Tag Archives: walking

Camping and a walk in the Forest Of Bowland.

No need to dust down the old leaky tent for the first camping trip of the year ! Happily We  Wil had bought a nice new one a few weeks previously . This tent was meant to be the same model as our original. But it seems a whole lot bigger. Erm it’s practically a marquee !

Anyway we didn’t venture to far from home. We chose Fell View Park near the pretty village of Scorton. Perched on the edge of the Forest Of Bowland AONB , Fell View is adjacent to the owners farm and is surrounded by meadows full of bleating lambs and nesting lapwings.

scorton and heysham
Hawthorn Hedge.

The campsite has plenty of EHU points, good hot showers, an undercover washing up area and a small fishing lake , which is home to lots of ducks and geese.  We stayed in the non electric tent field and had it all to ourselves for the first night.  The hedges were heavy with the scent of hawthorn blossom and the resident Greylag Geese were happily honking away.

scorton and heysham 107
Mama and brood.

There’s a little Local Information Room on site with maps of nearby walks , so we took a leaflet for a Circular Route taking in ‘Nicky Nook’. The fell top is a relatively easy walk ~ about 215m to the top.

scorton and heysham 034
Spot the Lapwing.
scorton and heysham 001
Bowland Fells.
scorton and heysham 004
Nicky Nook Summit,
scorton and heysham 007
Cotton Grass.
scorton and heysham 005
The Tarn.
scorton and heysham 012
Descending Nicky Nook.
scorton and heysham 011
Golden Gorse Blooms.

As you can see ‘ The Forest Of Bowland’ is not actually a forest in the traditional sense. The name Forest was given to Royal Hunting grounds in ancient times. Bowland is made up of  ruggedly beautiful moorland and gentle lowlands. The AONB actually covers 312 square miles of rural Lancashire and neighboring Yorkshire.

After descending ‘Nicky Nook’ we found ourselves on a country lane and followed the signs to the Apple Store Cafe  in Wyresdale Park.  The cafe set in a sheltered walled garden in the grounds of Wyresdale Hall, is the perfect place to drop by for a brew and a cake. 🙂  We sat outside , though it did look lovely inside, the glass house interior felt a little stuffy even on quite a drizzley day. The lovely waitress served our refreshments on mismatched vintage crockery, and even brought out a sausage for Hugo! 

scorton and heysham 028

scorton and heysham 019
The Apple Store.
scorton and heysham 013
My tea came in a Henry viii adorned teapot. 🙂

 After tea and cake we explored the grounds a bit ( I never saw the estate peacocks 😦 ) and then decided to deviate from our route and headed into Scorton itself for a wander. On the way we spied this cute cottage with it’s quirky garden signage.

 To get to Scorton we had to cross the M6. Who knew that such a tranquil place is so close to the motorway. The pretty village  has  a Bar Restaurant, spa shop and a cafe/gift shop. We had a couple of drinks in the lovely and dog friendly Priory Stout Bar. 

scorton and heysham 027
The rare Hen Harrier is the symbol of The Forest of Bowland.
scorton and heysham 023
A Scorton Doorway.
scorton and heysham 103
Typical Village transport. 😉

 

scorton and heysham 025
Hugo looking sorry for himself. The Priory is a friendly place to unwind with a drink or enjoy a meal. Pets welcome! 

 After a drink or two we continued on our way. We headed back through Wyresdale Park, across the fields and onwards to the campsite. It was a beautiful walk. 🙂

scorton and heysham 030
Bluebells.
scorton and heysham 033
Friendly horses.

 

scorton and heysham 110
Cheeky lambs.

Fell View is definitely a campsite we will return to I think ,as there is so much nearby countryside to explore and the area is indeed one of Outstanding natural beauty.  🙂

A Pet-friendly Break in Keswick.

When planning a break with your four-legged friend , it is always handy to know that one particular Lake District resort has been voted ‘Uk’s Most Dog Friendly Town’ by the Kennel Club for four years on the trot. Lovely Keswick has it all. Stunning countryside with miles and miles of walks, a beautiful lake ( Derwentwater), cosy pubs and cafes, eclectic  shops , several dog-friendly parks and a  variety of accommodation  and visitor attractions that welcome waggy tails.  It seemed the ‘Pawfect’ place for a January Break with our labrador Hugo. 🙂 Here’s what we got up to….

Where we stopped.   We booked  Butterfly Cottage through Sally’s Cottages  who are based in Keswick. They have over 230 pet friendly holiday cottages in The Lake District and Cumbria. Our bijou retreat was so cosy with its Wood Burning Stove ( a must for a Winter Break), open plan downstairs space, fully equipped kitchen and beautiful bedroom with comfy King Size Bed. The location was really handy for everything in town and it was super useful to have an enclosed back yard with a muddy boots and paws wash.

Where we walked.  Every morning before breakfast we headed to Crow Park on the banks of Derwent Water. This is one of three Dog Friendly Parks in Keswick that we noticed. The others are Hope park and Fitz Park.  Each morning depending on the weather, the scenery changed. Sometimes the mountains were bathed in gold, sometimes they were an angry slate blue. It was peaceful there and Hugo had a great run around.

keswick-jan-158 keswick-jan-088

keswick-jan-094

keswick-jan-160

keswick-jan-093

There is a ten mile circular walk around Derwent Water itself which we hope to try on our next visit. We did however revisit a Railway walk which we enjoyed  whilst camping in Keswick a couple of years ago.  The Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path is now partially destroyed due to last Winter’s storms but what remains, still makes for a pleasant stroll or bike ride. The walk starts from the Swimming Baths near Fitz Park.

keswick-jan-113

keswick-jan-112

keswick-jan-123

keswick-jan-117

We also walked up to  Castlerigg Stone Circle situated just outside of Keswick off Castle lane. With the mountains of Helvellyn and High Street as a backdrop, the stone circle is among the earliest in Britain, dating back to 3000 BC.  On a clearer day the views are stunning.

keswick-jan-146

keswick-jan-152
Castlerigg Stone Circle.

Places to  Eat & Drink.   Keswick is great for dog friendly pubs and cafes.  In fact  all the pubs in Keswick welcome dogs except for the Wetherspoons.  Of course we made it our mission to try out as many as we could !  My favourites were The George Hotel with it’s cosy seating area by the fire, The Wainwright Pub, The Packhorse  Inn,  and of course The Dog and Gun famed for it’s ‘Homemade Goulash’ and doggy treat menu. 🙂

I don’t know about you but for breakfast on holidays I love pancakes. 🙂  Keswick has that sorted . We loved  Merienda  on the main street. It’s a fab Cafe Restaurant open for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner.  With an 8am opening time Mon-Sats and 9am on Sunday it is the perfect place to refuel before yomping up those hills. Another great venue for early starters is Cafe Bar 26 on Lake Road which does amazing Full Spanish Breakfasts. And both do make delicious  pancakes. 🙂

keswick-jan-103
Merienda
keswick-jan-139
Bar 26.

Many of the pubs serve great food ( try the Royal Oak for their amazing Cheese Boards & Platters) and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in Keswick that welcome dogs. As well as Bar 26 and Merienda look out for The Square Orange Bar/Cafe, Java Chocolate & Coffee Shop, Lakes Bistro & Bar, The Filling Station, Little Chamonix, Laura in The lakes, Kat’s Kitchen ( Veggie ) and Mrs F’s Fine Food emporium, to name but a few.

Shopping.  Plenty of shops in the town don’t mind you being accompanied by your four legged friend. I find the best thing to do is always ask first. Lots of the Outdoorsy shops are dog friendly and so are many others. Hugo visited lovely gift emporiums Cherrydidi  and Love The lakes  on St John’s Street, for holiday souvenirs. He also bobbed into Keswick’s well loved Pet Store Podgy Paws which is a great place to visit for advice on local walks and dog friendly places, activities and attractions.

lakes-may-2016-137
My picture of Cherrydidi Shop Dog Zak, taken last Summer. He has his own range of Zak merchandise and is a complete babe. 🙂

Visitor Attractions.  Here is a quick list of pet friendly things to do and places to visit in Keswick and the surrounding area. 🙂

Cumberland Pencil Museum. Carding Mill Lane. Journey through the history of pencils and pencil making. Home to the biggest colouring pencil in the world! pencilmuseum.co.uk

Keswick Launch Company. Derwentwater. See the gorgeous scenery of Derwentwater on a lake cruise. keswicklaunch.co.uk

A Puzzling Place. 9 Museum Square. An exhibition of optical illusions and trickery. puzzlingplace.co.uk

Keswick Climbing Wall. Goosewell Farm. Indoor and Outdoor Adventure Centre. keswickclimbingwall.co.uk

Castlerigg Stone Circle. Near Goosewell Farm.

Whinlatter Forest Park. England’s only true Mountain Forest with walks, trails and adventure play. forestry.gov.uk

Mirehouse & Gardens. Stately Home and gardens on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. Dogs welcome in the gardens and grounds. mirehouse.co.uk

The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden. Portinscale.  Beatrix Potter often holidayed here and the garden was the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale Of Peter Rabbit. Reachable via a lake jetty or car. thelingholmestate.co.uk

 

keswick-jan-126
Hugo by Derwentwater.

I shall certainly take a look at the list on our next visit to Keswick. Hugo cannot wait to go again…and nor can we. 🙂

Can you recommend any dog friendly destinations?

 

 

 

The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk.

At the Weekend I got to tick something off my Bucket List and raise a bit of money for charity. Can’t be bad!  For a while now I have wanted to do ‘The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk’ which is a guided walk across the shifting sands between Arnside and Grange-Over-Sands in Cumbria. The walks are led by Cedric Robinson MBE ( the Queen’s Official Guide), who has been escorting thousands of charity fundraisers safely  over the bay since 1963. That makes him pretty darn experienced , wouldn’t you agree !

morecambe-bay-walk-002

The walk starts on the front at pretty Arnside. No Hugo is not seeing us off. He will be joining us for this 8 mile trek over the bay. 🙂

morecambe-bay-walk-019

There are about 200 people joining us too, dressed mostly in shorts and trainers or walking sandals. Some brought the kids and others bring four legged friends. We were soon met by Cedric in his trusty tractor.

morecambe-bay-walk-018

Cedric is a bit of a celebrity so he poses for a few photos with fans before we set off.

The sands are so beautiful and stretch out for miles in front of us. They are also very dangerous so it’s important never to cross without a respected guide.

morecambe-bay-walk-028

Even in such an impressive turnout, it is possible to enjoy the serenity of the seascape.

morecambe-bay-walk-029

Eventually we cross our first channel !  The River Kent creates the channels and we are soon paddling…….

morecambe-bay-walk-031

Even these little fellas are doing the doggy paddle. 🙂  One Jack Russell Terrier called Cato still kept paddling with his front paws in mid air,even after his owner picked him up. Aww!

morecambe-bay-walk-033

The water comes up to my mid thigh. Yep I’m a short arse!  Hugo does swimmingly well. 🙂

morecambe-bay-walk-034

I resigned myself to the fact that I would get pretty wet. So did Hugo ! Luckily the weather is kind to us and amazingly we don’t feel cold at all.

morecambe-bay-walk-039

morecambe-bay-walk-040

We cross several channels in this way. The route is marked by Laurel Branches, chosen because their leaves do not drop.

morecambe-bay-walk-041

morecambe-bay-walk-043

Cedric keeps an eye out for us all. I ask him if , as the Queen’s Official Guide, he has ever taken Her Majesty across Morecambe Bay. He hasn’t ( yet! ) but he has had the pleasure of accompanying Prince Phillip in the 1980s. He had to tell The Duke off for  driving his horse and carriage to fast over the sands!

Our walk takes a little over four hours and ends at Kent Bank station ,just outside Grange-Over-Sands. We amble back to our little B&B muddy, with aching legs and a great sense of achievement. 🙂

If you would like to donate to my  Just Giving  page please do. We are raising money for ‘East Lancs Hospice’.

And here is some more information about The Morecambe Bay Walk.

Birds that Brunch and Signs of Spring.

birdys spring feb 015

Yesterday I took my camera down the fields in the hope of capturing one of the Barn Owls I frequently see when I’m walking the hound. Yes I know, I am one lucky girl! But the enchanting creatures, who I often see hunting in daylight ( I didn’t know they did that!) proved elusive this time. Just knowing they are around ( possibly due to ground being disturbed because of new housing estates being built in the area ) gives me hope that I will get my shot one day. 🙂

The birds I can depend on not to be too camera shy are the various garden types  that feed in a gateway to the campsite near the river. Some kind soul puts food out for them every day. These birdies know how to Brunch. 🙂

birds jan 020
Female Blackbird.
birds jan 015
Long tailed Tit.
birdys spring feb 007
Chaffinch.
birdys spring feb 003
Robin.
birds jan 019
Nuthatch.
birdys spring feb 006
Blackbird.

I hung around for a while, until my feet started getting a wee bit cold. If I tell you I also saw two Jays but couldn’t get a picture, you will know how disappointed I was. 😦  But the fact that wildlife is thriving down by the river does make me happy. I frequently see Kingfishers, Herons, Dippers and Goosander. Two walkers told me recently that they have spied Otters! And of course the camera shy Barn Owl(s) are possibly the most beautiful and graceful birds I have ever seen in the wild. 🙂

birdys spring feb 011
Catkins or Lambs tails.
birdys spring feb 014
Snowdrops.

And despite the cold weather it does appear that Spring is just round the corner. 🙂

Have you spotted any signs of Spring yet?

Would you stay in a Bothy?

bothy2I’ve currently been tucked up in bed at nights with the wind howling outside ( Storm Imogen I believe 😉 ) and a good book , one that I have become thoroughly engrossed in. The Book Of The Bothy by Phoebe Smith is a celebration of these humble ‘stone tents’ that offer a basic shelter and roof over the head of weary walkers in the remotest parts of the UK. Phoebe , a renowned travel journalist and serial ‘Bothy bagger’, has chosen 26 of her favourite MBA ( Mountain Bothies Association) bothies to hike to,spend the night in and write about. On the back of the book Phoebe explains ‘ I believe, if you wanted to, you could spend a whole summer staying in bothies, travelling from place to place,taking in one spectacular landscape after another with nothing but your rucksack, map and thirst for adventure. And the best thing? It wouldn’t cost you a penny….

bothy3
The Lookout – Isle of Skye ( Image www.cicerone.co.uk )

It’s true, bothies are Free! Free places to stay for anyone and everyone. They are often abandoned farmsteads or cottages, sometimes with only one room and sometimes larger. They are incredibly basic inside with no running water, electricity or bathroom facilities. They are always a good hike away from civilisation of any kind and are left unlocked so wandering walkers can bed down in them for the night. The  MBA looks after 100 bothies around Britain. Most of them are found in the wilds of Scotland but there are a few in Northern England and rural Wales  which are mentioned in the book.

The Book of the Bothy is set out for an easy and informative read. There’s a map in the front with the locations of the bothies dotted in red. Phoebe’s introduction covers the history of bothies, their pro’s ( space to sleep, escape from midges etc) and cons ( Mice, spider’s, loud snorers! ) ,what to take, bothy etiquette ( leaving it tidy etc) and safety.

She also mentions Bothy traditions such as walker’s sharing a sip of whisky or two from a sigg bottle and of course filling in the Bothy Book.  Every bothy has a kind of visitor’s book in which walkers can record their  stays adventures and experiences. Seems like a useful tradition. 🙂

The rest of this handy guide  concentrates on each individual bothy and Phoebe tells the reader the routes she followed ( there’s always a handy map reference), what to look out for ( wildlife,landmarks etc), essential information ( water sources, facilities etc) and she also writes her own Bothy Book entry for each property. 🙂

bothy 4
The author inside a rather ‘luxurious’ bothy in the Highlands. 🙂

I’m really enjoying reading about Phoebe’s Bothy bagging and even though I usually hyperventilate at the thought of hiking anywhere…….this book is almost inspiring me to seek out a bothy. I think I would have to persuade Wil too, mind. What about you? Would you stay in a bothy??

You can buy The Book of the Bothy  at www.cicerone.co.uk

Pendle Sculpture Trail.

Although I live a stones throw from Pendle Hill ( I can see its gently brooding slopes from the bedroom window), it is not often that we have travelled to the other side of Pendle and explored the countryside there. Such an occasion though came up on Sunday afternoon.The weather was glorious, both sunny and warm, quite rare for an Octobers day. We arranged to meet my sister and her family and some friends in the pretty little village of Barley which nestles at the foot of the hill. Having done some research online , I had come across various information about ‘The Pendle Sculpture Trail’ in Aitken Wood. In the process I found a lovely new blog to follow ( Home Jules) and this is Julie’s great post about the trail and surrounding area here…

pendle Hill from Black Moss reservoirs.
pendle Hill from Black Moss reservoirs.

Having parked in Barley car park ( £1 charge for the day), we headed out of the village towards Black Moss Reservoirs and followed the track up to Aitken Wood. The trail is signposted so was no problem to find.Leaflets and maps are available from the Cabin Cafe, next to the car park.

Walking to Aitken Wood.
Walking to Aitken Wood.

The Sculptures take their inspiration from the areas wildlife and nature as well as various events that are associated with Pendle Hill. It is from the top of Pendle that in 1652, George Fox had a religious vision which led him to found the Quaker movement. And Pendle also has connections with witchcraft. Over 400 years ago nine innocent residents of nearby villages were hanged in Lancaster, after Britain’s biggest witchcraft trial. The sculpture trail celebrates the area’s beauty and reflects on those times past.

Broomsticks. :)
Broomsticks. 🙂
Witchfinder Sculpture.
Witchfinder Sculpture.
Beautiful moss.
Beautiful moss.
Upside down Bat.
Upside down Bat.
Curving tree sculpture.
Curving tree sculpture.
Toadstools ( real ones.)
Toadstools ( real ones.)

I especially liked the ceramic plaques by artist Sarah McDade ,which were dotted around the forest. There are nine to find and each one represents one of the ‘witches’ who went on trial.

The sheep's skull  representing John Bulcock, who was said to have roasted stolen mutton at a meeting to plot the release of four witches taken to Lancaster Castle Gaol.
The sheep’s skull representing John Bulcock, who was said to have roasted stolen mutton at a meeting to plot the release of four witches taken to Lancaster Castle Gaol.
The Hare plaque represents James Device who apparently saw a strange Hare like creature after eating communion bread.
The Hare plaque represents James Device who apparently saw a strange Hare like creature after eating communion bread.
Anne Redferne was accused of making a clay doll , to put a spell on a local man.
Anne Redferne was accused of making a clay doll , to put a spell on a local man.

We had such a lot of fun doing the Pendle Sculpture Trail, although we somehow managed to miss out on spotting a few of the sculptures. Thats ok though as we intend to go again. 🙂

Four kids, two Bedlington terriers and a few of the grown ups. :)
Four kids, two Bedlington terriers and a few of the grown ups. 🙂

When we got back to the village , the kids had a play on the swings and then we stopped for a pint at The Pendle Inn which is dog friendly and has a decent looking menu and a selection of real ales.

Heading back with views of pendle.
Heading back with views of pendle.
Friendly cat in the village.
Friendly cat in the village.
Pendle Inn Pub sign.
Pendle Inn Pub sign.

For those of you who are interested , nearby Newchurch ( 1 mile from Barley) has a witchy shop and cafe called ‘Witches Galore’ , with a scary looking witch stood outside. I made Wil take me for a nosy before we met the others. 🙂

pendle sculpture trail 005

I’m so glad we found a new area to walk in. I think its somewhere we will take a certain ‘Mr Hugo’ when he is old enough. 🙂

Thanks for dropping by.

Cows and Cow Parsley.

Bank Holiday Monday ~ and I decided to take an afternoon walk up past Standen Hall, instead of heading to the river which I imagine was packed with picnickers. I made my way through some grassy meadows and walked to Lane ends which runs along side the by pass. Cow Parsley was everywhere. And I came across some sunbathing cows. 🙂

Cow parsley is also known as Queen Annes Lace.
Cow parsley is also known as Queen Annes Lace.
Vivid blue forgetmenots.
Vivid blue forgetmenots.
How Now Brown Cow!
How Now Brown Cow!
Dandelion Clock.
Dandelion Clock.
MooooooCows. :)
MooooooCows. 🙂
Country road....
Country road….
Cow Parsley.
Cow Parsley.
Standen Hall through the trees.
Standen Hall through the trees.
Pink Rhodedendrans.
Pink Rhodedendrans.
Grey Wagtail.
Grey Wagtail.
Buttercups.
Buttercups.
Hawthorn blossom.
Hawthorn blossom.