Category Archives: wildlife

A week in the Western Lakes. 

A few days ago we got back from a whole week in the lovely Lake District. We stopped in a holiday cottage , just outside the Eskdale village of Santon Bridge. Eskdale is a glacial valley in the less touristy Western side of the Lake District National Park. For us it was the ideal getaway, a base to explore what this gorgeous area has to offer.

Ride on the Ratty.   One thing I knew I wanted to do was take a steam train journey on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway.  The railway is a 7 mile minimum gauge heritage railway , affectionately known as L’al Ratty. It was originally used to carry hematite iron ore from mines around Boot, nowadays  it’s  an inventive way to explore the surrounding countryside.  We bought return tickets from Ravenglass to Dalegarth station £13.90 each ( Hugo’s ticket was £1.50) and walked along the river Esk to Stanley Ghyll Force. Trust us to find a waterfall!  L’al Ratty also played host to an Art Installation on our visit.   The Curious Incident of the Stag on the Train Line was an exhibition  of 12 beautiful wildlife paintings by local artist Sarah Taylor.  It was fun to spot  them along the trackside. 🙂

 A Walk to Wastwater.   The nearest lake to where we were staying is also the deepest lake in The Lake District. Wastwater is three miles long , half a mile wide and 260 feet deep.  One day we walked from the  cottage to the village of Nether Wasdale and onto Wastwater. As  you can see we were lucky enough to experience the most amazing walking weather, and the Autumn colours were stunning. Hugo got to bag another lake , which brings his lakes & tarns tally to 13.  Plenty more to go at though!

 Owls at Muncaster Castle. 


Muncaster Castle dates back to medieval times and with 70 acres of wild woodland gardens , its grounds are there for exploration.  The main draw for me though was the Hawk & Owl Centre which puts on daily flying shows. I caught the morning World of Owls Flying Display, where several species of owls can be seen at close quarters. The centre works in partnership with the Hawk Conservation Trust and the talk was both informative and entertaining. Make sure you know how to duck!  Of course Hugo had to stay with Wil whilst I had all the owl themed fun. 😦 Dogs on leads are welcome in the gardens and at the afternoon Sky Hunters Display and Heron feed ( there is a special viewing area for dogs and their owners), but we left before then, to find Hugo an off lead walk.  

Bag a Wainwright.
Wil was determined that we would walk up a mountain on our holiday, and bagging a Wainwright should have been on my Bucket List! Despite not being fond of hills, I’m always in awe of the gorgeous views, once I make it up one. 😉  We chose Buckbarrow, as it was within walking distance of our cottage, and from it’s summit, we could see the sea from one side and Wastwater and the screes from the other. Quite a vista! There are 214 Wainwight Peaks altogether. This was my first! 

 

Head for the Coast.  Santon Bridge ( our base) is actually only a few miles  from the coast, so it was inevitable that we would head for the seaside. The pretty harbor village of Ravenglass has a couple of pubs , a beach and of course is home to The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. We also ventured further a field , following the coastal road to Barrow In Furness and the russet stone ruins of Furness Abbey. The ancient abbey is looked after by English Heritage and it and the museum/giftshop are fascinating to look round. From Barrow we really wanted to take a trip to Walney Island , a nature reserve that is home to a colony of Grey seals. Unfortunately a traffic accident mean’t we had to forgo our plans, so we went to Haverigg Beach instead. The beach here is especially popular with dog walkers and it looked like you could walk for miles and miles.

I really enjoyed our time in the Western Lake District. My only regret is that we didn’t get to explore some of the other lakes in the area. But we were without a car for a couple of days…..so I think we did pretty well considering. 🙂

What is your favourite part of this iconic National Park?

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Butterflies, Seabirds & Rock Pools.

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Large Tree Nymph Butterfly.

In my last blog post I was feeling all Autumnal , but then Summer made a reappearance on Sunday 🙂  Happily we were put in charge of my niece and nephew for the day ….or was it the other way round !  Anyway we decided to head for the coast.  First we found ourselves at Williamson Park  on the outskirts of Lancaster.  With 54 acres of beautiful parkland , the impressive Ashton Memorial and far reaching views across Morecambe Bay, there’s certainly plenty to see.  But it was the Butterfly House and the Mini Beasts that the kids and I were interested in. Whilst Wil took Hugo for a walk , we got up close and personal with allsorts of cute creatures.  🙂

Tropical Blue Butterfly.

 

Common Garden Skink eating lunch.

The Butterfly House in Williamson Park is a former Palm House which resembles a tropical rainforest.  Indeed my camera lense started steaming up as soon as we entered!  Colourful butterflies flutter amongst the greenery and there are also various reptiles living here.  We were especially enamoured by the Common Garden Skink and a Chinese Water Dragon, who seemed a very friendly fellow.

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Chinese Water Dragon.

 

Meerkats. 

As well as The Butterfly House ,there is a Mini Beasts House, an Aviary and Meerkats, so plenty to keep the kids oooohing and ahhing for a little while. We also found an adventure playground, before meeting up with Wil and Hugo in The Pavilion Cafe. And we had to have a quick look in the gift shop too of course!

If only we had climbed up The Ashton memorial.  The views are apparently stunning from the first floor viewing gallery. That’s a definite for next time.  The memorial dominates the Lancaster skyline and was commissioned by Lord Ashton, as a tribute to his late wife.  Constructed mainly from Portland stone, with a copper dome, the structure was completed in 1909, and is now a popular venue for weddings and other events.  But now let’s head to Morecambe, whilst the sun is still shining. 🙂

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Tropical flower.

 

 

 

 

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Ashton Memorial

Morecambe’s Seafront is home to the Tern Project , an art trail that celebrates the varied birdlife and wildlife that make their home on the Lancashire Coast. Look out for poems and puzzles, jokes and riddles and lots of birdy sculptures.  Many can be found on the long stone jetty in front of the Midland Hotel, and along the promenade.

 

A Bird’s Eye View across the Bay.
Comerants.
Lapwing.
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Ringed  plovers.
Magpie.
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Mythical Bird.

When I asked my niece and nephew what they enjoyed the most about our day out, the answer was rock pooling!  These two could spend hours looking for crabs and water snails. Simple pleasures eh. 🙂

 

Gone Crabbing !

Here’s hoping for some more summery days to lead us out of September. X

Sunday Sevens 17th September.

There has definitely been an Autumnal feel to the past few days. I have been taking quick snapshots on my phone of the many nuts, berries and fungi I have come accross, when out with Hugo.

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Some kind of fungi in a tree stump.

It’s rained cats and dogs ,but inbetween showers there are always good photo opportunities! 

 

Hugo and Hips.

 I would not trust myself with identifying whether any fungi shown are edible or poisonous ! Have you ever collected any and cooked them? I remember my sister and I picking Horse Mushrooms from the fields as youngsters and Mum created all sorts of grey gloop with them for our teas. The picking was more fun than the eating! 

Below are elderberries ( edible) , Nightshade ( definitely poisonous) , Scabious flower, more fungi and new green acorns. 

 

Wild finds in all their September glory. 🙂

We have ordered a new fire and some wallpaper. Operation Living Room commences in October!  The fire is actually electric, but looks like the real thing, especially with the log storage. The wallpaper is for the alcoves and is by Minimoderns.  The Dungerness Print is actually inspired by a real place in Kent, that we would love to visit oneday. 

 

Yesterday ticked one off the Bucket List and entered Hugo in a dog show. There weren’t many categories left when we arrived at The Wuffit Mix Fun Day , so we had a go at Best Working Dog. Not that Hugo has ever worked a day in his life!  We didn’t win but…..

we bought Hugo a big bone biscuit anyhow……x

Yum Yum. 

These are my 7 photos for Sunday Sevens devised by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins. 

Hebden Bridge and Haworth.

In the past when Wil and I have driven to the Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge, we have arrived  there completely frazzled, because our old sat nav loves magical mystery tours. Or we just couldn’t find the place at all!   Happily on Saturday the Gods did not conspire against us, and we pulled up in a sunshiney Hebden before ten in the morning.

Hebden Bridge is a market town in  Calderdale.  , famed for its  independent stores  and creative community . Artisan shops and pavement cafes adorn the cobbles and Victorian terraces cling to the steep hillsides.  On a bright September  morning, it really did look like we had arrived in the ‘Happy Valley’.

 

 

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Early morning in Hebden Bridge.

As we were accompanied by a certain ‘ hungry black labrador’ , I suggested  we stop by at The Lamppost Cafe  for coffee and flapjacks for us…and a pup cake for him.  On the Lampposts facebook page it says ‘Because every dog deserves to feel special and be treated so! Don’t tie your best friend to a lamppost, bring them in The Lamppost!’

