Tag Archives: ulverston

A Canal Walk To The Sea.

So here’s a throwback post to August and our stay in Arnside on the Cumbrian Coast. A short train journey away is the characterful town of Ulverston, a place we have visited several times before. The towns cobbled streets and plethora of independent shops, cafes and pubs make it a great destination for generally mooching about. After a ‘ mooch about’ we would be heading along the World’s Shortest, Deepest and Widest Canal, for a walk to the Sea.

Ulverston.
Laurel & Hardy….and friend.
Movie theatre inside the museum.

The morning we visited Ulverston it was exhibiting typical Lake District weather! To escape the rain we spent a good hour or so in the towns Laurel and Hardy Museum. Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston in 1890 and must surely be  it’s most famous resident. The museum has a good selection of the comedy duos memorabilia,  as well as a small cinema that plays Laurel & Hardy features on a loop. Our dog Hugo was made welcome and humoured us as we chuckled our way around. 😊

After a lovely lunch at the nearby Stan Laurel Inn we were suitably refreshed for a canal side walk. Ulverston Canal is a former Ship Canal which linked Ulverston to Morecambe Bay, one and a half miles away.  Completed in 1796 ,the waterway claimed to be the shortest , deepest, widest …… and straightest Canal in the World. Once upon a time passenger ships to Scotland and London embarked from here as well as cargos of local slate. But when the Railway arrived in Ulverston in the 1840s, the record breaking Canals fortunes were on the wane.  By the end of the Second World War Ulverston Canal was no longer in use.

Start of the walk at Canal Head, with views of The Hoad Monument behind us.

Today the waterway offers a serene amble from Canal Head in the town to Canal Foot with its splendid views over Morecambe Bay.  A footpath on the less industrial side of the canal is a popular stroll. There’s even a pub at the end. An incentive indeed!

Flowering Rushes.
A Map Of Ulverston Canal.
Canal Side Retreat looking out over a  million lily pads.

We saw lots of wildlife as we walked along. Plenty of waterside wildflowers and much of the surface was covered in Lily pads. Mute Swans, Comerants, Moor hens and Mallards swam and dived amongst them.

Old Man’s Beard , aka Travellers Joy.
Swanning off.

Half way along Ulverston Canal is a Rolling Bridge, the only one of its kind left in England. Forgotten about  for many years  , it was a history enthusiast who discovered the significance of the bridge and it was given Grade ll status in 2012.

Rolling Bridge.
More Lily Pads.
Juvenile Swans.
112 Foot Sea Lock, the only lock on the canal.

Before long we were at Hammerside Point , Canal Foot. Here the former Ship Canal meets the Leven Estuary. What a splendidly unexpected place…

Out to Sea.
Sign by the small car park at Canal Foot.
Leven Estuary.

For some reason I forgot to take a photo of The Bay Horse Hotel  from the outside ,so below is a distant one I found online. The former Coaching Inn enjoys stunning views over the Bay. Once upon a time it was from here that brave travellers would make the perilous journey by stage coach, over the sands to Lancaster. The arrival of the Railway probably saved a lot of lives!

Bayhorse Hotel with conservatory.
A white horse, not a Bay 🐎 horse, inside the Inn.

After a drink in the pub we retraced our steps back to Ulverston.  On the way an unassuming wooden shed near the Lock Keepers Cottage peeked my interest, especially when I saw its ‘ Welcome Humans ‘ sign?

Lock Keepers Cottage.
Welcome Humans!
Inside the shed.

Whilst looking it up online later, I discovered that the Shed is part of an interactive Art Installation Project called the Last Human Coro Shed . Perhaps not what you would expect to see where a canal meets the sea…..

Goodbye Morecambe Bay.

Thanks for joining me. 😊

Ulverston and Conishead Priory.

The John Barrow Monument.
The John Barrow Monument.

We recently stopped in a cottage by the sea , not far from the market town of Ulverston in Cumbria. You can read about our week away Here.:) Anyway as we were staying so close we paid Ulverston a couple of visits. The town is famous mostly for its association with the comedy duo ‘Laurel and Hardy’, Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston. There are reminders of these unique Hollywood stars everywhere you look. I saw a florist called ‘Floral and Hardy’ and we came across their statues outside the Town Hall. There is even a Laurel and Hardy Museum situated in the Roxy Cinema but unfortunately it was closed on a chilly January week day afternoon.

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A noticeable landmark in Ulverston is the ‘John Barrow Monument’ on Hoad Hill which commands impressive views over to Morecambe bay . Also known as the ‘ Lighthouse with no Light’ due to its lighthouse like design, it was erected in honor of ‘ Sir John Barrow’ , a local writer and explorer whose life is commemorated on colourful painted murals in the town. We had a walk up to the monument. As you can probably guess I was lagging behind and hyperventilating on the way up, such are my terrible fitness levels! Don’t worry though it really wasn’t all that far….and worth the climb. πŸ™‚

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If you fancy going somewhere a little different Conishead Priory just outside the town, on the way to Bardsea , is well worth a visit. The gothic Victorian mansion stands on the site of an ancient priory built in the 12th century. The original building was seized by the crown in the 1500s and all but destroyed. The estate passed through the gentry until the present structure was built in the 19th century by some rich landowners who then got into debt. It was sold and had a caring history as a hydro hotel, a military hospital and a residence for ill miners. It is now home to the Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre.

Conishead Priory ~ from the back.
Conishead Priory ~ from the back.

A Buddhist Community lives at Conishead and volunteers are also welcome to stay and help out with the upkeep. There were lots of leaflets about courses and meditation retreats. Its not something that I have ever thought of doing, but I did love the welcoming atmosphere and the peaceful and beautiful grounds which are full of wildlife. There is also a lovely cafe and I have to say they do a mean raspberry and yogurt flapjack! Even better dogs are welcomed into the lounge area which has comfy sofas and a flagged floor. It certainly was nice to settle back with coffees after taking our labrador Hugo for a walk through the woodland to the beach. πŸ™‚ And look out for the temple in the grounds. You can’t miss it!

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The first snowdrops I have seen this year. Lots and lots in the grounds.
The first snowdrops I have seen this year. Lots and lots in the grounds.

Ornate ceiling tiles in the coffee lounge area.
Ornate ceiling tiles in the coffee lounge area.

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Squirrel in the grounds.
Squirrel in the grounds.

Ulverston and the surrounding area lies just outside the Lake District and even better, you are minutes from the sea. πŸ™‚

The beach at Baycliff.
The beach at Baycliff.

Have you visited anywhere new recently?

Driftwood Cottage ~ Baycliff.

It was over a year ago when we booked a little holiday cottage on the Cumbria coast. Driftwood Cottage near Bardsea was booked up twelve months in advance ( its that popular) so patience had to be practised.At last January 2015 arrived. Yay! It was very much worth the wait. We chose Driftwood because it is right on the beach, has a toasty wood burner, five minutes walk to the pub, its dog friendly ( welcoming 3 well behaved hounds) and its done out in a fresh nautical style. The views over Morecambe bay are spectacular from the large picture windows in the lounge area.  Pink sunrises and windy walks on the beach are mandatory. πŸ™‚

The cottage looks out over the bay.
The cottage looks out over the bay.

Inside the cottage is so cozy. We made the most of having a wood burner and there was even a telescope to admire the scenery and the wildlife. We really liked the coffee table in the lounge which was made from an industrial cable drum.

The lounge area.
The lounge area.

Sea Views.
Sea Views.

Little Hugo is already missing the wood burner.
Little Hugo is already missing the wood burner.

A cute desk in one of the bedrooms.
A cute desk in one of the bedrooms.

Everyday we walked on the beach with Hugo. Happily we were blessed with pretty good weather for January and some days the sky was reflected in the sand. πŸ™‚

Reflections.
Reflections.

Hugo enjoying the beach.
Hugo enjoying the beach.

We often had the beach to ourselves. We did meet a few friendly dogs like Daisy the collie here. :)
We often had the beach to ourselves. We did meet a few friendly dogs like Daisy the collie here. πŸ™‚

The bay was always busy with wading birds and we even saw a couple of shelducks. If anyone knows what the birds below are, please let me know.

Some kind of Snipe or curlew maybe.
Some kind of Snipe or curlew maybe.

Shelduck.
Shelduck.

An old jetty.
An old jetty.

Not sure what this bird is.  There were lots of them.
Not sure what this bird is. There were lots of them.

The beach held other surprises too……

Willow deer statue.
Willow deer statue.

Thoughtful etchings.
Thoughtful etchings.

Quirky Beach House.
Quirky Beach House.

And Quirky Art.
And Quirky Art.

The cottage is only five minutes walk from the village of Baycliff which has two pubs, a farm shop and a childrens play area. We actually only went to one of the pubs, ‘The Farmers Arms’ which is dog friendly ( the owners made a real fuss of Hugo), has a small selection of real ales and serves delicious food. Its best to book if you want to eat there though. Weekends and Wednesdays( Fish and Chips Night) especially.

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Fish and Chips at the Farmers.

I will post about a couple of places we visited whilst staying at the cottage soon. Being out of season though, a lot of the attractions below are not yet open. But you may find them useful in later months. We were also a little limited by Hugos car sickness. Not much fun traveling with a puking puppy! So we tended to stay quite local. Not that we minded, as Driftwood Cottage and the surrounding area are quite beautiful.Wouldn’t you agree? X

Wish you were here...
Wish you were here…

Family days Out.

Muncaster Castle.
Wild Life Oasis Park.
The Lakes Aquarium at Lakeside, Windermere.
Tree Top Trek.
Wray Castle.
Old Hall Farm at Bouth.

Lake Windermere from Ambleside.
Lake Windermere from Ambleside.

Take the dogs too.

Conistone Priory and grounds.
Lakeland Motor Museum.
John Barrow Monument on Hoad Hill.
Ulverston’s Laurel and Hardy Museum.
Lake Windermere Cruises.
La’al Ratty Steam Railway.

January Photo an Hour.

The lovely Louisa from Duck in a DressΒ  has taken over the mantle from Janey of organizing Photo An Hour every month. For January she chose last Saturday. We happen to be on holiday at the moment in a cottage on the Cumbrian coast. Wils brother and his wife came over for the night.So my pics include some sea, booze and food. πŸ™‚

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9am. A lovely lie in ( hurrah!) and a spot of breakfast telly.

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10am. Hugo is still small enough to be picked up for a cuddle. πŸ™‚

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11am. Out and about on the beach in the front of the cottage.

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Noon. Cheesy lunch!

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1pm. Headed out to Ulverston ( the nearest town) and we are about to climb up to the John Barrow Monument on Hoad Hill. This pic was taken at about half past really. It didn’t take an hour to get to the top!

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2pm. View from the top of Hoad Hill, looking out toward Morecambe Bay.

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3pm. Rainbow in Ulverston. :))

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4pm. Sheltering from the rain in a pub in Ulverston.

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5pm. Back to the cottage and Wil lit the fire. Its toasty!

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6pm.Β  Watching ‘Pointless Celeberities’ before we go out for tea.

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7pm. Enjoying a cider….and another toasty fire in the Farmers Arms at Baycliff, the tiny village we are stopping in.

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8pm. Tea in the pub. An amazingly tasty burger.

And thats it for my photos.But when I get home I’m sure I will post a few blogs about my stay here. Its such a lovely place and we adore the cottage. πŸ™‚