Just returned from a few days at our caravan in Cumbria. It’s the first time we’ve managed to visit this year. Happily we were able to stay toasty in the van and get out and about and explore too. Life is carrying on as normal..for now! Here are a few images from our 4 day break.
NT Acorn Bank.
Appleby & Rutter Falls. ( 8 mile muddy walk).
Northern Viaducts Round ~ Kirkby Stephen. ( 4 mile, not as Muddy walk).
Definitely loving all the places we’ve discovered in the beautiful Eden Valley so far.
Monday was one of those bright cold days, perfect for a trip to the coast. It’s been a long time since we visited Lytham so we headed for the Lancashire seaside town, parking not far from the windmill on the Green. The Windmill is open to the public in the Summer , so we could only admire it’s sails set against a winter blue sky.
After a walk along the marshy grass and pebbled beach ( Hugo racing round like a demented dog) we found a cute cafe on Clifton Street in town called Bijou for lunch.
It is the Clifton family that resided in Lytham’s grandest residence , the Grade 1 listed Georgian built Lytham Hall on the outskirts of town. After lunch we headed there as I had heard it’s grounds and cafe are popular with dogs and their owners. It’s a bit of a walk from Lytham, but there is a car park if you’d prefer to drive.
The snowdrops are just starting to bloom in the gardens and grounds. In February there are so many that popular Snowdrop Walks are held every weekend throughout the month. The Hall and cafe and gardens have a friendly community vibe with a gardening club, book and antique sales, park runs and guided house tours. I think it’s somewhere we will return. 🙂
So that’s my idea of a happy January day. Sea Air, Blue Skies and Snowdrops. 🙂
The weather in my hometown of Clitheroe in Northern England today was foggy, wet and grey so we decided to pop over the Lancashire border to Skipton in the drizzly Yorkshire Dales. A planned walk up Pendle Hill has been postponed ( I admit I was a teeny bit relieved! ) until a less misty day.
My other half hadn’t seen the newish ( 12 months old) willow sculptures in Skipton Castle Woods ,so I suggested we blow off the cobwebs with a walk there. I have blogged about the Sculptures previously, but it’s nice to share their beauty with you all again. It was Hugo’s first sight of them too. 😁
After our walk and a nosy round some shops we were ready for lunch. I thought we could treat Hugo ( and ourselves! ) to dinner at The Kibble Bakery on Sheep Street. When we arrived it was completely empty of customers so I quickly took a few photos, it was busy with both hounds and humans by the time we left.
The Kibble Bakery & Coffee House is a bright and cosy ( and very dog friendly) cafe. It is run by a mother and daughter team who as well as making and baking delicious food for humans, make and bake for our four legged friends too. Hugo sampled a cheesy pup biscuit, I wish I could tell you he tasted the flavour but being a greedy Labrador , he wolfed it down in seconds…..
On our way home from Skipton we had a bit of a walk down the canal side at East Marten, but the weather had changed for the worst , so no more pictures. Six miles done though so making a good start to the #walk1000miles challenge I’m joining in with again this year. 2019 I managed just over 1900 miles so a big improvement on 2018s 1600 + miles. Although I’m very happy with the mileage done, I know I’m still terribly unfit. Put a hill in front of me and I nearly die. The only remedy to that though is of course practice! And more fells, hills and mountains. So my aim for this year is not to improve my mileage, but to improve my chances of getting up a hill. Wish me luck! 😅
As is now a December tradition, I am sharing my year in photos. It’s been a pretty fab one. Life is looking good!
In January I started the #walk1000miles challenge again, determined to beat the 1600 plus miles I did in 2018. Had great fun doing the RSPB Big Bird Watch with my sister’s family, including Chloe the cat. And spent a weekend in Edinburgh. for Wils birthday.
February was pretty quiet , we changed the colour of the bedroom. I’m glad my other half is a dab hand with a paint brush. 😁
There was a weekend away in March with some walking in the fells near Coniston.
May felt strange, as I left my job of twenty nine years. I took my redundancy and have basically spent the rest of the year spending it! Highlights in May included Badger Watching at RSPB Haweswater and my friend Gills wedding. Wil and I scrubbed up ok.:)
June was the only time we managed to get a camping trip in. This is my fave photo from our weekend in Ingleton with friends. Our dogs on a date 😁~ Hugo & Bel the Bedlington terrier. Later this month I bought a static caravan in the Eden Valley in Cumbria!
