Tag Archives: lake district

Exploring Penrith, Cumbria.

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…..

Giants Thumb.

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…..

Giants Grave.

Scrumpy Dog.

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.

War Memorial.

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?

Long Meg & Her Daughters, Lacy’s Caves And A Pink Flour Mill.

A short drive from our caravan in the Eden Valley is an ancient stone circle called Long Meg & Her Daughters. It is in fact the second largest stone circle in the country. Legend has it that Meg and her daughter’s were turned to stone as they danced on the Sabbath. Meg is the tallest stone and stands tall and proud. A magic spell prevents you from counting the correct number of stones in the circle apparently. The morning we visited we had Megs family all to ourselves, apart from the herd of cows grazing amongst them.

Long Meg.

We parked up near the circle and walked into the nearby village of Little Salkeld. Here we enjoyed a morning brew outside the pink watermill, where we would return later for lunch. Next on our agenda though was a walk to Lacy’s Caves. We admired the red sandstone cottages ( most houses in the area are built using the local rosy coloured stone) which we passed en route.

We followed a farm track passing the buildings of Townend farm and past golden fields of barley on one side and the Settle Carlisle Railway on the other.

A mosaic map of the river Eden, we literally stumbled upon on the way.

Presently we saw a signpost for Ravendale Bridge and so followed the arrow into the woods, walking along the old Long Meg Mine tramline.

Lacy’s Caves were commissioned by Colonel Lacy of Salkeld Hall. They were built into the red sandstone cliffs by the river Eden in the 18th century. It was the fashion in those days to build follies and grottos to entertain guests in, Colonel Lacy even employed a villager to live in his caves as a hermit. A must have for gentry back then apparently! Apart from building the caves, Colonel Lacy was also famous for trying to blow up Long Meg and her daughters. The mystical circle was saved by a very convenient thunderstorm.

Lacy’s Caves.

The hermit would have had a picturesque riverside vista anyway.

Enchanters Nightshade in the woods.

We then retraced our steps back into Little Salkeld, counting numerous butterflies on the way. 🙂 The menu at the mill had looked so tasty, we decided to stop there for lunch. Little Selkeld Watermill is an 18th Century working organic flour mill which has a shop and cafe serving good vegetarian food. I really enjoyed my Homitey Pie. 🙂 There are mill tours , but we just settled on a bench outside to enjoy our dinner.

After lunch we headed back to the van and Wil assembled our hammock! It’s very relaxing , once you figure how to get in and out. 🙂

Have you visited any of these places?

Or hung about in a hammock? 😃

Ullswater ~ Messing About On A Boat. ⛵🚢

At the weekend we drove over to Ullswater ( about 20 minutes from our caravan in the Northern Lakes) and then on to the pretty lakeside village of Glenridding. Here we hopped onto one of the beautiful Ullswater Steamers for a trip around the lake. Coincidentally the steamer service was celebrating its 160th Birthday! Colourful Bunting adorned these historic vessels and a grey morning turned into a lovely sunny day.

The steamers offer a hop on/ hop off service so we decided to dismount at Pooley Bridge for lunch. The newly painted Pooley Bridge Inn reminds me of a Swiss chalet. Ullswater itself flanked by Some of Britain’s highest mountains has been compared to the stunning lakes and mountains of Switzerland.

After a pootle about the village and Hugo’s obligatory paddle in the lake, we set back sail for Glenridding from Pooley Bridge Pier. The Steamers fleet has five vessels. It was our pleasure to travel back in M.Y Raven, she too was celebrating a Birthday, having been first launched on the 16th July 1889.

All the steamers have indoor and outdoor seating, toilets, serve coffee, teas and light refreshments and have fully licensed bars. Dogs are welcome onboard for a small charge.

I loved all the gorgeous wildflowers by the beck and the lake at Glenridding. Highlights were the swathes of vivid blue Vipers Bugloss and the sunshine yellow Monkey flowers.

Our lazy day on Ullswater finished with refreshments , sat outside The Glenridding Hotel which has a coffee shop called Let it Brew. I wasn’t really expecting such decadence when I ordered a milkshake. 😋

Thanks for bobbing by. Have you been messing about on boats lately?

Catching up…..and a Caravan.

It’s been a while since I have written a post. As I currently have no job, I thought I would be writing lots. But nope. Instead I find myself procrastinating when it comes to things I probably should be doing, like finding a job. Instead I have been booking trips away…..and we’ve bought a caravan.

Yes I am now the proud owner of a 38 ft 2005 Willoughby Vogue static caravan! I can’t quite believe it! Here she is the day we looked round her, and I bought her on the spot. No procastinating there…

She is quite beige inside so for now we are just brightening her up a bit with some rugs and throws. Really not sure how simple it is to paint the inside of a van.

We will probably get around to changing the curtains too. For now though it’s Summer at last, so we might as well enjoy our purchase and start exploring the area. 🙂

Can you guess where we are?

We got the keys on Friday and have been busy kitting out the van whilst Mr Hugo is being looked after for the wknd. Hopefully he will get to see it next wknd, before we head to Shropshire glamping with him, a trip we booked a few months ago, before my impulse buy.

If you had told me back in January that by June I would have taken redundancy and bought a holiday home, I would never have believed you. Life can be crazy like that!

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ May.

Hi it’s the end of another month ( 2019 is going crazy fast! ) , So I thought I would join in with Kate’s/Hawthorns Scavenger hunt. Her words for May are Seat, View, Starts with a P, Transport, Lunch & My own choice.

Seat. I am recently back from a few days in the seaside village of Ravenglass. Wil & I are lucky enough to have friends whose family have a holiday cottage right on the sea front. And we can rent it for mates rates. So happy days. 😎 Anyway there is a balcony where we spent most late afternoons admiring the sea views and pretending we were in the South of France. You could be fooled ~ apart from my knees are wrapped in a blanket. 🙂

View. The view from said balcony is fantastic, looking out over the estuary. The sunsets in Ravenglass are also to die for.

Starts With P. P is for Sea Pinks. These pretty in pink flowers cover the cliffs of St Bees head , a little further up the coast. Sea Pinks are also called Thrift. Pinks apparently do well in rock gardens and have appeared on the British threepence coin from 1937 to 1952.

Transport. The best way to get around in Ravenglass ? Well I can recommend the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway , a narrow gauge railway set in 7 miles of stunning scenery. My kind of transport.

Lunch. Here’s a recipe I found which was a hit with my other half. It could be lunch or tea.

200g Chick Peas, 200g Chorizo diced, 200g yellow cherry tomatoes halved, 2 tomatoes chopped, 1 red pepper cut in strips, 2 cloves garlic crushed, handful of frozen onions ( I use these because chopping onions always makes me cry) & a little olive oil.

Fry onion & garlic in a little olive oil for 5 minutes.

Add chunks of chorizo & fry for a couple of minutes on a high heat, before adding the pepper strips and lowering the heat again. Cook for 5 minutes then add the chick peas & tomatoes. Stir thoroughly and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on the pan.

Serve with crusty bread.

Bon appetit

My Own Choice. Our very own handsome Hugo conquered his third Wainwright last week, Crag Fell looks over Ennerdale Water. I did too….about 20 minutes later!

Head over to Kate’s blog to see more Scavenger hunters.

Books I read in March and April.

