An early birthday treat from my other half was a night away in the secluded Haweswater Hotel, located on the banks of one of The Lake Districts lesser known lakes. We had stayed here previously a couple of years earlier and since then a few more rooms have been refurbished in a 1930s art deco style, in keeping with the hotels history having being built by The Manchester Water Corporation in 1937. Back then the Haweswater Reservoir had been created by flooding the Mardale Valley, it’s villages and farms forever condemned to a watery grave. A picture of the former Dun Bull Inn has pride of place above the fire place in the reception/entrance hall.
It was about 3pm when we rocked up to our home for the night, enough time to take Hugo for a short walk along the lake side road. It felt bitterly cold, there was a smattering of snow on the fells. We couldn’t wait to get toasty inside.
Bad news greeted us. The heating wasn’t working! Thank goodness all the fires were lit downstairs and the hotel had raided the local B &Q in Penrith for plug in heaters for the bedrooms. We would have to make the best of it…
Fortunately our room ( Wainwright) seemed to warm up ok with the plug in heater provided. And there was still hot water. Phew! Our room was actually a lake view suite with a cosy sitting area. Quite bijou but totally fine for us and the dog. I certainly loved the decor. 🙂
The thought of a roaring fire enticed us back downstairs. The guest lounge with its huge sofas and twinkly lights was certainly very inviting.
Dogs are allowed to accompany guests into the lounge and bar but not the formal dining room, so we took our evening meal in the bar and enjoyed breakfast there the following morning. The food and service was excellent. My sticky toffee pudding was to die for. 🙂 Hugo was given some treats by the friendly staff.
My only disappointment was not catching a glimpse of the native red squirrels that visit the garden and bird feeders outside. Squirrel food can be obtained at the bar and on our previous visit we were lucky enough to see one of the little fellas.
Despite the heating problems we enjoyed a lovely stay at The Haweswater Hotel. The staff are so friendly and accommodating. I would definitely visit again in the future.
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.
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.
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 .
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 .
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. 🙂
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.
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.
These past few days have been pretty hot weather-wise, with temperatures even hitting thirty degrees, here in the North West. Here are my latest ‘Wild Moments.’ 🙂
Day 17 ~ Bonnie Babies. On a shopping trip in Skipton , I came across these beautiful babies. 🙂 Four gorgeous silvery cygnets with their proud parents. Talk about adorable. The Mute Swan pair didn’t seem threatened by the humans gathered at the canal side. Maybe they were showing off their bundles of joy. 🙂 It is said that Mute Swans mate for life and usually have one brood a year, between March and June.
Day 18 ~ Breakfast with the Birds….and Squirrels. This morning I decided to take my breakfast to the castle grounds ( a drink and a cereal bar, no less! ) and sit near where some kind soul leaves bird seed for the park’s population. I counted 2 Jackdaw, 1 Wood Pigeon, 3 Dunnock, 2 House Sparrow, a Robin, 2 Bluetits, 1 Chaffinch, 2 Blackbirds and three Grey Squirrels, in the half hour I was there. Here in the Ribble Valley, as in most of the country, it is the Grey Squirrel that has taken precidence , over our native Reds. In fact the Grey’s carry a disease that will destroy any Red Squirrels, they come into contact with. 😦 Later in the week I read an article about a ‘Gun toting Granny’ in Cumbria , who shoots Grey Squirrels from her car window. I hope someday soon , a vaccine can be developed to protect the tufty reds..
Day 19 ~ I D an Insect. Another HOt Hot day. Saw quite a few of these unusual looking insects with orange markings. They were sat on the leaves of some garden escape forget-me-nots, near where I live. Anyway after a quick look online, I found out that they are the larvae of the Harlequin ladybird. Harlequins are apparently an invasive ( yikes, more invaders! )ladybird species originally from Japan, first turning up on our shores in 2004. The larvae like to gollop up not only aphids, but insects too, including other ladybirds larvae. So maybe not so happily co-existing with our native species. 😦
Day 20 ~ Water for the Bees. Bees and other insects need a fresh water supply , especially in hot weather. Taking inspiration from a few other #30dayswilders , I filled a saucer with marbles and stones and poured in some water. Bees can rest on the marbles whilst taking a sip and there is less danger of them drowning, than if I just simply put a saucer of water out.
Day 21 ~Fledgling Visitors. Until today my only visitor to our bird feeders, has been a solitary bluetit. This morning she brought two fledglings along! A happy moment. There was lots of chirping as she tried to persuade her two offspring to investigate the half coconut shell. Eventually one of her babies had a go. Hopefully they will all continue visiting. 🙂
Day 22 ~ Blissed Out. A very grey drizzley morning. But look who loves the weather! I must admit I felt a bit fed up as we started our daily venture into the fields. But just seeing how Hugo embraces the outdoors, always makes me smile. 🙂
0ff camping tommorrow, so fingers crossed that the sunshine reappears. ♡
Have you ever happened upon a hidden gem? At the weekend we stumbled across one. The remote and romantic looking Haweswater Hotel commands views over one of the lesser known lakes in The Lake District. It’s a beautiful country house hotel that looks down on Haweswater Reservoir. Haweswater began it’s life as a natural lake until in the 1930’s the surrounding valley ( and villages of Measand and Mardale Green) were flooded to create the larger reservoir it is today. Manchester Corporation built the lakeside road and the hotel replaced the flooded ‘Dun Bull Inn’. Haweswater supplies much of the North West’s H20. Of course it was raining buckets as we arrived!
Easter Sunday happened to be a cold, rainy and blustery day so it was with relief that we headed indoors into the bar/restaurant area , which has a huge double slate fireplace and is decorated in a fabulous art deco style. I loved all the retro prints adorning the walls and the little decorative touches such as the vintage luggage and fresh flowers. 🙂 The hotel apparently has many original art deco features from when it was built in the Thirties and the bar has recently been sympathetically refurbished to embrace its history. I am wondering whether it may have opened in 1937 perhaps?!
Even though we hadn’t made a booking and just arrived hoping to warm up and shelter from the weather, we couldn’t have been made more welcome by the lovely bar staff.’ The Haweswater’ advertises itself as a haven for walkers which is perfect as the area is a hiker’s and nature lover’s paradise. It’s also pet friendly and you can even holiday here with your dog. 🙂 I’m very tempted!
We enjoyed some hearty pub grub for our lunch. Wil had the Venison stew and I settled for the haddock and chips which were both very good. And I definitely recommend the Courgette and lime cake that we shared for dessert. Very zesty and sublime. 🙂
I must admit I was easily distracted whilst eating mine as we had a wonderful view of the lake. And on the sun terrace outside there was many a charming visitor. I spied Great Tits, Bluetits,Chaffinches,Nuthatches and to my delight a couple of the area’s native red squirrels. It looks as though the terrace and gardens attract plentiful wildlife.
Just a couple more miles down the remote country road past the hotel is the southern tip of the lake. There is a little car park there and signage for various walking routes. With Hugo being on light exercise only at present we couldn’t really take him very far though.The Eagle Viewpoint sign certainly looks very intriguing! In fact the Haweswater area is home to England’s only Golden Eagle. The male eagle chose this scenic valley as his home many years ago and the RSPB man the viewing area. We will return!
After taking a couple of photo’s of the lake we decided to head back along the country roads and past our elegant yet friendly lunch host toward the village of Shap. On the way I made Wil stop off at Shap Abbey as it is somewhere we have seen signs for, but never visited. My pictures look deceptively calm as the ancient ruins were actually engulfed in blowy winds ,rain and sleet. Another gem we will have to revisit in nicer weather. 🙂
What hidden gems have you discovered on your travels?
Wednesday was a gorgeous cold and clear blue sky day and both of us happened to have the day off work. Talk about good luck! We decided to head off to the Sefton Coast near Liverpool….with the dog of course.
In the morning we found our way to Formby Beach and parked at the National Trust Car Park which was quite expensive but well worth it. I do keep thinking about membership and just don’t get round to it. Anyone out there a member? So, the car park area is right by the pine woods where red squirrels are in residence. 🙂 But first we ambled down to the beach via one of the many trails. Check out the recycled Christmas trees that have been planted in the dunes to protect them from becoming flattened.
Formby Beach is lovely and very dog friendly too. There are lots of shells especially Razor Shells. This part of the coast is home to some rare wildlife such as Dune Tiger Beetles and Natterjack Toads. And when the tide is out ancient human and animal tracks dating back 5,000 years can be seen in the rocks. The other wildlife Formby is famous for is of course it’s Red Squirrels.
The pine woodlands were planted 60-110 years ago to stable the sand dunes and protect the asparagus crops that were once grown here. Nowadays they are a refuge for our protected squirrel species. The squirrel walk ( dogs allowed on leads) is a delight. I can’t tell you how chuffed I was to see so many of these beautiful little tuftys. 🙂 They are smaller than their grey cousins and never keep still for long!
After our fun times in Formby we drove a little further down the coast to Crosby Beach. Here is home to 100 cast iron statues by artist Antony Gormley entitled Another Place. They are dotted around 3 km of beach, looking out to sea. There is a signposted free car park and dogs are allowed on the sand. I’m not sure what Hugo thought of the sculptures. He did pee on a lot of them!
As you can see all the statues are naked! They are actually modelled on the artist’s own body. I wonder how he feels about himself being duplicated across the coastline in his birthday suit. Well pretty good, I guess. 🙂
It was interesting to see the varying states of erosion and weathering the statues have succumbed to. Ten years have passed since they were installed. I hope they are gracing the coastline for many years to come. 🙂