Santon Bridge, Holmrook, Cumbria

The Old Post Office Campsite at Santon Bridge, Holmrook in the Lake District was the destination for our most recent Jolly adventure.  It’s a privately run riverside site comprising both hard standing and grass pitches with the usual facilities.  We used our onboard facilities though.  Some of the pitches overlook the River Irt and we were lucky enough to be allocated one of these, a hard standing with EHU.

Couldn’t fault the location – riverside, countryside and just a short stroll over the bridge to the Bridge Inn pub which serves great food.   We ate here on both nights.

Many people visit this area to climb Scaffell Pike and enjoy the various other walks the area has to offer.   The scenery is truly spectacular in this less touristy western lakes area.

On the Saturday we jumped on our bikes to cycle the undulating country road that runs alongside the shores of Wastwater towards Wasdale Head.  This area has a number of  claims to fame as the home of England’s highest mountain (Scafell Pike), deepest lake (Wastwater), smallest church (St Olaf’s) and the biggest liar 🤥.

This was the route we took.  If you look closely you can see I’ve placed faint red bike symbols along the yellow route.  Sorry if it isn’t particularly good, but what do you expect for free?! 🤓😉.

Map of our cycle route

The weather during our stay was fabulously hot and sunny 😎, in fact possibly the best weather we’ve experienced in the Lakes.  We had an active day, but made plenty of time to stop and take in the beauty of the area.   At one point we were sitting on a steep, rocky mound overlooking the lake when we both caught a glimpse out of the corner of our eyes of a cycle helmet rolling and bouncing down the banking … then into the lake  *splash* 💦😳.   Bri enjoyed the feeling of the wind flowing through his locks for the rest of the day.

As you can imagine in such stunning surroundings, there were a lot of photographs to be taken so I’ll stick ‘em in a slide show:-

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We had a well earned pit stop sitting out at the Wasdale Head Inn before our return journey by the same route, with a slight detour into Nether Wasdale.

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Wow, what a weekend made all the more perfect by the weather.  We couldn’t have hoped to see Wasdale in better conditions.  After our little detour on the way home we cycled back to The Bridge Inn next door to camp for some tea before returning to site to relax.

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The next morning was more overcast though still warm as we packed up for home, taking an unintentional route over some fell or other, we know not which (Birker Fell?).  Anyhow, we were pleased to descend back down into Broughton-in-Furness to pick up the ‘A’ roads again.

Yet more great memories made.  Our next adventure will be our annual Jolly June Jaunt.  Bring it on!

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Lakes & Fells Caravan Site, Newby Bridge, Cumbria

Sooo, what a lovely weekend we’ve just had in Jolly, staying around the Newby Bridge area of the Lake District, Cumbria, at the southern tip of Lake Windermere.

You wouldn’t think it was supposed to be Spring, meteorologically speaking anyway.  The weather was definitely more wintry. Astronomically, Spring didn’t start until 20th March though, so for the intervening period and to avoid ourselves any further confusion we declared a new season – ‘Sprinter’ 😁.

Anyhoo, for this Sprinter break we enjoyed some changeable but very lovely weather. A little snow but not too much and plenty of bright sunshine in between the snow showers. It was breezy, windier through the nights, but when wrapped up warm during the daytime it made for a perfect couple of days out and about in the picturesque Lake District.

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We arrived on Friday afternoon and stayed at the Lakes & Fells Caravan Site which is approximately 1.5 miles outside Newby Bridge. It’s a small Camping and Caravanning Club CS member-only site of 5 pitches and is adults-only. Each pitch is spacious with electric hook-up, drinking water tap and a satellite connection. There’s a motorhome waste water disposal area and a chemical toilet disposal point located a little way out of the pitch area up a grass banking.

The site’s quiet and secluded and it suited us well. Each pitch was occupied during our stay. We didn’t see the owners, probably missed them as we were out and about through the daylight hours. When it came to leaving we rang them and they directed us to a box on the gate of the pitch area, asking us to place our money in a waterproof bag (it rains in the box a little) and post it in the box.  It was 24 for two nights which we thought very reasonable.

Soon after arrival and a steaming hot mug of tea, we walked the 1.5 miles or so down into Newby Bridge, turning right out of the site and following the main road down. There is a more scenic, slightly longer walk which can be taken by turning left out of site through Finsthwaite, down by the church, where there’s a sign for Newby Bridge off to the right. Not sure the details of this route but presume it brings you out alongside the river at Newby Bridge.

Anyway, on our route down the main road to Newby Bridge we took care as it was fairly busy with bends and turns and there’s always at least one nutter who sees no reason to expect walkers around a bend … until he/she sees the whites of their eyes  👀 ).

