Broughton-in-Furness, Cumbria

Well, we’ve just parked Jolly back up in storage after a weekend break near Broughton in Furness, a small market town on the South West border of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria.

We stayed at Upper Hawthwaite Caravan Park, a C&MC adult-only CL site on a working farm.  It’s approx. 1.5 miles outside Broughton-in-Furness and about a mile in the other direction from the village of Broughton Mills.

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This is a small, quiet site of 5 hard standing pitches backing onto fields with sweeping views of the surrounding Dunnerdale Fells and Duddon Valley.  Being a working farm, there are many different farming machines, etc. around but we heard no noise during our stay.  We only met one of the owners briefly on arrival when he came to collect payment.

The facilities are perfectly adequate, close by to each other and spotlessly clean.

The weather was far from that which we had come to expect after a summer of endless sunshine.  That said, the beauty of Cumbria and the Lakes is never diminished by a spot of rain.  Well we say spot, but at times the heavens absolutely opened although thankfully this was through the nights with days remaining mostly dry.

For our first evening we walked the mile from site along a winding ‘B’ road to the village of Broughton Mills and the beautifully traditional Lakeland inn called The Blacksmiths Arms.

We had pre-booked a table which is essential as it’s definitely the place to go in this area and therefore gets very busy.  The bar area is small and intimate giving it a friendly, social feel.  They serve a good selection of real ales and high quality home-cooked food.  This has to be one of our favourite pubs we’ve been to recently.  We highly recommend you visit it if in the area!

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Overnight, we were rocked to sleep in Jolly due to high winds blowing down through the valley and across the site which is quite exposed.  These winds had died down by lunch time the next day so, after a late breakfast and a lazy morning, we jumped on our bikes to cycle into Broughton.

It was all downhill towards the town so we knew the homeward trip would demand much more pedal power.  We also experienced a hairy moment when a motorist came flying up the hill around a blind bend onto our side of the road and nearly took us out, swerving at the last minute 😱.  We saw the whites of her 👀 and if she looked in her rear view mirror she’ll have seen the flicking of Suzie’s two fingers!! ✌🏻🤬.

Anyway, we survived and cycled on into the centre of Broughton in Furness, parking up in the pretty Georgian market square where there’s an obelisk which has stood there since 1810, erected to commemorate the 50th year of the reign of King George III.  This is the main focal point of the town.  By the obelisk is a set of stocks and a couple of market fish slabs, and across the road is the Tourist Information Centre located in the old market hall.

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As it was a dry and warm day we decided to ride out a little further on the bikes, following a short cycle/walking route we’d found online (approx. 4 miles).  The first part follows a renovated stretch of the old Coniston Railway track which once carried slate and copper ore from the mines at Coniston to the coast.

At the beginning of the ride we passed a cute little community vegetable patch with a sign inviting locals to pick and/or plant whatever they wished.

Further along we arrived at a small tarn with a wooden bench where we walked quietly up to a flock of ducks sleeping.  It was very peaceful sight so we sat there for a while before the ducks were woken by some dog walkers.

They were all standing on one leg (the ducks not the dog walkers).  They do this to conserve heat via an adaptation called ‘rete mirabile’ (Latin for ‘wonderful net’).  Their arteries carrying warm blood to the legs lie in contact with the veins carrying cold blood to the heart, helping them to maintain body temperature (Nature lesson over 🤓).

It was a gradual incline to the end of the renovated stretch of old railway line, when we then followed a narrower track to the right which took us down to Five Arches Road,  sadly the five arches bridge no longer exists.  We followed the rest of the route along lanes & tracks before completing the circular route back into town.

We finished off with a little detour along Foxfield Road to visit ‘Donkey Rock’, aka Eccle Riggs Bank Quarry.  It’s easy to miss the entrance and just shoot past but it’s a site of geological interest and well worth a peek.

The quarry wall is over 400 million years old, and once part of a Silurian sea bed.  It was pushed into the vertical position we see today by earth movements.  That’s as much as we understand anyway!

To finish our afternoon wanderings off, we stopped off for a couple of drinks in town.  There are 3 pubs within the centre, the Black Cock Inn, the Old Kings Head and the Manor Arms

For us, the most interesting and characterful by far is the 17th Century Manor Arms freehouse, which offers a good selection of real ales.  It doesn’t do food.   The pub to eat in seemed to be the Old Kings Head which has been refurbished and is very modern.  The Black Cock Inn also serves food.

There’s a restaurant called Beswicks Langholme House but we weren’t sure whether this has now closed, and The Square Cafe both within the market square.

Here’s a list of eateries in the area.

However, we’d decided to cook our own meal back on Jolly that evening.  So we called into the village bakery (also a cafe), Butchers/grocers to collect our ingredients.

We knew the cycling back up to site would take more effort than it had coming down.  So we got our heads down to cycle & push (well it is called a push bike!) in equal measure.

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Once we got back we could chill out and enjoy the rest of our evening.  We actually timed our return well because within half an hour or so the rains and mist had set in.

We fired up the Lotus Grill and slapped on two very succulent fillet steaks to sizzle away while the mist descended upon the hills around us.

It was like a scene from that film, ‘Grillers in the Mist’ …. (sorry!) 🦍

We boiled some new potatoes and green beans inside on Jolly to accompany our meaty feast.   Mmm, mmmmm, it was delicious.

A great way to end our stay 😊.

Next morning we drove through the misty valley back home.  We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend and in a strange way it was nice to have different weather this time around.  It all adds to the experience.

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ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Hesket Newmarket, Lake District, Cumbria

We recently spent a weekend up in the Northern edge of the Lake District or, as the locals call it, the ‘Back O’ Skidda’.

Our journey up was smooth without any hold-ups.  The weather was changeable, driving through drizzle and low cloud over the southern lakes then finally being greeted with sunshine on arrival at our destination.  Result! 😎

We stayed at Riverside Tourer Park in the hamlet of Millhouse, just a couple of miles outside the small village of Hesket Newmarket

It’s an open all year, adult-only site which suited us well during the busy school summer holidays.  There are both CL pitches for C&MC members and another section called ‘Millrace’ which we had pre-booked onto as the CL had already been booked up.

We’d originally booked for the previous weekend but had changed our plans and must say that the owners were very flexible with our request to move our stay.  Big 👍 for that.

On arrival there’s a ‘New Arrivals’ board by the gate which had our name on and a pre-allocated pitch number.   So we filled Jolly up and made our way to our pitch which was clearly marked with a reserved sign.

We were allocated Pitch 9 which was perfect for us in a quiet corner down by the riverside.   All pitches are a generous size, separated by mature hedges for added privacy and most, if not all, are hard standing.

The site appeared to be run very efficiently.  We didn’t actually meet the owners – maybe next time.  There was no need to though, having paid upfront by PayPal and just following the instructions on arrival.

We found it to be a wonderfully quirky site in some ways, especially the toilets, showers and the variety of piping gear provided to fit any type of waste outlet imaginable! 😀.

 

Once pitched up we had a cuppa and a chill out for a while.  The site was almost full but quiet.  Normally you’d have the sound of the River Caldew which runs alongside the site, but it was very low, little more than a trickle after the prolonged period of hot, dry weather we’ve had.

The River Caldew runs through Millhouse from it’s origin at Skiddaw, down through the nearby fells at Caldbeck and onwards to Carlisle where it joins the River Eden.

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During our stay we cycled around the local area, visiting the villages of Hesket Newmarket and Caldbeck.

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The first evening we ate at the 18th Century Old Crown Inn in Hesket Newmarket, Britain’s first co-operatively owned pub with its own brewery next door (Hesket Market Brewery).  The co-operative model of ownership of this pub has enabled it to retain a real community friendly feel.  We enjoyed a couple of excellent ales (particularly enjoyed the Skiddaw) and some good pub grub there that night.

Prince Charles has visited twice.  Yes, twice.  ‘Nuff said about this great little pub! 🍻 👑

The next day we cycled from the campsite back through Hesket Newmarket and on towards the larger village of Caldbeck.  Here we visited Priests Mill – a restored old water mill which was originally built by a Rector of the church next door.  It now houses the Watermill Cafe and gift shops.

After a wander around the mill area and a cuppa and cheeky slice of cake at the cafe, we headed towards the 12th Century St Kentigern’s Church.  We took a walk around the churchyard where the famous Huntsman, John Peel is buried, and went inside to write a message in the prayer book for a recently deceased friend 🙏.

By the riverside to the rear of the church you can see St Mungo’s/St Kentigern’s Well.   This Well was made holy by St Kentigern for early Christian baptisms.

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We finished the afternoon off with a short stroll from the village car park up to The Howk, a limestone gorge and waterfall.  This natural gorge has been called ‘Fairy Kettle’ and ‘Fairy Kirk’.

It’s a pretty riverside trail and although the water levels were low and the waterfall wasn’t thundering, it was still quite an impressive sight and sound.  There is a section of very steep stone steps at the waterfall.

Before reaching The Howk, you walk through the ruins of an Old Bobbin Mill.

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After our leisurely exploration of Caldbeck, we finished our day off with drinks and a meal at the Oddfellows Arms before cycling back to camp, calling in again at The Old Crown on the way.  The Old Crown was definitely our favourite of the 2 pubs.

And that was it, another adventure over so quickly!  Oh well, there’s always another just around the corner 🙂

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Pooley Bridge, Cumbria

Last weekend we returned to the Lakeland village of Pooley Bridge for the first time in … ooooh … many years and our first time in Jolly.

We stayed at Waterfoot Park which is located just 0.9 miles from the centre of the village.  The staff were very welcoming and helpful, giving us the usual facilities info and local info.  As usual we didn’t use the site toilet/showers, using Jolly’s onboard facilities instead.

If you stay here and want to use Ullswater Steamer during your stay you can buy your ticket from the site reception at a reduced price.

It was a busy weekend on site and we were directed to a pre-allocated pitch on arrival (Pitch 19) which was one of the pitches on the outer perimeter of the touring site.  We were happy with this as we thought that the centre pitches looked a little tight with the units backed up close to one another with less privacy.

https://www.waterfootpark.co.uk/

After a couple of hours sunbathing beside Jolly, we followed directions given to us by reception for a pathway from the site into Pooley.  The path is very scenic and a lot safer than walking along the busy road.

We took a slight detour first though, to check out the on-site bar – The Mansion Bar and Cafe.  As its name suggests, it’s set in an old mansion house with a large terrace at the back and views of Ullswater in the distance.  After a quick drink here we headed off on our walk.   There’s a chippy van that parks up outside the mansion on certain evenings.

Pooley Bridge is situated at the North East end of Ullswater Lake with the River Eamont running through it.  The old stone bridge that crossed the river at Pooley was sadly destroyed in the floods caused by Storm Desmond in 2015 and during our visit we saw the temporary metal bridge that is still in situ awaiting a permant replacement structure to be built.

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We had a wander around the village before sitting out with a drink at the 1863 bar/bistro

https://1863ullswater.co.uk/

Followed by a meal at the Sun Inn

https://suninnpooleybridge.co.uk/

Next day we decided to go for a walk in the beautiful weather.  We set off well prepared with full flasks of water and decided to walk a section of the Ullswater Way, which is a 21-mile walking route around Ullswater.  It can be walked from any starting point and in any direction.

http://www.ullswater.co.uk/the-ullswater-way.html

Map of the Ullswater Way

We began by walking down to Pooley Bridge Pier and taking a ride on the Ullswater Steamer over to Howtown Pier.

https://www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk/

From Howtown Pier we walked on approx. 500 yards into Martindale valley which lies between Ullswater and Haweswater.  There’s an old Church of St Martin there and a hotel – The Howtown Hotel.  We visited the cosy, traditional bar to the rear of the hotel and sat out for a little while on the sloping grass there.

After our drink, we walked back towards Howtown Pier where we joined the Ullswater Way via a gate up into a field on the right opposite the Pier entrance.  It was an approx. 6-mile walk from here along the low level route back into Pooley Bridge.  There’s the option of a higher route which takes you up to the Cock Pit Stone Circle but we were happy enough with our wander along the tracks overlooking Ullswater and through the fields, eventually coming out alongside the lake and continuing into Pooley Bridge.

But ohhhh, the vampire bloodsucking horseflies were bitey little bu*$ers up in the fields that day! 🧛‍♂️.

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On arrival into Pooley Bridge, we had a couple of cool down pints and some food before heading back up to site, catching a lovely sunset over the hills on our way back.  A total of about 8-miles walked in the day.   We sat out on site with a brew before turning in.

The beautiful Lake District seen in the most perfect weather.  Top weekend 👌.   Our next Jolly trip is a cheeky little overnighter in Yorkshire with some camping buddies.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri.

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 you’ll just have to look a bit harder 😛😂

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