Tag Archives: kirkby lonsdale

Bronte Connections ~ Cowan Bridge.

In recent days I have written about a village with a movie connection and two villages visited by vampires. This next one has an association with members of perhaps England’s most famous literary family ‘ the Brontes’ .

I have passed through Cowan Bridge numerous times as it sits on the busy A65 in between Ingleton and Kirkby Lonsdale, our usual route up to the Lake District. In days gone by it would have been much quieter, the continuous traffic noise definitely distances the imagination away from the 1820s , when siblings Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily attended The Clergy Daughter’s School in the village.

We had decided to stop off for lunch on the way home from Cumbria on a busy bank holiday Monday. I must admit I suggested Cowan Bridge because I thought it may be easier to get lunch there than its more touristy neighbors. I have also always been curious about where on earth the Bronte school is……

It turned out the Tea Room was busy inside, but there was space outside next to the noisy road with the traffic whooshing by. 😅 We just decided on coffee and prepackaged sandwiches and ate them in the pretty seating area.

Afterwards we pottered about the village in totally the wrong direction. Eventually a kind local pointed us toward the original bridge that Cowan Bridge takes its name from. After crossing it we came to a row of old stone cottages. These are what remain of The Clergy Daughter’s School.

An inscription on the end cottage wall reads :

Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte & Emily Bronte

Lived here as pupils of the Clergy Daughter’s School 18-24 – 25.

The school was moved to Casterton 1833.

Patrick Bronte was a clergyman living in Haworth with six young children. His wife Maria had sadly died a couple of years earlier. Sending four of their offspring to a respected boarding school for clergy children would no doubt have seemed the right thing for this busy man of the cloth to do.

Unfortunately the harsh environment at the school would contribute to the untimely deaths of the two eldest girls. Poor quality food, cold damp conditions and cruel unjust punishments were the norm. Maria, then Elizabeth were sent home suffering from consumption , both would die within weeks of one another. Patrick sent for Charlotte and Emily and they never returned to Cowan Bridge.

A still from the 1944 film version of Jane Eyre.

For Charlotte , her experiences at the Clergy Daughter’s School were to be drawn upon for her novel Jane Eyre. In the book young Jane is sent to Lowood School where she makes a new friend, Helen Burns. Helens and Jane’s life there mirrors that of her and her sisters harrowing time at Cowan Bridge.

Today one of the remaining cottages is available as an attractive Holiday Let , so fans of the Brontes’ can experience a little part of Bronte history. A short walk and you are away from the road noise and out into beautiful rolling countryside.

I am glad the buildings stand as a reminder of how harsh life could be back then, and also as a celebration of what the Bronte family would eventually achieve.

Have you visited any places where the Brontes’ lived, worked or played? 📖

A Night Away At The Caravan.

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.

Pretty painted pebbles lined the riverside path.
Rather nice art on the public toilet doors.
An old fashioned float in Kirkby Lonsdale.
The River Lune looking choppy.

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.

Pied Wagtail almost camaflaged in the wall.
Betony.
Sheepfold.
Harebells.
Postbox in the village.

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!

Peppers.
Quiet on site.

On Sunday morning we headed to Pooley Bridge which is near Ullswater. The lake was lively!

Hugo in Ullswater.
Bought a sausage roll in here. 😁
And had a socially distanced coffee in The Crown .
The River Eamont and the new bridge under construction. Pooley Bridges original stone bridge was destroyed during Storm Desmond.
Pooley Bridge Inn sign.

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!

Did you go to a cafe or a pub at the weekend?

Searching for signs of Spring.

On Saturday we braved The Mini Beast Of The East and headed to Cumbria to visit family. We also packed in two short walks with our labrador Hugo. I kept my camera handy to record any burgeoning signs that Spring might just be making an appearance. 🙂

First stop , Kirkby Lonsdale. This small market town on the edge of the Lake District sits on the banks of the River Lune. An easy stroll from the free car park at Devil’s Bridge takes you along the waterside and up into the town centre.

Devil’s Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale.
Male Goosander.
Pussy Willow.

The only climb is the ’86’ Radical Steps that lead up to ‘Ruskin’s View’ , a beautiful vista painted by Turner and described by John Ruskin as ” the loveliest view in England”. The steep stone steps also take you to St Mary’s Churchyard, which was adorned with a delightful carpet of crocuses when we visited.

St Marys Churchyard.
Ruskin’s View takes in the river Lune.
Male Blackbird.
Such a bonnie house. I think I take a picture of it every time I visit.

The cold weather has meant that the snowdrops here in the North are still in good form! Whilst they continue to bloom, Winter has stubbornly decided to hang on I think. As we headed further up the M6 , the countryside turned whiter and the world got windier.

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Snow near Shap.
Dacre Bear.

