Tag Archives: outdoors

Ullswater & Aira Force.

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.

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Waiting for the boat at Glenridding Pier.
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One of the beautiful vessels, The Lady Wakefield.
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Stack on The Western Belle.
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Glenridding Pier House.

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.

 

 

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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.

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The Lady Dorothy.
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Aira Force is looked after by the National Trust.

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. 🙂

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Herdwick Sheep.
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Ancient trees along the trail.
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Woodland paths.
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Aira Force.
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Aira Force Platform.

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.

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Money-tree stump.
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Wet Doog!

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. 🙂

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The Ullswater Way ( a 20 mile walk around Ullswater) takes in the waterfalls.
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Inside the cafe. Hugo eyes up dinner.
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Pretty window box.
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Wildflowers on the banks of Ullswater.
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Ullswater.
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Big skies and Aira Force Pier.
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Back in Glenridding. Can’t help taking pictures of these beautiful steamers!
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Have to have cake in the Lakes!

Thanks for joining me in the lovely Lakes. 🙂

www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/aira-force

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Would you stay in a Bothy?

bothy2I’ve currently been tucked up in bed at nights with the wind howling outside ( Storm Imogen I believe 😉 ) and a good book , one that I have become thoroughly engrossed in. The Book Of The Bothy by Phoebe Smith is a celebration of these humble ‘stone tents’ that offer a basic shelter and roof over the head of weary walkers in the remotest parts of the UK. Phoebe , a renowned travel journalist and serial ‘Bothy bagger’, has chosen 26 of her favourite MBA ( Mountain Bothies Association) bothies to hike to,spend the night in and write about. On the back of the book Phoebe explains ‘ I believe, if you wanted to, you could spend a whole summer staying in bothies, travelling from place to place,taking in one spectacular landscape after another with nothing but your rucksack, map and thirst for adventure. And the best thing? It wouldn’t cost you a penny….

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The Lookout – Isle of Skye ( Image www.cicerone.co.uk )

It’s true, bothies are Free! Free places to stay for anyone and everyone. They are often abandoned farmsteads or cottages, sometimes with only one room and sometimes larger. They are incredibly basic inside with no running water, electricity or bathroom facilities. They are always a good hike away from civilisation of any kind and are left unlocked so wandering walkers can bed down in them for the night. The  MBA looks after 100 bothies around Britain. Most of them are found in the wilds of Scotland but there are a few in Northern England and rural Wales  which are mentioned in the book.

The Book of the Bothy is set out for an easy and informative read. There’s a map in the front with the locations of the bothies dotted in red. Phoebe’s introduction covers the history of bothies, their pro’s ( space to sleep, escape from midges etc) and cons ( Mice, spider’s, loud snorers! ) ,what to take, bothy etiquette ( leaving it tidy etc) and safety.

She also mentions Bothy traditions such as walker’s sharing a sip of whisky or two from a sigg bottle and of course filling in the Bothy Book.  Every bothy has a kind of visitor’s book in which walkers can record their  stays adventures and experiences. Seems like a useful tradition. 🙂

The rest of this handy guide  concentrates on each individual bothy and Phoebe tells the reader the routes she followed ( there’s always a handy map reference), what to look out for ( wildlife,landmarks etc), essential information ( water sources, facilities etc) and she also writes her own Bothy Book entry for each property. 🙂

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The author inside a rather ‘luxurious’ bothy in the Highlands. 🙂

I’m really enjoying reading about Phoebe’s Bothy bagging and even though I usually hyperventilate at the thought of hiking anywhere…….this book is almost inspiring me to seek out a bothy. I think I would have to persuade Wil too, mind. What about you? Would you stay in a bothy??

You can buy The Book of the Bothy  at www.cicerone.co.uk

Welly Wish List.

Apart from my old faithful Dunlops, I don’t have much luck with Wellies. Their lifespan is never very long. Maybe I live in them to much! Well I do originate from mud ~ being a farmer’s daughter . 🙂
So it’s time to invest in a new pair and having looked around the web, I’ve come up with my own Wellie Wish List. Which of these razzle dazzle rain boots do you like?

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For a spot of Gardening ~ How about these mid height butterfly print wellies from White Stuff.  £32.50.

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For Splashing in Puddles ~ Adore these red deck wellies from the Cornish company SeaSalt. . £36.

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For Walking the Hound ~ Joules   do an ‘Olive the dog print’ pair in a variety of colours. I could be tempted. £19.95.

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For Welly Walks with the kids ~  My friend Jo has recently purchased these Polka Dot Mid Wellies from Fat Face. £35.

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For Fire Crackers on Bonfire Night ~  You can look both stylish and bright in these glossy red Hunter boots. £90.

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For Country pubs and Beer Gardens ~ Plum coloured Bede Boots from Barbour of course. £64.95.

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For those late Summer Festivals ~ There are still some around apparently! How about these Boden beauties.£25.

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For strolls on the beach ~ I love these Brakeburn  Boat and Wave wellies. £19.99.

Hmmmm decisions decisions. Which wellies would make your wish list?