Category Archives: walks

Frost.

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.

Hello December. ❄️

Sculptures along the river Eden.

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. 🙂

The River Eden at Langwathby.
Lacy’s Caves at Little Selkeld.
Long Meg and her Daughter’s.
South Rising.

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 in Coombs Wood.
Vista.
Beware of Adders!
River Eden at Armathwaite.

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.

Cypher Piece at Lazonby.
Cypher Piece.

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. 🙂

Red River at Temple Sowerby.
Red River.
Pink Berries in Temple Sowerby.

So there you have it, four of the ten Eden Benchmark Sculptures and six more to find…

Have you come across any of them?

Do you have any interesting sculptures near you?

Autumn in Strid Wood.

If your thinking of partaking in a Woodland walk this October, you can’t go far wrong with a wander along the woodland trails at the Bolton Abbey Estate in the Yorkshire Dales.  We took our dog Hugo here this morning and despite it being a soggy rainy day, we had a fab time enjoying the sights and sounds of Strid Wood. The Autumn colours are stunning at this time of year. And after despairing of not finding any fungi on local walks near where I live in Clitheroe, here at Bolton Abbey there are mushrooms and toadstools galore….
Here are a few images from our time on the estate. If you can identify any of the fungi I haven’t ( which is most of it! ) I would love your help. 🙂

Male and female mandarin ducks. Saw lots of these beautiful birds.






Cauliflower Fungus.


Robin.

A rare sighting of a kingfisher sitting still. 🙂


Possible Mallard Hybrid.


Beech nuts.

Have you enjoyed any Autumn walks recently?

Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ September.

I am loving Kate’s words for September, they are giving this post a glowing Autumn vibe. If you would like to see more interpretations of the prompts that Kate chose , please pop over to her lovely blog.. ☺️

Cosy. Here is Simba the cat looking very cosy in his usual spot, on a table at the entrance of an Amsterdam restaurant. It was definitely his presence that attracted us there……..and the cheese!

Changing foliage. Autumn colours in Clitheroe town centre. After the glorious Indian Summer type weather we have recently experienced, it does feel more Autumnal now.

Scarf. I do actually have a recent photo of myself wearing a scarf. This was taken on Allonby Beach in Cumbria. In the distance you can make out Scotland, separated by the Solway Firth.

Baking. I’m not one for doing much baking ( as you can probably tell!) but this prompt did encourage me to bake this pear and ginger loaf cake. Hurrah! A recipe can be found here.

Cobweb. A misty Monday morning walk down by the river gave me ample opportunity to photograph cobwebs……….as there were thousands of them! It’s scary to imagine how many spiders are out there. 🕸️

My Own Choice. This was taken last night on a Bat Walk organized by the Ribble Rivers Trust. My niece and nephew with Bat Detectors. Bats love water apparently and trees ( especially in hedges and on the edge of woods) as both attract insects. They can eat up to a thousand pesky midges a night, as well as other insects and even small fish. The Bat detectors enable the human ear to listen into bat calls which are mostly too high pitched for us to hear. We were able to detect Common Pipistrelles , Noctules and Daubenton’s Bats ( water bats) with the help of the detectors. It was an amazing and fun experience. 🙂

Thanks for dropping by.

Shap Abbey & Wet Sleddale Reservoir.

So on Saturday we decided to see what the Eden valley village of Shap has to offer. To be completely honest I have never been the biggest fan of Shap. Partly because it’s one of those places that you mostly just pass through, a road of grey houses on the way North…  and partly because I actually stopped there for a night once with an ex in the deathrows of our relationship. These reasons and the fact that it usually rains in Shap ( in my experience!) haven’t exactly endeared the area to me. But I am being unfair. A little bright sunshine and some friendly hospitality has happily changed my mind.
We arrived mid morning with a destination in mind, Shap Abbey. Little is left of this twelfth century abbey except the imposing tower which looks striking against both stormy and sunny skies. Information boards scattered around the site give a you a good idea of what was where. The building was one of several used by the Premonstratensian Order of Canons before the disolvation of the monestries by King Henry VIII.
The canons were known as ‘The White Canons’ because of their unusual white woollen habits. They were apparently given good pensions when their home was destroyed , some of the abbeys stones were used to build the adjoining farm house. I can’t help but wonder if those canons still walk the grounds of a moonlit night…..

Wandering round the abbey gave us a good appetite. Shap is home to an award winning Fish & Chip shop. We headed there for lunch. Situated in the heart of the village, Shap Chippy is incredibly fresh and clean looking inside & out. The decor has a homely nautical vibe and we recieved a cheery welcome. You can eat in too, and we were pleasantly surprised that dogs are very welcome. Most importantly the fish & chips are excellent. Well recommended!



After that tasty treat we needed a good route to walk off those calories. Nearby Wet Sleddale Reservoir has a 4 mile public footpath & quiet road that circles the water. Set in the Shap Fells this triangular reservoir was built in the sixties, the water like many Lakeland reservoirs is used to supply Manchester. For this walk I recommend wearing wellies! I guess the clue is in the name. Wet Sleddale is indeed quite wet & boggy, even on a dry September day. We parked on the car park near the dam.



