Tag Archives: lake district

Rydal Hall Sculpture Trail.

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Rydal in the Lake District is forever linked with poet William Wordsworth and the stunning scenery here , including Rydal Lake and his impressive residence  Rydal Mount. Also worth a visit is nearby 17th Century Rydal Hall and Estate. 40 acres of park and woodland, free for all to explore. Here you can find an interesting Sculpture trail amongst the Woodland, pretty gardens with ornate statues, ancient trees and a fairytale Waterfall. Take a look around with me. 🙂

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The Sculpture Path weaves its way through the Woods and starts at ‘The Old School Room Tea Shop’. Apparently it is the first permanent outdoor exhibition of textile sculpture in Britain.

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The art on the trail is made from recycled and sustainable materials and each season brings changes to the sculpture’s , as they interact with nature and the elements.

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There were lots more textile sculptures including the above ‘Jubilee Figures’ made from chain links.  They are meant to highlight the effects of third world debt.

After we had walked round the woodland and spied some Shepherd’s Huts through the trees…

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Herdy Huts in their new setting at Rydal Hall.

we went to the Tea Room for a brew, as it was quite a cold January day. The Old School Room Tea Shop is open  all year round and welcomes Dogs and Muddy Boots. Perfect!

After warming up we headed out to explore the grounds. You can pick up a little map  from the cafe which will give you an idea of what to look for. Or you can just stumble upon some hidden delights. 🙂

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Look out for this old gnarled Sweet Chestnut Tree which at  400 plus years old, is one of the oldest in Cumbria. I would love to see this abundant with Chestnuts in the Autumn.

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The beautiful Grot and Waterfall can be found via a path leading from The ‘Quiet Garden’. Built in 1668, the Grot is one of the earliest examples of a viewing station. It’s window perfectly frames a vista of the lower Rydal waterfalls tumbling into a serene pool.

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A room with a view.

As you walk round the grounds you will come across plenty more beautiful things to see.

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The Angel.

 

In the ‘Quiet Garden’ there were some lovely bird spheres including a ‘Barn Owl’ and lots of signs of Spring.

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Head towards the Formal Gardens and you will find impressive views, follies and fountains.

 

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Our time at Rydal Hall was only brief as it was a stop-off point , on our way to a holiday cottage in Keswick. However I think we will definitely return at some point as it would be lovely to see the place in full bloom. There are various walks in the area including an old footpath called ‘The Coffin Route’ which passes through the estate between Grasmere and Ambleside. You can also stay at Rydal hall. For more information go to rydalhall.org

We also found a great dog-friendly pub very nearby.  The Badger Bar  at The Glen Rothay Inn has cosy fires, real ales and great food.

Have you ever been to Rydal Hall?

Sunday Sevens 29th January 2017. 

Hi this is my first Sunday Sevens of 2017!  Here is what I have been up to in the last week.

Books Read in January.

I have been on a roll reading this month. Three of the above were Christmas presents and all four books I have given solid 4 ☆☆☆☆ on Good Reads. A whimsical romance with books, a quirky story about a young adventuress who doesn’t recall her adventures, a laugh out loud romp with our favourite singleton Bridget and and an interesting novel about the reintroduction of wolves into Northern England. All good.

Derwent Water Morning light.
Castlerigg Stone Circle.

Last weekend was spent enjoying a mini break in The Lake District. We stopped in a cosy cottage in Keswick with our dog Hugo.Keswick has been voted ‘Most Dog-friendly town’ several years on the run. More about that coming soon. The above pictures show reflections in beautiful Derwentwater and the nearby ancient Castlerigg Stone Circle with its mountainous backdrop.

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Stella the Tabby.

On the way home from Cumbria we dropped by a Yorkshire village called Clapham and I met the proprietor of a local vintage shop, who was actually a tabby cat called Stella. 🙂

New Mugs!

 

Whilst I was away I bought two new mugs from a shop in Keswick called  Love The Lakes. Mine is the one with the sheep on. 🙂

 

 

Stairway to heaven. Erm not yet!

