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