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A cafe that loves dogs…and their humans. 🙂

We loved the rustic decor in this very dog friendly cafe, and it was fun choosing Hugo a mouthwatering muffin from their impressive pup cake collection. It’s a pity he wolfed it down before I could get a picture !  His new friend  Lucky was most happy to pose though. Isn’t she adorable. 🙂  Lucky is sat on a hessian coffee sack , which you can help yourself to, if your dog doesn’t want to lie on the wooden floor.  I really enjoyed my fruity flapjack and the coffee was good too.

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After a wander round the shops and the market ( I found a lady who makes felt fairy lamps ~ Christmas present sorted for one goddaughter! ), we had lunch at Green’s ( a veggie cafe) and then went for a walk by the canal.

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We headed in the direction of Hebden Bridge’s neighbor Mytholmroyd, where poet Ted Hughes was born. Along the way there were were many barge businesses and floating homes.

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On the outskirts of Hebden Bridge  a rust coloured sculpture of a hawk, roosts in memorial to the Yorkshire born poet.  I’m not sure it looks hawk-like enough. What do you think? Hughes first wife writer ‘ Sylvia Plath’  is buried in the churchyard at nearby Heptonstall.

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Mid afternoon and Hebden Bridge was crazy busy , so we left the town and headed for nearby Haworth, another Yorkshire parish with famed literary connections. But first we stopped off for a walk on the rolling moorland above Oxenhope. Hugo decided to leap onto this wall and nearly ended up in the steep ravine below, tangled with the purple heather and brambles. Luckily he decided that running amongst the rushes was just as much fun!

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The Black Bull was where Branwell Bronte could often be found.

Beautiful Haworth is still so evocative of  its famous residents, the Brontes.  Surrounded by wild moor land , Haworth’s cobbled streets are brimming with old fashioned shops and is little changed from the days when Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell lived with their father in the parsonage , now a museum.

 

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Text from Wuthering Heights.

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I love the cute shops in Haworth and make no apologies for buying a couple more Christmas gifts. I just couldn’t resist and ‘ Wave of Nostalgia ‘ especially, really drew me in.

There are lots of Tea shops on the cobbled main street, but Wil can certainly recommend the Jamaican Peaberry Coffee from 10 the coffee house, where all coffees are freshly ground to order.  As you can see the African Lime cake we shared is tiny! But I’m kind of glad, as it has been my only cheat in a fortnight of abstaining from cake, pastry, crisps , bread and chocolate …..so far. 😉

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The Bronte Parsonage.

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It’s been a few years since I have wandered round the wonderful Bronte Museum, and on this visit I contented myself with a stroll in the garden and a quick glance in the museum shop.

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I’ve already decided that I would like to return soon and follow in the footsteps of the Bronte’s ,up onto the South  Pennine  Moors,  via the path that passes the parsonage. Watch this space. 🙂

Hawthorn’s August Scavenger Hunt.

Hey there, it’s time for another bash at Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt.  Looking at this month’s pictures makes me realise, I have been out and about quite a bit in August. Not that I’m complaining!

1. Relaxed.  A friend’s cute Bedlington Terrier is supplied with her own cushion in the pub , on our camping trip to Ingleton.

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2.  It begins with an M.  This curved sculpture on the beach in Cleveleys is called Mary’s Shell.

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3.  Time For…… a delicious slab of moist ginger cake in a cute cafe bar in Sedbergh called ‘The Three Hares’.

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4.  Tangerine.  Ok this photo is a bit of a stretch!  I am seeing a slight hint of tangerine colour here , in a waterfall on the Ingleton Falls Trail.

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5.  It begins with an O.  The Old Fashioned Traditional Sweet Shop on Blackpool’s North Pier sells all sorts of goodies. 🙂

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6.  Whiskery. Ok he’s not really that whiskery, just scruffy and cute. I met this sweetie in The Three Hares in Sedbergh. His name is Tigger!

7.  Lace.  Cow Parsley in a local meadow. It’s also known as Queen Anne’s Lace.

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8.  Bridge. Well how about this bridge! Ribblehead Viaduct is Europe’s longest viaduct and its in our very own Yorkshire Dales, not far from Ingleton.

