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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

Cononley, Nr Skipton, North Yorkshire

We’ve just enjoyed a cheeky one-nighter this weekend with some good buddies.  Our destination this time was the little village of Cononley, in the Aire Valley, North Yorkshire.  It’s approx. 3.5 miles from the bustling market town of Skipton.

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We stayed at the Riverside Campsite, a C&CC certified site which is spread over 3 acres of level grass, with some areas sectioned off by tall privacy hedges.  There are also a few hard standing pitches.  The facilities and the surrounding scenery make it an impressive location and the centre of the village is just a 5-minute walk away.  The cost as C&CC members for our moho, 2 adults, 1 night on a grass pitch with EHU was £16

http://www.riversidecampsite.co.uk/

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Arrival at Riverside campsite

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We pitched in the first grass section by the entrance

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Jolly pitched up in the sunshine

Cononley has a general convenience store, railway station, Chinese take-away (Oriental May) and two pubs – The New Inn and The Railway.  We had a drink in each of the pubs (be rude not to!) but didn’t eat in either.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g1129488-d5074429-Reviews-Oriental_May-Cononley_Skipton_North_Yorkshire_England.html

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g209940-d3846460-Reviews-The_New_Inn-Skipton_North_Yorkshire_England.html

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g1129488-d4606608-Reviews-The_Railway-Cononley_Skipton_North_Yorkshire_England.html

We decided to catch the train from Cononley into Skipton late afternoon/early evening.  The trains run regularly and its about an 8 minute journey.  The ticket price was £4 return for 2 adults and £5 return for 2 adults/1 child.

After a few hours meandering around Skipton, visiting one or two hostelries (plenty to choose from), and finishing off with excellent fish n chips from Bizzie Lizzies by the canal, we caught the train back.

As we returned to site, the sun was beginning to set and we all gathered around outside chatting and having a nightcap before turning in for the night.

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Sunset on return to site

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Site viewed from the railway bridge

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Heading back to site

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Home time! 🚐

The following morning we all enjoyed bacon and egg baps and a cuppa tea or two before we packed Jolly up for our journey home.   One-night camping trips are definitely worth doing whenever you can’t fit a full weekend in.

What a summer we’re having this year, it feels like the sun has been shining forever 😎.  More of the same please!

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Pooley Bridge, Cumbria

Last weekend we returned to the Lakeland village of Pooley Bridge for the first time in … ooooh … many years and our first time in Jolly.

We stayed at Waterfoot Park which is located just 0.9 miles from the centre of the village.  The staff were very welcoming and helpful, giving us the usual facilities info and local info.  As usual we didn’t use the site toilet/showers, using Jolly’s onboard facilities instead.

If you stay here and want to use Ullswater Steamer during your stay you can buy your ticket from the site reception at a reduced price.

It was a busy weekend on site and we were directed to a pre-allocated pitch on arrival (Pitch 19) which was one of the pitches on the outer perimeter of the touring site.  We were happy with this as we thought that the centre pitches looked a little tight with the units backed up close to one another with less privacy.

https://www.waterfootpark.co.uk/

After a couple of hours sunbathing beside Jolly, we followed directions given to us by reception for a pathway from the site into Pooley.  The path is very scenic and a lot safer than walking along the busy road.

We took a slight detour first though, to check out the on-site bar – The Mansion Bar and Cafe.  As its name suggests, it’s set in an old mansion house with a large terrace at the back and views of Ullswater in the distance.  After a quick drink here we headed off on our walk.   There’s a chippy van that parks up outside the mansion on certain evenings.

Pooley Bridge is situated at the North East end of Ullswater Lake with the River Eamont running through it.  The old stone bridge that crossed the river at Pooley was sadly destroyed in the floods caused by Storm Desmond in 2015 and during our visit we saw the temporary metal bridge that is still in situ awaiting a permant replacement structure to be built.

