Tag Archives: cumbria

A Long Weekend In The Lake District.

Having recently returned from a 3 night break in the lovely Lake District, I would love to show you some photos from my stay. As per usual Wil and I were accompanied by our labrador Hugo. We stayed once again in Keswick, where we engrossed ourselves in country walks and awesome food. If you have a dog, then this Cumbrian town is super pet-friendly. Hugo must have been given a treat, everwhere we went. Luckily he had plenty of opportunities to run those tasty titbits off!

Thirlmere.

Friday ~ Snowy Thirlmere.

As we wouldn’t get the key to our accomodation until the late afternoon, we had planned a walk from Harrop Tarn to Thirlmere. The little country roads in the area were pretty icey though, so we scrapped that plan and parked at Station Coppice on the East side of Thirlmere instead. From here we took the underpass to Swirls Car Park . This is a popular starting point for the trek up Helvellyn. If you prefer a gentler stroll ( like me! ), there are various trails up into the woodland, including a Red Squirrel trail. We found a fresh white world ,the whole area was very Narnia like, under a blanket of snow. Hugo pounced in the drifts, I flung myself into snow angel shapes and a solitary herdwick , watched us with mild curiosity.

After enjoying the peaceful woodland we headed to the lake, where Hugo had a bracing paddle. Thirlmere is actually a reservoir ,created from the original smaller lake and the flooding of two hamlets Armboth and Wythburn. The industrial demands of Victorian England meant that Thirlmere was needed to supply water to the growing mill population of Manchester. To this day the 95 mile Thirlmere Aqueduct carries water to Manchester and beyond.

Around Derwentwater.

Saturday ~ Around Derwentwater.

Saturday dawned a fine bright cold day, the perfect weather for a winter walk around beautiful Derwentwater. A scenic ten mile waymarked path ambles round the shoreline , taking in stunning snow-capped mountain vistas, often reflected in the lake itself. What I particularly loved about this walk were all the interesting landmarks on route. Starting at the Friar’s Crag Viewpoint just after the Keswick Launch and Jetties, the path will regale you with many photographic opportunities. Look out for The Hundred Year Stone at Calfclose Bay, the Lodore Falls behind the Lodore Falls Hotel, The Chinese Bridge over the river Derwent inscribed with a Winnie The Pooh quote and the giant hand sculpture ‘Entrust’ near Portinscale. There are plenty of refreshment opportunities on route. We stopped off at Mary Mount Hotel for a coffee and a beer and The Lingholm Kitchen near Portinscale for a late lunch. From February The Keswick Launch reopens so if you do try out this circular walk, you can incorporate it with a cruise on the lake too.

Sunday ~ Chilled day in Keswick.

Yummy Breakfast at Jaspers in Keswick.
Eyeing up Eggs Benedict.

Sunday was a typically wet Lake District day. We decided to mostly chill in warm dry places. 😁 There was the happy discovery of a new pooch themed cafe Jaspers Coffee House on Station street, which does amazing breakfasts ( see above) and has cute doggy decor.

Hugo at The Pencil Museum.

Did you know that Keswick’s Pencil Museum is home of the first pencil! The newly refurbished collection is a fun place to spend an hour out of the weather, especially if you get competitive doing the ‘Whats the point?’ Pencil Quiz. πŸ˜‰

Four legged customer in the Dog & Gun.
Leisurely Lunch at the Square Orange.🍊

There are lots of great places to eat and drink in the town, many are very dog friendly. We always frequent the characterful Dog & Gun on Lake Road and finally managed to fit into the tiny tapas & cafe bar The Square Orange for a leisurely lunch. Definitely worth the wait!

Wet Sleddale near Shap.

Monday ~ Soggy Wet Sleddale.

Today we left Keswick and stopped off at Shap near Penrith. Again I had plans , this time for us to walk round Wet Sleddale Reservoir. But the lane down to Wet Sleddale looked pretty hazardous, so we parked in Shap and walked the 3 miles there. Maybe it is always wet and bleak here ( hence the name! ) but we didn’t make it round the reservoir. 😐 Still I am up for a return visit! We saw lots of Buzzards and kestrels and the area has a connection with a cult British film. Sleddale Hall was a film location in back comedy Withnil and I.

Where have you visited in January? Or are you enjoying a spot of hibernation. 😁

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Two Eden Valley Houses in Autumn.

Once you have scaled the heights of Wainwright’s fells and completed The Ullswater Way, there are gentler pursuits to enjoy in Cumbria’s ‘Eden Valley’.  Only minutes drive from the historic market town of Penrith stands a 15th century fortified manor , with an unusual sanctuary door knocker  and a  fine stately home famed for its annual Marmalade Festival.

Last Sunday I took a few photographs of both Brougham Hall and Dalemain House. It was a perfect sunny Autumn day, and though our visits to both were brief, I hope my pictures inspire you to look them up when you are next in the area.

Brougham Hall 

The historic remains of the home of the Brougham family date back to Tudor times . The Hall and several other buildings lie inside the thick fortified walls in the small parish of Brougham. Sir Winston Churchill commandeered the site for secret military research during WWII.   Renovations here are a work in progress, so do not expect a grand old house. Instead delight in the area’s history, enjoy a stroll round the grounds and browse the array of arts and crafts workshops in the courtyard. There is a small friendly cafe too. Entry to the Hall is free though donations are of course welcome. As are anyone who cares to visit, including four legged guests. πŸ™‚  www.broughamhall.co.uk

 

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Free car parking on this side of the Hall.
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The Brougham Door Knocker is actually a replica of the original, but impressive all the same.
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The 1520 door and gatehouse entrance.

 

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Behind the black doors are artist’s studios and craft workshops.
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Plenty of room outdoors for the kids to run around.

 

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Gwen Bainbridge Ceramics are unusual and beautiful.
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Wil and I just had to share a scone in Bettyann’s Tea Parlour. πŸ™‚
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View from the cobbled ramp under the Gatehouse.
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Brougham Hall and Durham Cathedral both have replica’s of these ‘Beastly Bronze Door Knockers’. They are called Sanctuary Door Knockers and by tradition, anyone  who was running from the law and dared to grip the handle and knock, could claim sanctuary within the walls.

Dalemain House  

Unlike Brougham Hall, Dalemain is an impressive Country House that is still resided in by the Hasell family, who have been in residence since the 1600’s.  The imposing Georgian facade certainly makes the visitor curious, as to what the rooms are like inside. Of course we rocked up here an hour before the house and gardens closed for the day!  So we chose to venture round the gardens. We did not have Hugo with us but that is probably a good thing, as dogs are sadly not allowed at Dalemain.  Car parking is free and there is a Tea Room in the Medieval Hall. Because we only had an hour to explore, we were charged a discounted price of Β£3 each to view the gardens. www.dalemain.com

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The impressive rose tinted Georgian Facade.

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Lady Marmalade Rose.

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We came across a giant topiary Dragon!
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Relax and enjoy the view.
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Even at the end of October there was a wide array of flowers at Dalemain.
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Above the house there is a Deer Park.
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And to our delight, a large herd of Fallow Deer. πŸ™‚

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We didn’t even have time for a brew in the Medieval Hall. 😦
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Dalemain holds The World’s Original Marmalade Awards every year in March, along with a festival of all things Marmalade. Next years Festival will take place 17th & 18th March 2018. Will Paddington Bear be there, that’s what I want to know!

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I hope you enjoyed my super quick tours of two Eden Valley delights.  I am determined to visit both of them again in the future. I especially need to frequent the Marmalade Festival. πŸ™‚

If you are thinking of exploring this beautiful area of the Lake District, you might also want to read my blogs about  Lowther Castle  and  Ullswater & Aira Force.  

Which historic houses do you like to visit in Cumbria?

Photo An Hour ~ Saturday 28th October.Β 

On Saturday I joined in with Janey and Louisa’s Photo An Hour on Instagram, posting a photo every hour, on the hour , all through the day.  It happened that I was staying with family in the little village of Askham near Penrith, so my piccies are all taken in Cumbria, instead of where I live in Lancashire.

8am. Woke up to  a view of a rather murky day .

9am.  Coffee and Toast for breakfast.

10am. Heading down the village  of Askham past one of the  Greens to the Village shop. The shop has a great community feeling and serves coffee too, so we sat in and enjoyed another brew. πŸ™‚

11am. We had been told about a local photography art exhibition in the Village Hall so walked there for a nosy. I bought a few cards and will no doubt frame them, when I get round to it. 

 

 

12pm.  Pie & peas for an early lunch.

1pm. Off to Keswick in the car so a pretty boring shot of the road. Still murky out there, which I guess is appropriate for the time of year. πŸŽƒ

2pm.  In Keswick Wil finds a new jacket…..and some walking pants. I prefer to admire pumpkin ornaments! 

3pm.  Enjoying a blood orange tea and a slice of Cherry Chocolate cake in Merienda , a fave tea room in Keswick. πŸ™‚

4pm.  Back in Askham and find Biscuit the family cat relaxing on the bed. He is  a gorgeous boy but is petrified of dogs. So we couldn’t bring Hugo !  I spend most of the weekend seeking out random dogs to stroke. 

5pm.  Admiring the flowers in Mum’s garden. πŸ™‚

6pm.  I bought a Lake District & Cumbria magazine in Keswick so I’m having a glance through. Lots of walks and useful info in here! 

7pm. Tea over, Wil and I head to one of the two pubs in Askham , The Queen’s Head. There is a tempting cocktail menu. Later I do have  an Expresso Martini ! 

8pm.  I wish I had taken a better photo of Floyd the Cocker Spaniel. Here he is at the bar with his owner,  after hoovering up the entire pub. His owner said he was at the village Halloween party, the night before too. Floyd is a party animal! 

9pm. Just  a short of Wils glass. Spooky! 

So there you have it, some random shots of a day in my life. Hope you are having a spooktacular Halloween, and I’ll be back in a few days with more  Autumnal pics of a couple of places we visited on Sunday. πŸŽƒ

Hawthorn’s September Scavenger Hunt.

I wondered if I would manage to complete this months challenge in time. I’m still on holiday in the Lake District and recently realised I had better get snapping away ! Apart from 3 photos, most of these pictures were taken on my camera phone , over the past few days. 

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1. Shut ~   This butterfly’s wings stayed resolutely shut when I took this photo at The Butterfly House in Williamson Park, Lancaster.

2. Copper ~ There’s a copper  tinge to the days here in the Lake District at the moment. Autumn has arrived! This picture was taken on the banks of Wast Water a couple of days ago. The bracken is copper coloured, the foilage is changing from green to reds and golds. 

 

3. Wrist ~  I would have loved to have worn a pretty bracelet for this prompt, but as I don’t have one here with me, here are my Wristbands from a visit to Muncaster Castle.

4. Quarter ~ At Quarter past six yesterday I was contemplating tucking into this bad boy! Needless to say , I only made a small dent in it, even with my humongous appetite! 

5. It starts with a C ~ Here are Hugo and I outside Muncaster Castle , which is a short drive from where we are staying.  The castle is supposedly haunted by the spirits of a  White Lady, a crying baby and a mischievous fool. Jeepers! 

6. Foam ~  Sorry this prompt was a bit of a disaster for me! I’m trying to convince you here, that the green moss on the rocks in Ravenglass,  feels like Foam when you touch it. A-hem! 

7.  Scarf ~ You can just about see I am wearing my Autumn coloured Scarf , which I bought in Fat Face last September.  I am looking for an abandoned Japanese Garden in woodland near Eskdale Green. It was so abandoned, it took ages to find it! 

8. Line ~ Yesterday I bagged my first Wainwright!  This is the view of Wastwater from the top of Buckbarrow. The skyline is dominated by the Western Fells. It was wonderful up there, but I don’t think I will become addicted to climbing mountains! 

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9. Nostalgic ~  The Art Deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe adds a touch of  Nostalgia to the Lancashire Coast.  I quite fancy staying here one day. πŸ™‚

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10.  My own Choice ~  Love this piccie of my nephew and niece eating their lunch in the back of our car, but can you see who is eyeing up their sarnies. πŸ™‚

Thanks to Hawthorn for arranging the Scavenger Hunt. X

 

Ullswater & Aira Force.

Our last visit to Aira Force Waterfall near Ullswater in the Lake District was not very successful photo wise….as it was both tipping it down with rain and howling a gale!  Happily on our return yesterday, the weather was a lot kinder. We decided to park in the lake shore village of Glenridding and take the steamer the short 20 minute journey to the newly erected Aira Force Pier.  The steamers themselves have been pleasure cruising along and around Ullswater for 150 years, and weather permitting , operate 363 days of the year.

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Waiting for the boat at Glenridding Pier.
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One of the beautiful vessels, The Lady Wakefield.
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Stack on The Western Belle.
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Glenridding Pier House.

We bought return tickets from Glenridding Pier House for Β£8 each and sat and waited with a nice warming brew. There is a coffee shop and gift shop in the pier house as well as lots of local information. Presently our steamer, The Lady Dorothy , arrived to take us to Aira Force.

 

 

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We sat out on deck and admired the passing scenery. Ullswater is the Lake District’s second largest lake and the daffodils that grow on the bank at Glencoyne Bay are said to have inspired Wordsworth’s poem ‘Daffodils’.  The mighty Helvellyn mountain range provided a magnificent backdrop and the waters were tranquil and deep.

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The Lady Dorothy.
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Aira Force is looked after by the National Trust.

Aira Force Waterfall  tumbles a lengthy 65ft and can be reached via a stroll through pretty woodland. There are wooden walkways, gravel footpaths and ornate stone bridges. We looked out for the many different trees on the tree trail and Hugo enjoyed dipping in and out of the babbling brook. πŸ™‚

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Herdwick Sheep.
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Ancient trees along the trail.
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Woodland paths.
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Aira Force.
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Aira Force Platform.

The name Aira comes from the Old Norse ‘ river at the gravel bank’ and Force is a derivation of the Old Norse word ‘ fors’ meaning Waterfall.  So Aira Force is apparently a waterfall on the gravel-bank river. Head further into the woodland to discover the less dramatic High Force.

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Money-tree stump.
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Wet Doog!

There is a National Trust shop and tea room on site. We had a spot of lunch and another walk before heading back to catch the steamer. πŸ™‚

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The Ullswater Way ( a 20 mile walk around Ullswater) takes in the waterfalls.
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Inside the cafe. Hugo eyes up dinner.
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Pretty window box.
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Wildflowers on the banks of Ullswater.
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Ullswater.
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Big skies and Aira Force Pier.
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Back in Glenridding. Can’t help taking pictures of these beautiful steamers!
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Have to have cake in the Lakes!

Thanks for joining me in the lovely Lakes. πŸ™‚

www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/aira-force

Rydal Hall Sculpture Trail.

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Rydal in the Lake District is forever linked with poet William Wordsworth and the stunning scenery here , including Rydal Lake and his impressive residence  Rydal Mount. Also worth a visit is nearby 17th Century Rydal Hall and Estate. 40 acres of park and woodland, free for all to explore. Here you can find an interesting Sculpture trail amongst the Woodland, pretty gardens with ornate statues, ancient trees and a fairytale Waterfall. Take a look around with me. πŸ™‚

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The Sculpture Path weaves its way through the Woods and starts at ‘The Old School Room Tea Shop’. Apparently it is the first permanent outdoor exhibition of textile sculpture in Britain.

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The art on the trail is made from recycled and sustainable materials and each season brings changes to the sculpture’s , as they interact with nature and the elements.

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There were lots more textile sculptures including the above ‘Jubilee Figures’ made from chain links.  They are meant to highlight the effects of third world debt.

After we had walked round the woodland and spied some Shepherd’s Huts through the trees…

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Herdy Huts in their new setting at Rydal Hall.

we went to the Tea Room for a brew, as it was quite a cold January day. The Old School Room Tea Shop is open  all year round and welcomes Dogs and Muddy Boots. Perfect!

After warming up we headed out to explore the grounds. You can pick up a little map  from the cafe which will give you an idea of what to look for. Or you can just stumble upon some hidden delights. πŸ™‚

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Look out for this old gnarled Sweet Chestnut Tree which at  400 plus years old, is one of the oldest in Cumbria. I would love to see this abundant with Chestnuts in the Autumn.

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The beautiful Grot and Waterfall can be found via a path leading from The ‘Quiet Garden’. Built in 1668, the Grot is one of the earliest examples of a viewing station. It’s window perfectly frames a vista of the lower Rydal waterfalls tumbling into a serene pool.

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A room with a view.

As you walk round the grounds you will come across plenty more beautiful things to see.

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The Angel.

 

In the ‘Quiet Garden’ there were some lovely bird spheres including a ‘Barn Owl’ and lots of signs of Spring.

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Head towards the Formal Gardens and you will find impressive views, follies and fountains.