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9). Letters.  The letter appears prominently on these colourful Collins hardbacks in a book shop in Sedbergh. Sedbergh is a Book town in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

 

 

10.  My Own Choice. My two god daughters with their camping breakfasts. 🙂

 Please check out Hawthorn’s Blog for more Scavenger Hunt posts. 🙂

 

 

More Summer Links & Likes.

Helloo!  I’m back with a few more links to blog posts that  I have enjoyed over the summer. I can’t quite believe we are almost into September though ! Plans for September include a week away in The Lake District. Here’s hoping for an Indian Summer. 🙂

How about a recipe for  some refreshing Lavender Lemonade over at Everyday Cheer. 

Danielle has been Feeding the Seals at Eyemouth. Cute post!

Heather on Ilkley Moor ~ The Quiet Walker.

Have you noticed how gorgeous the heather is looking recently?  Join Amanda on Ilkley Moor and Louise in the Peak District and submerge yourself in purple. 🙂

Still time to get some camping trips in. Check out The Helpful Hiker’s post about The Best Campsites In The Uk.

Top Campsites on The Helpful Hiker.

These Swirly Bread Rolls look mouthwatering on Kates blog.

Mary witnesses the Solar Eclipse in a most stunning setting.

If your a fan of scones with oodles of jam & clotted cream ( Yes Please!) , Victoria shares her Top 5 places to go for Afternoon Tea. 🙂

Doggies arn’t to bothered about the Solar Eclipse ~ Travels with the Blonde Coyote.

Off to The South of France?  Allyson can show you some fabulous day trips from Nice and Cannes. 

 Lucy explores the London Underground and Euston’s Secret Tunnels.

 Paula spends her ‘Staycation’ in a Bubble Dome. 🙂

Yummy Flapjacks ~ Matilda Heart Maneche.

 Fancy a cute dog blog to follow?  Of course! Here’s Piper The Cockapoo! 

 And finally ,  a yummy looking walk & eat Flapjack Recipe on Lisa’s blog.

Hope you’ve enjoyed a good read. 🙂

 What are your plans for September?

 

 

 

 

Sunday Sevens ~ 20th August.

A week off  work, so a good way to summarise it, would be to join in with Sunday Sevens I think.  Its been a pretty great week, despite the very unpredictable weather!  Here are 7 pictures of what I have got up to over the last 7 days. 🙂

1. We took Hugo on a walk from Cleveleys to Blackpool. Here he is on the wonderful Comedy Carpet , in front of Blackpool Tower. Wonder which joke or catchphrase has caught his eye? Boom, Boom ! maybe. 🙂

2. Wil treated me to lunch at a new eaterie in Skipton called Alexander’s. It was a rare dry sunny afternoon and we shared this delicious platter outside on their lovely sun terrace. He definitely did treat me as it cost him £32. Yikes! 

3. Last weekend we were camping with friends in Ingleton , in the Yorkshire Dales. We walked the Ingleton Falls trail and got our hands muddy knocking ten pence pieces into this money tree. 🙂

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4. Yesterday we went a walk round Ribblehead Viaduct ….and it was bloomin freezing! Felt more like November than mid August.  Seen in the black comedy film ‘Sightseers’, Ribblehead has 24 arches and is the longest viaduct in Europe.

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5.  You may have heard the story of how Ribblehead was built in the 1800s. One Hundred railway workers ( Navvies) lost their lives building the iconic structure, which carries the Settle-Carlisle Railway over Blea Moor. The Navvies also built  shanty towns on the moors , where they lived whilst constructing the viaduct. I quite like this shot of a train journeying accross. 

6.  We visited Northern England’s Book Town ‘Sedbergh’ which is also in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  There are 7 or 8 book shops here, most selling other products too ,such as outdoor gear or gifts and toys. I picked up some pretty postcards, an Observer’s book of Wild Animals from the fifties and a couple more RSPB pins for my collection. As I flip through my Observer’s guide, I am definitely picking up clues to the demise of some of our beloved wildlife. Badger Hams were apparently a ‘thing’ back in the day. What!!

7.  This week has been National Afternoon Tea week in the UK, the perfect excuse for booking a sublime afternoon tea at The Cake’Ole in Skipton. My friends Arwen, Gill and I tucked into the treats. I will blog about it very soon! 

Natalie at Threads and Bobbins organizes Sunday Sevens. Anyone can join in on a Sunday with 7 ( or more ) pics of their week.