Tag Archives: steam engine

A week in the Western Lakes. 

A few days ago we got back from a whole week in the lovely Lake District. We stopped in a holiday cottage , just outside the Eskdale village of Santon Bridge. Eskdale is a glacial valley in the less touristy Western side of the Lake District National Park. For us it was the ideal getaway, a base to explore what this gorgeous area has to offer.

Ride on the Ratty.   One thing I knew I wanted to do was take a steam train journey on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway.  The railway is a 7 mile minimum gauge heritage railway , affectionately known as L’al Ratty. It was originally used to carry hematite iron ore from mines around Boot, nowadays  it’s  an inventive way to explore the surrounding countryside.  We bought return tickets from Ravenglass to Dalegarth station £13.90 each ( Hugo’s ticket was £1.50) and walked along the river Esk to Stanley Ghyll Force. Trust us to find a waterfall!  L’al Ratty also played host to an Art Installation on our visit.   The Curious Incident of the Stag on the Train Line was an exhibition  of 12 beautiful wildlife paintings by local artist Sarah Taylor.  It was fun to spot  them along the trackside. 🙂

 A Walk to Wastwater.   The nearest lake to where we were staying is also the deepest lake in The Lake District. Wastwater is three miles long , half a mile wide and 260 feet deep.  One day we walked from the  cottage to the village of Nether Wasdale and onto Wastwater. As  you can see we were lucky enough to experience the most amazing walking weather, and the Autumn colours were stunning. Hugo got to bag another lake , which brings his lakes & tarns tally to 13.  Plenty more to go at though!

 Owls at Muncaster Castle. 


Muncaster Castle dates back to medieval times and with 70 acres of wild woodland gardens , its grounds are there for exploration.  The main draw for me though was the Hawk & Owl Centre which puts on daily flying shows. I caught the morning World of Owls Flying Display, where several species of owls can be seen at close quarters. The centre works in partnership with the Hawk Conservation Trust and the talk was both informative and entertaining. Make sure you know how to duck!  Of course Hugo had to stay with Wil whilst I had all the owl themed fun. 😦 Dogs on leads are welcome in the gardens and at the afternoon Sky Hunters Display and Heron feed ( there is a special viewing area for dogs and their owners), but we left before then, to find Hugo an off lead walk.  

Bag a Wainwright.
Wil was determined that we would walk up a mountain on our holiday, and bagging a Wainwright should have been on my Bucket List! Despite not being fond of hills, I’m always in awe of the gorgeous views, once I make it up one. 😉  We chose Buckbarrow, as it was within walking distance of our cottage, and from it’s summit, we could see the sea from one side and Wastwater and the screes from the other. Quite a vista! There are 214 Wainwight Peaks altogether. This was my first! 

 

Head for the Coast.  Santon Bridge ( our base) is actually only a few miles  from the coast, so it was inevitable that we would head for the seaside. The pretty harbor village of Ravenglass has a couple of pubs , a beach and of course is home to The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. We also ventured further a field , following the coastal road to Barrow In Furness and the russet stone ruins of Furness Abbey. The ancient abbey is looked after by English Heritage and it and the museum/giftshop are fascinating to look round. From Barrow we really wanted to take a trip to Walney Island , a nature reserve that is home to a colony of Grey seals. Unfortunately a traffic accident mean’t we had to forgo our plans, so we went to Haverigg Beach instead. The beach here is especially popular with dog walkers and it looked like you could walk for miles and miles.

I really enjoyed our time in the Western Lake District. My only regret is that we didn’t get to explore some of the other lakes in the area. But we were without a car for a couple of days…..so I think we did pretty well considering. 🙂

What is your favourite part of this iconic National Park?

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Bowland Beer Hall ~ Clitheroe.

So what is a girl to do when a new bar opens, literally yards away from her house. Frequent it enthusiastically of course!  Three days on the trot. 🙂

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Dining area next to the Brewery.

The sympathetic restoration of a former textile mill in Clitheroe has been speeding ahead. Lots quicker than anyone would have thought possible, Bowland Beer Hall inside Holmes Mill, opened it’s doors this weekend.  Bowland Brewery have been busy brewing their ales on site over the last twelve months or so. I’ve often smelt the hops when I’ve nipped home from work in the week. But now the brewery has a more than suitable home to showcase its full range of Bowland Beers, as well as a huge number of guest ales. There are in fact 42 hand pulled cask ales on tap!

The Beer Hall houses what could be Britain’s longest continuous bar. It is thought to be a  tad longer than the 104ft and three inches ‘Horseshoe Bar’ in Glasgow. Die hard ale fans can buy Circumnavigation Tickets and work their way round Clitheroe’s bar. If you are not a real ale fan, don’t worry , there are plenty of wines, spirits and ciders on offer. I was keen to try a medium fruity cider called ‘ Lily The Pink’. 🙂

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Opening night outside.

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If amazing original features are what you are after, then Bowland Beer Hall has them in abundance. Many of Holmes Mill’s industrial fixtures and fittings have been retained or incorporated into the interior.

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The red telephone box was actually used a as a means of communication on the spinning room floor. It was quite a surprise to see it inside by the entrance. 🙂 The ‘Piece des resistance’ of original features though , has to be the HUGE steam engine. You cannot miss it!

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I looked up the engine here  and it is apparently a Blackburn- built Clayton, Goodfellow & Co. Ltd horizontal cross-compound type Nos 544-5 built in 1910. There you go!  A Friday night drinker ( who may or may not have been circumnavigating the bar) claims the engine’s name is Elizabeth. She is certainly handsome.  I could not help but imagine this part of the mill, to be the perfect venue for a steampunk gathering or photo shoot. What do you think?

Despite bobbing in Opening night ( Thursday) out of curiosity , and then last night as part of a ‘proper night out’ 😉 , we couldn’t resist but try out the menu for lunch today. Here’s what you can nosh with your beer.

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Wil ordered the Moules & Frites ( mussels and chips) and I decided to try one of the veggie dishes , the Mac ‘N’ Cheese Burger.

Our food came out in durable but bang on trend enamel ware and was beautifully presented. Wil said his mussels were sublime and after tasting one, I agreed, they were juicy, tender and sweet. The Mac N Cheese Burger was perfectly adequate. I do think the menu could do with a few more vegetarian options.

So Bowland Beer Hall is only one of the businesses that will reside in Holmes Mill. A Bakery, Pop-Up-Cinema, Ice cream Parlor, Food Hall, Deli, Gym, Pool, Spa and Boutique Hotel are all planned in phases with 2018 as a final completion date. Watch this Space!