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We had a wander around the village before sitting out with a drink at the 1863 bar/bistro

https://1863ullswater.co.uk/

Followed by a meal at the Sun Inn

https://suninnpooleybridge.co.uk/

Next day we decided to go for a walk in the beautiful weather.  We set off well prepared with full flasks of water and decided to walk a section of the Ullswater Way, which is a 21-mile walking route around Ullswater.  It can be walked from any starting point and in any direction.

http://www.ullswater.co.uk/the-ullswater-way.html

Map of the Ullswater Way

We began by walking down to Pooley Bridge Pier and taking a ride on the Ullswater Steamer over to Howtown Pier.

https://www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk/

From Howtown Pier we walked on approx. 500 yards into Martindale valley which lies between Ullswater and Haweswater.  There’s an old Church of St Martin there and a hotel – The Howtown Hotel.  We visited the cosy, traditional bar to the rear of the hotel and sat out for a little while on the sloping grass there.

After our drink, we walked back towards Howtown Pier where we joined the Ullswater Way via a gate up into a field on the right opposite the Pier entrance.  It was an approx. 6-mile walk from here along the low level route back into Pooley Bridge.  There’s the option of a higher route which takes you up to the Cock Pit Stone Circle but we were happy enough with our wander along the tracks overlooking Ullswater and through the fields, eventually coming out alongside the lake and continuing into Pooley Bridge.

But ohhhh, the vampire bloodsucking horseflies were bitey little bu*$ers up in the fields that day! 🧛‍♂️.

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On arrival into Pooley Bridge, we had a couple of cool down pints and some food before heading back up to site, catching a lovely sunset over the hills on our way back.  A total of about 8-miles walked in the day.   We sat out on site with a brew before turning in.

The beautiful Lake District seen in the most perfect weather.  Top weekend 👌.   Our next Jolly trip is a cheeky little overnighter in Yorkshire with some camping buddies.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri.

Heathfield Farm Camping Park, Freshwater & Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight

So, after a fab 4-night stay at Southland C&MC Site we set off for Heathfield Farm Camping Park at Norton Green just outside Freshwater.

https://www.heathfieldcamping.co.uk/index.php

That morning, we saw our first bit of rain since arriving on the island but it didn’t get heavy or last for very long.  On arrival at Heathfield, we checked in with the wardens, were given some information about the site and local area, filled Jolly up with water and then followed the warden who led us to our pitch (no. 12).  We had pre-booked and opted for a large pitch and we certainly got that.  It was huge compared to some sites.  Plenty of privacy space to enjoy the sunshine which did reappear soon enough 😎.

That afternoon we decided to explore the area on our bikes.  We turned left out of site to the top of Heathfield Road, turned left again and followed the road down until we came to a sign for Colwell Bay which is located between Totland & Yarmouth.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/things-to-do/colwell-bay-p968881

There are good views of mainland England from the bay and to the right as you look out you can see Fort Albert, a Victorian gun tower.  You can also walk further along the sea wall to Totland Bay (approx. 1.5 miles).

http://www.castlesfortsbattles.co.uk/south_east/fort_albert.html

On arrival at the bay we passed a cafe by the beach and as we reached the sea wall/prom we looked to our left and saw a row of colourful beach huts.  These huts can be hired out for the day.

In between the rows of beach huts, we came across ‘The Hut’ which is a restaurant/bar.  This turned out to be the best find of our whole holiday eatery-wise.  We bought a drink and sat at an outside table on the front terrace looking out across the Solent.  The sun had reappeared by this time and we kicked back, relaxed and just watched the boats coming and going.  The chill out lounge music being played was spot on for the setting.

The Hut offers a collection service for people arriving by boat, bringing them in to shore and this appeared to be a popular service.  We saw several groups of people arriving from the mainland to eat here.

We had originally only intended to have a drink before venturing further afield but we were so pulled in by the whole vibe of the place that we ended up booking a table for our evening meal.  We decided to try our first ever lobster and steak ‘surf and turf’.  It was SENSATIONAL.  Wowzers! 😋 .  Our holiday treat to ourselves.