The countryside is lovely here and so peaceful. We only saw a couple of other walkers, so its definitely away from the Lake District crowds. Ling Heather, Scabious and Bog Asphodel grow in abundance and buzzards soar in the sky. The area also has connections with the cult ( and rather batty!) movie Withnail and I. Film locations include the stone bridge where Withnail attempts to shoot fish in the brook below and Sleddale Hall where him and his friend try holidaying in the Lake District. I took a sneak peek at the remote Hall, where outdoor screenings of Withnail and I are shown annually in the yard.


At the end of our wander round Wet Sleddale we sat and admired the gushing dam which is 21 metres high.

Have you ever visited Shap or the surrounding area?

A misty morning at Malham Tarn.

The temperatures for Bank Holiday Monday promised to be high, which is great, except if your a black Labrador like Hugo, or indeed if your me. I think I’m more of a snowflake kind of girl than a sunshine kind of girl sometimes. 🙂

We decided to head for water, but we’re keen to avoid the bank holiday traffic, so driving to the Lakes or seaside we’re out. Instead we made our way to Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales. This glacial lake nestles at an altitude of 375 metres and is looked after by the National Trust. There is parking on both sides of the water.. We parked at Water Sinks and walked along a limestone track that leads down to the tarn. Hugo was straight in there. The sun hadn’t yet burnt off the morning mist, so the temperatures were both hound and human friendly. 😉

Although the fog enveloped the water, there was still more than a hint of beauty on show.

A misty Malham Tarn.

Grass of Parnassus.

Young Wagtail.

Malham Tarn.

Female Gadwall.

The tarn and its surroundings are home to many water bird species ( if only we could see them! ) and when its clear you can apparently get a great view from the bird Hide. Other possible sightings include otters who have been spotted swimming at dusk & dawn. It was lovely to see a variety of wildflowers including harebells, devil’s bit scabious and grass of Parnassus. Grass of Parnassus is in fact an honorary grass, named because in Ancient Greece, this pretty white flower was devoured by cattle grazing on Mount Parnassus.

Orchid House.

Not so Incey Wincey!

Hare.

Sleepy Kestrel.

Heron.

The Pennine Way walking route passes Malham Tarn and continues through the grounds of a Field Centre where an old Orchid House provides information about wildlife & geology in the area. We then walked through woodland decorated with various animal & bird sculptures until coming across Tarn Moss & Tarn Fen Nature Reserve.

Peacock Butterfly.

Bog Asphodel.

Sundew.

Due to the fragility of the reserve , dogs & bicycles are not permitted here, so I left Wil and Hugo for a quick nosy. The unusual habitat of groundwater- fed fen and rainwater-fed raised bog is home to rare plant life including insectivorous sundew and yellow globe flowers. There is apparently a herd of wild ponies on the fen, but I didn’t spy them. A wooden boardwalk guides you through the boggy mossy wilderness, but alas I didn’t have time to venture far.

The mist is lifting.

We retraced our steps back to the car and ate a picnic lunch on the grass. The midday sun was definitely starting to scorch , but we thought we would head into Malham and walk up to its lovely waterfall Janet’s Foss. We visited here a couple of years ago, but much earlier in the morning, before it got to busy. On that occasion the Foss was a serene scene , but on a bank holiday, it was crushed and crowded.

Malham.

Bee Library.

Janet’s Foss.

Hugo still managed a few paddles in the babbling brook, so all was not lost. I am definitely up for returning to Malham, especially Malham Tarn. I’m imagining a walk their every season now. A cold crisp November day maybe……

Enjoying Nature Along The River Wharfe, Yorkshire Dales.

My niece and nephew broke up for Summer last week so Hugo and I joined them and my sister for a wander along the River Wharfe. Our plan was to walk from Burnsall to Grassington , a pleasant riverside ramble. However we stopped so many times to admire butterflies, identify insects, look under stones for crayfish and watch waterbirds, that we didn’t make much headway on the timescale we had. Another time perhaps! However we had lots of fun along the way. I come from a nature loving family. 🙂

My 8 year old neice Imogen says that we all have our own talents at identifying things. She is good at insects, Roman knows his reptiles & snakes ( we didn’t see any! ), Auntie Shaz ( me) can name most flowers ( though I might need my blogging friends to help with a couple ) and my sister’s speciality subject is dog breeds. Ok then!

Here are a few photos from our Wharfedale wander.

A lesser spotted Hugo at Hebden Suspension Bridge and Stepping stones.

Betony.

Small Skipper on Yarrow.

White duck.

Hugo helping Imogen I D flowers.

Caterpillar of Peacock Butterfly.

Harebells.

Monkey Flower.

Goosander.

Harebells, Betony and Hawkweed.

Flowers galore.

Any ideas?

Common spotted orchid.

Not sure. I’ve had a look online and came up with Sand Garlic?

Common Grasshopper.

Rest – Harrow.

Would you cross the wibbly wobbly bridge or the stepping stones?

Nature Spotters.

Thanks to my sister for some of the photos. 🙂