Our second walk was later in the afternoon and started off in the pretty village of Dacre, about two miles north of Pooley Bridge. Four stone bears can be seen amongst the gravestones in St Andrews graveyard ( they are not very bear like now! ) and it is claimed that they once rested on the four corners of Dacre’s 14th Century Castle keep.

Could this be the Mini Beast From The East??

The only daffodil in flower that we saw was one solitary yellow trumpet in Dacre. Looking back to this time last year, the nearby village of Askham where my Mum lives was positively trumpeting. Not so in 2018…yet ! We continued on our way amongst snow flurries, bitter cold winds and odd spells of bright sunshine, along the estate path towards Dalemain Mansion. I wrote a post last year about our visit to the gardens here.

Deer park, Dalemain.

Although its a nice dog walk from Dacre to Dalemain, the estate does not allow four-legged friends to accompany you into the house, gardens or café. 😦 So we tried to warm up outside with a steaming hot coffee and a delicious slab of ginger cake spread with marmalade. Dalemain is famous for its annual Marmalade Awards and Festival, and it was actually near to the end of the first day of this years festival, when we arrived. If your in the area today, the weekend of marmalade tasting continues. I bought a small jar of Jane’s Marmalade. Jane is the Lady Marmalade of the house apparently.

Crocus and Aconites.
Fallow Deer.
Heading back to Dacre. The 14th century Castle is just ahead.

These two short walks added up to six miles and it was lovely to see some small signs of Spring what has been an unusually cold March.

Walking in Clitheroe this morning.

Of course things are back to the norm, back home in Lancashire today. Yet more snow!

What signs of Spring have you seen in your neck of the woods?

I am linking up with Jo’s Monday Walks so do pop by her lovely blog. X

Sunday Sevens 18th December.

I totally forgot about yesterdays #photanhour challenge , but I do have enough pictures of my week to catch up with you guys via  Sunday Sevens . Yay!  Above is last Sunday’s  attempt at making Chestnut & Mushroom pate from a recipe in December’s edition of’The Simple Things’ magazine. Turned out pretty well actually…but neither Wil or I are really that keen on it. Oh well…..maybe a jar will find itself with you. 😉

Last Sunday I went to a local craft fair and found this charming stag head candle, which I couldn’t resist buying. He was only £5 and he is beautiful. A fellow blogger says he looks like a Sidney or a Sheridan. Sheridan it is ! I shall not be lighting Sheridan though. 🙂

And also on Sunday I went to Mitton Hall near Whalley with a few ladies from work. We had a Christmassy Afternoon tea by Candlelight, gossiped quite a bit ( girls will be girls!) and admired the beautiful Christmas tree which stands by the fire and is HUGE.

I bobbed into ‘The Boiler Room Cafe’ at Holmes Mill in Clitheroe during the week for a gift voucher….and ended up with a free coffee and a sticky blueberry Danish ! There was a problem with the till so I got a complementary elevenses, while I waited. Seemed a good time to bring out ‘The Little Book Of Hygge’. Has anybody read it?

Yesterday Wil and I had a Christmas Shopping for ‘each other’ day In two Southern Lakes Towns. We had planned to not buy anything this year, but that’s snow fun!  First we visited Kendal where we had coffee in a little Tea & Coffee house called Farrer’s. It was very cute and Dickensian. Also got chatting to an owl charity and petted a Barn Owl , a Tawny owl and a Little Owl. 🙂 I am a lot easier to buy for than my fussy OH so Wil purchased some goodies for me in Kendal but alas he found nothing he liked. 😦

Kirkby Lonsdale is smaller than kendal but has some lovely shops and quirky street names, such as Salt Pie Lane & Jingling Lane. Whilst I did find some unusual Victorian Whale tree decorations ( I bought one for our yet to put up tree ~ thats todays job) , I came away with nothing at all for Wil. He is one of those annoying people who doesn’t care about opening presents on Xmas Day. Tough, I shall get him something , whether he likes it or not!  Another job for today me thinks. 🙂

Hope you had an enjoyable week. Wish me luck with my shopping!

 

January ~ Photo an Hour.

If you are considering a fresh blogging challenge to take part in every month , why not have a go at Janey’s and Louisa’s  Photo An Hour Challenge. Every month they choose a day ( usually at the weekend) and upload a picture of what they are doing on the hour, every hour on Instagram or Twitter. It’s a great way of finding new blogs or Instagram accounts to follow. And everyone loves a bit of a nosy at someone else’s day!

January’s day was Saturday. So here’s what exciting things I got up to. I just know you are dying to find out………;0)

8am ~  Morning brew. We are planning to head up to the Lake District with Hugo.

9am ~  Hugo on the back seat in the car. He doesn’t like travelling bless him. Luckily he settled down and went to sleep.

10am ~  Whizzing past fields of snow.

11am  ~   Finally in Keswick. And down by the Lake which is full of geese. Can you spot Hugo?

