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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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.

IMG_4800

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.

IMG_4781

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’.

IMG_4804

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

2017 … ONWARD!>>>>

Well, Jolly’s just had his service and passed his first MOT.  Next week he goes in for his annual habitation check followed by a full valet top to bottom, inside and out (smart fella!).

In the meantime, we’re back from a cheeky week of winter sun, have bought a new pair of walking boots and can’t wait to kick off 2017’s Jolly adventures.

So roll on 10th March and a trip up to the beautiful Lake District.

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.

image

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

Hawkshead, Lake District, Cumbria

The windswept look as we crossed on Hawkshead ferry

The windswept look as we crossed Windermere on Hawkshead ferry

Suzie’s first ukulele!

We always feel so at home here ...

We always feel so at home here …

The Croft campsite in the distance from the top of the churchyard

Chestnuts and shot starter. Bri wasn't impressed!

Chestnuts and shot starter. Bri wasn’t impressed!

We’ve visited Hawkshead many times, but his was only our second camping trip.  Our first trip several years ago involved a two man dome tent that you couldn’t stand up in, torrential rain, and a night sleeping in our car at that time (a mini!) because it was raining into the tent.  Fortunately for me, Bri got the driver’s side with the steering wheel.  He was walking like John Wayne the next morning, but it wore off and we look back now with fond memories of that adventure!!  This time was a considerable upgrade with Jolly and even though we again had torrential rain one night, we were cosy and dry.  Happy days!

We went for a two-nighter, taking Jolly over on the Hawkshead ferry and stayed, like last time, at the private Croft Campsite

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

It’s situated just across the road from the centre of Hawkshead.  It’s changed a lot since last time, having expanded and now boasting camping, caravans and holiday lodges.  Nice site and perfect location.

We spent much of this stay meandering around Hawkshead and on site relaxing.

There are 4 very good pubs in Hawkshead – The Sun Inn, The Red Lion, The Kings Arms and The Queens Head.  The first night we ate at the Sun Inn and the second night we booked a table at The Kings Arms.  Delicious food, although Bri wasn’t impressed with the chestnuts and a drink shot for starters.  “Boring, doesn’t taste of anything!”.

We had lunch at a cafe Poppi Red in the square.  It was nice, but busy and later as we walked around we noticed a quieter cosy cafe down a side street (forgotten the name) which would’ve been ideal.  So have a wander around.  We had a lovely walk around St Michaels and All Angels Church, Hawkshead, one afternoon.  The grounds sprawl on forever, and as you climb you get a good view of Hawkshead and beyond.  Later as I wandered around the shops, I walked into one looking for some jewellery and walked out with a ukulele!  I’m now learning to play which shouldn’t be too difficult as I already play the guitar.  I also have an open invite to bring it along to any future jamming sessions in the local pubs that the shop owner’s husband plays in!  Watch this space …

All in all a very fun and relaxing stay.

Next stop Boroughbridge.

ONWARDS!>>>

Suzie & Bri

Beautiful Keswick, Lake District

On the road to Keswick

On the road to Keswick

Site at sundown

Gone fishing ...

Gone fishing …

Bri at Castlerigg Stone Circle

Suzie at Castlerigg Stone Circle

Suzie at Castlerigg Stone Circle

View of the Helvellyn range from the stone circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Suzie in a derelict railway man’s hut on the cycle way

Old railway cycle route

Old railway cycle route

Old railway cycle route

Keswick on market day

Keswick on market day

Stunning sunset

Stunning sunset

Wildlife

Wildlife

Scenic spot

Scenic spot

Bri having a chilled stroll with a (plastic!) glass of fizz

Bri having a chilled stroll & a glass of fizz

Campsite right on the edge of Derwentwater

Scenic spot

Scenic spot

Photographer's dream!

Photographer’s dream!

Bit of a gap between our last jaunt and this one, due to family commitments.  We were originally supposed to have visited Boroughbridge before Keswick but this has now been scheduled for mid-November.

Mid-September we were here at the Keswick Camping and Caravanning Club Site – which has to be one of our favourites so far.  Bri had visited before but it was my first time here.  The site, surroundings, and stunning scenery here are hard to beat.  The site’s situated on the edge of Derwentwater and a photographer’s dream location.  It has a really good feel to it too.  The first evening we took a bottle of fizz down to the water’s edge and just sat watching the sun go down.  It was surprisingly peaceful to say that the site was full.  We found our own little spot away from it all.

As you can see from the photos, our stay involved visiting Keswick town centre, including the bustling market, cycling the old railyway line to visit Castlerigg Stone Circle, and hiring a rowing boat to go out onto Derwentwater.

From this visit on we will be regular visitors.  This location has everything for a relaxing, scenic, getaway break from it all!

Next stop Hawkshead.

ONWARDS!>>>

Suzie & Bri

Maiden Trip ~ Coniston, Lake District

Well, after almost a fortnight’s delay in picking our “Jolly Majestic” up (but that’s nothing when we’ve years of adventures ahead), we set out on our maiden trip to Coniston this weekend.  We stayed on the Coniston Park Coppice Caravan Club Site.

https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/cumbria/cumbria/coniston-park-coppice-caravan-club-site/

Friendly, helpful staff and fellow campers, we didn’t encounter any difficulties but returned a little more informed about minor things that will ease future trips.

The campsite was very clean, quiet, and due to open fully for the season next week.  Good coverage of trees, not ideal if you’re sunbather(!) but plenty of surrounding countryside to overcome that obstacle if it was one.  It wasn’t for us, still a spring nip in the air, but overall we were lucky with the weather.

We took our bikes with us, and the first afternoon took a short, easy cycle ride of approx. a mile and a half into a nearby village called Torver.  We sampled a few drinks and enjoyed a delicious meal at The Wilson’s Arms – Steak, Kidney & Old Man’s Ale Steamed Pudding with chunky chips and peas … mmm.  We recommend it!  We then set off back to Jolly to cabin up for our first night.  It turned out to be very cosy and warm and the onboard hot shower in the morning surpassed our previous tent camping experiences! 🙂 Perfect.

The next day we cycled into Coniston and enjoyed a hot chocolate at the Bluebird Cafe by Coniston water before visiting Donald Campbell’s grave then a couple of village pubs, including the 400 year old Black Bull Inn.  Our cycle home took in a scenic route by the waterside and an impromptu stone skimming competition (I won!). We ended up off the beaten track for approx. a mile though, having to push our bikes up a steep, rocky track but on the plus side we burned some calories off!  Back in Jolly, we chilled out for the evening.

Other nearby attractions to this campsite include:- Beatrix Potter’s Home, Pony Trekking, Steam Yacht Gondola, Ruskin’s Brantwood, and Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway.

Next stop Silverdale …

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri