Tag Archives: lowther castle

Sightseers at Lowther Castle~ with Picnic Cinema.

So I have a 25 Before 45 Bucket List , which I have been neglecting recently. Still lots to do on there and not very much time left to do it ! Oh well C’est la Vie. Something I listed was ‘ Watch a film outdoors’ and the other weekend I did manage to cross this off my Bucket list, when I dragged Wil up to Lowther Castle in Cumbria, for an open-air cinema event.

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Lowther Castle.

Picnic Cinema specialises in bringing ‘cinema parties’ to some of the most scenic and iconic locations in the North, including castles, forests and in the case of cult classic ‘Withnail & I’ , a remote farmhouse that was used as a location in the movie.

It turned out that a favourite film of both mine and Wils ‘ Sightseers’ was showing at Lowther Castle, a once grand residence now in ruins, but still majestic all the same. Even though Lowther is only a couple of miles from where my Mum lives, I decided to book us camping tickets, as the lovely weather was perfect for an evening under canvas.

The weekend before,the Lowther estate had played host to the ‘Kendal Calling’ music festival, but this was the first time anyone had been allowed to camp so close to the castle , so we felt quite privileged. The fairy tale turrets certainly made for a magical backdrop.

It also happened that a Crafty Vintage fair was underway in the castle courtyard, so there was plenty to keep us entertained after we had pitched the tent.

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Being the rubbish picnickers that we were, we actually forgot to pack a picnic! Couldn’t get enough of this delicious pizza though. 😁

The Picnic Cinema entertainment commenced at around 8pm. We wrapped up warm and took camping chairs, blankets, wine, snacks, and a torch up to where the film screen was situated.

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We were each given a cute goodie bag containing love-heart sweets, a sherbert dib dab, a pencil, a badge and a jigsaw puzzle piece! While we were waiting for the sun to go down, the Picnic Cinema team entertained us with a sightseeing themed quiz, filmed interviews with some obliging campers and various fun and games.

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At around 10.15pm it was dark enough for the movie to begin!

If you have never seen Sightseers, then you have missed a treat. Its a British Black Horror Comedy about a couple who go on a touring caravan holiday, visiting various tourist attractions on the way….and leaving a few dead bodies in their wake….. Filmed in the North ( Derbyshire, Yorkshire & The Lake District) , Sightseers is pretty macabre and totally bonkers! It was great to see it on The Big Screen. 😁

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I think I would definitely go again to a Picnic Cinema event. I love that the films are screened in such gorgeous settings, the staff were enthusiastic, helpful and friendly and the movies shown are usually quirky and different.

Still to show this Summer.

Saturday 11th August ~ The Big Lebowski at Muncaster Castle, Cumbria.

Saturday 18th August ~ 24 Hour Party People at Kirklinton Hall, Carlisle.

Saturday 22nd September ~ Moulin Rouge at The Festival of Thrift, Redcar.

Whilst in the Lowther area we decided to do our own spot of sightseeing. ‘Long Meg and Her Daughters’ at Hunsonby is a druid stone circle that was used as one of the locations in the film.

Have you ever watched a film outdoors? Are you tempted?

Now, back to that Bucket List!

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Sixteen Pet Friendly Places Visited With Our Dog.

As my other half and I are ‘owned’ by a bouncy black labrador, our days out and holidays are often planned round walks and pet friendly places. With this in mind, here are a few of Hugo’s ( and our) favourite haunts, over the last 3 years.

Allan Bank , Grasmere, Cumbria. There are not many National Trust properties that allow dogs inside. A charming exception, a short walk from Grasmere, is a former home of poet William Wordsworth. Not every room is decorated however, so this Georgian Manor  has a relaxed carefree vibe.  The grounds are worth an explore too and include a woodland walk and gardens. Sadly there is no cafe on site at present, though you are welcome to make yourself a brew. Open this year from the 10th February. You can read about our visit here.

St Annes Beach Huts, St Annes, Lancashire.  What better base for a day at the seaside than a beautiful beach hut! We spent a memorable day with Hugo in St Annes a couple of summers ago…. and we do need to repeat the experience. The huts are fully equipped with a fridge, microwave and radio. The sands in front of them are dog-friendly all year round. stannesbeachhuts.co.uk

Another Place, Crosby Beach, Merseyside.  An atmospheric and thought-provoking art installation. 100 iron figures grace Crosby Beach, all identical , all modelled on their creator Antony Gormley, all stand staring out to sea. A stunning spectacle and a great place for a bracing beach walk. Pay and display parking but there is also free parking at nearby Crosby leisure centre.

Allan Bank, Grasmere.

Castle Kennedy Gardens, Dumfries & Galloway.  If you find yourself in Scotland’s much underrated Dumfries & Galloway , these 75 acre gardens surround two lochs and the ruins of a 14th century castle.  Great for exploring, you can stay on the estate too, as we did here. 🙂

 

Conishead Priory, Ulverston, Cumbria.  Although this Gothic Priory is now a Buddhist Retreat , the grounds, gift shop and cafe are all open to the public. We have visited maybe three times now with Hugo, for lovely woodland walks that lead down to the beach. A January trip saw the woods abundant with snowdrops. Look out for the Buddhist temple and a giant golden buddha!  Parking is free and you can eat with your dog in a comfy lounge,  next to the cafe.

A UFO ? ………..or Haslingden Halo.

East Lancashire Panopticans.  Have you heard of  The Singing Ringing Tree, The Atom or The Haslingden Halo? All three of these unusual structures are found locally in East Lancashire, and can be incorporated into interesting walks. For more information check out midpenninearts.org.uk 

Formby Point Red Squirrel Reserve, Formby, Merseyside.  Formby has a great dog-friendly beach with sand dunes and coastal pine forests which are  home to Lancashire’s only native red squirrel population. 🙂 The Squirrel Walk is a must if you wish to see these cute tufty creatures. Parking at The National Trust Car park. Dogs on leads in the reserve. You can read about my visit   Sea Air ~ Squirrels and Naked Men on the Sefton Coast.   .

Ingleborough Show Cave, Clapham, Yorkshire.  We had no intention of touring this grand Victorian Show Cave but having stumbled upon it whilst walking along Clapham Nature Trail, we found that dogs are admitted. 🙂 The tunnels are well lit, though low in places. The tours are interesting and the shop at the entrance sells snacks and souvenirs.  Find out more here  .

Inside Ingleborough Show Cave.

Ingleton Falls Trail, Ingleton, Yorkshire Dales. This 7km walk from Ingleton village is £6 per adult, including car parking. The trail takes in several stunning waterfalls and there are a couple of refreshment kiosks along the route. Walking boots are best worn and dogs may need  to be on lead in some areas. www.ingletonwaterfallstrailco.uk

Janet’s Foss & Malham Cove,  Yorkshire Dales.  The Yorkshire Dales is renowned for its beautiful waterfalls and Janet’s Foss is no exception. There is a stunning woodland walk from Malham village ( start at the Smithy) leading to the falls ( home to a fairy) and Gordale Scar. Another walk from the village takes you to the impressive Malham Cove , with its unusual limestone rock formations.  I blogged about Malham here  .


Hugo and friend at Janet’s Foss.

Lake District Boat Trips, Cumbria. Did you know that four-legged friends are welcome on the pleasure boats that cruise four lakes in the Lake District?  Hugo has taken trips with us on Windermere,  Ullswater , and Coniston. I am sure Derwent Water will be on our itinerary for 2018. 🙂

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http://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/

 

Lowther Castle & Gardens, Penrith, Cumbria.  The imposing ruins and gardens within gardens of this nineteenth century castle are a joy to explore. Lots of events all year round and an amazing castle themed adventure playground for the kids. Dogs are also welcome in the cafe and the gift shop. lowthercastle.org

Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk, Arnside, Cumbria.  In 2016  we walked across the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay between Arnside and Grange-Over-Sands. As you can see walking actually means wading…partly. And some swimming for Hugo!   Bay walks are organized group walks and should not be attempted otherwise. You can read about our attempt here.

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Doggy Paddle.

Pendle Sculpture Trail, Barley, Lancashire.  The natural world and the Pendle Witches have inspired this informative ( and stunning ) trail through woodland near Barley. Park at the village car park ( pay via an Honesty Box) and walk for one mile, passing a reservoir, to Aitken Wood.  I blogged about a pre Hugo visit  here.

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, Ravenglass, Cumbria.  Traveling 7 miles through gorgeous Lake District Countryside on a miniature steam train is something you can happily do, in the company of a four-legged friend. 🙂  There are hop on and off stops with many opportunities for lovely lakeland walks.Parking and Refreshments available at Ravenglass and Boot. ravenglass-railway.co.uk

Temple Seal Trips, Morston, Norfolk.  Dogs are welcome on these popular boat trips, where you can see seals basking on Blakeney point. Colonies of Grey and Common Seals as well as rare arctic terns. Definitely a must do. The red and white boats even have a part canine crew! We loved our experience and here’s my blog    to prove it. 🙂

I can only apologise that most of our days out have been in the North of England. But maybe that will be an incentive to holiday here with your hound. 🙂 If you have any recommendations for dog-friendly places to visit ( anywhere) please comment below.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.:)

Wildlife photos in October. Week 4.

So October is at an end. And what a beautiful one it has been. Here are my wildlife photos from the last week of a rather glorious month.

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22 October.  On a wall Ivy – Leaved Toadflax which is a common trailing wallflower. It is also known as ‘Mother of Thousands’ and usually flowers from May to September.

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23 October. I make some Foxy Leaf Art from a Sycamore Leaf. 🙂

24 October. On a walk with Hugo I notice this Fungi with it’s orange colouring. Looks like it’s been nibbled on. In an old almost dead tree I spot a Carrion Crow  which makes a spooky silhouette.

25 October. Colourful purple berries and crimson leaves in the park.

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26 October. I notice the changing colours of this Virginia Creeper   on my way to work.

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27 0ctober.  Another flower that lingers in the hedgerows is Bindweed with its papery white trumpet-like blooms.

28 October. An afternoon at Lowther Castle  in Cumbria saw myself and my little helper spotting lots of wildlife. 🙂 More Fungi , if anyone can id them?  Imogen found lots of autumn leaves, berries and nuts, including Sweet Chestnuts . Once cooked , these are the chestnuts that can be roasted on an open fire. I love their fuzzy shells. The bird ( another silhouette I’m afraid) is actually a Buzzard with something in its beak. Apparently it is our most common Bird of Prey here in the UK. I still felt privileged to see it.

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29 October.  Poisonous red climbing berries from the Bryony plant.

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30 October. A male Blackbird singing in a bush. Blackbirds appear in the nursery rhyme ‘Sing A Song Of Sixpence’.

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31 October. Find a late bloomer in my back yard. Think it might be a Dahlia. 🙂

So there goes October. Hopefully the mild weather will continue on into November, and so will the beautiful colours. 🙂

 

 

 

Visiting family in Cumbria.

As I am currently participating in Clare’s ( from Need Another Holiday ) #take12trips challenge ~ I thought I might as well write about my recent stay with family for my May post.

I travelled up with Wil on Friday and I stopped until Wednesday at my Mums. Wil had to head back to work earlier..Poor thing ! 😉

Some pretty cottages in Askham.
Some pretty cottages in Askham.

Mum, her husband William and my brother Mark live in a little village called Askham which is about 8 miles from the market town of Penrith and 4 miles from Ullswater.

Saturday ~ Headed to Keswick and had a wander round the town and down to the lake, which is called Derwent Water. Tried to persuede everyone to look round Keswicks  Pencil Museum.I am obsessed with visiting ever since it was featured in the hilarious black comedy Siteseers. Have you seen it ?No one seemed enthusiastic! Another time then. 🙂

Derwent water, Keswick.
Derwent water, Keswick.

In the evening William took us for a ride to the beautiful remote valley of Martindale which is accessed by a steep mountain road. A few remote farms scatter the hillside and there are even two small secluded churches.Hardy Herdwick sheep are grazed here. The views are spectacular.

Remote and beautiful martindale.
Remote and beautiful martindale.

Sunday ~ Just enough time in the morning for a visit to the Alpaca Centre, a few miles away in Stainton. Sourcing all things alpaca the shop is nice to wander round and for a pound you can go see the farms alpacas and miniature sardinian donkeys. Alpaca are bred for their wool and are originally from the plains of North America.

Think I'm in love.
Think I’m in love.

After waving goodbye to the other half Mum, Mark and I had a wander to Lowther Castle which stripped of its interior and gardens, is currently going through a restoration project. The castle is a short walk from Askham village and the site has been home to the Lowther family for 800 years. After the last residing Lord left in 1936 the grounds were planted with hundreds of fir trees and some of these have been felled to reveal fountains, rock gardens and ponds.Work is going on to try and return the place to its former glory. The courtyard has been restored with tea rooms and a gift shop.

The majestic looking Lowther Castle.
The majestic looking Lowther Castle.

Jack Crofts pond and summer house in the grounds. The pond was  used for ice skating on in Victorian times.
Jack Crofts pond and summer house in the grounds. The pond was used for ice skating on in Victorian times.

Never to old for a rope swing!
Never to old for a rope swing!

Monday ~ Headed over the moors to County Durham and had a mooch round Middleton in Teesdale and Barnard Castle, two little market towns. We also visited Eggleston Hall gardens which is really more of a garden center . Mum loves garden centers! Ok I did buy a few plants for my one flower border. 🙂

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Mini Angel of the north, Eggleston hall gardens.

Tuesday ~ Today Mum and I drove to Talkin Tarn which lies in a country park nine miles east of Carlisle. The lake is a glacial tarn with a 1.3 mile path round it. We had a walk round ( you can hire mountain bikes and rowing boats if you prefer ) and had lunch in the boathouse tearoom looking over the water. Popular with dog walkers too. 🙂

Talkin tarn.
Talkin tarn.

The lovely thing about Askham is that the fells above the village are home to a herd of fell ponies. Anyone who owns land in Askham apparently have the right to graze two horses on there or twenty sheep. These ponies are hardy
animals and can survive outside in the elements even through winter. They are quite shy though it is possible to pet them.

Cumbrian fell pony.
Cumbrian fell pony.

Wednesday ~ My last day in Cumbria and it poured with rain. I guess we had been lucky to miss it for four days so I didn’t mind to much. In the afternoon Mum took me to a nearby nurseries just down the road in Melkinthorpe. Larch Cottage is a garden center,restaurant and gallery with a difference. The family who own it are very much inspired by the Italian countryside as the nurseries are full of follies and statues and pillars. I took loads of pictures here so I may feature it in a future post.

Larch Cottage.
Larch Cottage.

Larch Cottage.
Larch Cottage.

Finally I will leave you with a photo of one of my brother’s cattle, a belgian blue cross called Bibi who as I took this photo, was attempting to eat my camera.

Bye Bye Bibi.
Bye Bye Bibi.