming wooden shed near the Lock Keepers Cottage peeked my interest, especially when I saw its ‘ Welcome Humans ‘ sign?

Lock Keepers Cottage.
Welcome Humans!
Inside the shed.

Whilst looking it up online later, I discovered that the Shed is part of an interactive Art Installation Project called the Last Human Coro Shed . Perhaps not what you would expect to see where a canal meets the sea…..

Goodbye Morecambe Bay.

Thanks for joining me. 😊

Bank Holiday.

It was a certain Black Labradors 7th birthday at the weekend. Hugo enjoys opening his own presents. Tearing off the wrapping paper and shredding it into little pieces is all part of the fun. πŸ™‚

To avoid the Bank Holiday crowds on Saturday we headed over the border into County Durham , another county within half an hour’s drive from the caravan.

Our first destination was Cow Green Reservoir , the water of which shone a stunning topaz blue. From here we walked to the nearby Cauldron Snout Cascade, one of the longest waterfalls in England. There were a few walkers doing the Pennine Way, but mostly we had the place to ourselves.

Cow Green Reservoir.
Birthday Boy.
At the top of Cauldron Snout.

After eating a picnic lunch looking out over the water we decided to drive to nearby Killhope Lead Mining Museum in Upper Weardale. We didn’t do the underground mine tour but did spend a good couple of hours exploring the overground.

Outdoors at Killhope Lead Mining Museum.

Up until the 12th of September there are five large billboards to find outdoors, as part of The Architect Of Ruins Exhibition by Steve Messam. They look particularly striking against the rural/industrial backdrop. I was also delighted to see several Red Squirrels from the Hide in the Woodland. Dogs are welcome at Killhope and the attraction is currently free!

On Sunday we headed to Allonby , a favourite beach of ours for walks with Hugo. On the way we called in at a farm that had opened their Sunflower 🌻 field up for charity. It was amazing to see all those golden flower heads waving in the breeze.

Sunflowers galore. πŸ™‚
The beach at Allonby.

Before we set off home on Monday we took Hugo for a walk in the grounds of Acorn Bank at nearby Temple Sowerby. The gardens, grounds and water mill are open to the public and owned by the National Trust. There are some lovely Woodland walks here, perfect for wildlife spotting and walking the hound. πŸ™‚

Lily pond at Acorn Bank.

It was a bit of an action packed bank holiday weekend. Hopefully Hugo enjoyed his birthday. And thank you to my wonderful other half for driving. He’s definitely a good un. 😁

Weekend Wanderings ~ A Flowerpot Festival And A Roman Wall.

Of the Flowerpot Festival in Settle, the Visit Settle website says ‘ Be Entertained, Astounded and Astonished by the beautiful flowerpot displays in our lovely town’. I couldn’t agree more! Here are a small selection of what we spotted when we dropped by Settle last Saturday afternoon. The Yorkshire Dales town is showcasing it’s stunning flowerpot creations until the first week of September.

The resemblance is uncanny!

On Sunday we were in Northumberland, a county we are discovering more of from our caravan base in the North Pennines. We visited Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 73 mile wall was built under the orders of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD122 , guarding the Northern frontier from invaders further North. Today what remains of Hadrian’s Wall is looked after by English Heritage and other organisations.

We parked at Housesteads Roman Fort and walked along the Hadrian’s Wall Path as far as Sycamore Gap, about 4 miles there and back. Confusingly Housesteads is looked after by both English Heritage and the National Trust, yet the car park is run by National Parks. So as NT members we still had to pay for parking. Then I realised I had left my membership card at home anyway! So we didn’t bother paying to see the fort remains, we just went a walk instead.

The wildflowers along the wall are beautiful. Plenty of harebells, knapweed, ladies bedstraw and field scabious. The heather was just starting to bloom and mountain pansies were dotted here and there.

Your not really meant to sit on an ancient monument but Hugo and I did have one quick photo taken just before Hotbank Farm. A very scenic spot for a hill farm. πŸ™‚

To the left of Hotbank farm lies a body of water called Crag Lough. I had no idea before I wrote this post that lakes in Northumberland and very Northern England are known as loughs . There are several loughs near Hadrian’s Wall.

Sycamore Gap is an iconic and well photographed spot along Hadrian’s Wall. A few hundred years old Sycamore tree 🌲 grows in the dip. The sycamore is known as the Robin Hood Tree as it appeared in the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves.

My goodness, there is so much more to discover in this fascinating part of the world. I am sure there will be future posts!

2021 Is Cumbria’s Year Of The Coast. β›΅πŸŸπŸŒž

I have recently found out that 2021 has been named Cumbria’s Year Of The Coast ! Many people flock to the lovely Lake District , yet the  county also has over 100 miles of diverse coastline to explore. Known for its secluded beaches, coastal walks & wildlife and dramatic sunsets, Cumbria’s coastline is very much a hidden gem.

So I thought I would share some of my own moments by the sea as well as note down a few places I would like to visit next time I’m in the area. Happily my August Summer holiday will be split between two seaside settlements this year. We have our usual weekend away with friends booked in Ravenglass plus the four following nights further South of the county in Arnside. Happy days. πŸ™‚

Allonby.  A former fishing village, Allonby was also a popular Victorian sea bathing resort. It retains some interesting old buildings including the handsome Reading Rooms built by Alfred Waterhouse , who went on to design London’s Natural History Museum & Strangeways Prison.  Charles Dickens and fellow writer Wilkie Collins  stayed two nights at The Ship Hotel on their 1857 walking tour of Cumberland, after Collins badly sprained his ankle in the Lakeland fells.   Today the village is popular with painters who love the light and Solway sunsets.  The beach is a mixture of dunes, shingle & sand , perfect for walking the pooch.  A great place to indulge in Fish & Chips is the local chippy ‘The Cod Father’.  Where to stay ~ the former home of artist Percy Kelly is a beautifully renovated holiday cottage. Percy Kelly’s Cottage.

Scenes from Allonby.

Arnside.  The views over Morecambe Bay toward the Lake District are stunning from the charming seaside resort of Arnside. Pretty shops, tea rooms and pubs line the sea front. A Victorian promenade and small pier adorn the village and the beach is sandy but tidal, so visitors must beware of changing tides. Organized Cross Bay walks are a popular hiking route from Arnside to nearby Kent Bank.  Every few weeks a siren sounds in the village, warning of a natural phenomenon  called a tidal bore , a fast  incoming wave that sweeps across the estuary.  Where to Stay ~  enjoy scenic  views over the bay  from  Ye Olde Fighting Cocks  pub with rooms.

Arnside with the viaduct in the distance.
Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk.

Baycliff.  Our first holiday with  Hugo was in a beachside cottage at Baycliff, a small former fishing and farming community that looks over Morecambe Bay.  Baycliff  has a pretty village green and two pubs. A vast beach of shingle and sand offers ample opportunity for walks and bird watching , a two mile stroll east brings ice cream ( or coffee and cake ) rewards if you drop by  Bardsea’s Chill & Grill . Also nearby is Ulverstons Buddhists Temple for World Peace whose gardens, woodland trails, beach, cafe and gift shop are open to everyone. Where to stay ~  practically on the beach if you can at the nautically inspired Driftwood Cottage.

The beach at Baycliff.

St Bees.  Alfred Wainwright recommends that walkers dip their boots in the North Sea at St Bees , the starting point of his Coast To Coast Walking Route. 182 miles later and those aching feet can seek solace in the sea at Robins Hood Bay.  For me a wander along St Bees sandy beach or atop it’s red sandstone cliffs is quite enough.  RSPB St Bees Head is home to colonies of seabirds including  guillemot and razorbill. And the 11th century priory in the village dedicated to St Mary and St Bega features some colourful stained glass windows.   Where to Stay ~ Former Railway waiting room transformed into comfortable self catering accommodation. The Station House.

Sea Pinks and the Start  of the Coast To Coast walk.
St Bega Statue. Image ~ Contours.co.uk

Bowness-on-Solway.  Bowness is a small coastal village which was once the site of a sea facing Roman fort called Maia. Situated on the Western edge of Hadrian’s Wall ( no longer visible), the settlement is the start/finish of another long distance walking route, the Hadrian’s Wall Path. There are a couple of pubs , a cafe and  free range chickens were wandering along the village road when we visited last year. The Scottish coastline is clearly seen over the Solway Firth and nature lovers have The Solway Wetlands Centre and RSPB Campfield Marsh to explore. Where to stay ~  Glamp in luxury in a fully equipped wooden pod at Wallsend Guest House & Glamping.

RSPB Campfield Marsh.

Grange Over Sands. It was the railway that brought well heeled Victorians to Grange, turning it from a small fishing village to a genteel holiday resort. With its pretty gardens along the promenade and vast views over Morecambe Bay ,the town is a lovely place to visit. Over time the sands have shifted and it is salt marsh meadows that  now seperate Grange over Sands from the sea. There are a good selection of independent shops and businesses in town, a park with an ornamental duck pond and the Save Grange Lido group continues  its campaign for the restoration of the 1930s marshside art deco lido. Where to stay ~ relax in style whilst taking in the views. Bay Villa bed & Breakfast.

Grange Over Sands.
Morecambe Bay potted shrimps.
Grange Lido. Image ~ Air Pixels Media.

Haverigg. Situated at the mouth of the Duddon Estuary, Haveriggs golden sandy beaches have Blue Flag Status. The village has a recently opened Wake Board & Water Park , guaranteed fun for all ages! And RSPB Hodbarrow Lagoon is within walking distance. Look out for the 7 tonne sculpture ‘ Escape To Light’ by Josefina de Vasconcellos , situated by the Haverigg Inshore Rescue Station. Where To Stay ~ Family & dog friendly camping and glamping options at Harbour Lights Campsite .

Haverigg cottages.
Port Haverigg Aqua Park ~ photo from their Facebook page.

Maryport. A seaside resort with a rich maritime history and once the location of a Roman port, Maryport enjoys access to a vast sand & shingle beach and all the amenities of a typical coastal town. The Lake District Coast Aquarium is based here as well as the Senhouse Roman Museum on the promenade. Bob over to the village of Mawbray to stock up on local cheeses from The Cheese Shed. Where To Stay ~ Ann’s Hill Lodge & Cottage in nearby Bridekirk for a romantic getaway.

Senhouse Roman Museum. Photo ~ Senhouse Roman Museum. .
Miles of golden sands , Maryport. Photo ~ A Ball.

Ravenglass. The charming and sleepy estuary village of Ravenglass is the perfect place to chill with an ice cream ( if you can find the almost hidden Ice cream Hut ) on the rocky shore. Ravenglass is the only Cumbrian coastal settlement to be included in the Lake District National Park. Wast water, England’s deepest lake is 20 minutes drive away. Discover more of Lakeland by venturing on the The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway whose steam trains take visitors on a seven mile journey through the spectacular Eskdale countryside. Travellers can hunt for waterfalls, secluded tarns and enjoy a pint at the Woolpack Inn, recently voted Cumbria’s best pub. Where to stay ~ the railway station in Ravenglass has sympathetically restored two Pullman Coaches into quirky self catering accommodation.

Ravenglass Estuary.
All aboard the Ratty Railway.
Seven go to Eskmeals Nature Reserve ( a short drive from Ravenglass). Photo ~ F Middleton.

Silecroft. Silecroft it seems, is all about the beach! When the tide is out a vast expanse of shingle and sand appears, making it popular with horse riders, dog walkers and kite flyers. Both Murthwaite Green trekking centre and Cumbrian Heavy Horses offer beach riding , the formers horses appear galloping along the sands in the opening credits of Country file. The slopes of Black Combe Fell offer a scenic backdrop to Silecrofts seascape and rare Natterjack toads breed in the area. The beach has free parking, toilets and a shoreside cafe and there is a pub and store in the village. Where to stay ~ admire Silecroft Sunsets from a beautiful beach side cabin with hot tub .

Cumbrian Heavy Horses. Photo ~ Cumbrian Heavy Horses.
Wren enjoying the views. Photo ~ B Hudson.

Silloth. With its wide tree lined streets and attractive town green, Silloth-on-Solway is a classic example of a Victorian seaside resort. Victorians would come here to enjoy the mild climate and invigorating sea air, visitors today can enjoy those too as well as a lively year long programme of events held on the green. The town benefits from a sandy stretch of beach with dunes , a terraced promenade and amusent arcades. Other attractions in Silloth include a Vintage Motorcycle Museum and the unique Big Fella Sculpture by artist Ray Lonsdale. Where to stay ~ the Greenview Guest House overlooks the bay and has an in-house bistro.

Silloth Scenes. Photos ~ A Garley.