If we lived locally this would definitely be a regular haunt for us.  The atmosphere was great, lots of groups in party mood but without any rowdiness.  Also couples, a real mix.   It really pulled us in.  One of the best bar restaurants we’ve ever been to (and we’ve been to a few 😉).

Anyway, that was the first day of the second half of our Isle of Wight Adventure.   Next day we planned to visit The Needles at Alum Bay.   Soooo much to see on this beautiful island.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Wightlink Ferry – Lymington to Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

We set off from home in the early hours to enjoy a traffic-free 5 hour, 280 mile journey down to Lymington Ferry Terminal.  At least that way we could allow as long as we wanted for the journey and relax wherever we liked before queuing for the ferry at Lymington.

We ended up having a 2 hour catnap at Sutton Scotney South Services before finishing off our scenic journey which took us through the beautiful New Forest and down to Lymington.

Sunrise after a cheeky few 💤 at Sutton Scotney South Services on A34

 

We had pre-booked our tickets:-

  • Booked through Wightlink online quoting our C&CC membership to get a 50% reduction in cost.  We paid £129.17 in total for return travel for Jolly and us.
  • Duration of this route is approx. 40 minutes.
  • Outgoing booked for Sunday 3/6/18 @ 9:15am
  • Check in is at least 30 minutes but no more than 1 hour before departure – although on our outward journey we arrived much earlier and as it was quiet we were told we could go on the earlier crossing – nice one 👍
  • We arrived at the correct time for our return journey Yarmouth to Lymington on Monday 11/6/18 @ 12:05pm.  It was a much busier crossing.
  • The organisation at the harbours and on boarding/disembarking made for a smooth and stress-free journey.  Staff were always noticeably friendly and helpful too.

A  lovely start to Jolly’s Isle of Wight Adventure 😎🚐.

 

We were too early on the island to check into the campsite so we stopped off for a very welcome breakfast on the way at ‘The Dairyman’s Daughter’ at Arreton

https://arretonbarns.co.uk/the-pub/

This is next door to Farmer Jack’s farm food shop which is a great place to stock up on local produce on arrival.

http://www.farmerjacks.co.uk/about-us/

Then we were off with our full tummies to check in at Southland C&MC Site at the South of the Island.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Santon Bridge, Holmrook, Cumbria

The Old Post Office Campsite at Santon Bridge, Holmrook in the Lake District was the destination for our most recent Jolly adventure.  It’s a privately run riverside site comprising both hard standing and grass pitches with the usual facilities.  We used our onboard facilities though.  Some of the pitches overlook the River Irt and we were lucky enough to be allocated one of these, a hard standing with EHU.

Couldn’t fault the location – riverside, countryside and just a short stroll over the bridge to the Bridge Inn pub which serves great food.   We ate here on both nights.

Many people visit this area to climb Scaffell Pike and enjoy the various other walks the area has to offer.   The scenery is truly spectacular in this less touristy western lakes area.

On the Saturday we jumped on our bikes to cycle the undulating country road that runs alongside the shores of Wastwater towards Wasdale Head.  This area has a number of  claims to fame as the home of England’s highest mountain (Scafell Pike), deepest lake (Wastwater), smallest church (St Olaf’s) and the biggest liar 🤥.

This was the route we took.  If you look closely you can see I’ve placed faint red bike symbols along the yellow route.  Sorry if it isn’t particularly good you’ll just have to look a bit harder 😛😂

Map of our cycle route

The weather during our stay was fabulously hot and sunny 😎, in fact possibly the best weather we’ve experienced in the Lakes.  We had an active day, but made plenty of time to stop and take in the beauty of the area.   At one point we were sitting on a steep, rocky mound overlooking the lake when we both caught a glimpse out of the corner of our eyes of a cycle helmet rolling and bouncing down the banking … then into the lake  *splash* 💦😳.   Bri enjoyed the feeling of the wind flowing through his locks for the rest of the day.