In July we spent a tranquil four nights in a Tree Dome in Shropshire ( booked before my impromptu caravan purchase), got the caravan kitted out and I found work in a local cafe. I’m still there but it’s not the most stable of jobs. Who knows what the new year will bring..
August was mainly about exploring the area local to our van. Much of the rest of 2019 was devoted to this pursuit. 😁
I visited Amsterdam for the first time in September and the girls and I spent a chilled weekend at the caravan.
November is my birthday month and Wil treated us to a night away at the Haweswater Hotel. 🙂
And now it’s December and we are away yet again, this time in a cottage in Keswick, also booked before we bought the caravan. Despite losing my job this year, it seems I have taken more trips than any other! I know I have so so much to be thankful for and this little blog is definitely one of those things…..
I’d like to wish you all the best for 2020. Here’s to a healthy & happy New Year. Xx
Our last weekend at the caravan before we closed it down for the Winter was idyllic. Cold, fine and frosty. This is what Melmerby looked like on Saturday morning. Jack Frost had sprinkled his magic.
We headed into Keswick later that morning. Hugo enjoyed playing with his inflatable in the lake. Didn’t see many other wild swimmers. 😉
After lunch we headed back to the Eden Valley as Keswick was bustling with festive shoppers. We parked up in Edenhall and enjoyed the quiet solitude of a countryside walk. The combination of frost and mist was both eerie and magical.
This morning we left a beautiful winter wonderland for our rather green Lancashire home.
The River Eden is truly Cumbrian. Beginning high in the fells of Mallestang at its source, it meanders it’s way some ninety miles through Eastern Cumbria up towards Carlisle, and finally merging with other rivers as it enters The Solway Firth. Some twenty years ago ten sculptures were commissioned to celebrate the history and beauty of the area, they are The Eden Benchmarks and I’m hoping to discover them all.
There are other riverside features too. Wil , Hugo and I visited Lacy’s Caves , five chambers cut into the red sandstone cliffs along the Eden at Little Selkeld. Also nearby is a Druid Stone Circle Long Meg & Her Daughters. Faces cut into the rocks by the river at Armathwaite and more red sandstone caves at Wetheral are on my list of places to see. 🙂
Eden Benchmark Sculptures seen so far.
South Rising. Carved from local Lazonby red sandstone, South Rising by Vivien Mousdell is situated on The Ladies Walk at Edenhall near Langwathby. It comprises of two curved rock seats, apparently representing the rivers perpetual journey and the annual migrations of the Eden’s fish and birds. Although not terribly intricate , this sculpture has stood the test of time, twenty years hasn’t weathered the carving too much. Though it was quite hard to find amongst the undergrowth! The Ladies Walk is especially nice in the summer with river, cornfield and woodland views. Lots of wild flowers and the possibility of refreshments at The Edenhall Hotel.
Vista. Definitely my favourite of the Eden Benchmarks we’ve seen so far is Vista by Graeme Mitcheson. Carved into a large sandstone boulder are the discarded boots, clothing and map of a walker who has decided to chance a paddle ( or maybe even a wild swim) in the river below. Vista is situated in Coombs Wood, a pleasant riverside walk from the lovely village of Armathwaite. Below the sculpture ( and unbeknownst to us at the time) are several carved faces in the cliffs as well as a poem etched into the red sandstone. Definitely a reason to return, maybe when the bluebells are out in the spring.
Cypher Piece. In the picnic area near the Eden Bridge at Lazonby lies Cypher Piece by Frances Pelly. Two adjacent rocks have been carved with clues about the Eden’s human history. Unfortunately this benchmark has really succumbed to nature and moss covers the entire piece. We could make out a fish but other detail such as a Celtic horses head, a ram’s horn and a Norse Tomb Decoration were invisible to our untrained eyes.
Red River. Looking out over the Eden at Temple Sowerby, Red River by Victoria Brailsford can be accessed by a footpath from the cricket field at the North of the village. This local Lazonby sandstone sculpture is still in good nick, the steps are carved with water ripples, the balls apparently representing large pebbles in fast flowing water. Not far from Temple Sowerby is NT Acorn Bank where we saw our first Eden Valley Red Squirrel in its adjacent woodland. 🙂
So there you have it, four of the ten Eden Benchmark Sculptures and six more to find…