Tag Archives: shap abbey

Shap Abbey & Wet Sleddale Reservoir.

So on Saturday we decided to see what the Eden valley village of Shap has to offer. To be completely honest I have never been the biggest fan of Shap. Partly because it’s one of those places that you mostly just pass through, a road of grey houses on the way North…  and partly because I actually stopped there for a night once with an ex in the deathrows of our relationship. These reasons and the fact that it usually rains in Shap ( in my experience!) haven’t exactly endeared the area to me. But I am being unfair. A little bright sunshine and some friendly hospitality has happily changed my mind.
We arrived mid morning with a destination in mind, Shap Abbey. Little is left of this twelfth century abbey except the imposing tower which looks striking against both stormy and sunny skies. Information boards scattered around the site give a you a good idea of what was where. The building was one of several used by the Premonstratensian Order of Canons before the disolvation of the monestries by King Henry VIII.
The canons were known as ‘The White Canons’ because of their unusual white woollen habits. They were apparently given good pensions when their home was destroyed , some of the abbeys stones were used to build the adjoining farm house. I can’t help but wonder if those canons still walk the grounds of a moonlit night…..

Wandering round the abbey gave us a good appetite. Shap is home to an award winning Fish & Chip shop. We headed there for lunch. Situated in the heart of the village, Shap Chippy is incredibly fresh and clean looking inside & out. The decor has a homely nautical vibe and we recieved a cheery welcome. You can eat in too, and we were pleasantly surprised that dogs are very welcome. Most importantly the fish & chips are excellent. Well recommended!



After that tasty treat we needed a good route to walk off those calories. Nearby Wet Sleddale Reservoir has a 4 mile public footpath & quiet road that circles the water. Set in the Shap Fells this triangular reservoir was built in the sixties, the water like many Lakeland reservoirs is used to supply Manchester. For this walk I recommend wearing wellies! I guess the clue is in the name. Wet Sleddale is indeed quite wet & boggy, even on a dry September day. We parked on the car park near the dam.



The countryside is lovely here and so peaceful. We only saw a couple of other walkers, so its definitely away from the Lake District crowds. Ling Heather, Scabious and Bog Asphodel grow in abundance and buzzards soar in the sky. The area also has connections with the cult ( and rather batty!) movie Withnail and I. Film locations include the stone bridge where Withnail attempts to shoot fish in the brook below and Sleddale Hall where him and his friend try holidaying in the Lake District. I took a sneak peek at the remote Hall, where outdoor screenings of Withnail and I are shown annually in the yard.


At the end of our wander round Wet Sleddale we sat and admired the gushing dam which is 21 metres high.

Have you ever visited Shap or the surrounding area?

Haweswater Gems.

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! haweswater and 217haweswater and 222haweswater and 223haweswater and 221

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?!

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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!

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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. 🙂

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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. 🙂

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What hidden gems have you discovered on your travels?

 

Photo an Hour ~ March 2016.

Janey’s  and  Louisa’s  #photoanhour challenge on Instagram is a photo challenge I do  enjoy getting involved in every now and again. It really is quite difficult snapping something you’re doing or seeing on the hour, every hour, for a whole day. The good thing about participating along with others on Instagram though, is you can see what everyone else is getting up to as well. And for someone nosy like me, that is great fun.:) It was Janey’s turn to choose the day and she picked Easter Sunday. Be prepared for the random and the mundane…….

8am. A black coffee to start the day.

9am. Car journey to visit family in the Lakes. I routed out a couple of cds for the trip.

10am. It’s a bit of a grey day travelling up the M6. But we do keep seeing old Vintage Buses for some reason.Aaaah Bisto Bus ,where are you heading?

11am. Landed at Mums and admired her potted geraniums in the window.

Noon. Headed out to find somewhere for lunch. We found a lovely ( and pet friendly) lakeside hotel looking over Haweswater.Built in the 1930s The Haweswater Hotel has a real art deco feel about it.Enjoyed a brew first to warm up then some grub.

1pm. Sharing some cake, but my picture is of Hugo watching us share some cake.We are meanies I know!

2pm. We have driven down to the end of the lake You can just make out snow on the fells there. As Hugo is still on light exercise we couldn’t take him on much of a walk,poor pup. 😦

3pm. Not far from Haweswater are the remains of Shap Abbey which we had a quick look round. It actually started hailing and the temperature was a pretty bracing 2 degrees. So didn’t linger long! I am going to write a more detailed post about the area soon.

4pm. On the way home now and we pass an Iconic M6 landmark.It’s the Forton Services near Lancaster! I must stop someday.

5pm.And home sweet home! And another brew! I think I had quite a few today.

6pm. We put Hugo’s cone back on. He has been wearing it for a week but being Easter Sunday, I thought it would be good for him to have a couple of hours off. Poor guy was neutered and after his stitches were taken out, the wound opened up again. More stitches are in there now. 😦 We have been trying to keep him calm but he is too bouncy for his own good. I know it’s probably the right thing to do, but I am quite regretting getting him done.

7pm. Cake! Sorry no Easter egg piccies. This is yummy Yorkshire Parkin given to me by this month’s Foodie Pen pal. 🙂

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8pm. And we will end with a piccie of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ which is always on in the background. 🙂

Thanks for dropping by. X