Noon  ~  In Keswick looking for foodie treats for my foodie penpal. Settled on a jar of locally made Orange cheese ( Orange curd).

1pm  ~    A spot of lunch in  The Filling Station  on the outskirts of Keswick.  A Route A66 Burger and sweet potato fries. Yummy. 🙂

2pm  ~  It’s snowing hard in Keswick so the other half  says we have to head away from the snow. Slightly sulking. I had secretly packed my toothbrush and clean underwear, in the hope of getting snowed in. Oh well! Here’s the cd currently listening to in the car.

3pm  ~  We have stopped off at Kirkby Lonsdale ( no snow here yet!)  and having a walk by the river.

4pm  ~   A quick florentine from this amazing bakery in Kirkby Lonsdale. 🙂

5pm  ~   Back home and there is snow!

6pm  ~  My Saturday night was very Rock n Roll. A Hot chocolate and a magazine. I put ground ginger in the chocolate to make it a bit spicey. 🙂

7pm  ~  Tea has been slowly cooking all day. It’s Chicken curry.

 

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8pm   ~ My last picture of the day is of my cat Slinky who has just pinched my place on the sofa. Cheeky!   The evening followed with a Bones Boxset Fest.

Thanks for dropping by. X

 

 

 

 

Kirkby Lonsdale in a camper van.

For a while now Wil and I have wanted to get our ‘Scooby Dooby Doo!’ on by taking a trip in a Mystery Machine , and stay overnight somewhere cool in a camper van. Well I guess we already have our Scooby ( Hugo the black labrador) so all we needed was our transportation and a corking campsite. Lucky for us a rather good camper van hire company has started up, right here in the Ribble Valley. Star Campers UK are situated on the way over Waddington Fell, just outside Clitheroe. They are a brand new business run by husband and wife team Paul and Kathy Rosthorn, with just a little help from their cute French Bulldog Louis of course!  At present they have two beautifully renovated vans ready to rent out…..and two more are being lovingly restored. We were able to choose from Sunny ,a cheery sunshine yellow original 1972 1.6 litre Left hand drive Tin top westfalia campmobile ( Hope I got that right! ) and Starline , a more modern 2009 VW T5 TDI. Due to Wil being the only driver he got to pick. The T5 came out tops as Paul told us it was the easiest to drive. And Wil agreed,  it was as “simple as driving any car, just higher up”. 🙂

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Starline.

We had booked a campsite near the pretty town of Kirkby Lonsdale, about an hours drive away. So it was great to set up camp when we got there and explore our home away from home for the night. Starline has been done up to the highest spec with leather and suede upholstery, LED lighting and all mod cons , such as a waeco fridge freezer and smev appliances. I loved the colourful camper van crockery and the fact that Kathy had put milk,eggs and butter in the fridge for us , was a welcoming touch.

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kirkby lonsdale 004

The campsite we stayed at was the very well organized Woodclose Park , about half an hours walk along the rocky river Lune into Kirkby. It is mainly a statics holiday park but is also wonderfully equipped for tourers and campers. Facilities include a site shop, indoor washing up area with information point, children’s play area and a designated dog walk. The site teams with wildlife and also has a resident herd of Alpacas. 🙂

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Kirkby Lonsdale itself is a picturesque market town with lots of dog friendly pubs ( many serving delicious food), tons of very browse worthy shops ( Parma Violet gift shop is my fave), pretty tea rooms and cafes and its surrounded by gorgeous South Lakes countryside. Here are a few Pics…..

Canoeing on the river Lune.
Canoeing on the river Lune ~ taken from Devils Bridge.
The steep Radical steps ( there are 86 of them! )
The steep Radical steps ( there are 86 of them! )
Ruskin's view from st Mary's churchyard.
Ruskin’s view from st Mary’s churchyard.
St Marys Church.
St Marys Church.
Street View, Kirkby Lonsdale.
Street View, Kirkby Lonsdale.
two for one cocktails at Plato's.
two for one cocktails at Plato’s.

After a fun few hours in town we headed back to the site for a barbecue and as the evening wore on we found ourselves in the middle of a thunderstorm! Luckily we were safe and warm inside Starline, watching the impressive lightning from the heavens. The pop up top bedroom gave us a great view of the storm.

There is plenty of room in the pop up top for two people to sleep.
There is plenty of room in the pop up top for two people to sleep. 

After a comfortable night we woke up to the sunshine cracking the flags. 🙂 Enjoyed some bacon and blueberry scotch pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast and took Hugo for a walk before dropping the van off and heading home.

Breakfast Ready!
Breakfast Ready!
Poppy view.
Poppy view.

Our night away in a Star camper Van was a great success. Can’t wait to see how Paul and Kathy’s other vans Buster and Terry turn out. They will be on the road soon!