When I haven’t been to the caravan for a couple of weeks, I’m always amazed at the changes in the garden. Not being a gardener at all, I struggled to identify this latest blossoming shrub. Any ideas?
My poor pansy pot has been used by a moth to lay their eggs in the flowers. The culprit is below. I think it’s an Angle Shades Moth. Oh well! It’s good to give back to nature. 😃
Saturday morning in Melmerby and the church was all decorated for a wedding with pretty white wildflowers.
And there’s always something to see on little walks round about the village.
In the afternoon we went to Honister Slate Mine where Wil would be going to Infinity and Beyond! His Birthday present from me this year was an Infinity Bridge Experience at Honister. Rather him than me! Scroll down for Wils photo of the bridge. Meanwhile Hugo and I explored around the site. There are some cool slate sculptures. 😚
Wil was buzzing after the Infinity Bridge.
I had noticed several people heading up the fells from the Honister Car Park. Has anyone done a Wainwright from there?
We then went for tea at Mary Mount Hotel near Keswick. The terrace has wonderful views. 🥰
Bank Holiday Weekend ( also platyjubes of course! ) , we escaped the celebrations for a while, choosing a less obvious Lakeland area for a countryside walk.
Shap is a long grey stoned settlement in the North Eden District. It has a couple of pubs, a shop, cafe, chippy and an open air swimming pool, the highest heated outdoor pool in England. The steady A6 is the main road that meanders through the village, it used to be the principal thoroughfare for the Lake District & Scotland.
Not far away is the busy M6 , but to the West of Shap it is picturesque and remote. I had downloaded this Walk from the Eden’s River Trust. Part of the route is on the Coast To Coast footpath , though we didn’t see one other human being out walking. It was so peaceful.
Things then got a bit scary , a family of cattle that we hadn’t noticed at first started to take a bit too much interest in us as we tried to cross the field. They had a Bull with them and youngsters, but it was the cows themselves that started kicking up a fuss , fairly galloping towards us. We managed to scare them away , though not before Wil got knocked off his feet and Hugo got butted. I’m not sure how but we legged it into a solitary farmhouse garden with the cattle at our heels. Definitely a hair raising encounter, we were a bit shuck up!
To make matters worse we would have to sneek past the herd again to continue with our walk. We waited until they had calmed down and ambled away, an unconcerned resident of the farmhouse didn’t seem to care that we had hotfooted into their garden or that the cows had chased us there…
The Preminstratensian Order of Monks from France settled in Shap in the 13th Century and built beautiful Shap Abbey from local stone. The monks became known as The White Cannons because they wore robes made from undyed sheep fleeces.
Here was a lovely place to stop for a while by the river Lowther again. I must admit we had lost our thirst for continuing the planned route , which would take us through the hamlet of Keld and on past another large standing stone called The Goggleby Stone. Instead we made our way back to Shap through a couple of cow free fields and along a country lane.
We ended up having a delicious cheese scone and a cup of coffee each at the Abbey Kitchens cafe in Shap, the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by. I’m so glad Wil and Hugo were non the worse for our ordeal. We will definitely be keeping our distance from any cows in the future. Although apparently there are some handsome looking Highland Cattle in Swindale………..
Whats the best way to get around the lovely Lowther Castle Estate? By Bike, you say! Well yes, but how about hiring an E Bike…….
Arragons Cycles are a bicycle shop and hire company that are based in Penrith and also rent bikes at Lowther Castle in Cumbria’s beautiful Eden Valley. Amazingly a few weeks ago Wil and I actually won half a days E Bike Hire in a raffle , so at the weekend off we went for our first ever cycling adventure together. 😀 Let’s just say we are not very well matched when it comes to bike riding. But get me on an E Bike and it’s a bit of a game changer!
There are several cycling trails around the Lowther Estate. We were handed a map by the helpful lady at the Cycle Hire and she gave us a quick tutorial. They also provide bike helmets though Wil brought his own and I borrowed his spare. The bikes we hired were Royal Dutch Gazelles which are all terrain E Bikes, unfortunately despite having my saddle lowered, my bike felt too big for me. Getting on it took me forever and as for dismounting, well basically I couldn’t stop without falling off. So all the photos I took for this post were taken after I had fallen off my bike, sometimes on purpose, and sometimes not. 😝
Apart from my stopping and starting challenges the actual cycling was alot of fun and it did truly feel wonderful whizzing up hills with ease. After practicing on the trails around the Castle and River Lowther, we headed through the nearby village of Askham and up Askham Fell.
There are a criss cross of walking and cycling trails around Askham Fell. One option is to head up and over to the lakeside village of Pooley Bridge. Maybe next time! We wheeled it to Whale via Helton instead, where I hoped the Lowther Estates Long Horn Cattle would be hanging out.
