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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Suzie & Bri