Tag Archives: lake district

Our Last Wknd At The Caravan Until Spring.

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

Silecroft, Ravenglass & Eskdale and Bootle.

Today I am looking back at our weekend away with friends in Ravenglass & Eskdale. It was during the school holidays in August that we stayed in the same lovely cottage that we have booked for previous get togethers. It has become a bit of a tradition of ours to stop in Ravenglass on the Cumbrian Coast. We always seem to find new things to see and do.

As we had set off a little earlier than the others, we decided to take our dog Hugo for a walk on nearby Silecroft Beach. With the Cumbrian Fells ( particularly Black Combe) as it’s backdrop, this sandy stretch of coastline is perfect for exercising four-legged friends. And dogs are not the only ones. You have a very good chance of seeing the Cumbrian Heavy Horses out for a canter here too.

Black Combe.
Doggy Paddles.
Out to Sea.
Heavy Horse.

Once settled into our seafront cottage in the estuary village of Ravenglass everyone made for the beach again. And our evening was spent under rugs on the cottage balcony playing games and watching the sun 🌞 set over the bay.

Ravenglass Beach.
Sunset.
Owl Window.

No visit to Ravenglass is complete without a trip on La’al Ratty! Meaning ‘ Little Railway ‘ in Old Cumbrian dialect, this is the affectionate nick name given to The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway 🚂 , a Narrow Steam Gorge Railway that takes visitors on a seven mile journey into the stunning Eskdale countryside.

On – Line Shop, Ravenglass.
Riding the Ratty.
Choo Choo..

We were spoiled for choice when it came to walking routes in Eskdale. Many people opt to walk up into the fells. There’s Roman ruins at Hardknott and plenty of wild swimming in the rugged becks and waterfall pools. Speaking of waterfalls, we went in search of Stanley Ghyll and the recently constructed iron viewing platform above it.

Clear water and stepping stones.
Bridge over troubled water? Only if you fall off the stepping stones!
Stanley Ghyll Force ~ Photo from Express Article here.
Viewing Platform.
Lush vegetation.
Waiting.
Walking.
And some people braved the water, which was freezing!

Bootle Beach was our destination on Sunday. More swimming for the kids ( they were braver than us!) and a bit of beach combing. We saw two huskies from Horse & Husky being exercised. This beach is great for finding wierd and wonderful pebbles and other flotsam and jetsam.

Huskies.
On the beach.
Maybe a 🐑 or even, Bel the Bedlington. 🙂
Prettiest Pebbles.
Other beach finds. 😁
Hugo and Bel the Bedlington on the beach at Ravenglass.

We had a wonderful time as usual, in this scenic corner of Cumbria.

Thanks for dropping by. 🌊

Arnside Break.

Although I shared a very lazy story post when I got back from my holibobs on the coast, I do think  it would be a  shame if I didn’t blog a little bit about my stay in lovely Arnside.

Arnside is a village on the Kent estuary, where the river meets the sea, overlooking Morecambe Bay. A former fishing port, the resort is now a popular little holiday destination.

We stopped at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks which is situated on the sea front. Dating back to 1660 the pub is one of the oldest buildings in the village and a cock pit still exists under the restaurant floor. Today’s guests can enjoy simple pub food, a good selection of ales and gins and a warm welcome, canine visitors too.

All Arnsides seafront views take in the impressive 50 Span Viaduct , with regular trains making the crossing over the River Kent. The Railway Station is excellent with great services to Carlisle, Lancaster and Manchester. Oneday we took a train to nearby Ulverston , the coastal route is truly stunning and definitely worth doing. 🙂

On a clear day the diminutive Arnside Pier must surely have the best vistas of any seaside pier. The Lake District fells are misted over in the above picture though.

I love the 2 Minute Beach Clean Stand on the sea front. Litter pickers and bags are provided and anyone can go and do their bit. I must admit the beach was noticeably rubbish free. 🙂

There are some lovely local businesses in the village to mooch round. I loved them all ! I did treat myself to a few things including a cute fox pin from The Little Shop and a bottle of gorgeous smelling hand lotion from Homeleigh Vintage .

Make sure you wander up Pier Lane when shopping. There’s a fab sweet shop, a cupcake shop and a wonderful art gallery there, all almost hidden from view.

And we can also recommend the bijou but belting The Wayside Cafe near the railway station for coffee, cakes and delicious brunch options.

I do love a pub with a view. 🙂 Arnsides other watering hole The Albion has possibly even better estuary views than Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. We certainly had a few beverages sat outside of an evening.

As new visitors to Arnside we got incredibly excited ( ok I got incredibly excited) on our first night when a sound rather like a wartime air raid siren suddenly filled the air. Having read that a warning siren precedes the arrival of the Arnside Tidal Bore, I immediately started scanning the horizon for an impressive wave rushing up the estuary. An hour later ourselves and a couple of other tourists were still sat watching ( and freezing our bits off, the wind had gotten up) whilst all the locals had disappeared inside. The Bore didn’t make an appearance !

It turns out that the Sirens tend to go off regularly anyway, but it is only in certain high tide conditions that a tidal bore occurs.

If you want to keep an eye out for the bore virtually The Arnside Chip Shop is home to the Pier Webcam and there are a couple of good videos to view on the website. Also I have to say , awesome fish & chips !! But be warned , this is a very popular chippy….

We fancied a fish & chips supper one evening and the queue didn’t seem very long. When I placed my order at the counter though, the apologetic server told me there would be a 1 Hour 20 minute wait! She then gave me this chunky ‘ vibrating device’ that counts down the time and starts vibrating even faster when your order is done. Cut to us sat outside The Albion with a siren booming across the bay and a constantly vibrating handbag. 🤣 Our supper was definitely worth the wait but as the wind had whipped up we took it back to the room and consumed with mugs of wine. 😊

There are some great beach walks from Arnside to Sandside or the pretty village of Silverdale. Or you can head up Arnside Knott for scenic views over the bay. Signposted from the village, the Knott is a small hill with big vistas and well worth the climb. Known for its varied wildlife especially wading birds and rare butterflies , the whole area is a nature lovers paradise. 🙂

Dark Red Helleborine.

A myriad of footpaths Criss cross the Knott and surrounding countryside. A beautiful place indeed. 😊

Hopefully you have enjoyed my little tour of Arnside as much as we enjoyed our visit to this quirky and delightful seaside village. 💕

Ullswater Wander.

Are there any places more scenic than a Summer’s day in the Lake District? A couple of weeks ago we enjoyed a bit of a wander from the lakeside village of Glenridding, on to Patterdale and then up to Silver Point where there are beautiful views of Ullswater. Ullswater is the second largest lake in the National park, popular with tourists, but still an easy place to get away from it all. 🐑

We began our walk from the Ullswater Steamer Pier in Glenridding.
And followed the Ullswater Way signs to Patterdale. Here the Goldrill Beck weaves its way to the lake.
Sign at the Post Office/ Village Shop in Patterdale. Alfred Wainwright persueded the then owner to sell copies of his first pictorial guide to the lake District fells here. Sadly the shop seems to be empty at the moment.
Hugo pulling right but we carry straight on.
A holiday cottage called Wordsworth Cottage.
It’s door knocker is a much smaller replica of the one at Brougham Hall.
The track to Side Farm campsite.
The only life in the farmyard.
A lake view!
The Artists Seat celebrates artists who have been inspired by Ullswater, and it’s a good place to park your bum…
As are nearby craggy rocks.
Scenic sitting.
A rugged path takes us to Silver Point.
Hugo admires the view from Silver Point.
We make our way back. Near midday now and very warm.
Blue sky, Blue lake.
Heading to Glenridding from Side Farm.
We find a little beach by the lake.
And all go for a paddle.
The water isn’t cold at all.
Refreshments are welcome!

If you fancy a much more challenging walk in Ullswater country The Ullswater Way is a 20 Mile route that circumnavigates the lake. It can of course be done in sections and the Ullswater Steamers are also a good way of getting you from a to b. ⛵♥️

Exploring Cumbria & The Lake District.

Hi there, I have been stopping at the caravan with friends and we were using it as a base to visit some places in Cumbria and the Lakes! I thought I would update this blog everyday diary style and post at the end of our stay. 🥰

Penrith Castle ~ photo credit Arwen Ball.

Day One. We arrived here last night , so today we nipped to nearby Penrith for supplies, had lunch, did some shopping, went for a few drinks and explored the red ruins of Penrith Castle. The girls had their nails done at a great little nail bar in town and we bought some pretty bits and bobs from a lovely clothes/gift shop called Adlib.

Day Two. An epic start to the day with an informative & interesting Whiskey/Vodka/Gin tasting tour, booked in at The Lakes Distillery near Keswick. Well Somebody had to take the morning slot. 😀

The Lakes Distillery.

After the tour we headed to The Lake District Wildlife Park nearby. Lots of lovely animals & birdlife to learn about and admire, including Otter, Red Panda, Scottish Wildcat, Flamingo and Zebra. 🦓

Lake District Wildlife Park ~ photo credit ~ Arwen Ball.
Rowing Boat on Derwent Water ~ photo credit Tammy Cardoso.

An impromptu row on Derwent Water rounded up Sundays adventures. 🚣‍♀️ Look out for the rowing boats for hire next to the Keswick Launch & Jetty.

Day Three. A scorcher of a day! We are happily having untypically warm Bank Holiday sunshine. Our first destination was gorgeous Grasmere, the home of poet William Wordsworth and yummy traditional Gingerbread.

Inside Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread Shop.

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is definitely a must when you visit the village. Although the store is tiny it brims with character and the scrumptious aroma of baking gingerbread is impossible to resist. Yet more sweet treats were purchased at the Grasmere Chocolate Cottage. A short walk was needed to burn off those soon to be consumed calories.

Colourful boats at Faeryland Tea Garden.

After walking to Grasmere lake we called in at Faeryland Tea Garden which has an enviable position overlooking the water, and pretty pastille coloured rowing boats are available for hire. 🧚‍♀️

Kittchen ‘ Pussy & Pints ‘.

Although I have been to a Cat Cafe before, none of us have ever visited a Cat Bar….until now. Kittchen in Hawkshead is home to seven adorable rescue cats and serves yummy food and alcoholic beverages. Because the weather was so hot most of the furry felines were asleep, but the sunshine did mean we had the cats all to ourselves. A purrfect end to the day. 🐱

Llama Trek to Brougham Castle. Photo Courtesy of Arwen Ball.

Day Four. Another hot day. Our anticipated llama trek was put back to late afternoon, so it wouldn’t be too hot for the above cute camelids, Warrior and Jester. We booked an hour mini trek with Lakeland Llama Treks based in Brougham and Melmerby. It was great fun to groom, learn about and walk with both boys to Brougham Castle ,with our lovely guide Caroline. 🦙

Visiting family.

Day Five. The girls went on a little roadtrip to find a beach, spending a couple of hours relaxing on the sands in Maryport. Meanwhile I met up with family at my Mum’s in Askham and we enjoyed a saunter up the fell.

Face Mask Thursday ~ photo credit Tammy Cardoso.

Day Six. Alot cooler today so we chilled at the caravan, watching films etc. It was Arwen and Tammy’s last full day with me at the van.

Day Seven. After a tasty lunch at The Old Village Bakery in Melmerby, the girls have made it home. I am presently waiting for my other half to arrive. It’s been great spending time here with friends, a treat and a bit of normality all at the same time. 😊

Thanks for dropping by.

January 2021 ~ Books I Read. 📚 ❄️

January has been an enjoyable reading month. A couple of the books were birthday or Christmas gifts, two were inspired by other bloggers reads and one was bought on a whim, purely because of the cover. Though in fact all these book covers are asphetically pleasing in my eyes.

Bookshop Tours Of Britain ~ Louise Boland ( 2020). Whilst our bookshops are sadly closed at the moment, how about browsing through a book that takes the reader on 18 journeys around Britain and its many beautiful independent book stores. This handy guide allows you to plan which parts of the country to visit once lockdown is over, with its indie bookshops in mind. Lots of travel information too and litery snippets. I love this celebration of our indie stores, they really need our support at the moment. A little sad that two lovely book towns that I have visited, Wigtown in Dumfries & Galloway and Sedburgh in Cumbria , weren’t included though. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Wild Life Of The Fox ~ John Lewis – Stemple ( 2020). A slim volume not unlike Adele Brands ‘ The Hidden World Of The Fox’ , packed full of fascinating insights into the life of this mysterious wild creature, who’m we share our countryside and urban landscape with. The author, a prolific nature writer ,starts off by talking about a phone conversation that went on slightly too long, causing him to head out to lock up his chickens that little bit later than usual. Well you can imagine what had happened to the chickens. Yet we can’t help but have a love/hate relationship with the 🦊. And that is explored expertly here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Winter Holiday ~ Arthur Ransome ( 1931). I haven’t actually read any of the other Swallows & Amazon’s books. I assume they are all set in long warm summers. Winter Holiday though is absolutely perfect for this time of year. The frozen lake and surrounding snowy countryside lends itself perfectly to the children’s Arctic Expedition adventures. I love how the adults don’t bat an eyelid at the youngsters playing out from dawn until dusk and how everyone gets their skates on , igloos are built and ice yachts are commondeered. Delightful. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Before The Coffee Gets Cold ~ Toshikazu Kawaguchi (2015). If you could travel back in time to a crossroads moment in your life , would you want to, if you couldn’t change the outcome? In a quiet cafe in Japan , from a particular seat ,it is possible to do just that. As long as you drink your coffee before it gets cold that is. A moving and magical tale. And there is a sequel that I want to read too. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

What books did you pick up in January? 📚

Bowscale Tarn. 🦈

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.

🥾 3-5 mile walk from Bowscale.

Lowther Longhorns.

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. 🐮

Bampton grange & Bampton.

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.

Summer Sky.

The Old Chapel, Bampton.

Jams for sale outside the Old Chapel.

Knipe Moor in the distance.

Mardale Inn.

Bampton Bridge.

Old fashioned Diesel pumps.

Hugo cooling off.

Shop and Tea Room.

Time for 🍰 cake. 🙂

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. 😅

Withnail and I phonebox.

Visitor Book.

Grass covered roof on a stone building.

Knipe Moor.

Robins Pincushion on Dog Rose bush.

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.

Bridge over the river Lowther.

Hedgehogs.

Strawberry plants and face masks for sale.

The Crown and Mitre.

The Crown and Mitre.

St Patrick’s Church.

A horse cools off.

It was nice to explore two villages away from the Lake District crowds.

A Wainwright & A Walk Before Noon. 🥾

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.

Spot the tent. 🏕️

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. 😚

The cobbled market Square and cross.

Fetherston Arms.

Another raven name.

Ginger Tom.

Wildlife board alongside Raven Beck.

Woodland path.

Raven Beck.

Hidden tree den.

Raven Bridge Stores.

Water Wheel in the village.

Thatched cottage.

Herdwick sheep.

Treated ourselves to some jam & chutney.

By Noon we were ready for a relaxing afternoon at the caravan. It had been a really enjoyable morning.

❤️