As you can imagine in such stunning surroundings, there were a lot of photographs to be taken so I’ll stick ‘em in a slide show:-

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We had a well earned pit stop sitting out at the Wasdale Head Inn before our return journey by the same route, with a slight detour into Nether Wasdale.

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Wow, what a weekend made all the more perfect by the weather.  We couldn’t have hoped to see Wasdale in better conditions.  After our little detour on the way home we cycled back to The Bridge Inn next door to camp for some tea before returning to site to relax.

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The next morning was more overcast though still warm as we packed up for home, taking an unintentional route over some fell or other, we know not which (Birker Fell?).  Anyhow, we were pleased to descend back down into Broughton-in-Furness to pick up the ‘A’ roads again.

Yet more great memories made.  Our next adventure will be our annual Jolly June Jaunt.  Bring it on!

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Pot Haw Farm, Coniston Cold, North Yorkshire

Last week, we managed to link a 2-night Wedding Anniversary Spa break at the fabulous Coniston Hotel & Spa, near Skipton, North Yorkshire, with another Jolly adventure.

We had pre-booked an evening meal in the Huntsman’s Lodge restaurant at the hotel on the evening of our arrival followed by a full spa day the next day.  It was fab, a really lovely couple of days, but instead of staying at the hotel we made use of a Camping & Caravanning Club CS Site just a 10-15 minute walk away.  Heaps cheaper, but also our preferred option is ALWAYS to stay in our Jolly.

The site was Pot Haw Farm at Coniston Cold.  It’s an adult-only site based on a working farm, beside Craven Country Ride, an off road horse riding venue.  We have to say it was a real gem of a find.  For the first day/night we were the only unit on site and enjoyed total peaceful countryside relaxation.

Wide open views and good sized pitches, the facilities here are very impressive, pristine, and even include an AGA cooker in a communal kitchen/dining area.  The lady owner (Jacqui) greeted us on arrival and took us on a tour of the facilities immediately.  She takes great pride in the site which is lovingly kept.  The warm, sunny weather showed the whole area at its best during our stay.  Here are some photos taken during our stay:-

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By our second night there was a group booking of 3 more units pitched up and by the time we left the following morning the site had reached it permitted maximum of 5.   It seems to be a place people return to.  We can see why and will definitely return ourselves and venture out on our bikes, although not along the main A road that runs below the site.  The owner warned that it’s one to avoid as it’s very fast and not cycle friendly, or walker friendly as there is no footpath.  In fact the walk we did from our pitch to the hotel was one the owner recommended to us as a safe route through the farm fields.  Be sure to ask for those directions if visiting the hotel.  There are other walks from site too and apparently a bus stop a short distance away.

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So, for us, this was just a cheeky last minute accommodation booking for our anniversary celebrations, but it turned out to be quite a find.

We didn’t take any photos at the hotel as we had a phone/camera free relaxation break, but we can recommend it for a pamper day and/or delicious dining.

A big fat 10/10 for this trip.   Excellento! 👍

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… until next time 👋

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Ainsdale & Formby, Nr Southport, Merseyside

Ow do!

We recently visited Willowbank Touring Park in Ainsdale. It’s about 3 miles outside Southport, next door to Formby, and only about an hour further down the coast from where we live so we spent very little time on the road.  It was a rainy day on our arrival but the sun soon appeared.

 

The pitches and facilities at Willowbank are excellent. No choosing your own pitch here though.  As soon as you arrive you’re taken to a pre-allocated pitch. It’s no biggie but it’s always nicer to have the freedom to choose your own. The main road outside the site driveway can get very busy but there’s a path and cycle way running alongside for safe cycling/walking. We could hear quite a bit of traffic noise late into Friday night. This didn’t bother us though, and we found the site to be lovely and ideally situated for our stay. We would happily stay there again.

 

 

For this break we used our bikes to explore the area. The first day we cycled down to Ainsdale beach and through Ainsdale village. It was a very damp and grey day, but this made for some quite atmospheric beach photographs.