Walney Island & Piel Island. At eleven miles long and one mile wide Walney Island is the eighth largest island in England. It is seperated from the industrial port town of Barrow in Furness by Jubilee Bridge. The North and Southern tips of the island are nature Reserves, South Walney Reserve is home to Cumbrias only Grey Seal colony. Kite Surfing is a popular passtime at Earnse Bay which has a large shallow sandy beach. Piel Island is a much smaller island with its own castle and pub. An ongoing island tradition dating back to the 18th century proclaims that each pub landlord becomes ‘ King Of Piel Island’. The Ship Inn has recently reopened and a ferry runs from Roa Island during the summer months. Where to stay ~ Wild camping is available on Piel Island. Or cosy up nextdoor to a lighthouse in The Hide on Walney.

Piel Castle from Walney Island. Image ~ South Walney Nature Reserve.
Seal pup on at South Walney. Image ~ Cumbria Wildlife trust.

Whitehaven. Whitehaven is a Georgian port town and has more than 250 listed buildings. It’s early fortune came from sea mining, coal transportation to Ireland and also the trading of rum, spices and slaves from Africa. This colourful and somewhat dubious history is recorded in The Beacon Museum and The Rum Story . There is an attractive harbour and beach in the town, from where it is possible to take a cliff top walk to St Bees. Where to stay ~ Fine dining & boutique rooms Georgian Townhouse Hotel .

Whitehaven harbour. Image ~ Sally’s cottages.

Hopefully my post has given you a taste of what the beautiful Cumbrian Coast has to offer…..

Thank you to my lovely photograph contributers.

Silloth Scenes ~ A Garley, Wren enjoying Silecroft Beach ~ B Hudson, Maryports Golden Sands ~ A Ball, Seven go to Eskmeals Nature Reserve ~ F Middleton, Ravenglass sunset ~ J Blackburn.

Hot Summer Days.

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.

Ashgill Force…looking dry.

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.

Hugo finds a waterfall.
Beckside path.
A narrow gorge.
Go on, jump in!

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

Above Nook Farm Shop & Cafe.
Felt as warm as Rome.
A substantial salad.
Nook Farm Shop & Cafe.

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!

Early evening stroll in Melmerby.
Early morning stroll.
Breakfast on the decking.

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.

The Fat Lamb near Ravenstonedale.

How are you keeping cool? It’s a bit of a heatwave were having!

North Norfolk Coast. 🐚

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. πŸ’—

Typical Brancaster Beach Lifeguard.
View over the marshes at Breakfast ~ White Horse ~ Brancaster Staithe.
Marshside Muffin.
Harbor Seal ~ Brancaster Beach.
Brancaster Staithe harbor.
Eating out ( inside) in Brancaster. The Ship Hotel for food  and Bar 71 for a friendly drink with the locals.

Sheringham.

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. 🐾

Sheringham Beach Retro Advert art.
Colourful Beach huts.
Promenade squid.
Kite flying.
Mammoth Trail.
Sheringham Beach.

Burnham Market.

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!

Village view.
Admiral Horatio Nelson was born in nearby Burnham Thorpe and frequented a public house in the village.
A pink sweet shop.
Coffee time at the Tuscan Farm Shop.
Inside the Tuscan Farm Shop.

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. πŸ¦†

Cley Windmill.
Smokehouse.
Shingle Beach.
Avocet.
Swan family take over.

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. 🐚

Dun Cow beer garden.
Lunch at the Dun Cow.
Shingle. Much of it contains orangey coloured flint, used in the buildings round here.
Swanning around.
Sign near the Church.
The village 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.  πŸ¦€

Poetry on the sea front.
Looks tropical doesn’t it! We were actually wearing winter woolies.
Huts galore.
Mr & Mrs Mallard outside their beach hut.
Lifeboat Horse Sculpture.

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.

Lighthouse viewed through the remains of st Edmunds Chapel.
St Edmund was an Anglo Saxon King who was killed and beheaded by Danish raiders. A wolf supposedly protected the king’s head , and when reunited with Edmunds body the head mysteriously reattached itself, a sure sign of sainthood apparently.
Fulmar nesting in Hunstantons stripey cliffs.
Unique striped cliffs.
The Old Town Cafe at Old Hunstanton. A great place for breakfast.
Beach huts in the dunes.

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. πŸ™‚

Have you ever visited North Norfolk? πŸ¦€

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.