This weekends job is lots of sanding and getting the stairs and landing ready for decorating and a new carpet. I can’t claim that I have done much to help as Wil does not trust me with a paint brush! To speed up proceedings Mr Hugo has decamped to a boarding kennels for the weekend. It is really wierd without him. 😦

Happy Chinese New year. 🙂

After lots of decorating prep we stayed in with a Chinese ( do you like my dragon puppet? ) and watched anti-superhero film ‘Deadpool’. Quite amusing!

How was your week?

My 2016 ~In Photos.

As is now tradition, I am posting a quick photo round-up of my year. All in all it’s been a pretty good one! I have been slightly more organized than normal and included some post links. Yay!

January.  Woh this seems such a long time ago now. January gave us the only snow of the year. Hugo loved it of course but it only lasted one snow day. 😦 It was still frosty and cold however on our visit to Formby Point where we saw Red squirrels 🙂  And yep thats me with a naked man at Another Place , the Anthony Gormley Art Installation on Crosby Beach.

February.  It was a pretty quiet month in February. We did manage a day out in Manchester however and I had a fun time photographing the Street Art in the Northern Quarter. I also attended my God daughter Mady’s sons christening. I’m not one for holding babies but baby Jason was very chilled. 🙂

March.  Wil and I had a weekend away in Coventry and stopped at the lovely Coombe Abbey Hotel & Country Park. We also visited Coventry itself which had lots of surprises. And later in the month I was in Manchester again , this time for a friends birthday. You can read my post about it here.

April.  Spring arrived at last ( hurrah! ) and I  couldn’t wait to get out and about with my camera and my Ladybird Book Guide To spring. 🙂  A day out at Bolton Abbey in the Easter Holidays was great fun and I treated Wil to a trip on a steam train ( with lots of Real Ale involved 😉  ) on the East Lancs Railway.

May.  The weather was great in May and included a day out in Kirkby Lonsdale with my sister and her family. We even managed a paddle in the river. 🙂 A walk along the banks of Derwent Water in the Lake District was made all the more interesting , when Wil, Hugo and I came across a giant hand sculpture!  Our Holiday Season started in May.:) A camping trip in the Yorkshire Dales , not too far from Fountain Abbey. And a stay in a hotel looking over Haweswater. 🙂

June.  I loved our day out in Malham where we walked up to the Cove and paddled in Janet’s Foss. Think that was Hugo’s favourite part.:) We also went camping in Silverdale and Hugo enjoyed his second ever boat trip, on Lake Windermere.

July.  Clitheroe has had lots of great new eating and drinking venues open in 2016 and the biggest surprise is probably Bowland Beer Hall at Holmes Mill. It’s an amazing space in an old textile mill, host to a listed steam engine and what appears to be England’s longest continuous bar. I attended the opening evening with Wil and some friends in July. I also crossed Llama Trekking off my  Bucket List when myself and some of my family enjoyed a half day with these adorable animals here. Oh and Hugo found himself inside the July edition of The Simple Things Magazine. 🙂

August.  In August there was a holiday at Spring Park  in Cornwall. We stayed in ‘The Duke’ , a beautifully restored Showman’s wagon. On the way down to Cornwall we stopped one night in the spa town of Bath.I would love to return to both places. 🙂 Hugo has been busy bagging lakes all year. Here he is in Grasmere, over the bank holiday.

September. The poor pooch wasn’t quite sure what to think of The The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk. as it involved a lot of doggy paddling. I got pretty soaked too!  The new Bridget Jones film turned into a bit of an event for us ladies.:) And if you like cake ( doesn’t everyone) you will like my post about my friend Nicolas Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.. She certainly didn’t scrimp on her baking. 🙂

October. We had an unseasonably dry October so this month’s posts are full of Autumn colours. 🙂 I joined in with #30dayswild, and enjoyed fun days out at Lowther Castle & Gardens   and The Forbidden Corner with family.

November. November is my Birthday month so it was great to get away with Wil and Hugo to a holiday cottage in Scotland . The Afternoon Tea in Portpatrick was a Birthday treat courtesy of Wil and it was also nice to get together with friends. 🙂

December.  This month has been all about meeting up with family. 🙂  I’ve included a piccie of my cat Slinky as she does tend to get overshadowed by a certain Black Labrador. And I took part in Janet’s ‘Thrifty Christmas Gift Swap’ which I will post about separately I’m sure. 