 

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Our time at Rydal Hall was only brief as it was a stop-off point , on our way to a holiday cottage in Keswick. However I think we will definitely return at some point as it would be lovely to see the place in full bloom. There are various walks in the area including an old footpath called ‘The Coffin Route’ which passes through the estate between Grasmere and Ambleside. You can also stay at Rydal hall. For more information go to rydalhall.org

We also found a great dog-friendly pub very nearby.  The Badger Bar  at The Glen Rothay Inn has cosy fires, real ales and great food.

Have you ever been to Rydal Hall?

Llama Trekking in the Lakes. :)

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llama Trekkers. Photo Y Allison.

Llamas are very sociable animals. Llamas can live until their early thirties. Llamas hum when they are happy. πŸ™‚ These are a few of the things we learned about these very interesting, gentle ( and friendly) creatures on a Llama Trek in The Lake District. Lakeland Llama Treks near Penrith in the scenic Eden Valley is a family business, with our hosts Mary and Graham running the trekking side, and other family members looking after the colourful and quirky Llama Karma Kafe. As Llama trekking has been on my Bucket List for a while now, I decided to commandeer the rest of my family in joining me for a’ countryside trail’ in the glorious sunshine on Sunday. πŸ™‚

Seven of us ( 5 adults,2 kids) assembled at the Llama Karma Kafe at 11am.  We were joined by another family of three, so there would be ten of us on the trek altogether. Five llamas were loaded into a specially adapted horsebox and we followed Mary and Graham a few minutes down the A66 , parking on a small carpark just off a country lane, where we would start our trek. We were then given a little talk about the llamas and put into pairs. Each pair was then introduced to their llama companion for the walk.

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I paired up with my five year old niece imogen and our llama was this little chap called ‘Cuba’. As you can see we are leading Cuba with a double lead, one of us at either side of him.

Llamas come in all shapes and sizes. Cuba was definitely the shortest of our llama friends that day. He suited Imogen and I , being that we are shorties ourselves. πŸ™‚ The funny thing was, he really liked to lower himself down to our level. When I asked Wil to have a hold for a minute, Cuba stretched himself up as tall as he could!

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We walked through the fields and along the river, stopping to admire a secluded 17th century church. There were plenty of photo opportunities.

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Mary and Graham and our other guide ( I totally forgot to ask her name! ) were very knowledgeable about the llamas and the local history of the area too. When I had told friends, that I was going on a llama trek, their reactions ranged from ‘What your riding llamas ?’ to ‘Be careful of them spitting at you!’ but our guides explained these common misconceptions. Firstly, you can’t really ride llamas. Llamas are strong enough to carry all sorts of things. Originally from South America these placid creatures have been domesticated and used as pack animals by native peoples for centuries. They have longer backs than horses , so weight has to be evenly distributed. Overloaded llamas will just sit down on the ground. A human’s weight all in one spot, would not a happy llama make.

And yes llamas do spit. But only when feeling threatened. If they are used to people like these guys then they will rarely spit at a human being. However they may possibly spit at each other . Females will spit at a male who is making advances she doesn’t want and llama’s may spit at each other when in competition over food. For this reason ( and just the excitement of being together) the llamas are usually sent on treks in single sex groups. We had the company of the lads. Happily the only noise they made was a gentle happy humming as we ambled along through the gorgeous Eden Valley scenery. Llamas don’t spook easily either. As we walked back single file through a meadow several young pheasants flew up out of the grass. Apart from an inquisitive glance beforehand , the llamas didn’t bat an eyelid.

 

Our countryside trail trek lasted about an hour and a half and included refreshments at the end in the cafe. Situated at the side of the A66 the Llama Karma Kafe can get quite busy with passers by. We managed to get a seat outside the back where there is a mini menagerie of animals including a giant rabbit, a parrot and a couple of tiny cute marmoset.

The cafe itself is bright and quirky with a peruvian influence. There is also a gift shop so we were sure to buy some souvenirs of our trip. πŸ™‚ We each got a certificate for participating too.

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I would definitely recommend Lakeland Llama Treks as a fun experience for all the family, or as a birthday treat or even for a Hen Party. Our guides were friendly and informative and the llamas were incredibly sweet, inquisitive and and a little bit mischievous. Most of all, I think they liked us as much as we liked them. πŸ™‚

The Countryside Llama Trek is Β£35 per person and includes an easy walking off road trail, beautiful scenery, interesting knowledgeable guides, refreshments at the kafe ( drinks and cakes) and a fun certificate. Suitable for all ages and walking abilities.