Tag Archives: seaside

A family friendly bike ride ~ Lancaster, Hest Bank and Morecambe.

It’s been a good few years since I’ve got on a bike, never mind atempted to ride one, so when our  friends  suggested a family friendly cycle route between Lancaster and Morecambe, I was a little apprehensive to say the least. But after borrowing one of Wil’s bike helmets, my sister’s bike ( Thanks Sis! ) and my 7 year old niece, I was good to go. 🙂

We began our cycling adventure in Lancaster, parking on a small pay and display car park , not far from the Millenium Bridge. The route , which was mostly flat ( hurrah ! ) and part of the Lancashire Cycleway  took us along an impressive expanse of car free cycle paths. It meandered through woodland, clung to canal side, dodged the crowds on Morecambe Sea Front and followed and crossed the River Lune , before arriving back at our beginnings 20km later. 

The kids were nothing short of impressive on this bike ride. 🙂  It’s perfect for families though, with only a couple of roads to cross and various refreshment stops.  My friend Jo and I decided we would have to invest in some padded cycling shorts for our next outing!  Boy am I sore today. Ouch! 

I didn’t manage to take as many photos as I would have liked, due to my rather precarious bicycle balance. So a few  of these pics were taken by Jo and Fi. The one of Lune Aqueduct, I pinched off Pinterest.

Ready ! Steady ! Go !
We crossed the impressive Lune Aqueduct that carries the Lancaster canal over the river Lune.

The Hest Bank Inn is a great refreshment stop.
Fish & Chips in a Basket. Nom Nom.
Look out tower , Morecambe.
Big Bird…..and small bird. Ha Ha. 🙂

Colourful seating outside The Midland Hotel.
The Millenium bridge crosses The River Lune in Lancaster.

We all really enjoyed our bike trip. Any recommendations for fairly easy … and flat routes, in the North West , let me know. 🙂 

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Butterflies, Seabirds & Rock Pools.

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Large Tree Nymph Butterfly.

In my last blog post I was feeling all Autumnal , but then Summer made a reappearance on Sunday 🙂  Happily we were put in charge of my niece and nephew for the day ….or was it the other way round !  Anyway we decided to head for the coast.  First we found ourselves at Williamson Park  on the outskirts of Lancaster.  With 54 acres of beautiful parkland , the impressive Ashton Memorial and far reaching views across Morecambe Bay, there’s certainly plenty to see.  But it was the Butterfly House and the Mini Beasts that the kids and I were interested in. Whilst Wil took Hugo for a walk , we got up close and personal with allsorts of cute creatures.  🙂

Tropical Blue Butterfly.

 

Common Garden Skink eating lunch.

The Butterfly House in Williamson Park is a former Palm House which resembles a tropical rainforest.  Indeed my camera lense started steaming up as soon as we entered!  Colourful butterflies flutter amongst the greenery and there are also various reptiles living here.  We were especially enamoured by the Common Garden Skink and a Chinese Water Dragon, who seemed a very friendly fellow.

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Chinese Water Dragon.

 

Meerkats. 

As well as The Butterfly House ,there is a Mini Beasts House, an Aviary and Meerkats, so plenty to keep the kids oooohing and ahhing for a little while. We also found an adventure playground, before meeting up with Wil and Hugo in The Pavilion Cafe. And we had to have a quick look in the gift shop too of course!

If only we had climbed up The Ashton memorial.  The views are apparently stunning from the first floor viewing gallery. That’s a definite for next time.  The memorial dominates the Lancaster skyline and was commissioned by Lord Ashton, as a tribute to his late wife.  Constructed mainly from Portland stone, with a copper dome, the structure was completed in 1909, and is now a popular venue for weddings and other events.  But now let’s head to Morecambe, whilst the sun is still shining. 🙂

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Tropical flower.

 

 

 

 

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Ashton Memorial

Morecambe’s Seafront is home to the Tern Project , an art trail that celebrates the varied birdlife and wildlife that make their home on the Lancashire Coast. Look out for poems and puzzles, jokes and riddles and lots of birdy sculptures.  Many can be found on the long stone jetty in front of the Midland Hotel, and along the promenade.

 

A Bird’s Eye View across the Bay.
Comerants.
Lapwing.
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Ringed  plovers.
Magpie.
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Mythical Bird.

When I asked my niece and nephew what they enjoyed the most about our day out, the answer was rock pooling!  These two could spend hours looking for crabs and water snails. Simple pleasures eh. 🙂

 

Gone Crabbing !

Here’s hoping for some more summery days to lead us out of September. X

Summer Links & Likes.

Hey , I totally missed putting up a Links & Likes for June, so without further ado, here’s  my Summer Edition. It will most probably come in two parts,  as we have some way to go yet,  thank goodness!  There’s definitely a bit of a travel theme going on here. So hopefully a bunch of holiday inspiration. 🙂 . Enjoy!

Know where to find the best Ice Cream Parlours in the North East?  Chloe has put in some serious research!

Paul is galavanting round Iceland , ticking off Game Of Thrones filming locations. 🙂

Polly attends a family wedding in beautiful Portmerion , and gets to wear a gorgeous vintage dress. 

The Greedy Sisters do great City Travel Guides!  Look out for their latest adventures in Athens and Avignon. 

Church yards make perfect haunts for summer wildlife, as Amanda finds out,  in Yorkshire.

Yarn bombed Seahorses and Mermaids! Where else but Saltburn by the Sea , with Jo of course!

And more seaside fun. 🙂  The Retro Poodles are in sunny Seaham….and look at the treasures they have found. 🙂

Christine is Wild Swimming amidst stunning Lake District Scenery.

Piia  has wrote an informative guide  Ten Free Things To Do In Helsinki. Makes me want to get up and go!

How lovely to holiday on the beautiful Island of Islay , as seen here on A Mischief Managed – and other Adventures.


And Bev celebrated her blog’s Birthday….by drinking Champagne in Champagne!

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the blog posts. 🙂

 

 


 

 

 

Hawthorn’s June Photo Scavenger Hunt.

Hurrah I found a Photo Scavenger Hunt recently, courtesy of Hawthorn at I Live, I love, I Craft, I am Me.  So I thought I would join in for June!  I must admit, I have borrowed a couple from the archives, on this , my first attempt. But mostly my photos were taken in the past four weeks. 🙂


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The Setting Sun. Crystal Cove near Tofino on Vancouver Island. Wow 11 years ago!  Oh to go again and look for bears, whales and giant woodpeckers. 🙂  You can see some of my memories of Canada  here.

Local Wild Place. I guess if I am not walking the dog down the fields, my nearest local wild place is Clitheroe Castle and it’s park. I’m lucky enough to live a stones throw away, and its a great place for watching birds , squirrels and butterflies.


Mug of your favourite drink in the garden.  There is actually a drink in my mug. Honest! I wouldn’t say coffee is my favourite drink, but I certainly consume more of it than I ever used to. In fact before I met my other half ( many moons ago) , I didn’t drink coffee at all. Now I am on the hard stuff. Strong and Black! 😉

My kind of beautiful. My beautiful nephew and niece.

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Look to the skies. A holiday snap from our stay in Norfolk. Taken from the pier at Cromer. I love the slightly moody sky in this picture.

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Rain. A Yellow Flag Iris covered in raindrops. This was in Norfolk too, on the Sandringham estate. A very rainy walk !

 

 

Mini Beasts. Spot the shiny green beetle. Out with Hugo on a miserable rainy afternoon, a glistening green jewel caught my eye.

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Something Summery. Beautiful Beach huts at Old Hunstanton in Norfolk. I love Beach Huts!  There are not many in lovely Lancashire , though St Annes has some. The Norfolk coast has it’s fair share though. 🙂

Urban Wildness.  Swans and cygnets on the canal in Skipton. 🙂

My Own Choice. My family! Minus the crazy cat. Its me, Wil and Hugo outside The Golden Lion in Hunstanton, Norfolk.