Despite the radical changes in this country and abroad in 2016, I guess the best thing to do is just carry on and LIVE. Life is just to short to get depressed about it. So all the best for 2017 guys ….. and see you soon. X

 

 

 

Holidays with Hugo ~ Our Pet-friendly trips in 2016.

Looking back over 2016, I hadn’t quite realised how many times we have gone away this year. We’ve camped, we’ve stayed in some fab hotels & B & Bs ,  stopped in a beautifully restored Showman’s Wagon in Cornwall and we have cosied up in a lovely cottage in the grounds of a Scottish Castle. And what is the common denominator of all our trips. Our cheeky Black Labrador Hugo, that’s who!   We hadn’t  initially planned to have so many holidays with our pooch ( or indeed so many holidays full-stop ~ oooops) , but it is really handy that dogs are made welcome at such varied types of accommodation, all over the UK.  Check out the following.

Elton Guest House.

A Friendly Guest House In Grange.   If you ever find yourself in the Cumbrian Seaside town of Grange-Over-Sands, like we did when participating in the Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk , The Elton Guest House is an ideal base for exploring this lovely part of the Lake District. The Elton is a Victorian limestone building with comfy rooms, a hearty breakfast and a very warm welcome from owners Lynn and Liam. Hugo got lots of fuss and attention and was even given a cooked sausage at breakfast. Lynn sorted out a table  reservation at a pet-friendly restaurant for us in the evening. Oh and did I say we were welcomed with coffee and homemade chocolate muffins on arrival. 🙂 The little touches really made our stay. Double rooms £82 per night, Singles £50, Dogs £8 per stay.

Icehouse Cottage.

A Cosy Cottage In Scotland.  This beautiful property in the grounds of Lochinch Castle in Dumfries & Galloway was our home away from home for a week in November. With a large enclosed rear garden, a wood burning stove and unlimited access to Castle Kennedy Gardens and Lochinch Castle Estate, it is the perfect countryside retreat. Hugo had plenty of walks in the grounds and the wildlife we spotted was amazing. The cottage is gorgeous inside too and bicycles and a barbecue are also provided.  For more photos check out my post here.  4 nights from £229.

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Howgill Lodge Campsite.

A Campsite In The Yorkshire Dales.  We have stopped at Howgill Lodge Campsite  near the picturesque Yorkshire village of Appletreewick, several times over the years. It’s a friendly little site with stunning views over the Dales and nearby riverside walks to  Bolton Abbey and Burnsall kept Hugo happy. Howgill has spacious pitches, each with it’s own picnic bench. There’s a small campsite shop, hot showers, toilets, payphone , laundry room and a dog exercise field. Two great dog-friendly pubs can be found in Appletreewick. Two people & a tent £21 per night. Dogs go free.

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Haweswater Hotel.

A Secluded Lake District Hotel.   The Haweswater Hotel is perched right on the lake in one of the lesser known areas of The Lake District.  It is just 20 minutes from J39 of the M6 , yet feels very remote and is surrounded by the beautiful Haweswater Nature Reserve. We stopped here over the May Bank Holiday and the chef packed us a lunch to take up into the fells. The hotel has an art deco inspired interior and some of the bedrooms look very elegant on the website. Ours was a wee bit pokey and could have been nicer I think, even though we were staying in a dog-friendly room. The staff were lovely however and if you love wildlife and walking, this hotel is for you. Double rooms on average £85 per night. Dogs £15 per stay.

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The Duke at Spring Park.

A  restored Showman’s Wagon in the Cornish Countryside.  Wow I loved  our stay in ‘The Duke’ at  Spring Park  in North Cornwall so so much. The Duke is a lovingly restored vintage Showman’s Wagon. He lords over his own pretty Wildflower Meadow and is equipped with everything you will need for a cosy stay, including a french enamel wood burner, fully equipped kitchen and a wood fueled hot tub. Hugo got plenty of walks in the surrounding countryside and the nearby Springer Spaniel Pub is dog-friendly and does great food. You can read more about our stay and see lots of photos here. 🙂  From £68 per night. Dogs £20 per stay.

