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

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

Troutbeck Head Caravan Club Site, Penrith, North Lake District

Just back from a lovely break in Troutbeck.  We’re having a sort of year-long extended honeymoon to various UK locations throughout the year in Jolly, because motorhoming is the thing we enjoy most & we’ve lots of wedding gift tokens for our adventures.  This was the first outing of our Jolly T-shirts too, even persuaded Bri to don his …

This trip involved quite a bit of cycling.  The weather was mostly fair, except for our last night, but more about that later.  The pitches at the Troutbeck Head Caravan Club site are very spacious and we also upgraded to fully serviced for extra convenience.  Our pitch (No.44) was beside a babbling brook, with a grassy, walled area to the side giving a little extra privacy. Drive forward or reverse on, they are not bothered which at this site.  It was a perfect spot for all day round sunshine, although there wasn’t too much of this during our visit.  Reviews have rated the facilities as adequate, however, we used our on-board shower and toilet facilities so had no need for the site facilities.

http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/caravanclubapps/applications/uk-caravan-sites-and-parks/SiteDetails.aspx?csid=22006

Pitched up on site

Pitched up on site with a rare glimpse of sunshine

Pitch 44, spacious and sheltered

Pitch 44, spacious and sheltered

View of Blencathra and the sharp edge from the top of the site & near entrance to Rookin House Farm Centre which offers lots of activities

View of Blencathra and the sharp edge from the top of the site & near the entrance to Rookin House Farm Centre which offers lots of activities

It’s just a mile from the site to the Troutbeck Inn, which serves fabulous food.

http://www.thetroutbeckinn.co.uk/

The Troutbeck Inn

The Troutbeck Inn

A variety of expressions inside the Troutbeck Inn ...

Top: Resisting dessert.  Bottom: Giving in to dessert

That’s where we spent our first evening after an hour or so on site after arrival.  It wasn’t just the typical pub grub we had been expecting.  Lovely selection.  We chose and would heartily recommend:-

Bri's starter: Pot of smooth duck pate with cognac, cumberland sauce & toasted baguette

Bri’s starter: Pot of smooth duck pate with cognac, cumberland sauce & toasted baguette

Suzie's starter: Grilled white asparagus with onion & lemon veloute & parmesan crisp

Suzie’s starter: Grilled white asparagus with onion & lemon veloute & parmesan crisp

Unfortunately the mains looked so appetising we devoured them before taking a photograph!  Bri opted for: Chicken fillet & Mediterranean king prawns with Indonesian curry, lime, coriander & turmeric rice.  Suzie opted for: Grilled cod loin steak with char grilled king prawn, fennel, crayfish butter, mushroom risotto & Parmesan shavings.  Both dishes absolutely delicious.  Managed to capture the desserts:-

Bri's desert: Meringue with raspberries, cream & vanilla ice cream

Bri’s dessert: Meringue with raspberries, cream & vanilla ice cream

Suzie's dessert: Sticky toffee pudding and cream

Suzie’s dessert: Sticky toffee pudding and cream

Bri outside the Troutbeck Inn

Bri outside the Troutbeck Inn

The next day we set off on our bikes from the site heading back down towards Troutbeck and cycled tracks and side roads away from the very busy A66.  We cycled in quite windy weather and light showers, firstly over to Scale, Threlkeld.  We took a little detour (unintentional) and a very kind farmer allowed us through his field over to the top track taking us down to the White Horse Inn for a well earned Real Ale refreshment stop (Haystack)  We probably cycled 5.5 miles by our route, which involved a little stream crossing and uphill field walk.  Really pleasant detour though.

Field on the way up to the top track (C2C 71 cycle route)

Field on the way up to the top track (C2C 71 cycle route)

Nervy little lambs

Nervy little black lambs under camouflage and shelter

Bri on the C2C cycle path

Bri on the C2C cycle path

Suzie on the C2C cycle path

Suzie on the C2C cycle path

The White Horse Inn is situated at the foot of Blencathra and the sharp edge (Bri has previously climbed this).  It’s obviously very popular with walkers and cyclists.  From here we picked up the Coast to Coast (C2C) 71 cycle route and meandered over to Mungrisdale, approx.  4 miles away, along the foot of Blencathra.  Beautiful views.  We stopped at the Mill Inn at Mungrisdale

http://www.the-millinn.co.uk/

The weather had improved slightly, allowing us to sit out, cool down and put our feet up for a while with a Real Ale (Sharp Edge & Cumbria Way).  We later ate tea here, enjoying a traditional steak and ale pie before cycling the calories off on our way home.

Tea time stop at The Mill Inn, Mungrisdale

Tea time stop at The Mill Inn, Mungrisdale

Feet up and refreshment

Feet up and refreshment

Oops, somebody's already forgotten to wear their wedding ring

Oops, somebody’s already forgotten to wear their wedding ring

Cosy fire at the Mill Inn, Mungrisdale

Cosy fire at the Mill Inn, Mungrisdale

Trying to beat the storm clouds home

Mirror, mirror on the roadside …

Happy cyclists!

Happy cyclists!

We headed back the 4.5 miles to site via Troutbeck and a stop for a quick drink at the Inn there.  As we headed the last mile to site, the winds had risen and being slightly uphill and a headwind the ride back was the most challenging part of the day!  We arrived back from our 14 mile round trip in good time to cabin up and prepare for the stronger winds and heavy rain forecast for that night.  It arrived at about 11 pm and continued through to about 7 am, rocking Jolly at times but we were snug and slept well.  By breakfast time the weather had lifted and the sun broke through, allowing us to sit out and cook our fried egg muffins before packing up to head home.

Finishing breakfast on site before heading home

Finishing breakfast on site before heading home

Another lovely break.

Next stop is at the Camping & Caravanning Club Site Delamere Forest.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri