It was a certain Black Labradors 7th birthday at the weekend. Hugo enjoys opening his own presents. Tearing off the wrapping paper and shredding it into little pieces is all part of the fun. 🙂
To avoid the Bank Holiday crowds on Saturday we headed over the border into County Durham , another county within half an hour’s drive from the caravan.
Our first destination was Cow Green Reservoir , the water of which shone a stunning topaz blue. From here we walked to the nearby Cauldron Snout Cascade, one of the longest waterfalls in England. There were a few walkers doing the Pennine Way, but mostly we had the place to ourselves.
After eating a picnic lunch looking out over the water we decided to drive to nearby Killhope Lead Mining Museum in Upper Weardale. We didn’t do the underground mine tour but did spend a good couple of hours exploring the overground.
Up until the 12th of September there are five large billboards to find outdoors, as part of The Architect Of Ruins Exhibition by Steve Messam. They look particularly striking against the rural/industrial backdrop. I was also delighted to see several Red Squirrels from the Hide in the Woodland. Dogs are welcome at Killhope and the attraction is currently free!
On Sunday we headed to Allonby , a favourite beach of ours for walks with Hugo. On the way we called in at a farm that had opened their Sunflower 🌻 field up for charity. It was amazing to see all those golden flower heads waving in the breeze.
Before we set off home on Monday we took Hugo for a walk in the grounds of Acorn Bank at nearby Temple Sowerby. The gardens, grounds and water mill are open to the public and owned by the National Trust. There are some lovely Woodland walks here, perfect for wildlife spotting and walking the hound. 🙂
It was a bit of an action packed bank holiday weekend. Hopefully Hugo enjoyed his birthday. And thank you to my wonderful other half for driving. He’s definitely a good un. 😁
The temperatures for Bank Holiday Monday promised to be high, which is great, except if your a black Labrador like Hugo, or indeed if your me. I think I’m more of a snowflake kind of girl than a sunshine kind of girl sometimes. 🙂
We decided to head for water, but we’re keen to avoid the bank holiday traffic, so driving to the Lakes or seaside we’re out. Instead we made our way to Malham Tarnin the Yorkshire Dales. This glacial lake nestles at an altitude of 375 metres and is looked after by the National Trust. There is parking on both sides of the water.. We parked at Water Sinks and walked along a limestone track that leads down to the tarn. Hugo was straight in there. The sun hadn’t yet burnt off the morning mist, so the temperatures were both hound and human friendly. 😉
Although the fog enveloped the water, there was still more than a hint of beauty on show.
The tarn and its surroundings are home to many water bird species ( if only we could see them! ) and when its clear you can apparently get a great view from the bird Hide. Other possible sightings include otters who have been spotted swimming at dusk & dawn. It was lovely to see a variety of wildflowers including harebells, devil’s bit scabious and grass of Parnassus. Grass of Parnassus is in fact an honorary grass, named because in Ancient Greece, this pretty white flower was devoured by cattle grazing on Mount Parnassus.
The Pennine Way walking route passes Malham Tarn and continues through the grounds of a Field Centre where an old Orchid House provides information about wildlife & geology in the area. We then walked through woodland decorated with various animal & bird sculptures until coming across Tarn Moss & Tarn Fen Nature Reserve.
Due to the fragility of the reserve , dogs & bicycles are not permitted here, so I left Wil and Hugo for a quick nosy. The unusual habitat of groundwater- fed fen and rainwater-fed raised bog is home to rare plant life including insectivorous sundew and yellow globe flowers. There is apparently a herd of wild ponies on the fen, but I didn’t spy them. A wooden boardwalk guides you through the boggy mossy wilderness, but alas I didn’t have time to venture far.
We retraced our steps back to the car and ate a picnic lunch on the grass. The midday sun was definitely starting to scorch , but we thought we would head into Malham and walk up to its lovely waterfall Janet’s Foss. We visited here a couple of years ago, but much earlier in the morning, before it got to busy. On that occasion the Foss was a serene scene , but on a bank holiday, it was crushed and crowded.
Hugo still managed a few paddles in the babbling brook, so all was not lost. I am definitely up for returning to Malham, especially Malham Tarn. I’m imagining a walk their every season now. A cold crisp November day maybe……
When we could tear ourselves away from our cosy Tree Dome accommodation in South Shropshire, we took ourselves off to the nearby market town of Ludlow. A charming mixture of Georgian and Medieval architecture, Ludlow was described by poet John Betjemen as ‘ Probably the loveliest town in England with its hill of Georgian houses ascending from the river Teme to the great tower of the cross-shaped church,rising behind a classic market building.’
We wandered round Ludlow’s lovely streets, the buildings really are a colourful feast for the eyes. I wish I had taken more photos, my pictures don’t really do it justice. The town has lots of fascinating independent shops and olde worldy public houses. We returned later that day for a delicious evening meal at The Unicorn Inn on Corve Street.
Ludlow Castle. Ludlow has imposing castle ruins with Norman, Medieval and Tudor architecture. Constructed in the 11th century as a border stronghold of a Marcher Lord Roger De Lacy, the building was enlarged in the 14th century and was involved in the War of the Roses. Later it became a Royal Palace , used as a honeymoon destination by Prince Arthur ( brother of Henry VIII) and his bride Catherine of Aragon and then by Mary Tudor whose court spent three winters at Ludlow from 1525 to 1528. And in 1689 the Royal Welsh Fusiliers were founded at the castle by Lord Herbert of Chirbury.
Admission to Ludlow Castle is £7 for adults, £3-50 for children and dogs are welcome on a lead.
Berrington Hall. Just over the border in Herefordshire is National Trust Berrington Hall, a handsome Georgian manor with 250 acres of landscaped grounds, gardens and a small lake, on our visit buzzing with dragonflies. We decided to use our NT membership as even though we couldn’t go inside the house with our dog Hugo, there was plenty to see outside.
The parkland and gardens were designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown , his final commission before his death in 1783. My favourite part of our wander round ( apart from that small lake and dragonflies) was a wonderful pink pineapple-esque sculpture called Look! Look! Look! This striking sculptural pavillion has been designed to sit inside and imagine Browns curved walled garden as it would have looked two hundred years earlier.
Croft Castle. Another nearby National Trust property with grounds and gardens that we were able to bring Hugo to was Croft Castle. There are several way marked walks round the parkland and as in a lot of NT houses these days, deck chairs are dotted round the gardens, so you can really make yourself at home. On a walk past the natural play area, I was delighted to catch a glimpse of scarlet pimpernel in the wild. And the gardens in July are vibrantly colourful.
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!
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.
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.
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
I wasn’t sure that I would post about this walk we did last weekend from Ramsbottom and up through Holcombe onto the Moors, as it was such a foggy day that we saw no views to speak of. But there again it was quite atmospheric ambling through the mist searching for the Peel Monument, a tower erected in memoriam to a famed son of nearby Bury, the conservative MP and twice prime minister ‘ Sir Robert Peel’.
We had originally planned to do this circular moorland walk but due to the fog we only got as far as the tower, which was literally obscured by the murky gloom. After following a few confused looking walkers up the hill, we turned round and took a wall side path to the right and after a few minutes the tower loomed above us, emerging from the mist like a great grey ghost. On a clearer day I bet the surrounding views are impressive. The monument is sometimes open to the public and has a viewing platform, from which to admire the surrounding Lancashire and Manchester countryside.
In the end we only managed to walk 4 miles because visibility was so poor. However this is a great reason to return and try again. 🙂
The recent weekend was spent gathered with family at Mums. She didn’t want a big celebration, just time spent together with children and grandchildren on her 70th Birthday. Country walks, playing games, visiting some lovely gardens, and a Birthday Cake. It was a happy couple of days!
Mum lives at the foot of Askham Fell near Penrith in Cumbria. Its a comparitively little explored part of The Lake District, but well worth a visit. On Saturday morning before my sister and niece and nephew arrived, Wil and I armed ourselves with a Askham Fell Marsh Kelpie Tale Trail Map, and headed for a walk up the fell.
There are various Tale Trail maps of different places in The Lake District, aimed at younger walkers ….and the young at heart. 😁 The Marsh Kelpie is a fictional character that lives on the fell. We didn’t find him of course, but we did see lots of wildlife and a stone circle.
Its a good job my family are all wildlife lovers , as we also spent a lot of the weekend pouring over Mum’s Bird book, trying to identify the birds we saw. 🙂 My sister and I forgot our phone chargers ( there’s not much of a signal or wifi anyway) , so it was nice to Id what we saw , the old-fashioned way.
Horse in Buttercup meadow.
Why the long face…. 🙂
On Saturday afternoon we took Mum to Holehird Gardens near Windermere. She loves gardens and this one which is run by volunteers, is home to the Lakeland Horticultural Society. June is a good time to visit for the rhododendrons and blue Himalayan poppies.
I’m not very well up on my garden flowers, but as you can see the beds were abundant with colour. 🙂
On Sunday we visited somewhere closer to Askham. Acorn Bank gardens and Water Mill at nearby Temple Sowerby. The National Trust looks after the property and the manor house dates back to 1228, its first owners were the Knights Templar.
There is plenty to see at Acorn Bank. We walked along a forest trail to the working water mill, looked for frogs in the lily pond, found fairy doors, enjoyed the gardens, had a lovely brew and cake, browsed the second hand book shop and found Newtopia. 🙂
Great Crested Newts.
Great Crested Newts.
There’s a pond full of Great Crested Newts in the Sunken Garden at Acorn Bank. We had plenty of fun trying to spot them!
Thanks for joining me on a fun family weekend…with lots of wildlife thrown in for good measure. x
more or less perfect. Surrounded by a mountinous back drop and boasting a well stocked shop, cafe and shower block with underfloor heating ( No Less!) , Scotgate has a village location and good bus links to nearby Keswick and Cockermouth. Braithwaite itself is a lovely village with 2 pubs, a tea room ( opening soon) and a friendly village shop.
Here are a few photos of what we got up to on our break away.
A lake we have always wanted to visit ‘Buttermere’ is a six mile drive from Braithwaite. A scenic route passes through the Newlands Valley and once in Buttermere village , there is parking near The Fish Hotel.
We loved our meander round Buttermere and I can’t wait to visit nearby Crummock Water and Loweswater.
Braithwaite is surrounded by mountain fells, so one morning we decided to bag another Wainwright ( mine and Hugo’s second! ) and walked up ‘ Barrow’ , one of the more diminutive Wainwright fells. At 1,494 feet , it still felt enormas to me!
We started our walk from the top of the village ( near the Coledale Inn) and the ascent is a gradual one , there is a clearly defined path up through the bracken. Once at the top, the views all around are stunning! The descent is quite steep. We soon realised we had actually done this walk before!! About 10 years ago, before I even really knew about bagging Wainwrights. So what was to be my second,is actually my first, done twice. Doh! Still, the hike up Barrow is definitely worth a repeat performance. 😁
The nearest town to Braithwaite is Keswick, on the shores of Derwentwater. Known as Queen of the Lakes, Derwentwater has a scenic ten mile waymarked path around it, which we walked on our last visit in January. This time however, we thought we would take advantage of the Keswick Launch , whose pleasure boats have transported tourists around the lake since 1935. Its a hop on/hop off service , so fantastic for taking to a certain point then walking back…or vice versa.
We walked from Friars Crag to Ashness Gate , passing The National Trust Centenary Stone at Calfclose Bay. I have wanted to visit the most photographed packhorse bridge in The Lake District, Ashness Bridge since seeing its iconic image on a postcard. A short hike from Ashness Gate, and there it is!! A little further and another wonderful photographic opportunity is Surprise View, where we had a vast uninterrupted vista of Derwentwater.
It was beautiful up there and so tranquil. Imagine clumps of pretty Wild flowers, curling ferns and the sounds of cuckoos calling. :). A cooling boat trip back and a delicious tea at The Square Orange in Keswick. Bliss…
Our last full day of our holiday was also the Royal Wedding day. During the day we visited Dodd Wood where there are two Osprey viewing points , trained over Bassenthwaite Lake. Unfortunately the Osprey were in hiding, but these magnificent raptors nest nearby every year and are often seen flying over the water. Opposite the Dodd Wood car park is the entrance for Mirehouse & Gardens , a beautiful historic mansion and grounds , open to the public. Dogs are allowed in the gardens and grounds, so I persuaded Wil, that we should take a look. 🙂
Mirehouse’s gardens are a riot of colour and there is lots to explore including a Heather Maze, Fernery, Herb Garden, Bee Garden, Poets Walk and nature trails. The grounds reach as far as the lakeside and there are woodland walks with surprises at every corner.
We were definitely late to the Wedding celebrations, but in the evening I did indulge in a Meghan Markle Mac N Cheese at the Coledale Inn , back in Braithwaite. : b
Our last visit to Aira Force Waterfall near Ullswater in the Lake District was not very successful photo wise….as it was both tipping it down with rain and howling a gale! Happily on our return yesterday, the weather was a lot kinder. We decided to park in the lake shore village of Glenridding and take the steamer the short 20 minute journey to the newly erected Aira Force Pier. The steamers themselves have been pleasure cruising along and around Ullswater for 150 years, and weather permitting , operate 363 days of the year.
We bought return tickets from Glenridding Pier House for £8 each and sat and waited with a nice warming brew. There is a coffee shop and gift shop in the pier house as well as lots of local information. Presently our steamer, The Lady Dorothy , arrived to take us to Aira Force.
We sat out on deck and admired the passing scenery. Ullswater is the Lake District’s second largest lake and the daffodils that grow on the bank at Glencoyne Bay are said to have inspired Wordsworth’s poem ‘Daffodils’. The mighty Helvellyn mountain range provided a magnificent backdrop and the waters were tranquil and deep.
Aira Force Waterfall tumbles a lengthy 65ft and can be reached via a stroll through pretty woodland. There are wooden walkways, gravel footpaths and ornate stone bridges. We looked out for the many different trees on the tree trail and Hugo enjoyed dipping in and out of the babbling brook. 🙂
The name Aira comes from the Old Norse ‘ river at the gravel bank’ and Force is a derivation of the Old Norse word ‘ fors’ meaning Waterfall. So Aira Force is apparently a waterfall on the gravel-bank river. Head further into the woodland to discover the less dramatic High Force.
There is a National Trust shop and tea room on site. We had a spot of lunch and another walk before heading back to catch the steamer. 🙂
Sunday dawned bright and sunny with an Autumnal nip in the air. We decided to try visiting Gawthorpe Hall again , a handsome looking Grade 1 listed Elizabethan residence in Padiham. On our last visit the car park was jam packed full on a weekend lunch time ,so we turned back. And sure enough it was pretty busy at half nine on this particular morning too. It turns out there is a school football ground nearby so I guess families were dropping off their kids. I’m not to sure where Hall visitors should park at such times. 😦 However we were fortunate on this occasion!
Although it would have been lovely to look inside this fine old house, we had Hugo with us ( dogs are only allowed in the grounds and Stubbins Estate) so we explored the outside for a couple of hours. Hugo enjoyed bombing around and it was still early enough for him not to bother anyone. The Hall itself did not open until 11am.
Gawthorpe Hall was built in the early 1600’s and was the family seat of the Shuttleworth family until the 20th century when it was gifted to the National Trust.
A lot of work was done on the house and garden in the 1840’s when Janet Shuttleworth married Sir James Kay of Rochdale. The now Kay-Shuttleworths commissioned Sir Charles Barry to carry out restorations . Sir Charles was the architect who remodelled Highclere House , which is the filming location of Downton Abbey. The couple were also friendly with Charlotte Bronte who visited Gawthorpe a couple of times and it is through them that she met her friend, the writer Elizabeth Gaskell.
A walk around the estate and we met these two characters. I shall call them Nippy and Chomper ! Chomper took a shine to me and more specifically my right arm. They were cute…but hungry. Serves me right for not bringing them apples. 🙂
The grounds at Gawthorpe Hall are lovely to walk around especially in Autumn when the trees are slowly changing from green to reds and golds. I will leave you with a few more photos and if you would like to learn more about this National Trust Property, please take a look at Cathy’s blog post here.
Have you ever planned a day out and it hasn’t turned out how you expected? Today was a bit like that, well a lot like that to be honest ! Happily in the end things panned out ok. We started off by heading over to Hardcastle Crags in Yorkshire.
We parked on the National Trust Car Park and walked to Gibson Mill , a beautiful 19th century textile Mill which is now a completely self sufficient museum,visitor centre and cafe.
There were stepping stones over the river. As I gingerly hopped from stone to stone, Hugo sped by and nearly sent me a cropper!
The Weaving Shed Cafe opened at 11am , we were just in time for coffee and cake. It was quite chilly , so we were happy that we could sit inside with Hugo. 🙂
So far, so good. Our next planned stop was the quirky town of Hebden Bridge. Its great for independent shops,pubs and cafes. Theres something for everyone there, the town has a hippy,artisan,eclectic vibe. Unfortunately our history of actually getting to Hebden is not good. Like a modern day Brigadoon, our sat nav has previously either got us there eventually, or not at all.
Today we bizarrely managed to totally bypass it altogether and ended up in nearby Todmorden before we realised what was happening. We had actually been congratulating ourselves that we were not in the ‘ millipede of cars’ going the opposite way,when it dawned on us that, that was the way we should have been going. Doh!
So change of plan! I suggested we head to Gawthorpe Hall in Padiham , which is another NT property in our home county of Lancashire. We got there ok but at 12.30pm on a Sunday in July, the quite frankly too tiny carpark was full to bursting. 😦 Feeling frustrated we gave up and pointed the car in the direction of home.
This weekend is actually the anniversary of when Wil and I got together 11 years ago! So instead of a celebratory day out like we had planned , we accepted that we should just hang out in our home town. Things immediately got better from then on. 🙂
We enjoyed a gorgeous lunch at The Atrium at Clitheroe Castle.
Then headed for a pint at our fave local , The New Inn.
And after had cocktails…….and a giant pink meringue in Escape Coffee & Cocktails in the town centre. 🙂
So Sunday didn’t turn out quite as we planned. But it wasn’t bad in the end! Where is your Brigadoon?? Or do you have more luck than us!
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