Tag Archives: eden valley

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. โ„๏ธ

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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?

The Girls Go To The Caravan.

So one of the best things about owning a static caravan is being able to invite friends for a weekend away. Our caravan is in the village of Melmerby in the Eden Valley in Cumbria, close enough in driving distance to the beautiful Lakeย  District, but in a less busy touristy area. On Friday five of us drove up to the van for a girls getaway.ย  We spent an enjoyable and chilled couple of days there. Here are a few photos from our trip.
Pre – trip selfie.
Pimm’s.



Meal out at The Shepherds Inn in Melmerby.



Breakfast on the decking.

A stunning Hat Model ๐Ÿ˜. The Vintage Emporium ‘ La Brochante’ in Melmerby.

Exploring Penrith ~ Penrith Castle.

Quirky sign in Penrith.

Even quirkier sign in Penrith.

Drinks in Xavier’s Cafe Bar in Penrith.
Stunning Ullswater from Glenridding.

Jetty, Ullswater.

Meeting a furry friend ‘ Derek’ in Glenridding.

A Blueberry Pancake Breakfast at The Old Village Bakery in Melmerby.

It was fantastic to spend maybe our last sunny & warmย  weekend of the Summer with my friends at the caravan. Happy Days. ๐Ÿ˜

Thanks to Arwen & Marian for some of these photographs. ๐Ÿ™‚

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…ย  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 winningย 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?

Exploring Penrith, Cumbria.

Penrith is a bustling Cumbrian Market Town on the edge of the Lake District. Ullswater is about 20 minutes drive away. At the weekend we parked on the very outskirts and walked in. What immediately strikes a visitor are the many attractive red sandstone houses built from the local sandstone, these give Penrith it’s nick name of ‘Old Red Town’.

We looked for somewhere to have lunch, away from the general hustle and bustle. I can recommend the church Square which is just off the centre and has several little cafes looking out over St Andrews churchyard. St Andrews church itself is an impressive looking building ,it’s tower dating back to the 12th century. And in the churchyard resides a Giants Grave…..

Giants Thumb.

The Giants Grave consists of six tombstones, two ancient crosses standing upright and four lower hogback stones. But who is buried there? One legend has it that it is an ancient Cumbrian King ‘ Owen’ , though it could also be the grave of a great boar hunter ‘ Sir Owen Caesarius’ with the hogback stones representing four large boars. I’m liking the second option! Also in the churchyard is another impressive monument, a Norse Wheel cross known as the Giants Thumb, which until the 19th century was used as a whipping post for punishing local criminals. Very Christian behaviour…..

Giants Grave.

Scrumpy Dog.

We had lunch sat outside the Eden Gallery tea rooms, which inside are an eclectic mix of teapots, second hand books & a piano. There is an adorable resident Old English Sheep Dog called Scrumpy and they do a great tuna & cheese panini. ๐Ÿ˜„

After wandering round the town we headed to Penrith Castle, which can be found up from the centre near the train station. In fact if you arrive in Penrith by train , the red sandstone ruins of this medieval castle are your first view of the town. The once proud fortress helped to defend England from Scottish marauder’s and even became the residence of King Richard III. Today the site is looked after by English Heritage and is part of a public park.

War Memorial.

On the way back to the car we stopped for cake at a cafe bar called Xavier’s. We sat outside , though the cafe like quite a few in Penrith is dog friendly. Good to know for future visits!

Have you ever visited Penrith? What are your impressions?

Long Meg & Her Daughters, Lacy’s Caves And A Pink Flour Mill.

A short drive from our caravan in the Eden Valley is an ancient stone circle called Long Meg & Her Daughters. It is in fact the second largest stone circle in the country. Legend has it that Meg and her daughter’s were turned to stone as they danced on the Sabbath. Meg is the tallest stone and stands tall and proud. A magic spell prevents you from counting the correct number of stones in the circle apparently. The morning we visited we had Megs family all to ourselves, apart from the herd of cows grazing amongst them.

Long Meg.

We parked up near the circle and walked into the nearby village of Little Salkeld. Here we enjoyed a morning brew outside the pink watermill, where we would return later for lunch. Next on our agenda though was a walk to Lacy’s Caves. We admired the red sandstone cottages ( most houses in the area are built using the local rosy coloured stone) which we passed en route.

We followed a farm track passing the buildings of Townend farm and past golden fields of barley on one side and the Settle Carlisle Railway on the other.

A mosaic map of the river Eden, we literally stumbled upon on the way.

Presently we saw a signpost for Ravendale Bridge and so followed the arrow into the woods, walking along the old Long Meg Mine tramline.

Lacy’s Caves were commissioned by Colonel Lacy of Salkeld Hall. They were built into the red sandstone cliffs by the river Eden in the 18th century. It was the fashion in those days to build follies and grottos to entertain guests in, Colonel Lacy even employed a villager to live in his caves as a hermit. A must have for gentry back then apparently! Apart from building the caves, Colonel Lacy was also famous for trying to blow up Long Meg and her daughters. The mystical circle was saved by a very convenient thunderstorm.

Lacy’s Caves.

The hermit would have had a picturesque riverside vista anyway.

Enchanters Nightshade in the woods.

We then retraced our steps back into Little Salkeld, counting numerous butterflies on the way. ๐Ÿ™‚ The menu at the mill had looked so tasty, we decided to stop there for lunch. Little Selkeld Watermill is an 18th Century working organic flour mill which has a shop and cafe serving good vegetarian food. I really enjoyed my Homitey Pie. ๐Ÿ™‚ There are mill tours , but we just settled on a bench outside to enjoy our dinner.

After lunch we headed back to the van and Wil assembled our hammock! It’s very relaxing , once you figure how to get in and out. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you visited any of these places?

Or hung about in a hammock? ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Catching up…..and a Caravan.

It’s been a while since I have written a post. As I currently have no job, I thought I would be writing lots. But nope. Instead I find myself procrastinating when it comes to things I probably should be doing, like finding a job. Instead I have been booking trips away…..and we’ve bought a caravan.

Yes I am now the proud owner of a 38 ft 2005 Willoughby Vogue static caravan! I can’t quite believe it! Here she is the day we looked round her, and I bought her on the spot. No procastinating there…

She is quite beige inside so for now we are just brightening her up a bit with some rugs and throws. Really not sure how simple it is to paint the inside of a van.

We will probably get around to changing the curtains too. For now though it’s Summer at last, so we might as well enjoy our purchase and start exploring the area. ๐Ÿ™‚

Can you guess where we are?

We got the keys on Friday and have been busy kitting out the van whilst Mr Hugo is being looked after for the wknd. Hopefully he will get to see it next wknd, before we head to Shropshire glamping with him, a trip we booked a few months ago, before my impulse buy.

If you had told me back in January that by June I would have taken redundancy and bought a holiday home, I would never have believed you. Life can be crazy like that!