Saturday morning was chilly and bright as we parked in the small parking area in the little hamlet of Bowscale. Our mission was to find a hidden mountain tarn, once popular as a Victorian tourist destination. Well heeled holiday makers would be transported on ponies up the bridleway from Bowscale to enjoy the views. Today the path remains and a few people ( and dogs 🙂 ) still hike to the tarn.
The walk up to Bowscale Tarn is clearly defined and a relatively gentle climb. Just as I was believing the water would never appear ( I’m very impatient! ) , there it was.
Bowscale Tarn is a corrie tarn, a lake formed when a glacier melted and eroded a bowl shape into the mountains. My photos don’t really do the shape of the tarn justice.
Hugo had a good swim. He is in great company with lots of human wild swimmers who have enjoyed taking a dip here. Check out Christine’s blog for her Bowscale Tarn experience. 🙂
Legend has it that the icy waters are home to two immortal fish! Wordsworth mentioned them in his poem Song, at the feast of Brougham Castle, though not sure how the fishy tale started.
There are plentiful Wainwright fells to attempt in the area, so I’m sure we will return. Above is Carrock Fell ,which we could see on our right ,as we walked up to the tarn.
Just a quick and hopefully cute post for you today, featuring some very laid back longhorns. I’ve had a fair few hair raising run ins with coos this year, there have been some frisky heifers and bullish young bulls on summer walks, I can tell you. But these guys, well they are just in full on relaxed mode. Though maybe a little curious about why I’m peering at them from behind a big tree…..
Luckily on my second attempt at capturing this native cattle breed on camera, I got slightly better photos. My first attempt a few weeks earlier was on my camera phone. I quite like that you can see lovely Lowther Castle on these ones though. 😊
The English Longhorns roam freely on the Lowther Castle estate near Penrith in Cumbria. They are a new introduction at the castle, and another introduction may well be on its way. Back in January the Lowther estate was given the go ahead to reintroduce beavers to the river Lowther. Due to coronavirus this has been put on hold at the moment though.
I was quite happy to see these snoozy beasts anyway. English Longhorns are a hardy breed , they will be able to stay outdoors during the cold winter months. I am looking forward to seeing more of them through the seasons. 🐮
Bank Holiday Monday and the Lake District was swarming with visitors. Our plan to visit Haweswater, usually one of the quieter lakes in the National Park was scuppered, when we realised we were never going to be able to park.
Not far from Haweswater are the adjoining villages of Bampton and Bampton grange. The river Lowther separates the two. We parked by the river and took our labrador Hugo for a walk through the quiet lanes and meadows.
Bampton has a movie connection! The phone box in the village appeared in the 1987 Cult Classic Withnail and I. There is even a visitor book inside and a battered video copy. We found other Withnail film locations here on a walk last year. It’s a bit of a bonkers film. 😅
Over the bridge is Bampton grange with its church and pub. The vicarage there houses a library of Latin books called Tinclar’s Library. The bridge walls were covered in pretty painted pebbles.
It was nice to explore two villages away from the Lake District crowds.
Sunday saw us getting up bright and early ( ok, definitely less bright than early!) in the hope of catching the sunrise from the top of Hallin Fell. One of the more diminutive Wainwright climbs at 388 metres, Hallin makes up for it’s stature with impressive views of Ullswater lake and it’s surrounding peaks.
We arrived at the little car park by St Peters Church in Martindale very early. In fact it was pitch dark. And the car park was almost full! There were a few overnighting camper vans and other cars possibly belonging to people wild camping out on the fell.
It takes about 40 minutes to walk to the trig point on a clearly defined path. At 5-30am in the morning it looked like we were the first folk heading up there. The views were totally worth the early get up. But unfortunately the sun deemed to stay behind a cloud.
We enjoyed a flask of coffee and croissants at the top of Hallin Fell, drinking in the stunning vistas. It was calm and still with only a very gentle breeze. This was my 6th Wainwright fell and Hugo’s sixth too, on his 6th Birthday weekend.
Before heading back to the caravan we had a little look in the churchyard of St Peters at the bottom of the fell. There is still a monthly service there apparently. Noticed this grave stone adorned with an anchor.
As we left a few other folk were awake, drinking morning brews and maybe contemplating an early walk to the top.
Kirkoswald and Raven Beck Wander.
It was still early morning so after a chill at the caravan we drove the short distance to the Eden valley village of Kirkoswald. The village is named after the church of St Oswald. Oswald was a King of Northumbria in the 7th century. We took Hugo for a walk along Raven Beck, bought supplies from Raven Bridge Stores and I generally kept an eye out for ravens , though I didn’t see any. 😚
By Noon we were ready for a relaxing afternoon at the caravan. It had been a really enjoyable morning.
Back in January a group of friends booked a holiday cottage on the Cumbrian coast. Little did we know then what a strange turn of events would unfold in 2020. A global pandemic would envelop the world, like something out of a Sci Fi film. We were definitely thankful that we had arranged our mini break for August in Ravenglass….and happily for us , it could still go ahead. Fortunately this little corner of the Lake District is relatively quiet and social distancing was easy. We also had amazing weather, which always helps. 😎
Sunshine & Sunsets. So it was that 6 adults, 2 children and 2 dogs spent a happy 3 nights in lovely Ravenglass. Friday was enjoyed mostly on the beach in front of the cottage and admiring an incredible sunset from the balcony. One friend brought a Water Bottle Rocket 🚀 whose launches into the sky gave us endless entertainment on the sand.
A Ratty Trip , Walk To Eel Tarn & Wild Swimming. You can’t visit Ravenglass in the Summer without a ride on The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. Affectionately known as La’al Ratty, this narrow steam gauge railway takes passengers into the seriously scenic Eskdale Valley. We booked return tickets to Dalegarth Station near Boot, from where there are plentiful beautiful riverside and fell walks. Face coverings were advised though not enforced on the platform and inside covered carriages.
Our plan was to walk to a remote tarn for some wild swimming. However as stunning as the hike was, Eel Tarn itself wasn’t really suitable for water pursuits. Surrounded by boggy marsh, only Hugo the Labrador managed to spring in there for a cooling off doggy paddle. However the kids had discovered a promising looking waterfall pool in Whillan Beck , which we managed to visit later.
Saturday was a really hot day so the cool clear water in the beck was just perfect for swimming in. We had it all to ourselves too. As we left a local family arrived, the father had been coming to the waterfall for 40 years. To us it was an accidental ( and totally wonderful) discovery.
Eskmeals Nature Reserve. Having visited Ravenglass several times now, I hadn’t actually realised that the dunes I had seen on the other side of the estuary are part of Eskmeals Nature Reserve . We decided to visit here on Sunday for a walk. The dunes are home to rare natterjack toads ( we didn’t see any though) and many species of wildflower. There is parking by the viaduct at nearby Waberthwaite. Look out for a yellow flag. If it is flying the adjoining MOD land is in use.
A Few More Images From Ravenglass.
As we were leaving Ravenglass on Monday morning a man was setting up his sea plane for a 40 minute journey to a lochside cafe near Dumfries for a coffee. Can’t be bad!
Have you ever visited any places mentioned in this post?
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…