Here are a few images from a 5 mile walk we did on Saturday in The Eden Valley. This is a nice walk in some parts, but we definitely had issues with some very lively cattle, and had to keep making diversions to avoid them. I love cows the most when they are snoozy, and not galloping down a field toward you. 🤪
Also, we had to finish the planned route by road ,as the crops in a cornfield we would have walked through ( on a public footpath) were being collected. It was a peaceful country road though, so not so bad.
Parts of this walk weren’t great, but I did get some nice photos from it at least. 😊
I feel like it’s been a while since I posted. We recently had a week away at the caravan, which for my other half was a much needed break , having worked continuously through lockdown. A holiday we booked in Northumberland was cancelled , so I think this year we will try to make the most of our own holiday home. I know we are very lucky to have it !
Here is a quick round-up of what we got up to. We are based in the beautiful Eden Valley, which is a rather undiscovered part of Cumbria. I love where we are as there is so much to explore nearby.
Chilling At The Van. Of course we made a bit of time for relaxing as well. We are fortunate to have a large decking area ( probably three or four times bigger than our little yard at home) ,so it was always nice to sit out and enjoy the sunshine with a glass of wine…..or two. 😁
Langwathby Riverside Walk. An Eden Valley walk we often enjoy with Hugo is The Ladies Walk from Langwathby, through Edenhall village & back. The circular route is 3 miles long and takes in lots of gorgeous wildflowers, a couple of sculptures, a Celtic cross and pretty cornfields, as well as the lovely river Eden of course. We even enjoyed coffees and flapjacks on the green at the end from Saddleback’s cafe , a converted horsebox.
Eycott Hill Nature Reserve. Oh my goodness, I was in my element here! Eycott Hill near Penrith is run by the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust..and it is such a beautiful place. Sadly I forgot my actual camera, and only had my phone camera to hand, so trying to take photos of all the wonderful wildlife proved impossible. But I did see lots of beautiful wildflowers including Grass of Parnassus, Bog Asphodel & Marsh Cinqefoil, as well as various butterflies and moths. There are Belted Galloway cattle grazing here and views of the surrounding Lakeland mountains. Dogs are welcome on leads.
Marmalade March. Having just looked up Marmalade March online, apparently it’s a track by the psychedelic porn crumpets. Who knew! It is also an alternative name for the Dalemain Loop, an extension of The Ullswater Way, which is a twenty mile walkable route round Ullswater. I’m not quite up to that yet, so the five mile Marmalade March was undertaken instead. Dalemain ( an Eden Valley country house famed for its annual marmalade festival) was an excellent rest stop mid way, and we made sure to check on the gnarly stone Dacre churchyard bears as well. 🐻
Cow Green Reservoir & Cauldron Snout. The caravan is on a site at the foot of the steep Hartside Pass, which resides in the North Pennines AONB. Over that hill lies more beautiful rugged terrain to explore, as Cumbria eventually turns into County Durham. The border between the two counties runs straight through the centre of the Cow Green Reservoir and the area is home to rare wildlife, such as Golden Plover. A track takes visitors past the dam and to the top of Cauldron Snout, which is apparently England’s highest waterfall. Even on a bleak day, there was much wild beauty to take in.
Skiddaw Summit. Oh my, did my poor legs suffer after walking ( or should I say crawling) up Skiddaw. This was my 5th Wainwright, and by far the highest at 900 plus metres. Unfortunately we picked the worse day to do it, as a dense fog obscured any views. We ended up dripping wet from the fog and Hugo almost turned white. 😮 Was still worth it though!
Allonby on the Cumbrian Coast. It isn’t a holiday without going to the seaside, I say. A sunny Saturday meant a trip to the coast. 😊We chose Allonby, as it has a great beach for dog walking and we were looking forward to fish & chips. The Cod father didn’t disappoint.
So there you have it. Can’t wait to go back to the van in September for a week, and there will hopefully be a couple of weekends before then too.
On Saturday we were finally allowed to travel to our caravan and more excitingly, stop overnight! I must admit I was a little worried about our drive to the Lake District. Would we be stuck in traffic for hours? Would everyone in England be heading away for the weekend? It turns out we hardly saw a soul and the roads were not overly busy. There again the weather was not the best and we definitely needed our waterproofs.
Our destination was just under two hours away, so on route we stopped off near Kirkby Lonsdale to take Hugo for a riverside walk. The Lune was nearly bursting it’s banks, there had been so much rain.
Once we got to the caravan site we checked over the van , had some lunch then headed up into the fells for a walk. It’s the first time we have done this route, probably because of my general reluctance to drag myself up hill. It was of course worth it! We found a patch of woodland, a clear water beck and lots of foxgloves.
Once back in the village I couldn’t resist looking round the Green. Melmerby Village Green is an 11 acre green that used to be grazed by livestock. It is managed for wildlife and there are lots of lovely wildflowers on display.
In the evening we left the pub to the locals and had tapas and wine in the van. Wil fried these padron peppers in olive oil and tossed them in sea salt. Delicious!
On Sunday morning we headed to Pooley Bridge which is near Ullswater. The lake was lively!
It felt good to be able to stay overnight at the caravan and it was nice enjoying a coffee in the Crown pub. We are ready for our proper week long break away. Not long now!
Just returned from a few days at our caravan in Cumbria. It’s the first time we’ve managed to visit this year. Happily we were able to stay toasty in the van and get out and about and explore too. Life is carrying on as normal..for now! Here are a few images from our 4 day break.
NT Acorn Bank.
Appleby & Rutter Falls. ( 8 mile muddy walk).
Northern Viaducts Round ~ Kirkby Stephen. ( 4 mile, not as Muddy walk).
Definitely loving all the places we’ve discovered in the beautiful Eden Valley so far.
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. 😉
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.
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. 🙂
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. 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.
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. 🙂
So there you have it, four of the ten Eden Benchmark Sculptures and six more to find…
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 Lake District, but in a less busy touristy area. On Friday five of us drove up to the van for a girls getaway. We spent an enjoyable and chilled couple of days there. Here are a few photos from our trip.
It was fantastic to spend maybe our last sunny & warm weekend of the Summer with my friends at the caravan. Happy Days. 😁
Thanks to Arwen & Marian for some of these photographs. 🙂
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… 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 winning 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?
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…..
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…..
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. 😄
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.
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?