Sorry this post is so late, I think I have discovered book reviews are not my favourite thing to write! Really didn’t get many books read in March and April , though I did enjoy the five books I did sit down with. Here’s a short recap of my reading material. 😊

Tom’s Midnight Garden ~ Phillipa Pearce (1958). I found a copy of this children’s classic in a charity book sale and thought I would give it a go as I remember owning Phillipa Pearce’s ‘ The Battle Of Bubble & Squeek ‘ as a girl. I’m so glad I did as Midnight Garden is such a magical tale. Tom goes to stay with his very dull aunt and uncle over the summer holidays , so not to catch the measles his brother has so inconveniently caught. They live in a boring old manor house which has been converted into flats, there isn’t even a garden to play in much to Toms disappointment. The only unusual thing in the whole house is as old Grandfather clock in the communal hallway which ominously strikes a 13th time every night. A restless Tom investigates and finds the extra hour takes him back in time to when the manor house was one residence with a huge garden and is home to a lonely little girl called Hattie. Over the summer Tom meets Hattie in the garden most nights, only to find the time shifting as Hattie grows up. A children’s adventure fantasy that adults can enjoy too. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

111 Places In The Lake District That You Shouldn’t Miss ~ Solange Berchemin (2019). Apparently there’s a whole range of 111 Places guides out right now, encouraging you to visit the more quirky and lesser known tourist attractions in various cities and areas. Lakeland is explored thoroughly in this handy guide which includes Postman Pat’s Valley, a nine metre stone that appears to defy gravity, the home to the world’s largest colour pencil, a Giants grave and a Buddhist Temple. Directions, opening times and website info are all included. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

One False Move ~ Harlan Coben ( 1998). Another charity book sale purchase, this was a good detective yarn to get to grips with. Even though it is book 5 in a series, the likeable character of its protagonist sports agent/crime solver ‘ Myron Bolitar’ encourages the reader to hunt out the other novels. Also this book can easily be read as a stand alone story. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Lewis Man ~ Peter May ( 2014). The second in a crime trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides, Lewis Man revolves round an unidentified corpse found in a Lewis peat bog. Detective Fin MacLeod now residing on the island feels duty-bound to solve the mystery but as he digs deeper, long buried secrets threaten to endanger the people he loves. ⭐⭐⭐

The Lido ~ Libby Page ( 2018). I enjoyed this feel good tale about the importance of community and friendship. Two women from very different decades become friends through their enthusiasm to save their local Lido which is under threat of closure. Rosemary is 86 and all her happiest memories are wrapped up there whilst Kate is 26 and struggling with loneliness in a new city. A heart warming book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read any good books recently?

Ambling round Askham.

Recently I spent a few days with family. The pretty village of Askham in Cumbria has been my Mum’s home now for over 25 years. It’s attractive white washed cottages surround two village greens. The top end of Askham climbs up into the fells whilst the bottom end is all about the river Lowther and the surrounding woodland. Some of the village is still owned by the land owning Lonsdale family, who now live in Askham Hall and once resided in Lowther Castle. There are two pubs in Askham, a lovely village shop, an open air swimming pool and lots of walking trails round the Lowther estate. Here are a few pictures from my ambles round Askham.

Village Greens.
Cuckoo Flower & Water Avens.
Stone bridge over the river Lowther.
River Lowther from the bridge.
St Peters Church.
The Punch Bowl is an 18th Century Inn.
Ramsons in the woods.
Sorry, just had to include Mums handsome cat ‘Biscuit’ who is recovering indoors from some heart problems. Aw. He’s doing ok now though. 🙂
Mum and I had a look round Askham Halls gardens. £4 entry.

Askham Hall was built in the 12th Century. It’s now a rather posh boutique hotel and restaurant.
A stone Griffin , originally from Lowther Castle.
The village shop is also a great place to go for a coffee, chat and doggy cuddles. 🙂
Lots of walking trails. I followed this footpath past Askham Hall into some beautiful bluebell woods.
Though I did encounter a miniature Dexter bull on the way. After a short stand off I edged my way past him. He was actually very small, but still quite mean looking!
I was glad to reach this gate into the woods unscathed.
Bluebells.😁
Stitchwort.
Pink Purslane.
Dandelion Clock.

I spent a good couple of hours in the woods, just enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. There were so many flowers, giving the woodland floor a magical fairy land appearance. And I didn’t spy a single other human being! I did see two jays, several woodpeckers, two buzzards and a weasel. 😊

If your visiting the Askham area, here are some useful websites.

Lowther Castle & Gardens.