If you wish to join in too in July , check out the blog link above . Catch you soon!

Heysham and Half Moon Bay.

The recent sunshine is making me long for the seaside. I shall have to make do by collecting my pictures together of a lovely coastal walk in Lancashire.  😉

When I think of Heysham, I basically picture it as a Ferry port and the home of Heysham Power Station.  I actually had no idea of how pretty the old part of the village is, and how full of history.

We parked up in the spacious village car park ( £1.40 for five hours)  and passed a few pretty tea rooms and shops on our stroll towards the start of our walk, St Peter’s Church.

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St Peter’s has windswept tombstones and uninterupted views of the sea. It has been here since Saxon times.
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The Coastal Walk is looked after by The National Trust.
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We headed through a patch of woodland and emerged onto a cliff top. Here are the 8th Century ruins of  St Patrick’s Chapel.
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St Patrick is said to have been shipwrecked here in the 5th Century.
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The Chapel looks out over ‘Half Moon Bay’.
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Definitely the most unusual burial ground I have seen.  Rock cut graves carved out of the headland.

The Rock- Cut Graves that surround St Patrick’s Chapel are actually not unique.  There are apparently similar graves in Hexham, Northumberland and in Ireland.  The body shaped hollows were carved for the VIPs of the eleventh century, mostly kings and priests.  I hope they had lids on!

We continued along the cliff footpath , heading towards the Ferry Port in the distance. It was quite a bracing day in May , so when we spotted the Half Moon Bay Cafe ,we warmed up with a hot drink.

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The beach allows dogs all year round. 🙂
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Looking towards the Ferry Port.
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The Half Moon Bay Cafe is bright and friendly.  It sells a small selection of local art and doggy treats too. 🙂

After a welcome brew we made our way back to Heysham, following another criss- crossing path over the cliff tops, an area known locally as ‘The Barrows’.

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Flowering Gorse.
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Campions.
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A pretty cove.
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Wil and Hugo.
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Bluebells.

Back in the village, I picked up a fantastic and quirky map of The Morecambe Bay and Heysham area from the Heritage Centre .  The ‘Seldom Seen’ series of maps , ‘map the hidden assets of Morecambe bay’ and are full of interesting facts. I especially like the phrase ‘ Beyond This Place Lie Monsters’. 🙂

Seldom Seen Map.
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The newly refurbished Royal is a great place for lunch.
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Look out for ‘The Spirit of Heysham’ sign…..and a viking!

Vikings came to Heysham over 1000 years ago and today this is celebrated when the village holds  it’s annual  Viking Festival. This year’s event takes place 15th ~ 17TH jULY.

By all accounts I was very surprised by Heysham. Now I have my map , I’m sure I will be returning soon. 🙂

 

Lido ♡ 

I’m not quite sure how my fascination with Lido’s started. It’s definitely quite a recent thing with me. Maybe it’s their association with vintage seaside fun or in some cases, the glamour of their 1930’s art deco style. Maybe it’s the fact they were often built with pleasing views in mind ,or is it that they seem a safe and only slightly warmer alternative to outdoor lake and sea swimming …. The silly thing is I’m not even a keen swimmer !  And I’ve never even been to a lido.  Maybe I can remedy at least one of those things in 2017.

Lido season is well on it’s way, so I thought I would list a few of the iconic UK outdoor pools that adorn my  pinterest board. 🙂

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The Jubilee Pool ~ Penzance, Cornwall.  A beautiful art deco seawater lido , designed in the 1930’s.  The pool is a gently curving triangular shape and is surrounded by high streamlined sea walls, which are terraced upwards in the interior. Bare in mind the water temperatures can be quite bracing !  But I’m sure the stunning Cornish Coastal views are worth it. There is  a smaller children’s pool on site too and a cafe. This years season starts at the end of May. www.jubileepool.co.uk

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Tooting Bec Lido ~ South London.  One of Britain’s oldest lidos, Tooting Bec was opened in 1906 and at that time was known as Tooting bec Lake.  It’s an unheated fresh water lido and the pool is apparently quite enomas and lined with changing rooms, featuring brightly coloured doors. It is surrounded by parkland and trees and also boasts a small cafe and kids pool. Opens from May 1st. www.visitlondon.com 

Saltdean Lido ~ Brighton.

Reopening this May after extensive restorations , Saltdean harks back to it’s art deco hey day in the thirties. It is the only grade ll listed Coastal Lido in the country and unlike the above two beauties, it will actually feature a heated pool. 🙂 Phase two of the restoration will bring back the iconic curved buildings to their former glory and include a heritage cafe.  The pool will open on the 27th of May. www.saltdeanlido.co.uk 

Thermae Bath Spa ~ Bath.  The only naturally hot (and  rich in minerals) waters in the UK , can be found in the ancient city of Bath. The Thermae Bath Spa’s Welcome package includes, use of the Indoor Minerva Pool,  Multi-Sensory Wellness Suite and use of the Roof- Top Pool , with its stunning views of the city and hills beyond.  Prices from £35 per person. www.thermaebathspa.com 

Pontypridd Lido ~ South Wales. Lido Ponty in South Wales looks like the perfect place to soak up the sun !  There are three heated swimming pools, a Heritage Visitor Centre, Cafe and children’s Adventure Play area. The Grade II listed Lido retains newly restored features , including the 1920’s turnstiles and wooden changing cubicles. Whilst it was a free attraction, 2017 sees a new £1 charge per adult.  Swimming commences at the end of May. 🙂 Check out this  website Here. 

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Ilkley Lido ~ Yorkshire.  There are Lido’s up North too !  1935 saw King George V  celebrate his Silver Jubilee and many Lido’s were opened at this time, to commemorate the occasion. Ilkley is one of those and has an unusual shape, like that of a mushroom sliced in half. With the picturesque Ilkley Moors as a scenic  backdrop , this unheated fresh water pool benefits from a cafe, picnic benches and bowling green. There is even an indoor baths for inclement weather.  The 2017 season starts on the 28th of May.  www.bradford.gov.uk 

Stonehaven Heated Open Air Pool ~ Aberdeen, Scotland.  The Uk’s  Northernmost Art Deco Lido has an Olympic Sized (and heated) Sea Water Pool.  There are large sun terraces with free recliners and a cafe on site. Midnight Swims under the stars are apparently very popular at Stonehaven. 🙂 There is also a heated indoor pool and leisure centre next door. The Lido reopens for the Summer at the end of May. www.stonehavenopenairpool.co.uk 

Bude Sea Pool ~ Cornwall.  This semi natural Sea Pool was built in the 1930s to provide safe sea swimming in a sheltered bay at Summerleaze Beach. The pool is a popular base for learning various activities including surfing and sea kayaking.  Swimming here is free. There are colourful beach huts to hire nearby and a cafe. I must admit I have actually seen this idylic attraction, bustling with holidaymakers on a warm August day. I should have ventured in !  www.budeseapool.org 

Tinside Lido ~ Plymouth.  Yet another beautiful example of thirties art deco splendor, Tinside overlooks the sea at the tip of Plymouth Hoe. The Lido is a sea water pool with three fountains and do I spy a lighthouse in the background?? On site is a coffee shop selling snacks and Icecream, but visitors can bring picnics too. There is also a Swim Shop and sun loungers for hire.  The splashing commences on Sat 27th May. 🙂 www.everyoneactivecentre.com

There are plenty more lovely Lido’s and pool’s that I could include, so why not look up your nearest outdoor pool ? London and the South of England seem to have the highest concentration of original Lido’s still in use, while the further North you go, the fewer of these iconic beauties remain. 

Lido’s need our support to stay afloat ! 

Which Lido could tempt you to dip a toe in?

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?