About half a mile down we passed the Quay at Lakeside and the Lakeside Hotel. From the Lakeside Pier you can board steamers and explore the Windermere area further. We’ve used these in the past when we’ve stayed at the Lakeside Hotel before our Jolly days, but we didn’t use them during this stay.

We had an eventful walk that afternoon. About a further half a mile down, as we were bumbling along the road we heard the plaintive cry of a lamb, and on looking over the wall we saw the heartbreaking sight of a little lost lamb by a roadside stream.

Without further ado, we immediately instigated “Operation Jolly Lamb Rescue”, both climbing the wall, crossing the shallow stream, and coaxing the lamb back up through the thicket and eventually over the fencing it must’ve come through. We then carried Lucky (we hope he was) back across the field to his flock and left him with them in the hope that his mother would locate him or at the very least the farmer would know he was there. We’d no idea whose land it was.  Fingers crossed all turned out well for the little one 🐑.

 

Another half a mile later mile we crossed a bridge over the old Lakeside & Haverthwaite Heritage Railway line before arriving in Newby Bridge, a small hamlet which got its name from the 5-arched 17th century stone bridge which spans the River Leven there.

We pottered and called into The Huntsman’s Inn (he wasn’t) at the Newby Bridge Hotel and later had a fish n chip supper at the Swan Hotel before commencing our walk back to camp armed with high viz jackets and torch 🔦.

The wind was quite wild at times during the night but we woke to a beautiful Sprinter’s day. After a toasted tea cake & a mug of tea we made flasks up and headed out for a walk up to High Dam.  We turned left out of site towards Finsthwaite, passing the old Stott Park Bobbin Mill.  This mill is open as a visitor attraction and on our next stay here we’ll call but unfortunately it was still closed for winter during our visit (it opens at the end of March).

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Following the road to Finsthwaite we reached the Finsthwaite High Dam car park and started the climb up from there. The weather really made this walk something special, as it was bitterly cold, but there were periods of bright sunshine in between snow flurries with the flakes dancing around the air and over the water. It made for some impressive photographic scenes.

We passed Low Dam just before reaching High Dam, which used to serve Bobbin Mill in its day, and carried on walking right around the Dam.  We took time to sit on a bench half way around to take in the beautiful view and have cup of warming hot coffee. Although this isn’t by any means a long or difficult walk, except maybe the uneven rocky terrain in some areas on the way up, the rewarding views, particularly on a day like we had make it an absolute gem not to be overlooked if in the area.

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Suzie getting arty farty – snow flakes dancing in the air at High Dam

We came down from our High Dam visit and walked through the small village of Finsthwaite, turning down past St Peter’s Church. Here, there are footpaths either to Lakeside or Newby Bridge. We carried on straight ahead towards Lakeside as we planned on eating there that evening. It was about a mile or so away, across a field and through Great Knott Wood before re-joining the main road just up from the Lakeside Hotel.

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There’s a cosy bar at the Lakeside Hotel and we enjoyed a couple of drinks before eating in the John Ruskin Brasserie within the hotel. Not the cheapest of eats, but the food there was absolutely delicious – we can recommend the fillet steak and the sea bass. Yum! 😋.

Top o’ the day to ya! We took Seamus along to raise a glass for St Patrick’s Day 🍻 ☘️

By the time we left the hotel, the snow had set in again and was beginning to stick as we headed back the half mile to camp.  By the time we arrived back at Jolly it was looking like it might get to a decent depth. However, by the time morning arrived and the sunshine came out it started to melt away quickly before we set off for home.

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Another top weekend and we’ll probably return to this site to visit the mill, Lakeside Quay and I think there’s a walk up to Finsthwaite Tower from Newby Bridge. Someone had said to us there’s nothing to do in Newby Bridge, but we found plenty!

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

An Autumnal Coniston, Lake District

This month we returned to Coniston in the Lake District.  It’s definitely one of our favourites, not only because of the beauty of the area but because it was the destination for our maiden Jolly adventure back in March, 2014.   We’ve been here three times now in Jolly – see previous blog posts by searching ‘Coniston’.

As per previous visits, we pitched up at Coniston Park Coppice Caravan Club Site

Jolly doing his best Elvis impression – I’m all hooked up ooh hoo hoo, ooh hoo, yeah yeahhhh …

It’s a huge site of 228 touring pitches, some tent pitches and there are now some camping pods named after Coniston’s famous speedster son, Donald Campbell, and a few luxury chalets.  The site’s open all year round but out of season only the top end remains open.  During our visit the whole site was still open, a first for us and we really got a feel of the size of the site.  There are pitches to suit everyone, well spaced too.

We find this site ideally located between Coniston itself and the small village of Torver which we like to visit on our first evening there.  We’ve had some good times at the Wilsons Arms  with its warm open fire, friendly welcome, good beer, great food and relaxing ambience.  Perfect.

 

There’s another pub in Torver, the Church House Inn which is equally nice and also has a 5-pitch caravan/motorhome site to the rear.  Facilities provided are: a toilet and shower block and water supply.  Prices for Caravan Club members start at £10 per night. We didn’t call in this time though as it was shut on the Friday night which was unusual.  Maybe they’d heard we were coming?

This was our first visit to Coniston in Autumn and what a stunning show of autumnal hues we were treated to.  The weather was wet and there was already quite a lot of surface water before we arrived.  Never ones to allow a bit of rain and mud to stop us though, we had a great time … and plenty of mud-caked laundry on our return.

 

A great weekend.  Not sure where we’re off to next just yet.

Oh, nearly forgot, Ed Sheeran works at The Ship Inn, Coniston where we ate on our last evening following a day out on the bikes around the local area …

Cheeky little photo with Ed!

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria

Jolly recently took us to Woodclose Park approx. half a mile outside the pretty, historic market town of Kirkby Lonsdale, on the border between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

Woodclose Park is beautifully laid out and immaculately maintained with excellent facilities.  We stayed in the circular touring section on pitch number 2.  The pitches were well spaced and fully serviced with water, electric, grey waste drain & tv hook-up points.

It was a busy weekend there but the atmosphere remained chilled and very peaceful.  All of the staff were friendly, especially Rick who we spoke to a couple of times and who gave us some recommendations and info about the area.

Kirkby Lonsdale is such a lovely town with an array of shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.  There’s a Market day on Thursdays and a Farmers Market on the first Thursday of the month.  They also have a Victorian Street Fair during the first week in September.

In 2013, the town was used as one of the filming locations for the BBC drama ‘Jamaica Inn‘ We didn’t watch the drama but have googled it since to see the transformation of the town centre that was carried out.

The best walk from site into town takes you over the ancient 3-arched Devil’s Bridge, which crosses the River Lune and dates back to the 12th/13th Century.  It’s a popular site for tourists and has a butty/brew van and an ice-cream van parked up there.  It’s a favourite haunt for motorcyclists and we also noticed that several motorhomes stayed overnight in a parking lay-by nearby.

After the bridge, turn right and follow the path along the riverbank until you reach the 86 ‘Radical Steps’.  These steps take you up into St Mary’s churchyard and some gates lead out into the town centre.

According to a sign we read along the walk, the ‘Radical Steps’ came about in 1820 when Dr Francis Pearson, a man who held very strong Liberal views, obtained an order to divert a public footpath that ran through his garden at Abbots Brow.  Many locals were opposed to this and as a result the flight of steps that replaced the footpath became known as the ‘Radical Steps’ in reference to Dr Pearson’s radical politics.

After climbing to the top of the steps you reach St Mary’s Churchyard.  If you turn right at the top and walk just a little further along you come to ‘Ruskin’s View’.  It’s the point from which the famous artist JMW Turner painted the River Lune in 1822.  His painting moved the poet John Ruskin to write:

‘I do not know in all my own country, still less in France or Italy, a place more naturally divine’

Ruskin was so impressed with the painting that he described the panorama as ‘one of the loveliest views in England, therefore in the world’. The painting became known as ‘Ruskin’s View’.

The story of Ruskin’s View

The Norman St Mary’s Church and attractive churchyard is lovely to wander through.  We also went into the Church to look around and to light candles before walking out of the churchyard down an alleyway past the Sun Inn (well, we say ‘past’, we never pass a pub 😉).

We walked along Salt Pie Lane (formerly Cattle Market Yard).  This is where cattle used to be sold in the town, which led to a local lady deciding to make and sell hot salted mutton pies to the traders.  This salty pies created quite a thirst in the traders who would then visit the Green Dragon pub (now the Snooty Fox) to quench their thirst.  Apparently, the landlord of the pub was a relation of the pie-lady – great business idea!

There’s no shortage of great drinking holes.  To name a few we called into:- The Royal Hotel (serving Bowland Brewery ales), The Red Dragon Inn, The Sun Inn, The Kings Arms (live music), and The Orange Tree.

Bowland Brewery ales at The Royal Hotel

Be sure to call into the Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery in the centre which also serves some great local ales.

We enjoyed food at both The Red Dragon Inn and The Sun Inn during our stay.  We only ate from the bar menu at the Sun Inn but we’ll make sure we book in for an evening meal next time.  It’s a very popular place and they were having to turn people away as they were fully booked.   We also spent a few hours listening to some live music in the Kings Arms across the road from the Sun.  Great atmosphere!

It’s a pleasant stroll back to site from town and as we walked back over the bridge one night, we saw a humongous salmon jump twice down below.  We decided we’ll definitely have to buy a visitor’s permit and fish there some time!

The sun decided to appear for our journey home

Until next time …

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Ambleside, Lake District, Cumbria

Well, for our first outing of 2017, Jolly took us back up to the Lake District.  This time we stayed just a couple of miles outside Ambleside, a lakeland town situated at the Northern point of Lake Windermere.  It was our first visit to Skelwith Fold Caravan Park.  The site has excellent facilities and is situated at the end of a long red tarmac roadway, well away from the main road providing tranquility in a woodland setting with static holiday homes and spaces for touring caravans & motorhomes.

http://www.skelwith.com/touring/

We booked a premium pitch, fully serviced with an added chill space including a picnic table (we made use of this too, despite the weather, for a late night brew outside and brekkie the following morning 🙂 ).

We arrived in light rain and it pretty much persisted it down for most of the weekend, but this is the Lake District which is beautiful rain or shine, and a little rain never hampers exploration of places in any way.

Our first afternoon was spent out and about on our bikes.  The surrounding hilly roads put our legs through their paces at times.  While we were out we cycled up Duck Hill which brings you to the delightful Drunken Duck Inn standing at the crossroads at the top.  It’s impossible to resist a thirst quenching real ale, or whatever your chosen tipple, when you reach this point (fact!).

The Inn is cosy, welcoming, relaxing and beautifully decorated with dried hops hanging from old oak beams.  We spent a good hour enjoying the atmosphere here.  It’s a busy Inn & Restaurant, and although we didn’t eat here we know it to have a great reputation for food and accommodation also.

http://drunkenduckinn.co.uk/

Instead, we ate a little later on just a mile or so away at The Outgate Inn on the B5286.  The food here was delicious and set us up well for our ride back to site, followed by a brew beneath the stars on our return to Jolly, before it was time to cabin up for the night.

https://www.robinsonsbrewery.com/outgateinn

The next morning, after breakfast, we donned our walking gear and headed out on a walk from site (top end through the playground area) descending a quiet, country lane to Skelwith Bridge, in the small village of the same name.

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Map of the fells in the distance on the walk down from site to Skelwith Bridge

We crossed over the bridge, turned immediately left at Chester’s cafe and followed the path alongside the River Brathay, heading upstream.  Soon we encountered Skelwith Force Waterfall, where we took the steps down to the rocks to stand a while taking in the impressive sight and thunderous gushing sound of what is known to be quite a magnificent and dramatic small waterfall after heavy rainfall.

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Skelwith Force with viewing platform

We continued along the path which brought us out alongside Elterwater lake, one of the smaller lakes of the Lake District.  By this time the mist and rain had lifted for a while to reveal the majestic backdrop of the Langdale Pikes.  We cracked open a flask of coffee here to allow us time to enjoy the scenery before continuing along the lakeside into Elterwater village which is situated in the Great Langdale Valley.

There is a pub in Elterwater – The Britannia Inn – which is a welcome sight after a walk.  A steady flow of walkers descend on this pub throughout the day from all directions and a variety of walks.  It has a friendly feel to it and more importantly provides a good pint!  The food looked rather scrummy too but we didn’t eat.  Instead we found a seat in the tiny bar area and enjoyed a couple of real ales – ‘Bluebird’ and ‘Britannia Inn Special’, both by the local Coniston Brewery and a Jenning’s ‘Neddy Boggle’.

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The Britannia Inn, Elterwater – a very popular pit stop for walkers

“Bri-tan-nia Inn noun – Lake District Inn offering traditional pub accommodation, Lake District sourced homemade pub food and real ales, plus friendly and welcoming staff. The Britannia Inn has these in abundance!”

http://thebritanniainn.com/

We then took our time strolling back to site along the same route, calling in at the Talbot Bar section of the Skelwith Bridge Hotel before the final uphill stretch back to site.

http://www.skelwithbridgehotel.co.uk/talbot-bar/

On return to site we’d clocked up a leisurely 8.5 kilometers (5.2 miles) walk, and more than satisfied the pedometer for the day 🙂  The rain had really set in by this time and we were happy to be back on board Jolly where we got out of our rain-soaked clothes and ate tea before chilling out for the rest of the evening.

We thoroughly enjoyed this trip and the site, which wasn’t too busy at this time of year.  We’d certainly recommend it and look forward to returning, maybe autumn time or next Spring, who knows.  Next time though, we’ll probably venture into Ambleside itself and maybe also pay a visit to the nearby Victorian neo-gothic building that is Wray Castle, owned by The National Trust.   So much to see, so much to do 🙂

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Hawkshead Christmas Fair, Lake District

Ow do!

Well, after a few technical issues with the blog (aka user error) we can now finally update with a couple of Christmas trips.  So what if it’s almost a month after Christmas, it was certainly a ‘Jolly’ one in our motor ho-ho-home 🙂

At the beginning of December, we returned to Hawkshead, one of our favourite lakeland villages, to visit their Christmas Fair.  It’s held on the first weekend of December each year, although there had been some uncertainty about this year’s event taking place following the previous year’s devastating floods.  However, it did take place and was most definitely worth the visit.

http://hawksheadchristmasfair.com/

Jolly was in festive mood and especially accommodating on this trip, as he also transported Suzie’s parents, who had booked 2 nights bed and breakfast accommodation at the cosy 17th Century Queen’s Head Inn right in the heart of the village.  We had to book this several months in advance, as all accommodation books up quickly for Christmas.

http://queensheadhawkshead.co.uk/

After dropping the folks off at their accommodation, we pitched Jolly up at the Croft Campsite just across the main road from the village centre.  We’ve been here before (see previous posts), as Hawkshead is a place we often return to.  The site is relaxed with a friendly feel, clean with good facilities, and the pitches are a generous size.  The site was more or less full by Saturday, with other campers ready to kick off the festivities.

http://www.hawkshead-croft.co.uk/camping/

We all had a great time over the weekend involving mulled wine/cider, local ales & seasonal food, street entertainers, live festive music, stalls with all you can think of, lantern procession, and carol singing.  However, rather than witter on for this post, we’ll let the following photos tell the story of our weekend.  We highly recommend you put this one in your diary for a future Christmas visit.  You won’t be disappointed.  Hawkshead is captivating at any time of the year but extra magical at Christmas …

 

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Meathop Fell, Grange-Over-Sands, Cumbria

Whoop!  Our first Jolly jaunt for a few months.  A few months that we are very happy and relieved to put behind us, but enough about that.

This site has been on our ‘To Do’ list for a while now, and we finally got to spend a short but lovely two-night stay at the Meathop Fell Caravan Club Site in the South Lakes, approximately 2-3 miles from the seaside town of Grange-Over-Sands.

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Meathop Fell Caravan Club Site

The site staff were friendly and helpful and seemed keen for visitors to get the most from their stay.  We were informed of the direction to head for eateries, villages and the town of Grange-Over-Sands.  The site information hut is well stocked with leaflets, etc too.

This is such a relaxed site, where you can really appreciate the feeling of privacy, as pitches are a good size and many are separated by grassy areas or shrubs.  The site appeared almost full when we arrived but we found a perfectly spacious and sheltered corner pitch (No.75).  It was near to the play area but this was extremely quiet at this time of the season.  It’s a real haven for wildlife in and around the site and a treat to listen to the owls at night.

http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/caravanclubapps/applications/uk-caravan-sites-and-parks/SiteDetails.aspx?csid=21935

We arrived on site just after lunch time and, after pitching up, heated up some homemade chilli which we enjoyed with homemade jalapeno cheddar cornbread muffins.  This was washed down with a chilled glass of Doombar.  Yum!

We spent a few hours just unwinding and enjoying the peace, quiet and beautiful surroundings on site.  The rain set in late afternoon so we got togged up and went out for a walk up to the Woodlands Hotel, just a 5-10 minute stroll away.  There’s a signpost at the site entrance (left out of the gates, then right at the pine lodges).  It’s a country house hotel which welcomes visitors from the campsite (dog friendly too), and where you can get decent pub style food and a good pint of Wainwrights.

http://www.lakedistrict-stay.co.uk/accommodation/Woodlands-Hotel.html

The heavens opened that night and a lot of rain was put down before we awoke to a fresh day.  The weather improved considerably from then on.  We fired up the cooker and enjoyed a cumberland chipolata sandwich before jumping on our bikes to explore the local area.

We decided to cycle to Grange-Over-Sands which was a pretty, scenic route from site, avoiding the busy A590 road.

We cycled along part of the promenade and could see in the distance a large group of Morecambe Bay Walkers.  There are about 30 walks a year across Morecambe Bay.  They take place during spring and summer. Most walks are undertaken by charity fundraisers, and cross the sands between Arnside and Kents Bank.  The walks are guided by Cedric Robinson MBE, the Queen’s Official Guide. In 1963 Cedric Robinson was appointed the 25th guide and for 53 years has escorted many thousands of people across the dangerous sands of the stunning bay.

Grange-Over-Sands is a delightful town of higgledy piggledy streets with an impressive clock tower and an array of shops, cafes, and a couple of pubs.  It’s easy to spend a few hours meandering around the town, which is what we did before cycling a little further afield to create a circular ride back to site through Lindale.

On arrival back near site, as it was such a beautiful day, we decided to ride a further couple of miles to The Derby Arms at Witherslack for tea.  Here we sat out and enjoyed the last of the day’s sunshine.

Another great Jolly adventure and the next is under two weeks away.  Can’t wait!

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Coniston, The Lake District

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Some top advice 😉

This was our third visit to the Park Coppice Caravan Club site at Coniston and it never loses its appeal for us.

http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/caravanclubapps/applications/uk-caravan-sites-and-parks/SiteDetails.aspx?csid=21956

This was our first motorhome destination in 2014 after buying Jolly.  Check out our two previous blog posts for info on what we got up to.

We were extremely lucky with the weather this time, having booked this jaunt several weeks ago and finding ourselves blessed with the best weekend weather of the last few weeks.  We arrived on site mid-afternoon and were soon pitched up and relaxing.  This is a large all year round site of 252 good-sized pitches set within woodland.  However, the site only has the top end pitches open out of season.

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Pitched up

We enjoyed a couple of hours taking in our surroundings in the sunshine with a brew or two and some nibbles, before climbing on our bikes and cycling the couple of miles into the hamlet of Torver.  The bridleway there is an old rail track which takes you safely away from the main road.  It is easy to blink and miss Torver as you pass through, but we recently discovered that Torver has an extensive history since its very earliest days when Vikings settled there and farmed the land.  Also, an interesting fact we discovered is that in 1954 the first major UFO sighting in Britain is recorded as taking place near Torver …

 

Ooooh!  Anyhow, hoax or no hoax, it is our tradition for the first evening at this site to have a few drinks and tea in Torver.  Previously, though, there has only been one choice of pub in the village – The Wilson’s Arms.

http://www.thewilsonsarms.co.uk/

… but this year we discovered that the Church House Inn, just across the road, has now reopened adding a little more variety.  We noted too, from chatting to another couple of motorhomers, that the Church House Inn provides 5 caravan/motorhome pitches to the rear with electric, shower & toilet facilities.  They hold regular live music nights, food nights and beer festivals at this pub so if this is your thing it’s worth checking out their website for upcoming events.

http://www.thechurchhouseinn.com/

Needless to say, we managed to fit both pubs in and enjoyed a few drinks, game of cards, and a hearty meal of fish and chips at the Wilson’s Arms before returning to Jolly to cabin up for the night.

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An impressive Torver sunset

Our next day was spent well wrapped up and cycling in and around Coniston, just taking in the fabulous scenery on a perfect winter’s day of sunshine and blue skies.  Suzie enjoyed some great photography too.  We meandered around and enjoyed a warming hot chocolate and cake at the Bluebird Cafe down by the boating centre at Coniston Water.  Yum!

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http://www.thebluebirdcafe.co.uk/index.html

We then decided to explore Tarn Hows which we hadn’t done on previous visits.  This is approx. a mile and a half away from the centre of Coniston.  It is an often quite steep wooded track up to the Tarn, which was made trickier for us as we pushed our bikes all the way up to the top car park!  That said, the rewarding views of the Tarn and the exhilarating downhill return journey by road more than made up for our earlier efforts.

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Tarn Hows is a popular visitor attraction and said to be the most photographed water in the Lake District.  It used to be three smaller ones called High, Middle and Low Tarn. Until in 1862, a dam was built to raise the level, and with other landscaping the Tarn we see today was created.  The Hows are the surrounding small, wooded hills.  The spot was once owned by Beatrix Potter who later passed it on to the National Trust for future safe-keeping.

We managed to capture some lovely photos of the amazing scenery encountered during our day:-

After all that exercise we were, understandably, quite thirsty(!) and cycled down into Coniston for a couple of well-earned pints of Bluebird Bitter by Coniston Brewing Co at the Black Bull Inn.  We then ate at The Ship Inn on the way back to camp.

https://www.robinsonsbrewery.com/shipinnconiston

We slept well that night 💤💤 after a perfect weekend.

Our next planned Jolly jaunt isn’t for a few weeks, unless we manage to cram a cheeky one in between, who knows!?

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Ulverston, South Lakes, Cumbria

We’ve just had a great adventure to Ulverston in Jolly.  It was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.  We knew we’d enjoy this break but it far exceeded our expectations.  The lovely town, friendly people, and no shortage of things to see and do really made for an excellent stay and we reckon we’ll be re-visiting time and again in the future for a regular fix.  We’ll also be sure to pay a visit at Christmas time one year for the town’s Dickensian Festival.

Driving into the Cumbria sunshine 🌞

Driving into the Cumbrian sunshine 🌞

Ulverston is a market town in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria, North West England.  It was previously located in Lancashire before changes to boundaries.   It is very much a festival town, attracting visitors from far and wide for a variety of festivals throughout the year.  Check out this link for the full list of events and details of the town’s history:-

http://visitulverston.com/

The reason for our visit was Suzie’s interest in the town’s link to Stan Laurel, of the legendary Laurel & Hardy comedy duo.  He was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson at his grandparents house in Ulverston on 16th June 1890, and spent the first 6 years of his life in the town before moving away.  We both remember watching the old black and white L&H films as children in the school holidays.  Shame they don’t still televise them, a whole generation are missing out these comedy legends …

… First things first though! We stayed at Bardsea Leisure Park on Priory Road, about a 25 minute walk/10 minute cycle from the town centre.  It’s the only caravan park we could find actually within Ulverston itself and it was perfectly adequate for our stay.

Arrival at site

Arrival at site

We used our onboard toilet/shower facilities so didn’t experience the site facilities.  There are touring pitches among residential caravans and seasonal pitches.  The park is also part of a caravan & motorhome sales business, and there was quite frequent use of empty touring pitches around us for the storage of caravans and motorhomes that were on sale.  It wasn’t the quietest of stays in the mornings, quite busy with vehicles to-ing and fro-ing, but it was fine for us as we were out and about for the majority of our stay and only really used the site for sleeping.  All the pitches were fully serviced with electric, water and waste points which was definitely a bonus.

http://www.bardsealeisure.co.uk/touring-pitches

View from our pitch

View from our pitch

Again, the weather was good.  The first day we sat out for a couple of hours in the warm sunshine, the second day was more overcast but still quite warm as we ventured around town.

We explored the area via pushbike. Initially we turned right out of the caravan park and followed Priory Road to the coastline with the plan of cycling along the coast road to the Bay Horse Hotel at the canal foot for an evening meal.  However, as our map didn’t cover this area it was only on reaching the coast that we realised the road didn’t link for cyclists so, after a detour, we headed back into the town centre for our first evening, but not before getting the camera out and capturing the stunning view.

A view along the coastline

A view along the coastline

On the way into town we passed Argyle Street, the birthplace of Stan Laurel and took some photos of his old house and the plaque that hangs on the wall.

We had a wander up the cobbled Market Street towards the Market Cross at the top.  The town has outdoor market stalls there on Thursdays and Saturdays and an indoor market in the market hall on New Market Street Monday-Saturday (not Wednesday).

It soon became apparent that there is no shortage of pubs, cafes and restaurants in Ulverston.  A comprehensive list of these can be found at this link:-

http://visitulverston.com/features/eating/

Looking up from the bottom of Market Street

Looking up from the bottom of Market Street

We decided to eat at The Farmers (previously The Farmers Arms) at the top of Market Street, but first we stopped off for a drink at the Hope & Anchor pub just around the corner.  This traditional pub serves a good range of cask and keg ales, and according to its website … “You will be guaranteed a quirky night of entertainment with local folk musicians some tasty nibbles and a strong desire to come back”.  This is SO true!  There’s a warm welcome with friendly banter and a very relaxed atmosphere.  We felt like locals within a few minutes!  We had a couple of drinks before our meal and were keen to return afterwards for a nightcap and to listen to a live jazz band before cycling back to camp.

No ghosts on this visit but obviously plenty of 'spirits' 😉

No ghosts on this visit but obviously plenty of ‘spirits’ 😉

The Farmers restaurant is known as THE place to eat in the area and we were suitably impressed.  It was a Thursday night and the restaurant was fully booked up till late.  We waited in the outside seating area for a while and got chatting to a friendly local who shared his local knowledge with us to help us make the most of our stay (thanks Colin! 👍).  Soon enough a table by the fire in the bar area became available so our patience paid off and we had an excellent meal and evening.  We’d recommend this place without hesitation but you’d be wise to book if you wanted to eat in the restaurant at a specific time, definitely so at weekends.

There’s no shortage of things to see and do in this town.  As time was limited though, rather than rush to fit everything in we took it slowly leaving plenty to do on our next visit.

The next day, as planned, we visited the Laurel & Hardy Museum

http://www.laurel-and-hardy.co.uk/index.php

We spent the whole afternoon there, it was amazing reading up on the story of L&H and viewing lots of memorabilia, including furniture from Stan’s childhood home, personal letters he wrote, and sitting in a small purpose-built cinema watching a number of clips which play all day through.  Fantastic!  Photography is allowed inside so Suzie snapped away:-

The Laurel & Hardy Museum is located on the ground floor of the Roxy Cinema

The Laurel & Hardy Museum is located on the ground floor of the Roxy Cinema

The furniture in this photo was from Stan's time in the house in Argyle Street and would have been familiar to Him.

The furniture in this photo was from Stan’s home in Argyle Street and would have been familiar to him

Bed from the house, It is believed that Stan was born in this bed

It is believed that Stan was born in this bed

Small cinema within the museum, showing back to back Laurel & Hardy clips

Small cinema within the museum, showing back to back Laurel & Hardy clips

Hat worn by Stan on their last tour of Britain in 1954

Hat worn by Stan on their last tour of Britain in 1954

Memento! 😜

Memento! 😜

After a fab few hours happily lost in the world of L&H we emerged back into the present day, and walked around the corner to Coronation Hall to see the statue that stands there.

Statue outside Coronation Hall in the town centre

Statue outside Coronation Hall in the town centre

We finished the afternoon off with a cream tea at Gillam’s on Market Street.  This cafe/shop was est’d in 1892 and is another link to the young Stan.  It was a sweet shop and he used to buy Beers Treacle Toffee here with his Grandmother.

Gillam's on Market Street

Gillam’s on Market Street

Afternoon tea.

Afternoon cream tea

We finished the day off with a bike ride through town and along the canal, which in itself has an interesting history.  It was built after Ulverston was declared a port town despite being situated over a mile away from the bay, necessitating this link to enable the transport of goods.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulverston_Canal

Autumn feeding time

Autumn feeding time in the fields by the canal

It’s a pleasant ride along the towpath which brings you out at the Bay Horse Hotel at the canal foot.

Next visit we might dine there in the restaurant overlooking the bay.

http://www.thebayhorsehotel.co.uk

Canal towpath brings you to the Bay Horse Hotel

Canal towpath brings you to the Bay Horse Hotel

Suzie relaxing by the bay

Suzie relaxing by the bay

Sun setting

Sun setting

This time, however, we just had a drink or two before heading back to camp along the country roads before nightfall and chilling out with a meal back at Jolly.

Candlelit dinner for two back at Jolly 🍴🍷😊

Candlelit dinner for two back at Jolly 🍴🍷😊

Next time we’ll probably visit Conishead Priory and the Hoad monument which towers over the town.

Hoad monument

Hoad monument

Another top trip and only a couple of weeks until our next Jolly adventure to …… Oswestry.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Ravenglass, Cumbria

Ravenglass sunset

Ravenglass sunset

Ravenglass & Eskdale railway

Ravenglass & Eskdale railway

Bri at Muncaster tarn on the Eskdale cycle trail

Bri at Muncaster tarn on the Eskdale cycle trail

Roman bath house ruin

Roman bath house ruin

Ravenglass estuary sunset

Ravenglass estuary sunset

Ravenglass estuary

Ravenglass estuary

Ravenglass estuary

Ravenglass estuary

Suzie, Ravenglass estuary

Suzie, watching the sun set

This was our second camping trip to Ravenglass, but our first time there in Jolly.   Our first trip was in a tent and involved spending one night during gale force winds, praying the tent stayed pitched and the humongous tree above didn’t crash down on us.  An experience we smile about now more than we did that night.

The Camping & Caravan Club site is ideally located for some serious cycle, foot and rail travel amongst spectacular scenery.

http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/cumbria/ravenglass/ravenglass

Ravenglass is a coastal hamlet lying on the estuary of three rivers – the  Esk, Mite and Irt.  On a clear evening the sunsets are to die for.  Can’t comment on the sunrises as we slept too well to see one ;-).  One evening, however, we sat by the estuary (obligatory beers in hand) watching an amazing sunset (my camera in my other hand) – see the pics attached.  It was perfect weather conditions that night and these are my favourite sunset shots to date.

Check out more about Ravenglass here: http://www.visitcumbria.com/wc/ravenglass/

We visited Muncaster Castle on our first trip, taking in a guided tour around the home, and a leisurely walk around the grounds.  We also took the western railway to Whitehaven for the day on our first visit, so this time pursued an alternative adventure …

After an afternoon sitting in the sun when we arrived,  we ate at the Ratty Arms just 5 minutes from the site.  There was a whole bunch of folk musicians having a meet in the pub that night and randomly playing/singing.  It was a great atmosphere and we ended up drinking with them.  The headache the next day was worth it 🙂

Next day,we took the 40 minute Ravenglass & Eskdale steam railway journey from Ravenglass to Dalegarth, taking our bikes with us (pre-booked our tickets and bike space) for the return.  We biked the Eskdale Trail back, at our leisure approx. 9 miles in total that day.  Google it, if the weather’s pleasant it’s a fairly unchallenging ride.   On the return into Ravenglass you pass the ruins of an ancient Roman bath house.

We crammed plenty into 2 days and the sun shone, so happy days!

Next stop Hawes, Yorkshire Dales.

ONWARD!

Suzie & Bri