 

After a beach wander and cycle around Ainsdale (calling in at a cosy, quaint venue called The Tipple Bar), we cycled to The Sparrowhawk where we enjoyed a cracking evening meal to round off the day. It’s just half a mile from the campsite and a must for a meal if you’re in the area.

 

Next morning after a good sleep, lie-in and a bit of brekkie we headed back out on our bikes to Formby, following much of the Asparagus Cycle Trail which takes in the Formby Red Squirrel Reserve.  This was our main reason for this Jolly trip so we were a bit excited!

It was our first time seeing red squirrels and we saw plenty, which it turns out was quite lucky as we’ve spoken to some people who saw none when they visited.  There was quite a lot of activity when we were there and some of them came up quite close for a photograph. They’re smaller than expected in comparison to the greys, and it was a really special experience seeing them thriving in good numbers.

Here are some photos of our red squirrel experience visit and our day out n about on the bikes (so much better than me wittering on):-

The elusive red 🐿

Gorgeous 🐿

Lovely 🐿 shot

Close-up

Inquisitive 🐿

A Jay bird

 

Afterwards we cycled back to site and cooked tea on Jolly, spending a chilled evening before heading home about midday the next day.

Our next Jolly jaunt will be probably somewhere up Cumbria way.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

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

Welltrough Hall Farm, Lower Withington, Cheshire

Last weekend we visited what we found to be a top rate CL site.  It was at Welltrough Hall Farm in Lower Withington, Cheshire.

This is an adults-only site which began as a 5-pitch C&MC Certified Location and has been extended to provide more pitches, all fully serviced and refreshingly spacious with hardstanding and a grassy area.  Some have wooden boundaries.  There are also grass pitches and a camping pod.

The original 5 pitches have the most impressive views across open countryside, although all have open views.   However, we found a cosy corner pitch (no 13) which was located by a small pond and trees.  It provided plenty of quiet and privacy.  Although most pitches are level, pitches 10-13 definitely need levelling blocks.  We were at the top of our ramps and still slightly sloping although this was no issue to us.

Facilities provided:- elsan chemical toilet disposal point, 2 portaloo-style toilets, showers (and one for doggies), washer/dryer, information hut, a farm walk and also a well signed walk through 2 fields to the local Red Lion Pub in the village of Lower Withington, about half a mile away.

We visited the Red Lion on our first evening for a chilled couple of drinks & game of cards in the bar area before moving into the dining area to eat later.  It was lovely food.  Would definitely recommend 😊

On site, our pitch provided a clear view of the impressive local landmark that is the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank.  This is just 2.7 miles from site.

Lovell Telescope in distance

We visited Jodrell Bank the next day while out and about exploring the area on our bikes.  We spent a pleasant 1-2 hours there which was plenty of time for what we wanted to see.  It was a perfect winter’s day with sunshine but VERY cold.  It was pleasant walking around outside and seeing the Lovell Telescope up close.  We also caught a film (on continuous play) in the film pod indoors.  This gave an interesting, detailed insight into the history and current role of the telescope in space research. There are several other interactive and informative displays inside and a couple of cafes.  It’s definitely a worthwhile visit if in the area.

Tickets were £8 per adult (£7.30 without gift aid) but we saved 10% booking online in advance.  It’s also worth noting there’s work ongoing on the car park at present.  This didn’t affect us being on bikes but car parking spaces were reduced.

Other villages we cycled through during our day out included the old farming village of Goostrey, Twemlow Green and Swettenham.  We had planned on calling into The Yellow Broom for refreshments but it was closed when we arrived so we headed another 3 miles or so through Kermincham and into Swettenham.  It was worth the often-uphill effort because we found a fine country inn, purportedly haunted, called The Swettenham Arms.   It’s easy to cycle past as it’s tucked away to the rear of St Peter’s Church.

After re-fuelling with well-earned fodder, we headed back by just the lights on our bikes to site.

A great day and top weekend.   Roll on the next one!

Chatty Chappy

A chatty blue tit chirped “Cheerio!” as we left

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri