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

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