Hi it’s the end of another month ( 2019 is going crazy fast! ) , So I thought I would join in with Kate’s/Hawthorns Scavenger hunt. Her words for May are Seat, View, Starts with a P, Transport, Lunch & My own choice.
Seat. I am recently back from a few days in the seaside village of Ravenglass. Wil & I are lucky enough to have friends whose family have a holiday cottage right on the sea front. And we can rent it for mates rates. So happy days. 😎 Anyway there is a balcony where we spent most late afternoons admiring the sea views and pretending we were in the South of France. You could be fooled ~ apart from my knees are wrapped in a blanket. 🙂
View. The view from said balcony is fantastic, looking out over the estuary. The sunsets in Ravenglass are also to die for.
Starts With P. P is for Sea Pinks. These pretty in pink flowers cover the cliffs of St Bees head , a little further up the coast. Sea Pinks are also called Thrift. Pinks apparently do well in rock gardens and have appeared on the British threepence coin from 1937 to 1952.
Transport. The best way to get around in Ravenglass ? Well I can recommend the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway , a narrow gauge railway set in 7 miles of stunning scenery. My kind of transport.
Lunch. Here’s a recipe I found which was a hit with my other half. It could be lunch or tea.
200g Chick Peas, 200g Chorizo diced, 200g yellow cherry tomatoes halved, 2 tomatoes chopped, 1 red pepper cut in strips, 2 cloves garlic crushed, handful of frozen onions ( I use these because chopping onions always makes me cry) & a little olive oil.
Fry onion & garlic in a little olive oil for 5 minutes.
Add chunks of chorizo & fry for a couple of minutes on a high heat, before adding the pepper strips and lowering the heat again. Cook for 5 minutes then add the chick peas & tomatoes. Stir thoroughly and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on the pan.
Serve with crusty bread.
My Own Choice. Our very own handsome Hugo conquered his third Wainwright last week, Crag Fell looks over Ennerdale Water. I did too….about 20 minutes later!
Head over to Kate’s blog to see more Scavenger hunters.
Back in August ( was it really that long ago?) we made the journey North to the Isle of Skye, stopping overnight in the small ferry port of Uig, before our crossing to Lochmaddy on North Uist, the following afternoon. So why did we choose a remote island in the Outer Hebrides as our holiday destination?
Some years earlier we had enjoyed watching a TV show called Monty Hall’s Great Hebridean Escape, where marine biologist Monty Halls and his madcap dog Reubs stayed in a restored crofters cottage on North Uist whilst working as a volunteer Wildlife Ranger on the island. The TV programme definitely put the thought into our heads about visiting the Outer Hebrides but it wasn’t until eight years later that we were flicking through a Unique Cottages holiday brochure and saw the cottage they had lived in for six months had been renamed Montys Cottage and is now a holiday let. We decided to book it there and then. 🙂
Uigg Lodge ~ Our hotel room.
Skye Museum of Island Life.
Over The Sea From Skye. Our time on Skye was brief but we did manage to visit a couple of places on the Saturday morning. After a comfortable stay in the Uig Hotel ( very friendly and welcoming, especially to our dog Hugo 🙂 ) we took ourselves off to the mystical Fairy Glen. Its miniature round grassy hills, one of which is basalt topped and from a distance resembles a ruined castle, have been used as landscapes in fairy tale films ‘Stardust’ and ‘The BFG’. We also visited The Skye Museum Of Island Life at Kilmuir. This collection of thatched Highland cottages housed everything a typical crofters village would have needed to make a living from the land and the sea.
The crossing from Uig to Lochmaddy on North Uist takes a little under two hours. Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries operate services to the islands and we spent the trip up on the deck, watching shearwaters skim the surface of the water and gannets dive-bombing the waves. There are dog-friendly areas inside too, so this journey is easy to make with a four-legged friend. 🙂
As we approached Lochmaddy we were welcomed by late afternoon sunshine and we couldn’t wait to get into the car and drive the 40 minutes north to our accommodation.
Monty’s Cottage. Located down its own secluded lane, a few minutes walk from the sea at Griminish, Montys Cottage looks just like it does in the brochure. A cute white washed crofters cottage with a thatched roof and incredibly thick walls, surrounded by the most beautiful countryside. It felt surreal that this place where Monty Halls had mapped out walking routes for the islands and Reubs the dog had run free on the sands, was to be our home for a week. 😁. Inside the cottage was cosy and well equipped. The owner had left us fresh milk, bread, eggs ect, which did prove a godsend as there were no shops open the following day. Be prepared that shops in the Outer Hebrides don’t usually open on a Sunday!