Hotel Stays With Pets Pyjamas.   If you really want to treat your dog ( and yourself lol 😉 ) , you would definitely benefit from checking out the Pets Pyjamas  website. Browse their portfolio of pet-friendly cottages, dog-welcoming hotels, Country Houses and B & Bs .Look out for their unique packages which usually include a personalised box of treats for your pooch and even dinner for your dog. My post Hotel stays with Pets Pyjamas. will give you more information.

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Hugo at Jenny Brown’s Point near Silverdale.

Coastal Campsite in Lancashire.  By far the most scenic campsite on the Lancashire Coast Gibraltar Farm  campsite in Silverdale is a traditional working farm with breathtaking views over Morecambe Bay. You can even stay in ancient woodland adjacent to the site or just enjoy the coastal panorama. Gibraltar Farm has the usual campsite facilities and there are walks and beaches as soon as you step outside your tent. The farm even makes its own icecream. Tents from £12 per night. Dogs £1 per night.

So it looks as though we have certainly enjoyed many a dog-friendly holiday with Hugo in 2016. Next year ~ a cosy cottage in Keswick….then we had better get on with that decorating!

Where have you taken your pooch this year?

Lowther Castle & Gardens.

Last weekend I found myself visiting the romantic ruins of Lowther Castle near Penrith in The Lake District. The Castle stands in what was once a medieval Deer Park and both the grounds and the castle are an ongoing restoration project by the Lowther family. The last Lowther resident was the Yellow Earl,5th Earl of Lonsdale. Like his name suggests, he had a fondness for the colour yellow and he was actually a founder and first president of the AA (Automobile Association) ,who adopted the colour. Unfortunately his penchant for the Good life meant he could not keep up with the expenses of living in a castle, so the historic building was left a derelict shell for many years.

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Happily today the Castle and gardens are being lovingly restored and are open to the public. Since my last visit 3 years ago, I can see the improvements that have been made, especially to the courtyard and gardens. Lowther castle is family friendly with lots of grounds and woodland to walk around and play in. Children should check out the new Lost Castle Adventure Playground in the woods , where all the family are encouraged to join in the fun and there is wheel chair access. The courtyard has a cafe and a gift shop. Dogs are welcome everywhere ( except in the Lost Castle) , including  the shop and tea room.:)

As you can see I visited with Wil and Hugo the dog, as well as my brother, sister, my niece and nephew. We all enjoyed exploring Lowther. It was a fun afternoon out for all the family.:)

Bassenthwaite and Grasmere.

 

Last weekend was a Bank Holiday and also Hugo’s 2nd Birthday! We had planned to take him to the Lake District for the day on Sunday and bag another lake or two. Sad dog-parents that we are, we have a map of the Lakes on the kitchen wall with photos of Hugo pinned to it ,splashing around in various lakes and tarns. Wil surprised me by booking us into a hotel in Keswick on the Sunday night! So we got to spend 2 days there instead of one. 🙂

On the Sunday we visited a lake that I had never been to before. Bassenthwaite is the most northerly of the lakes in The Lake District and one of the largest at 4 miles long. We did a short circular walk from Scarness Bay and Hugo enjoyed some doggy paddles. We didn’t see many people except for a few canoeists and a dog walker or two. I loved that the shore was abundant with wildflowers and bees.

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We stopped in The Skiddaw Hotel in Keswick which had a great location right in the centre of town. Wil had paid for an evening meal too ( the boy did good 🙂 ) and I chose the veggie option of ‘Stilton & Mushroom Tart’ which was really tasty. Afterwards we had a wander round the pubs and bars. Keswick is a very dog-friendly place and we were spoilt for choice for places to go with Hugo.

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The next day ( Bank Holiday Monday) we headed to Grasmere village and had a walk on the banks of Grasmere itself. This lake is one of the smallest at 1 mile long and half a mile wide. William Wordsworth described this area as ‘the most loveliest spot that man hath found’.  It was indeed lovely. We even found a quirky tea garden called Faerieland.

The almost hidden tea garden on the lake shore also hires out rowing boats with whimsical names such as Romany and Theodosia. There are friendly ducks and quite friendly swans ~ I don’t think they are labrador fans! I enjoyed a hot mulled apple drink and wished I could take a look inside the gipsy wagon. No fairies in sight but still an enchanting place all the same.

 

Llama Trekking in the Lakes. :)

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llama Trekkers. Photo Y Allison.

Llamas are very sociable animals. Llamas can live until their early thirties. Llamas hum when they are happy. 🙂 These are a few of the things we learned about these very interesting, gentle ( and friendly) creatures on a Llama Trek in The Lake District. Lakeland Llama Treks near Penrith in the scenic Eden Valley is a family business, with our hosts Mary and Graham running the trekking side, and other family members looking after the colourful and quirky Llama Karma Kafe. As Llama trekking has been on my Bucket List for a while now, I decided to commandeer the rest of my family in joining me for a’ countryside trail’ in the glorious sunshine on Sunday. 🙂

Seven of us ( 5 adults,2 kids) assembled at the Llama Karma Kafe at 11am.  We were joined by another family of three, so there would be ten of us on the trek altogether. Five llamas were loaded into a specially adapted horsebox and we followed Mary and Graham a few minutes down the A66 , parking on a small carpark just off a country lane, where we would start our trek. We were then given a little talk about the llamas and put into pairs. Each pair was then introduced to their llama companion for the walk.

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I paired up with my five year old niece imogen and our llama was this little chap called ‘Cuba’. As you can see we are leading Cuba with a double lead, one of us at either side of him.

Llamas come in all shapes and sizes. Cuba was definitely the shortest of our llama friends that day. He suited Imogen and I , being that we are shorties ourselves. 🙂 The funny thing was, he really liked to lower himself down to our level. When I asked Wil to have a hold for a minute, Cuba stretched himself up as tall as he could!

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We walked through the fields and along the river, stopping to admire a secluded 17th century church. There were plenty of photo opportunities.

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Mary and Graham and our other guide ( I totally forgot to ask her name! ) were very knowledgeable about the llamas and the local history of the area too. When I had told friends, that I was going on a llama trek, their reactions ranged from ‘What your riding llamas ?’ to ‘Be careful of them spitting at you!’ but our guides explained these common misconceptions. Firstly, you can’t really ride llamas. Llamas are strong enough to carry all sorts of things. Originally from South America these placid creatures have been domesticated and used as pack animals by native peoples for centuries. They have longer backs than horses , so weight has to be evenly distributed. Overloaded llamas will just sit down on the ground. A human’s weight all in one spot, would not a happy llama make.

And yes llamas do spit. But only when feeling threatened. If they are used to people like these guys then they will rarely spit at a human being. However they may possibly spit at each other . Females will spit at a male who is making advances she doesn’t want and llama’s may spit at each other when in competition over food. For this reason ( and just the excitement of being together) the llamas are usually sent on treks in single sex groups. We had the company of the lads. Happily the only noise they made was a gentle happy humming as we ambled along through the gorgeous Eden Valley scenery. Llamas don’t spook easily either. As we walked back single file through a meadow several young pheasants flew up out of the grass. Apart from an inquisitive glance beforehand , the llamas didn’t bat an eyelid.

 

Our countryside trail trek lasted about an hour and a half and included refreshments at the end in the cafe. Situated at the side of the A66 the Llama Karma Kafe can get quite busy with passers by. We managed to get a seat outside the back where there is a mini menagerie of animals including a giant rabbit, a parrot and a couple of tiny cute marmoset.

The cafe itself is bright and quirky with a peruvian influence. There is also a gift shop so we were sure to buy some souvenirs of our trip. 🙂 We each got a certificate for participating too.

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I would definitely recommend Lakeland Llama Treks as a fun experience for all the family, or as a birthday treat or even for a Hen Party. Our guides were friendly and informative and the llamas were incredibly sweet, inquisitive and and a little bit mischievous. Most of all, I think they liked us as much as we liked them. 🙂

The Countryside Llama Trek is £35 per person and includes an easy walking off road trail, beautiful scenery, interesting knowledgeable guides, refreshments at the kafe ( drinks and cakes) and a fun certificate. Suitable for all ages and walking abilities.