Tag Archives: Scotland

Sunday Sevens 31st December.

Here I am back again with the last Sunday Sevens of the year. Cannot quite believe how incredibly quickly 2017 has gone. Here are 7 photos from the last 7 days of December. 🌲

1. Christmas Morning ( beween present opening and lunch! ) a walk with friends and hounds, with a couple of kids thrown in for good measure. Our  friend Fi organizes this every year, so it has fast become tradition for anyone who is available to meet up. The location is always Brungerly Park which is home to the  ‘ Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail’ and we always have a standard photo taken by the festively decorated Sikka Deer sculptures. I think Hugo is in there somewhere,  hiding behind Sophie the deer hound. 🐕

2. Another yearly Xmas Tradition found me joining in with Janet’s Thrifty Christmas Gift Swap. I always love hunting for gifts from craft fairs and charity shops  to send to my recipient, usually another blogger or instagrammer ( is that a word? ) that Janet matches me up with. This year I had to send to Janet herself and I found a few bits and bobs that I hope she likes. These included a Virginia Wolf book, a snowflake tree decoration, a small bottle of toffee vodka and a bundle of pretty fabrics , as I know she is a dab hand with a sewing machine. Sadly I forgot to take any pics but below is the lovely gift stash I got from Hanna , who lives in Washington DC. 🎁 I especially like the frosted fir scented candle and the plush pink mushroom tree decoration. Thanks Hanna. X

3. Hugo loved opening his presents. If he didn’t have his own, he would definitely be trying to open ours. 😁

4. Yet another Christmas Tradition!  When visiting Mum over the festive period ,the whole family gets together for a photo. My brother sets up the camera, then we have 10 seconds to scrabble into position. We basically have the same photo every year, with slight variations. In 2017 Mum is looking startled, Brother in law’s head is almost obscured by a light bulb, my Step Dad has his trouser buttons undone and Hugo is showing us his butt. Ho Ho Ho. 😁

5. My most favourite Christmas Tipple this year has been rhubarb & ginger liqueur from the Edinburgh Gin Distillery served with ice and ginger ale. Bottoms up! 🍸 

6. Well we have booked a holiday! Can you guess where we are going next Summer? Clue ~ rather remote and hopefully we shall see Sea Eagles and Corncrakes, white sandy beaches and crofters cottages. 😊 In fact we shall be staying in the crofters cottage above! 

7. I shall end this post and this year with a piccie of Miss Slinky enjoying her latest comfy spot on the sofa. 🙂

See you in 2018. Enjoy whatever celebrating you do tonight. X

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Holidays with Hugo ~ Our Pet-friendly trips in 2016.

Looking back over 2016, I hadn’t quite realised how many times we have gone away this year. We’ve camped, we’ve stayed in some fab hotels & B & Bs ,  stopped in a beautifully restored Showman’s Wagon in Cornwall and we have cosied up in a lovely cottage in the grounds of a Scottish Castle. And what is the common denominator of all our trips. Our cheeky Black Labrador Hugo, that’s who!   We hadn’t  initially planned to have so many holidays with our pooch ( or indeed so many holidays full-stop ~ oooops) , but it is really handy that dogs are made welcome at such varied types of accommodation, all over the UK.  Check out the following.

Elton Guest House.

A Friendly Guest House In Grange.   If you ever find yourself in the Cumbrian Seaside town of Grange-Over-Sands, like we did when participating in the Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk , The Elton Guest House is an ideal base for exploring this lovely part of the Lake District. The Elton is a Victorian limestone building with comfy rooms, a hearty breakfast and a very warm welcome from owners Lynn and Liam. Hugo got lots of fuss and attention and was even given a cooked sausage at breakfast. Lynn sorted out a table  reservation at a pet-friendly restaurant for us in the evening. Oh and did I say we were welcomed with coffee and homemade chocolate muffins on arrival. 🙂 The little touches really made our stay. Double rooms £82 per night, Singles £50, Dogs £8 per stay.

Icehouse Cottage.

A Cosy Cottage In Scotland.  This beautiful property in the grounds of Lochinch Castle in Dumfries & Galloway was our home away from home for a week in November. With a large enclosed rear garden, a wood burning stove and unlimited access to Castle Kennedy Gardens and Lochinch Castle Estate, it is the perfect countryside retreat. Hugo had plenty of walks in the grounds and the wildlife we spotted was amazing. The cottage is gorgeous inside too and bicycles and a barbecue are also provided.  For more photos check out my post here.  4 nights from £229.

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Howgill Lodge Campsite.

A Campsite In The Yorkshire Dales.  We have stopped at Howgill Lodge Campsite  near the picturesque Yorkshire village of Appletreewick, several times over the years. It’s a friendly little site with stunning views over the Dales and nearby riverside walks to  Bolton Abbey and Burnsall kept Hugo happy. Howgill has spacious pitches, each with it’s own picnic bench. There’s a small campsite shop, hot showers, toilets, payphone , laundry room and a dog exercise field. Two great dog-friendly pubs can be found in Appletreewick. Two people & a tent £21 per night. Dogs go free.

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Haweswater Hotel.

A Secluded Lake District Hotel.   The Haweswater Hotel is perched right on the lake in one of the lesser known areas of The Lake District.  It is just 20 minutes from J39 of the M6 , yet feels very remote and is surrounded by the beautiful Haweswater Nature Reserve. We stopped here over the May Bank Holiday and the chef packed us a lunch to take up into the fells. The hotel has an art deco inspired interior and some of the bedrooms look very elegant on the website. Ours was a wee bit pokey and could have been nicer I think, even though we were staying in a dog-friendly room. The staff were lovely however and if you love wildlife and walking, this hotel is for you. Double rooms on average £85 per night. Dogs £15 per stay.

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The Duke at Spring Park.

A  restored Showman’s Wagon in the Cornish Countryside.  Wow I loved  our stay in ‘The Duke’ at  Spring Park  in North Cornwall so so much. The Duke is a lovingly restored vintage Showman’s Wagon. He lords over his own pretty Wildflower Meadow and is equipped with everything you will need for a cosy stay, including a french enamel wood burner, fully equipped kitchen and a wood fueled hot tub. Hugo got plenty of walks in the surrounding countryside and the nearby Springer Spaniel Pub is dog-friendly and does great food. You can read more about our stay and see lots of photos here. 🙂  From £68 per night. Dogs £20 per stay.

Hotel Stays With Pets Pyjamas.   If you really want to treat your dog ( and yourself lol 😉 ) , you would definitely benefit from checking out the Pets Pyjamas  website. Browse their portfolio of pet-friendly cottages, dog-welcoming hotels, Country Houses and B & Bs .Look out for their unique packages which usually include a personalised box of treats for your pooch and even dinner for your dog. My post Hotel stays with Pets Pyjamas. will give you more information.

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Hugo at Jenny Brown’s Point near Silverdale.

Coastal Campsite in Lancashire.  By far the most scenic campsite on the Lancashire Coast Gibraltar Farm  campsite in Silverdale is a traditional working farm with breathtaking views over Morecambe Bay. You can even stay in ancient woodland adjacent to the site or just enjoy the coastal panorama. Gibraltar Farm has the usual campsite facilities and there are walks and beaches as soon as you step outside your tent. The farm even makes its own icecream. Tents from £12 per night. Dogs £1 per night.

So it looks as though we have certainly enjoyed many a dog-friendly holiday with Hugo in 2016. Next year ~ a cosy cottage in Keswick….then we had better get on with that decorating!

Where have you taken your pooch this year?

How we spent our week in Dumfries & Galloway.

I thought I would write one more holiday post before I say a final goodbye to Scotland as I still have a few more photos to share with you. Stopping in the South West of the country in November meant that a lot of visitor attractions are winding down or already closed, especially in such a relatively quiet area as Dumfries & Galloway. However we still found things to see and do, always accompanied by our Black Labrador Hugo of course. 🙂

Hiked to St Ninian’s Cave.   We took a short hike to visit the sea-cave retreat of Scotland’s first missionary saint. St Ninian set up the first church in nearby Whithorn and also used this cave as a place of solace and prayer. The original Celtic Cross Carvings that adorned the walls can now be found in Whithorn Museum but people from all over the world still make pilgrimages here, leaving gifts and makeshift crosses. We parked at the small car park at Kidsdale ( honesty box payment) , walked down to the shore through a woody glen and the cave can be seen on the right, a short stroll along the rocky beach. The cult movie ‘The Wicker Man’ was filmed in the area.

Visited Scotland’s National Book Town.   Yes Scotland has a National Book Town !  Wigtown on the Machars peninsula has a high concentration of book shops ( I counted ten) , including the largest book shop in Scotland, imaginatively called ‘The Book Shop’. The building doesn’t look very vast from the outside, but is deceptively tardis like from the moment you step indoors. And it’s also home to a very cute  Bookshop cat,so Hugo didn’t visit this one !  We found a couple of bookshop/cafes that are pet friendly including ‘Beltie Books’ and ‘Reading Lassies’, the latter has a cute resident collie. Soz, I am slightly dog/cat crazy.  What I should say is, if you love books, you will be in your element here. 🙂 The town has an annual Book Festival every September.

Ate out in pretty Portpatrick.  Although we stayed in most evenings ( we had such a cosy holiday cottage, it was hard to leave after darkness fell) , we did go out for lunch…and even afternoon tea , in the pretty little fishing village of Portpatrick. With it’s pastel coloured cottages and impressive community bought harbor, the village is picture postcard perfect. It’s also a great place to try fresh seafood. Wil can heartily recommend the Cod Loin Au Poivre at the seafront ‘Crown Hotel’ ( I had a taste , and it was delicious) and their Seafood platter sounds impressive. As a Birthday treat for moi , Wil had booked afternoon tea at the Fernhill Hotel. With stunning cliff top views over the harbor and beyond, the Fernhills afternoon tea comes served in darling vintage crockery. Both establishments are down to earth, friendly and welcome dogs too.

Explored Castle Kennedy Gardens and grounds.  Galloway’s most well known gardens are situated between two natural lochs in the grounds of two historic castles near Stranraer. 75 acres  of forest trails, a huge lily pond, lochside walks, rhododendron displays, a walled garden and Champion trees. As well as exploring the parkland, we actually stopped here , in a lovely cottage on the estate.  You can read about our stay here  and check out lots of pictures of the local wildlife, which include Roe Deer and Red squirrels. 🙂

 

Looked for Lighthouses.  The Rhins of Galloway ( rhins means points or headlands) are renowned for their numerous lighthouses, mostly built by members of the same family as the writer Robert Louis Stevenson !  I did write  A separate Lighthouse Post . about our visits to Corsewall Lighthouse and The Mull of Galloway Lighthouse. Both are havens for wildlife including seabird colonies and Grey Seal. 🙂 Depending on the time of year it may be possible to take a lighthouse tour on the Mull. Another Stevenson built beacon that I didn’t include, can be found five miles from Portpatrick, on the Southern Upland Way. Killantringan is privately owned. A 1970s shipwreck can sometimes be viewed at low tide apparently.

 

Visited an Artist’s Town.  The quality of light brought and still brings many artists to the harbor town of Kirkcudbright and there is a popular Arts and Crafts trail for visitors to enjoy. We bobbed here on our journey back to England, and it is somewhere I would love to return to and spend more time . Apart from having a wee wander round, we actually bought a picture of a Lighthouse from one of the local galleries. It is an Artist’s Town after all!  We also enjoyed Fish & Chips from ‘Polar Bites’ and shared them with Hugo.:)

So that is how we spent our week.

Have you ever visited the area?  Where would you recommend a visit in South West Scotland?

Our stay in the grounds of a Scottish Castle.

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Icehouse Cottage.

I can hardly believe that only last week, we were staying in a beautiful cottage in Scotland. A cottage in the grounds of a Castle no less. Two castles in fact !  Lochinch Castle in Dumfries and Galloway is  home to the Count and Countess of Stair. The castle was built in the mid 19th Century some years after their original residence ‘ Castle Kennedy’ was burned to the ground. The ruins of Castle Kennedy can also be found on the Lochinch Estate and the Castle Kennedy Gardens are open to the public. Seventy Five acres of sculptured gardens and woodland to wander in. In November we more or less had it all to ourselves!

Our home for the week was the cosy single story Icehouse Cottage situated close to the original remains of a Victorian Icehouse. With it’s pretty furnishings, toasty wood burner and idyllic location, we couldn’t have wanted for more. Hugo was especially happy led in front of the fire after long walks around the grounds. 🙂

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The ruins of Castle Kennedy.

On our very first walk we came across three deer just wandering through the forest. 🙂  In fact every walk, thereafter, we would spot roe deer, red squirrels , woodpecker, pheasants, buzzards and other wildlife amongst the canopy of the trees. They became such common sights that it wasn’t even a surprise when we spied deer along the treeline of the woodland  behind the back of the cottage. I’m sure if we had erected a trampoline, the John lewis advert would have come to life there and then!

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Lochinch Castle.

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There are two Lochs on the Lochinch estate poetically named The Black Loch and The White Loch. Both hold lots of wildlife and the White Loch is a site of Special Scientific Interest due to its winter waterfowl and rare invertebrate  fauna and flora. I’m not quite sure why my dog has two tails in the above photograph….

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I think my favourite part of the Castle Kennedy Gardens is The Walled Garden, which somehow reminded me of a Secret Garden. Autumnal colours were out in force and flowering shrubs still bloomed. So beautiful.

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We loved our time in South west Scotland and Lochinch Cottages  ( there are two more in the castle grounds) provided an ideal base to explore Dumfries & Galloway. And a Winter Break there?  Well why not! Being out of the tourist season means you can (almost) imagine your lording over your own estate. 🙂

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As we left we saw a deer wading through the Black loch. 🙂

A Tale Of Two Lighthouses.

What to do on a blustery day in November?  Why ,Visit a Lighthouse of course. 🙂  Whilst holidaying in Dumfries and Galloway recently, there were certainly plenty of blustery days. The first Lighthouse we decided to go look at was The Corsewall Lighthouse which is actually also a hotel. Situated 15 minutes from Stranraer in the North Rhinns of Galloway ( rhinns is gaelic for headlands) ,Corsewall was built in 1817 and still beams a warning light to ships approaching the mouth of Loch Ryan.

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On the rocks near Corsewall Lighthouse.
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A better view. Can you spot the fog horn..

The surrounding rocks are home to many different seabirds including fulmer, kittiwakes and cormorants. We were also excited to see swimming Grey seals and one poser basking in the Winter sun. 🙂

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Watch the birdies.
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Fancy stopping in a Lighthouse??

After scrambling about the rocks for a bit we definitely needed a brew and happily a hot chocolate inside did the trick for me. 🙂  I should have sneaked a look at the rooms. They are quite expensive at £100 per person per night!  Maybe the views are worth it. On a clear day you can see towards Ireland, the Isle of Mann, Arran and Ailsa Craig.

What I found fascinating is that this particular Lighthouse was constructed by ‘Robert Louis Stevenson’s’ Grandfather Robert Stevenson. And it isn’t the only one. Robert and many of his descendants are responsible for most of Scotland’s  Lighthouses. Including another, we came across a couple of days later…

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Mull of Galloway Lighthouse. Recognise the paint job. 🙂

Heading south to the Mull of Galloway headland, the lighthouse here dominates the most Southern tip of Scotland. In season tours of the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse   are possible and there is also an exhibition, holiday cottages, a glass encased coffee house and an RSPB Nature reserve.Phew! But of course on a squally November’s day , the most you can expect from the South Rhins is a bracing walk and the odd wildlife sighting.

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Even in November the sea was a surprising shade of blue green. Maybe the West Coast Gulf stream accounts for the comparatively temperate weather here. That didn’t stop us wrapping up warm!  The winds beat up swirls of sea foam from the ocean beneath us.

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Weather Stone!

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RSPB  building.
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Wil took this great picture of a Buzzard on the Mull. 🙂

As the cafe was shut we decided to venture into the nearby village of Drummore , which is the most southerly village in Scotland. It was amazing to see palm trees along the shoreline. :)There I spied  a rough n ready biker’s cafe called ‘The Mariner’s Coffee Shop’ which does a mean hot chocolate and sticky ginger cake.

So there you have it, a tale of two lighthouses, built by the Grandfather of the author of ‘Treasure Island’…..

Have you ever stopped in a Lighthouse?

 

 

Photo an Hour ~ 19th November.

Saturday I joined in with Photo an Hour even though I was travelling back from Scotland, so I’m afraid a few of my pictures are either Car or weather related ! 

8am. Breakfast at the holiday cottage.Well a holiday breakfast should absolutey be coffee and croissants.:)

9am. On the road and heading for the town of Kirdcudbright, as a fellow blogger said it was nice. And she was right. ♡

10am. In Kircudbright and I really should have taken a photo of the town.Instead I am looking at my feet. My poor boots have had it.There is a hole in my right boot….and I am wandering around with one wet sock.:(

11am.  Here are some pretty Beach huts in the town that are part of an art trail.

Noon. Chippy lunch and there is a worrying sign in the Fish and Chip shop.Good chips though.:)

1pm.  Travelling companion in the back.Mr Hugo.:)

2pm.  Still in the car but nearly at my Mums, who we are dropping in on, on the way home. I’m looking through my recently aquired Belted Galloways Calander. Yep I am a farmer’s daughter alright. lol. 🙂

3pm. At Mums and we lit a tea light in this cute tea light holder my brother gave me for my birthday. 🙂

4pm.  Back in the car and I took this picture as we drove through Shap in Cumbria. Yes snow! Don’t worry I am a passenger. I’m one of life’s permanent pedestrians .  

6pm. Home sweet home.I didn’t bother with a 5pm photo as we were travelling through darkness and driving rain. Nice to finally arrive in Lancashire.The fur babies are reunited. ^^

7pm. Easy tea.Pizza from Sainsburys. You obviously can’t eat in peace in our house!

8pm. Looking for somewhere to display this gorgeous present from my friend Lisa.Its a hand painted tile of ‘The Duke’ a showman’s wagon we stayed in back in July. At the moment it’s on a shelf but deserves to be hung on the wall.I am so touched that Lisa made me this.:)

9pm.  The last photo I took , watching Black Sails. Love this show! But the theme tune is quite grating. All screechy but oddly atmospheric ! 

Thanks as always to Louisa and Janey for organizing. 🙂

 

Links and Likes ♡ November.

My Links and Likes this month are coming from Bonnie Scotland, as I am currently holidaying in a cosy cottage in the grounds of ‘Castle Kennedy’ in the South West of the country. Whilst I hunker down next to a roaring fire in Icehouse Cottage ( it is toasty here, honest;) )

  , I will share a few pictures of where we are stopping , as well as some of my recent favourite blog posts. 🙂

The Living Room. And lots of books on the book shelf. 🙂

 

I love the look of this Colour Walk on Sarah’s blog. What a fun idea!

Little Birch has reviewed the stage version of Breakfast at Tiffanys. I would love to see it.:)


Mrs B is at the Whitby Goth Festival. How fantastic does it look! 

Its my Birthday whilst I’m here so I was amazed to be greeted on arrival by a bottle of wine and a birthday cake.:)

 
If you like Steampunk the Discovery Museum  in Newcastle is hosting a ‘Fabricating History‘ exhibition  from the 12th November. What if Lovelace and Babbage had computerised the 1840s and Steam powered airships had actually taken  off !

To get you in the mood for mulled wine and festive markets The Well Travelled Man has been reminiscing about Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. 🙂

One of the pretty bedrooms.

Check out Christine’s post featuring Wild Swimming and Star Gazing  in the Lake District. 🙂

I just had to include Danielle’s blog about the North East invasion of Snow Dogs. Her quest to find as many as possible was shared by her gorgeously photogenic and well behaved pooch Baker. What a sweetie. ^^

I have never been to Northern Ireland but this post by ‘ The Travelling B’ could persuade me.:)

I love that the cottage garden blooms with flowers, even in mid November.

Paula has been enjoying a decadent breakfast at The Savoy. Could Breakfast  be the new Afternoon Tea?? 

Well thats all for now. I will be back in a week or so with lots of adventures in Scotland.Already in my element, as have seen Red squirrel, Herons and Roedeer. 🙂