Askham Hall.

Askham Open Air Swimming Pool.

Punch Bowl Inn.

The Ullswater Way.

Sunday Sevens 31st March.

It’s definitely time for a Sunday Sevens, a random collection of seven photos from the past seven days.

Last weekend Wil and I found ourselves in Manchester and of course immediately gravitated to our favourite Manchester bar The Gas Lamp near Spinning fields. This subterranean drinking den is not posh at all , its interior design can only be described as ’tiled toilet’ , but our friends who were in town shopping had the same idea as us, so we met them for a drink or two.

The real reason Wil and I were in Manchester, was to see the singer Amy McDonald at the Apollo. Here’s a short video! Soz my filming is pretty wonky.

Also last weekend my friend Fi talked another friend and I into going with her to a Rock gothic stage show called Circus of Horror’s which was playing in Oswaldtwistle. This near Victorian freak show combines knife throwing, contortionism, scary clowns, strong men, burlesque dancers and near naked dwarves ( don’t ask) with heavy metal music… and is set in a lunatic asylum!

Who isn’t a cast member here. Haha.

This past few days I’ve noticed quite a few wildflowers springing up in my neck of the woods. Below are a few taken with my phone camera. What is your favourite Spring wildflower? I have a soft spot for celandines of course, and I love violets.

img_20190326_170333_4946770303243903856516.jpg
Flower Power.

Yesterday Hugo had lots of fun with his new floating dog toy when we visited Derwentwater, on the way up to my Mums. We walked from Keswick as far as Ashness Bridge. Derwentwater is a great lake to wander along the shores of. There are a few sculptures and other landmarks to discover.

P1000838
Derwent Water.
P1000863
Centenary Stone, Calfclose Bay.

The little National Trust Bothy above Ashness Bridge was open, had a cosy fire lit and free tea, coffee and hot chocolate. A lovely surprise! The NT volunteer had a handsome Golden Doodle called Alfie, who was totally adorable.

We walked a good eight miles yesterday and I am on track to become a Proclaimer next week. I should soon reach 500 miles in the #walk1000miles challenge. 🙂

Hope you are all having a Happy Mother’s Day Weekend. I have especially enjoyed spending time with my fur babies and helping out today with my God daughters 9th Birthday Party. X

Thanks to Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for arranging Sunday Sevens.

2018 In Photos.X

Wow, its the end of another year and happily its been an enjoyable one. 🙂 Its always nice to do a round-up post and I originally found this idea on Bev’s Blog, way back when. Next year I will have been occupying this little space in the blogger sphere for seven years. How did that happen! I still feel a constant compulsion to share my life with you all ~ so here’s my 2018 in photos……..

Walking in Whitewell with my sis.

In January I started a walking challenge. Inspired by fellow blogger Christine, I signed up for the #walk1000miles challenge and joined this helpful facebook page for ideas and motivation. The idea is to walk 1000 miles in twelve months. I was pretty confident I could do it, but how fast? Also in January Wil and I spent A Long Weekend In The Lake District. , where we walked round Derwent Water and made snow angels in the snow. 🙂

p10708711833546467.jpg
Snowdrops at Hornby Castle.

February was abundant with snowdrops this year, so I dragged Wil on a Snowdrop Walk near Morecambe and we also saw lots on an amble round Skipton Woods.

We spent the most freezing cold night away in Haworth in March. I have never felt so chilly!

P1080203
Great Wall Of Four Stones, Bentham.

By April Spring had arrived at last! I was still donning my walking boots more than my party shoes. We explored the Tolkien Trail in nearby Middle earth country and discovered this countries very own Ayers Rock on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border.

From what I remembered of May, it was hot! This months adventures included a night away in Manchester ( loved the street art in the Northern Quarter), making terrariums, finding a A Mermaid in the Trough Of Bowland. , camping in the Lakes and conquering my first of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

fb_img_152992890756765026691.jpg
My God daughters at ‘Break in the Clouds’.

