Tag Archives: penrith

A Ghostly Galleon on Ullswater and The Penrith Winter Droving.

It’s that spoooooky time of year when ghosties and goblins come out to play. I joined in with some Halloween fun at the weekend. Ullswater Steamers put on a Ghostly Galleon and myself , Wil, our friend Jo and God daughter Lydia enjoyed a cruise on the lake with a marvelous magic show and dressing up masks . Definitely aimed at children , but we adults had fun too. πŸŽƒπŸ¦‡


After our spooky boat trip we spent an hour or so at the Rheghed centre near Penrith, where Lydia found a Halloween treasure hunt and an outdoor adventure playground, before heading into town for the annual Winter Drovers Festival.

The Penrith Winter Droving started eight years ago and is a celebration of all things rural. There’s a Drovers Cup with team events such as Hay Bale Racing, Egg Throwing, Tug O War and Sausage eating. Throughout the day various musicians and street performers entertain  the crowds and a huge Cumbrian Food Market fills the streets. As dusk descends a fantastic torch lit procesion takes place around the town. The animal lanterns look so effective , all lit up against the darkening sky. Later back at the caravan, out came the monopoly. It had been a long but enjoyable day. πŸ™‚

The Girls Go To The Caravan.

So one of the best things about owning a static caravan is being able to invite friends for a weekend away. Our caravan is in the village of Melmerby in the Eden Valley in Cumbria, close enough in driving distance to the beautiful LakeΒ  District, but in a less busy touristy area. On Friday five of us drove up to the van for a girls getaway.Β  We spent an enjoyable and chilled couple of days there. Here are a few photos from our trip.
Pre – trip selfie.
Pimm’s.



Meal out at The Shepherds Inn in Melmerby.



Breakfast on the decking.

A stunning Hat Model 😁. The Vintage Emporium ‘ La Brochante’ in Melmerby.

Exploring Penrith ~ Penrith Castle.

Quirky sign in Penrith.

Even quirkier sign in Penrith.

Drinks in Xavier’s Cafe Bar in Penrith.
Stunning Ullswater from Glenridding.

Jetty, Ullswater.

Meeting a furry friend ‘ Derek’ in Glenridding.

A Blueberry Pancake Breakfast at The Old Village Bakery in Melmerby.

It was fantastic to spend maybe our last sunny & warm  weekend of the Summer with my friends at the caravan. Happy Days. 😁

Thanks to Arwen & Marian for some of these photographs. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜„

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?

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. πŸ™‚

Mum and I had a look round Askham Halls gardens. Β£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. πŸ™‚

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.

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.

P1090358 (2)
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.

P1090364

P1090350 (2)

P1090348 (2)

P1090355

P1090351

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.

P1090366

P1090368

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.

P1090372

P1090369

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. 😁

P1090376 (2)

P1090381

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!

A Cumbrian weekend of wanderings and wildlife.

P1080869
Chimney Sweeper Moth.

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.

Skylark, Askham Fell.

P1080749
Small Heath Butterfly.

P1080743
A herd of ‘Wild’ Fell Ponies live on the Fell. This one with Wil is not very wild and shaped like a barrel. πŸ™‚

P1080750
Cockpit Stone Circle ~ once used by villagers for cock fighting.

P1080738
Linnet. πŸ™‚

P1080757
Pied Wagtail.

P1080762
Common Bistort on the road side. Mum knows this as ‘Sweaty Feet’ and if you smell it…..it does whiff a bit. : b

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. πŸ™‚ 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.

P1080867
Siskin on Mum’s Bird feeders.

P1080865
Greater Spotted Woodpecker.

p1080814651586032.jpg
Wil’s photo of a rather dapper Dipper on the River Lowther.

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.

P1080779
Blue Himalayan Poppies and Alliums.

P1080782

P1080770

P1080775

P1080771

P1080780

I’m not very well up on my garden flowers, but as you can see the beds were abundant with colour. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

P1080833
Fairy Door.

P1080841
A freaky green spider on Bistort…or Sweaty feet. Is this a Cucumber Spider?

P1080834
Imogen and Woody Woodpecker.

P1080846
Acorn Bank.

P1080843
Impressive Coat of Arms.

P1080863
Hop It !

P1080857
Looking for 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

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.

2016-606

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.:)