Female Wheatear. Wildlife On North Uist. The landscape of North Uist is more like a waterscape. There are over 800 freshwater lochans on the island. The watery habitat is perfect for wading birds and for one of Britain’s more elusive species of mammal, the European Otter. European Otters will swim in seawater but also need to bathe in fresh water to protect their coats. We were lucky enough to be able to watch two otters playing in the sea nearby the cottage. A magical experience indeed. 🙂 Other wildlife we spotted on North Uist included several birds of prey, red deer, grey and common seals, many beautiful wildflowers and….. jellyfish galore.
All this wonderful wildlife was on our doorstep, literally. Gaggles of greylag geese flew over every day, a merlin regularly hunted for small birds and field mice in the meadow next to the garden, seals watched us watching them as they bobbed in the bay and scores of compass and lion’s mane jellyfish washed up in one of the several little coves nearby. Corn buntings and countless other small birds make their home on North Uist and it’s neighboring islands. They are basically a nature lovers paradise.
Am Politician Bar ( The Polly), Eriskay.
Original haul from the shipwreck now on display in the Am Politician Bar. Looks like someone’s had a couple of wee drams!
Island Hopping. Very handily North Uist is one of several Outer Hebridean islands connected by causeway roads, making it very easy to visit it’s equally picturesque neighbors. Collectively they are known as The Uists. In the north is beautiful Berneray , which in my opinion boasts the most stunning beaches. All white sand and turquoise ocean. To the south is Benbecula and South Uist, both worth exploring too. And further South is pretty Eriskay , where Bonnie Prince Charlie first landed on Scottish soil. Eriskay is also the real-life location of the shipwreck and lost cargo that inspired the film ‘Whisky Galore’. We didn’t manage to visit the islands of Barra and Vatersay which are accessed by boat. Maybe another time!
Eider ducks, Berneray.
By the wind sailor, Berneray.
Life’s A Beach. How I long to stroll again on those never ending white sandy shores. The beaches in the Outer Hebrides can match any in the Caribbean I bet. Though we occasionally had to wrap up to walk on them..even in August! There are so many stunning stretches of sand that it’s hard to pick a favourite. 🌞
As you can imagine Hugo had a riot chasing sticks and balls along countless beautiful beaches. Our far from chunky labrador ended up almost whippet thin after a week in the Uists.
Food & Drink. I must admit we cooked most of our evening meals at the cottage, stocking up at the co op 5 miles away in Sollas. Having Hugo with us meant that we had to find pet-friendly places to eat and there are only a few on North Uist. We found both the Lochmaddy Hotel and Langass Lodge near Locheport to be excellent when it came to eating out. Both welcome dogs and have good locally sourced menus.
Wil was really happy when oneday by chance we discovered Namara Seafood Cafe. This place feels a bit like a hushed up secret ,as it is located in a remote working harbor at Kallin on Grimsay ( another small causeway island), miles off the beaten track. The cafe is part of a chandlery ( boat supplies shop) and is by no means posh. It does serve the best fresh lobsters and crab though, straight from the ocean. Wil was one happy man as he tucked into delicious lobster & chips for £13, sat on a bench outside.
Are there any pubs on the islands? Well, not many! And none within walking distance of Monty’s Cottage. In fact the only pub on North Uist is The Westford Inn which we never got round to visiting. It looks like a good one though, serves meals and is dog friendly.
Path to Barpa Langais.
Public Art & Landmarks. The Uists are home to many artists and creative talents, so it was fun to search out the various sculptures and art instillations on the islands. Even in a week we did not find them all. Interesting historic landmarks include the Neolithic chambered cairn Barpa Langais at the top of Beinn Langais , resplendent in heather by August. Also look out for the Hut Of Shadows at Sponnish, which hides a camera obscura within.
Dotted round the islands are several working craft studios. I noticed beautiful pottery at Shoreline Stoneware in Locheport and bought a lovely print of the machair ( coastal wildflower meadows) at Puffin Studio Crafts on Benbecula.
Are the Uists for you?
If you don’t mind not seeing a soul when you walk on the beach, don’t mind a short drive to the nearest shop and don’t expect a phone signal or WiFi, you will love holidaying on these Hebridean Islands.
Walking, wildlife, stunning beaches, turquoise sea, friendly folk( when you bump into any 😉), fresh seafood, creative art and spectacular scenery. What’s not to love!
Wednesday was a gorgeous cold and clear blue sky day and both of us happened to have the day off work. Talk about good luck! We decided to head off to the Sefton Coast near Liverpool….with the dog of course.
In the morning we found our way to Formby Beach and parked at the National Trust Car Park which was quite expensive but well worth it. I do keep thinking about membership and just don’t get round to it. Anyone out there a member? So, the car park area is right by the pine woods where red squirrels are in residence. 🙂 But first we ambled down to the beach via one of the many trails. Check out the recycled Christmas trees that have been planted in the dunes to protect them from becoming flattened.
Formby Beach is lovely and very dog friendly too. There are lots of shells especially Razor Shells. This part of the coast is home to some rare wildlife such as Dune Tiger Beetles and Natterjack Toads. And when the tide is out ancient human and animal tracks dating back 5,000 years can be seen in the rocks. The other wildlife Formby is famous for is of course it’s Red Squirrels.
The pine woodlands were planted 60-110 years ago to stable the sand dunes and protect the asparagus crops that were once grown here. Nowadays they are a refuge for our protected squirrel species. The squirrel walk ( dogs allowed on leads) is a delight. I can’t tell you how chuffed I was to see so many of these beautiful little tuftys. 🙂 They are smaller than their grey cousins and never keep still for long!
After our fun times in Formby we drove a little further down the coast to Crosby Beach. Here is home to 100 cast iron statues by artist Antony Gormley entitled Another Place. They are dotted around 3 km of beach, looking out to sea. There is a signposted free car park and dogs are allowed on the sand. I’m not sure what Hugo thought of the sculptures. He did pee on a lot of them!
As you can see all the statues are naked! They are actually modelled on the artist’s own body. I wonder how he feels about himself being duplicated across the coastline in his birthday suit. Well pretty good, I guess. 🙂
It was interesting to see the varying states of erosion and weathering the statues have succumbed to. Ten years have passed since they were installed. I hope they are gracing the coastline for many years to come. 🙂
My Photo Scavenger Hunt photos have a rather Nautical theme this month. We spent a week in Whitby on the Yorkshire Coast and visited other coastal towns and villages in the area. So my pictures are all from my holiday. Enjoy!
A Stranger. I am no longer a stranger to Scarborough’s North Shore. Look at the brightly coloured Beach Huts.
Looking Down. A walk along the beach at Robin Hood’s Bay where we came across this poor dead crab. Quite a big one too.
Popular Culture. Whitby is famous for its connections with everyone’s favourite toothy Count, Draculaaaah. I didn’t get chance to go in and experience a one to one with him happily!
The Weather. We were pretty lucky with the weather but visiting the Victorian town of Saltburn-On-Sea proved a wash out. 😦
Big. A surprisingly large Lobster in Staithes.
Sign. I love the names of cottages by the sea. This is one of the more unusual ones.
Bottle. A bottle of wine to celebrate my birthday , which just happened to be when I was away.
Out and About. On the beach at Robin Hoods Bay.
Hat. The seaside in November gets a bit chilly.
Hole. Whitby’s Whale Jaw Bone Arch up on the West Cliff. It cleverly frames the Abbey opposite. The original Whale Bone was given to the town in the 1800’s. This replica was donated by Alaska in 2003.
One. Boat in a field!
Whatever you want. A couple of Cormorants on a cabin roof in Whitby.
During our recent little break away to Red bank farm campsite near Morecambe, we enjoyed a couple of days out. I thought I would post a few pictures to show you where we went. On Sunday we took the car and made our way up the coast to the Edwardian resort of Grange Over Sands. Grange is a picturesque town with a promenade looking out on to salt marsh meadows and the sea beyond. Local delicacies include Salt marsh Lamb & beef and Morecambe Bay Potted shrimps. The town is only 7 miles from Windermere, yet used to be in Lancashire.
I loved the quaint little stores here and had a good look round the gift shops. I mentioned the dreaded word ‘Christmas shopping’ only once and it was enough to make my other half sulk. Typical that I found ‘potential presents’ ….but was firmly discouraged from buying any. That didn’t stop me from treating myself though. 😉
As we headed down to the sea front, we saw a sign advertising an Arts & Crafts fair called Art on the Prom. Sure enough an abundance of stalls were set up along the promenade , against the most scenic of backdrops.