The wonderful weather continued in June. We had another camping weekend at Bolton Abbey. I walked up another of The Yorkshire Three Peaks and went to a Festival in Gisburn Forest. Fabulous Summer memories.

FB_IMG_1532030119772.jpg
Lou and I at Another Place.

It was amazing to catch up with my old school friend/now Canadian citizen Lou in July, after not seeing her in nine years. She hasn’t changed a bit!

Highlights from August included reaching 1000 miles in the #walk1000miles challenge. Yay! I didn’t stop walking though. I kept those boots on and hoped to reach 1500 miles by the end of the year. This month Wil, Hugo and I had the best holiday in Scotland with two weeks spent exploring North Uist in the gorgeous Outer Hebrides and Kilmartin Glen.

img_20180909_1304123198805622963269632.jpg
Three Chimneys ~ The Yorkshire home of the Railway Children.

Lots of walks in September , my favourite being a Railway Children Walk around Haworth, finding locations from the classic film.

P1000130
Woodland walk, Bolton Abbey.

Autumn arrived and so did crunching through leaves. We went for a Spooky walk with family in the grounds of Bolton Abbey.

November is my Birthday month so another trip was planned. 🙂 Stopped in Ravenglass on the Cumbrian Coast for a few days with friends, went to a chocolate making evening and enjoyed a birthday night out round Clitheroe.

And so it is December and 2018 is nearly at an end. I feel like its been an enjoyable month and looking back, a pretty fantastic year !

Enjoying a Wham Tribute Night in December!

Having walked 1649 miles this year too, I am definitely motivated to carry on walking in 2019, and hopefully get even more mileage under my belt.

Thanks again for stopping by. Wishing you lots of great adventures in 2019. X

A Long Weekend in Ravenglass.

Ravenglass is a coastal village in Cumbria that looks over the estuary bringing together the rivers of Esk, Irt and Mite. The scenery is ever changing as the ebbing tides create rock pools and sand banks. A melodic sound of tied up boats, their parts clanging in the breeze , permeates the sea front.

P1000360
Ravenglass.

I recently stopped in Ravenglass for four nights with Wil and Hugo. Some friends joined us for a couple of the nights. Luckily even in November we found plenty to keep us all occupied!

P1000337
Village Green.

The village has two cosy dog friendly pubs as well as a rocky beach ~ home to many wading birds and beach combing treasures, ancient Roman ruins, a nearby Castle with a Hawk & Owl Centre and the Ravenglass to Eskdale Railway, affectionately known as La’l Ratty.

P1000184
Hugo and Bel in front of the old fishermen’s cottages.
P1000183
Estuary View.
fb_img_15423763858243221297424729192373.jpg
Anchors Aweigh!
P1000288
Rainbow.
P1000282
Stonechat.

As well as windy walks on the beach , we enjoyed a stroll to Muncaster Castle which is a pleasant walk through the Muncaster Estate, passing the old ruins of a Roman Bath House.

P1000206
The well preserved remains of a Roman Bath house, used by Roman Soldiers from the once nearby Roman Fort ‘Glannoventa’.
P1000211
Festival Sheep. 😉
Pretty Woodland walk.
Waiting to be pelted by cabbages! Only joking. 😉
Waiting for the Owl and Hawk Display. The dogs and their owners watched from a designated area….way in the distance..

We all loved the Bird of Prey Display and it was good to know that the staff are so enthusiastic about conserving the different species, especially Vultures, who do get a bit of bad press in the bird world. Seeing them as a ‘ Clean up Crew’ definitely helped me realise what a useful breed of bird they are.

Speeking of birds, Wil and I also visited Hodbarrow Nature Reserve, an RSPB reserve on the coast between Haverigg and Millom. It was a day of high winds and squawly showers, but we enjoyed the dramatic scenery.

Hodbarrow Lighthouse, a focal point of the Reserve.

Most of all just hanging out in Ravenglass itself was a wonderful experience. I am sure we will return. 😊

Ravenglass from over the railway bridge.

Where on the coast do you like to visit?