The fell was abuzz with the sound of Skylarks, it’s simply wonderful up there on a sunny day. 🙂
We had a short refreshment stop on the Green in the village of Helton. A nice soft grass landing anyway! If you do fancy finding somewhere for a brew, there are cafes and pubs in both Pooley Bridge and Askham , Lowther Castle of course and Lowther itself has a walled Garden Tea Room at the Bird of Prey Centre.
Before the hamlet of Whale we followed the trail signposts back to Lowther Castle, passing, to my delight, a very placid herd of Long Horn Cattle. Some had gorgeous calves too.
Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos as we cycled through woodland, stunning bluebells & wild garlic galore. Spring might just be the prettiest time to hire a bicycle at Lowther Castle.
I’m not used to riding a bike so I wasn’t sure whether I would become accustomed to all the different Speeds etc, but I did, it was fun and I would definitely consider hiring an E Bike again. Even Wil ( who is a bit of a middle aged man in lycra, he has a couple of road bikes ) enjoyed the advantages of power assisted cycling!
E Bike Hire at Lowther Castle costs £35 for 3 hours cycling, including helmet hire and a small tutorial.
My Tips ~ Take a rucksack with plenty of water.
~ Wear padded cycling shorts!
~ Cycle in the morning when the trails aren’t as busy.
Today’s walk is one from the weekend. A gentle saunter starting at NT Acorn Bank and taking in the pretty village of Temple Sowerby in the Eden Valley district of Cumbria. The route can be found on the Acorn Bank Website. Because we are members of the National Trust we parked on the car park at Acorn Bank. Non members may have to adapt the walk a little.
We passed through a small village called Newbiggin , one of several Newbiggins in Cumbria. I love the rosie coloured sandstone that the buildings are made of. Here it was taken from Crowdundle Beck.
Temple Sowerby is an attractive village , once known as the Queen Of Westmorland villages. It was named after the Knights Templar who briefly owned the settlement and nearby Acorn Bank. Temple Sowerby was once a tanning village and other industries in the area included the mini ng of gypsum. There is still a gypsum plant at Kirkby Thore.
After a look in the second hand book shop at Acorn Bank it was time to head home. What a lovely walk. 😘
Over the Easter Weekend we spent quite a bit of time walking the dog around Melmerby. We are still discovering new footpaths there, it’s a lovely place for a wander, especially at this time of year.
I still love my original What To Look For In The Seasons Ladybird Nature Books , which were first published in the fifties and sixties. Ladybird brought out a new set last year, they are also quite charming. The Spring book accompanied me on my recent walks.
Melmerby is the kind of village , where I often find myself doing double-takes! This Easter I have seen 2 children walking their pet ferrets, a Grandmother taking the little ones bare back riding on a sturdy horse, a man whizzing round a field in a pony and trap and several llamas being led along the Village Green.
Here are a few photos from Melmerby in the Spring.
Today I am blogging about our second home, our bolt hole ~ The village of Melmerby in Cumbria’s Eden Valley.
You may be forgiven for thinking that the sleepy Eden Valley village of Melmerby doesn’t have that much to do for the discerning Holiday Maker. But times, they are a changing. 2022 is looking good as established businesses are back on their feet and welcoming visitors once again. I have found ten things you can experience whilst stopping in Melmerby, without starting up your car. So relax and Enjoy. 🥰
Head To The Local. A Village doesn’t feel like a village unless it has a local pub. Luckily Melmerby does have a lovely local , which also serves pretty decent food too. The Shepherds Inn usually has at least three Real Ales on tap and theres a good selection of gins. My favourite spot in the pub is on the sofa by the wood burning stove. Find us there with a tipple, a tapas board and a Labrador by our feet.
Explore The Village Green. My favourite part of Melmerby is it’s huge Village Green. Much of it is kept by the locals as a Wildflower Meadow, which proves popular with a variety of insects and butterflies. In March Daffodils dance in the breeze and in late Summer/ Autumn ,colourful waxcaps appear in the grass. Theres a small pitch for a game of football and a Swing from which to admire the view. Look out for an Andy Goldsworthy Sheepfold sculpture by the beck.
Walk To A Nearby Pub. If you fancy a Pub Walk, then a nice idea ( one that we have yet to try! ) would be to walk to the nearby village of Ousby and enjoy a pint at The Fox 🦊 Inn , which is opposite the Caravan Park there. Hopefully I will get around to doing this in 2022!
Get Up Close and Personal withAdorable Llamas. Happy days for Melmerby visitors! Lakeland Llama Treks have relocated to the village and it is an adorable sight seeing these beautiful pack animals being exercised on the green. I have been on two Llama treks with them in the past and I would love to walk with llamas again. A mini Llama Trek lasts an hour and is £25 per person.
Animal Encounters. Lakeland Llama Treks are also offering Animal Encounters at their new home ‘ Ravenstone Country Manor’ in Melmerby . I am dying to get here for a nosy. 😋 I am not entirely sure which animals are involved but the website does mention rabbits, llamas and Shetland ponies. £15 per person.
Book The Indoor Swimming Pool. Hurrah, Melmerbys own private Indoor Swimming Pool has reopened its doors once again for 2022. The Tower House Pool looks perfect for small groups to hire ( no more than 8) at a charge of £30 for an hour and a further £5 to book the sauna too.
Get Your Walking Boots On. Yes Melmerby literally sits at the foot of Melmerby Fell, one of a range of North Pennine Summits you can bag on a walk from the village. Well worth the hike for views of the better known Lake District Fells and a chance to walk part of The Maiden Way, an old Roman Road. For lower level walks, there is also a pretty bridle way from Melmerby to the hamlet of Unthank.
Breakfast And Retail Therapy. We often pop to The Old Village Bakery for breakfast. It’s lovely inside and has a pleasant outdoor seating area too. Serving breakfast, lunch and a scrumptious selection of home baked cakes, the bakery also has an alcohol liscence, so is a good day time alternative to the Shepherds Inn. Upstairs you will find boutique clothing and accessories, whilst alongside the cafe are homewares, greeting cards and foodie gifts. Happy Shopping.
Relaxing Spa Day. I think I could quite happily relax in the hot tub above with a glass of wine , whilst gazing out at the lovable llamas in the next field. Ravenstone Country Manor in Melmerby offers four hour private spa sessions for small groups that include a treatment and Afternoon Tea in the Orangerie. Ooh La La.
Wanderlust Horse & Cart Day. Melmerby has a long association with the travellers who stop off here ( at the Village Green) every year on route to Appleby’s famous Horse Fair. Along the Bridle Path to nearby Gamblesby and Unthank, it is not uncommon to see one particular Romany Wagon all year round. Wanderlust Gipsy Caravans specialize in horsedrawn holidays , stopping over at peaceful camping spots along the way. They also offer Horse & Cart Days ~ £200 for 4 people, for the day.
Is it really time for my first Round Up Post of 2021! Before I put this blog together , I had actually forgotten that I have seen quite a selection of wildlife this year. The ending of travel restrictions at home meant holidays in different parts of the UK , therefore different wildlife too. It was so good to spend a week on the Norfolk Coast, where there are an abundance of sea birds such as Avocet and Brent Geese. And of course Seals galore, which are always fun to see ( and hear! ), they do make some funny noises. 😁
Spent quite a bit of time at the caravan too, which has has been a great base for exploring Cumbria and even further North. It was a pleasure to be taken to see a rare Bird’s-eye Primrose by a botany loving lady in Melmerby and to catch a glimpse of Red Squirrels in woodland at Killhope Mining Museum , County Durham.
The best wildlife moments are often those that completely sneek up on you. Like coming across a Sika Deer Stag whilst on a local walk. What an honour…. My personal favourite sighting though might just be that of a Blood Vein Moth. This strange insect was discovered by my niece and nephew in the grass ,whilst we walked in fields near Downham. To see the photo keep scrolling down. Enjoy. ♥️
My vow for next year, is to actually take my Camera out more. Like most people I seem to be relying more on my phone camera, which of course is not good enough to capture that elusive Kingfisher or that cackling Jay.
What wildlife have you been lucky enough to see in 2021? 🤗
It’s that time of year when we sadly close our caravan for the Winter. The site it is on doesn’t actually shut down over the colder months, but being two hours away from home in a village that is prone to getting heavy snow, we figure it’s for the best really.
On Friday Eve we made sure we got stuck into the last couple of bottles of wine in the wine rack. 🙂
On Saturday the weather was grey, but the drizzle didn’t dampen our spirits. I had booked us lunch over at Bassenthwaite Lake Station , in a French Steam Engine no less. The disused train station was bought in 2019 by Simon and Diana Parums, who have been busy renovating the buildings. A permanent fixture on the track is the beautiful Steam Train , which is in fact not a real train at all…. . It is actually a replica made especially for the 2017 film version of Murder On The Orient Express , starring Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer,Dame Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. These days the film set is a lovely cafe/restaurant and being slightly wider than a ‘ real train ‘ lends itself to its new life perfectly.
We chose the Brunch Bowls for lunch, followed by cake of course! Delicious. 😁 There’s lots of choice on the menu and a good selection of drinks too. Food is a little more expensive than most cafes in the area. However the setting and the friendly service justifies the price.
It was great that Hugo was made very welcome on the train, even though he did have a habit of lying across the aisle. The staff brought him dog treats and made a real fuss of him. Perhaps the Station dog, a pretty black Labrador called Poppy , had something to do with that. 🤗
After lunch we had a quick look around the rest of the train. Our dining car had been bustling and busy , though a posher salon at the back was empty. Perhaps this is used for special occasions. For a finer day there is also outside seating and the Station building itself with Waiting Room is also part of the cafe.
I really love what the new owners are doing here. Breathing life into what only a couple of years ago, was an abandoned unused space. Hopefully we will visit again next year. I would also like to explore Dubwath Silver Meadows Nature Reserve opposite and of course go for a wander by the lake. 😁
Later in the afternoon we visited my Mum and Brother who live on a farm in The Eden Valley. The farm cats Tibby and Sooty have been used to spending time in the house recently, but weren’t too impressed that a certain Labrador was in residence.
Back at the caravan and Sunday dawned cold and bright, a lovely day for our last one there this year. We enjoyed a walk up the old bridleway from Melmerby to Unthank, I will miss those uninterrupted views toward the Lakeland fells.
After tidying and closing down the van we headed to the nearby village of Langwathby for a sausage butty lunch on the green.
Here’s to a few local adventures closer to home over Winter. Hope you can join me. X
The village of Wetheral near Carlisle was our destination at the weekend, after our planned walk up Hartside was scuppered by mist and drizzle. A mizzley start to our Saturday did have its benefits though. Wetheral has woodland and riverside walks……and not a hill in sight. 🙂 Never mind Wil, you can drag me up the fells next time.
Wetheral has red sandstone dwellings and an attractive village green, so typical of settlements in Cumbria’s Eden Valley. Notable buildings include the Holy Trinity church with its octagonal tower and the 15th Century Priory Gatehouse ; all that remains of a small Benedictine monastery.
By the River Eden footpaths through ancient woodland lead down stone steps to man-made caves, cut into the red rock. The caves were used by the monks to hide during times of border warfare. Etched into the stone are years of signatures.
The caves are named after a St Constantine, who may or may not have inhabited them before the monks saught refuge there. It is possible to explore inside and peer through the slit windows into the river below.
On the other side of the river sits Corby Castle , the ancestral home of the Howard family. It’s Neo-classical facade can be glimpsed from a little beach, along with terraced gardens and folly’s.
My own personal favourite discovery was a wonderful winged bench! Flight Of Fancy is one of ten contemporary stone sculptures to be found along the length of the River Eden. They are called The Eden Benchmarks and here are Some more we found earlier. 🙂
From the benchmarks vantage point we had a clear view of Wetherals 5 Arch Viaduct, known as Corby Bridge. Trains still travel overhead , bound for Newcastle and Glasgow.
After our potter around Wetheral it was time for a spot of lunch. The village store and Post Office is also a cafe called The Posting Pot. We sat at one of the outside tables and people watched. My cream of tomato soup and savoury cheese scone were divine. 🍅
And on the way home I got Wil to pull up at a roadside farm selling one of my most favourite Autumn blooms, the Chinese Lantern. Those flame coloured flowers certainly brought a hint of colour to the caravan decking.
I can’t quite believe how hot the weekend has been, especially Saturday! I am not big on hot weather, but finding nearby water to splash about in certainly helps.
We figured that heading to the Lakes from the caravan might just prove too crowded. So we packed our swimming stuff and found our way to Garrigill in the North Pennines. Having visited Ashgill Force back in October, we thought it might be nice to return to this lovely waterfall on a hot Summers Day.
Unfortunately we hadn’t thought that it might presently be but a trickle and not the mighty force that we remembered. Recent warm weather had dried up the fall. Luckily downstream were some smaller waterfall pools and not a soul in sight.
Unlike most labradors Hugo is not a great swimmer. He will go for a doggy paddle but tends to dip in and out of the water and is mostly only interested in the wet stuff if someone flings a stick/ball/stone in for him to retrieve. We also have to encourage him to have a drink. Daft dog!
I didn’t exactly do much swimming but I definitely cooled down in this mini waterfall which was like a natural jacuzzi. Refreshing and cold. 🙂 Not long afterwards we were startled by a group of Gill Scramblers making their way upstream. I was so surprised I forgot to take a photo! Then we saw the flash of a Red Squirrels tail as it scrambled up a tree. A fab and mostly peaceful morning was spent by the water. 🙂
A friend recommended a good spot for lunch about ten minutes drive from Garrigill. Nook Farm Shop & Cafe on the roadside near Alston is popular with motorcyclists and the food is quite delicious. The farmland is also home to the remains of an ancient Roman Fort which we were too hot and lazy to investigate. This time!
Sunday too was hot though there were a few clouds in the sky. On the way home we met my Mum and brother for Sunday lunch at The Fat Lamb near Ravenstonedale, a quirky country Inn full of classic car memorabilia.
How are you keeping cool? It’s a bit of a heatwave were having!
Northeast Allie is a blog that reflects influences from the Philadelphia area and the regions around it. It explores perspectives on life, encouragement, travel, wellness, and local living so that you can really enjoy this unique community!