Apparently the event is held every last weekend of each month over summer. The last one will be at the end of September. The August fair had the perfect weather as you can see. 🙂
I ended up purchasing a tartan cross over bag and a cute map covered diary. 🙂
Hi Folks, I’m feeling all invigorated and refreshed after a weekend by the sea. Theres nothing like a blast of sea air to make you feel Alive, don’t you think. 🙂
We decided on a campsite near Bolton Le Sands on the Lancashire coast. Red Bank Farm is quite an undiscovered little gem, looking over the salt marshes to Morecambe Bay. And at only £6 per person per night, a bit of a bargain.
The campsite itself consists of two camping fields for tents and campers, along with some static caravans. We pitched up in the top field , with its beautiful sea views. Facilities at Red Bank Farm include a clean toilet & shower block with hot showers, an undercover wash up area, laundry room and a rather nice cafe , converted from an old barn.
The very best thing about the site however, is the stunning location. We loved walking along the sea defenses every morning and especially early evening. The sky here is big and the sunsets are sublime. The salt marshes make for an interesting wildlife habitat too. Elver eels migrate here and all sorts of wading birds can be spotted including little egret. 🙂
The campsite is part of a working farm making full use of fresh produce in the cafe, including free range eggs( chickens roam freely around the site) and their own reared salt marsh lamb. There is also a pets corner which proved popular with the kids…..and big kids like me. 🙂
The sea air on the Lancashire coast is proper bracing , but I have to say there is nothing better than wrapping up warm and taking a blanket, plastic wine glasses and a bottle of wine down to the shore to watch the sun set.
I am almost sorry we are back home now and the camping gear is all packed away until next year. The warm days have returned folks , so its the prefect time for a last camping trip to the sea side , in the September sun……
Sometimes you just need some fresh sea air to blow those cobwebs away. On Sunday we headed over to Lytham near Blackpool. The sun was shining and the breeze was blustery. We walked along the front and enjoyed the views and the wind whipping round our heads. Glad we had on our winter woolies. Window shopped too and kept warm with coffee at Zest and chippy chips.
Ooooh I definatly need a little bit of sunshine. It is sooo grey out there and at times like these I wonder what can I possibly write about? So I thought I would go back in time and tell you about a lovely chilled camping trip we went on in May last year. I really love the sea side so I thought I would try and find a camp site on our own Lancashire coastline. The camping criteria with us is almost always somewhere that is dog friendly, in beautiful countryside and within walking distance of a pub. 🙂 We found the perfect place! ‘Gibralter Farm’ in Silverdale.
The very name ‘Gibralter Farm’ conjours up warm sunshiney days and we were in luck! The campsite is situated on a working farm in the heart of the Silverdale and Arnside Area of Outstanding Natural beauty with gorgeous views over Morecambe Bay. We pitched our tent in the lower left field which is adjacent to a little wooded area where you can camp too.
There are lots of footpaths from the site and if you wander through the woodland there is a perfect little cove where we saw Oyster catchers and Shelduck. Ok I was more excited about the birdlife than my other half but yes I am a bit of a bird nerd!
Even he was impressed that Gibralter Farm has its own resident Green Woodpecker. I spent a lot of time trying to capture its vivid colours on camera but the best I could manage was this siluette shot.
We wandered into the village of Silverdale a couple of times. It has a convenience store,a butchers, tearooms, an Indian restaurant and two pubs ‘The Royal Hotel’ and ‘The Woodlands.’ If you like your real ales and somewhere a little different try ‘The Woodlands'( If you can find it!) which is run by the villagers in an old manor house.It is kind of a bizarre place which also had a pop up victorian tearooms in one of the downstairs rooms when we visited. 🙂
We also had lunch at ‘The Wolf House Gallery ‘ across the road from Gibralter Farm.It was a little expensive but the food was good.
Silverdale itself is in Lancashire and neighboring Arnside only two miles up the road is in Cumbria.Both are well worth a visit. Arnside is a pretty village facing the estuary with a tiny promenade of cafes and gift shops.We took our dog Jake here for some walks on the beach and he made friends with a local dog. 🙂
If you love your wildlife make sure you take a walk round the RSPB Leighton Moss Nature Reserve where you can see all sorts of water fowl in the reeds. Unfortunately as we had Jake there were not to many areas we could take a dog.There is one public walkway where you can walk the hound,on a lead of course.
And a stay here is not complete without sampling the local delicacy ‘Morecambe Bay Potted Shrimps’ which are caught in the shallow waters of the bay. We tried some in the nearby seaside town of Grange Over Sands.
Hopefully we will try and head to Gibralter Farm again this year for a nice relaxing camping trip by the sea. 🙂
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