Tag Archives: shap

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…ย  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 winningย 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?

A Long Weekend In The Lake District.

Having recently returned from a 3 night break in the lovely Lake District, I would love to show you some photos from my stay. As per usual Wil and I were accompanied by our labrador Hugo. We stayed once again in Keswick, where we engrossed ourselves in country walks and awesome food. If you have a dog, then this Cumbrian town is super pet-friendly. Hugo must have been given a treat, everwhere we went. Luckily he had plenty of opportunities to run those tasty titbits off!

Thirlmere.

Friday ~ Snowy Thirlmere.

As we wouldn’t get the key to our accomodation until the late afternoon, we had planned a walk from Harrop Tarn to Thirlmere. The little country roads in the area were pretty icey though, so we scrapped that plan and parked at Station Coppice on the East side of Thirlmere instead. From here we took the underpass to Swirls Car Park . This is a popular starting point for the trek up Helvellyn. If you prefer a gentler stroll ( like me! ), there are various trails up into the woodland, including a Red Squirrel trail. We found a fresh white world ,the whole area was very Narnia like, under a blanket of snow. Hugo pounced in the drifts, I flung myself into snow angel shapes and a solitary herdwick , watched us with mild curiosity.

After enjoying the peaceful woodland we headed to the lake, where Hugo had a bracing paddle. Thirlmere is actually a reservoir ,created from the original smaller lake and the flooding of two hamlets Armboth and Wythburn. The industrial demands of Victorian England meant that Thirlmere was needed to supply water to the growing mill population of Manchester. To this day the 95 mile Thirlmere Aqueduct carries water to Manchester and beyond.

Around Derwentwater.

Saturday ~ Around Derwentwater.

Saturday dawned a fine bright cold day, the perfect weather for a winter walk around beautiful Derwentwater. A scenic ten mile waymarked path ambles round the shoreline , taking in stunning snow-capped mountain vistas, often reflected in the lake itself. What I particularly loved about this walk were all the interesting landmarks on route. Starting at the Friar’s Crag Viewpoint just after the Keswick Launch and Jetties, the path will regale you with many photographic opportunities. Look out for The Hundred Year Stone at Calfclose Bay, the Lodore Falls behind the Lodore Falls Hotel, The Chinese Bridge over the river Derwent inscribed with a Winnie The Pooh quote and the giant hand sculpture ‘Entrust’ near Portinscale. There are plenty of refreshment opportunities on route. We stopped off at Mary Mount Hotel for a coffee and a beer and The Lingholm Kitchen near Portinscale for a late lunch. From February The Keswick Launch reopens so if you do try out this circular walk, you can incorporate it with a cruise on the lake too.

Sunday ~ Chilled day in Keswick.

Yummy Breakfast at Jaspers in Keswick.

Eyeing up Eggs Benedict.

Sunday was a typically wet Lake District day. We decided to mostly chill in warm dry places. ๐Ÿ˜ There was the happy discovery of a new pooch themed cafe Jaspers Coffee House on Station street, which does amazing breakfasts ( see above) and has cute doggy decor.

Hugo at The Pencil Museum.

Did you know that Keswick’s Pencil Museum is home of the first pencil! The newly refurbished collection is a fun place to spend an hour out of the weather, especially if you get competitive doing the ‘Whats the point?’ Pencil Quiz. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Four legged customer in the Dog & Gun.

Leisurely Lunch at the Square Orange.๐ŸŠ

There are lots of great places to eat and drink in the town, many are very dog friendly. We always frequent the characterful Dog & Gun on Lake Road and finally managed to fit into the tiny tapas & cafe bar The Square Orange for a leisurely lunch. Definitely worth the wait!

Wet Sleddale near Shap.

Monday ~ Soggy Wet Sleddale.

Today we left Keswick and stopped off at Shap near Penrith. Again I had plans , this time for us to walk round Wet Sleddale Reservoir. But the lane down to Wet Sleddale looked pretty hazardous, so we parked in Shap and walked the 3 miles there. Maybe it is always wet and bleak here ( hence the name! ) but we didn’t make it round the reservoir. ๐Ÿ˜ Still I am up for a return visit! We saw lots of Buzzards and kestrels and the area has a connection with a cult British film. Sleddale Hall was a film location in back comedy Withnil and I.

Where have you visited in January? Or are you enjoying a spot of hibernation. ๐Ÿ˜

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. โ™ก

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

3pm. At Mums and we lit a tea light in this cute tea light holder my brother gave me for my birthday. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