Coastal Hamlet of Ravenglass, Lake District, Cumbria

Well we’re fresh back from another weekend in the Lake District, Cumbria. This time we re-visited the peaceful coastal hamlet of Ravenglass. It has been one of our favourites to return to over the years. The journey up was smooth and the weather remained dry but very misty in places.

We stayed as usual at the Ravenglass Camping and Caravanning Club site. It’s a beautiful site with good size pitches and a friendly, cosy feel. When we arrived there was just a choice of 3 or 4 pitches left but we managed to choose ourselves a quiet corner pitch (No. 33). One thing we would say, however, was that it rained a lot during the nights. We’re seasoned motorhomers now and always bear tree overhang in mind when choosing pitches when rain is forecast. However, due to reduced choice we found ourselves beneath a torrent of heavy rain droplets from branches throughout both nights but it was particularly noisy on the second night. We needed a few catch up 💤 when we got home 😴.

Anyhoo … Ravenglass is beautiful with everything so easily accessible. Literally 5 minutes walk from the site is the estuary which gives the most beautiful sunsets. There are benches to relax on as you watch the sun setting from an orange hue to a deep red as it sets fully. Pretty stunning. This time of year the sun set around 4:30 pm and even with more cloud cover the colours were beautiful. Here’s an earlier post from our 2014 visit when we captured a really, fantastic sunset – Ravenglass sunsets

There’s an interesting Roman history to Ravenglass and not far from the campsite is one of the largest surviving 2nd Century Roman buildings in England. It’s a Roman bath house, known as Walls Castle’ which is cared for by English Heritage. We’ve cycled past this on previous visits and had a wander round around the structure. Check it out.

We arrived mid-afternoon and walked down to the estuary just as the sun was beginning to set. We had a drink in the pub along the front, The Inn at Ravenglass. 🍻

It’s a busy little drinking pub which doesn’t serve food at the moment but may do again in the future. The Landlady was welcoming and a good laugh. We sat by the log burner warming our tootsies up after standing out by the estuary.

Sunset

We ate on both nights at The Ratty Arms which never disappoints and we always pre-book just to be sure of a table.

The Ratty Arms is situated between the site and the estuary, alongside the Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway line. You can’t visit Ravenglass and not ride ‘Ratty’s Railway’. If you do, what is wrong with you!? 🤪

We travelled the full route to Dalegarth Station in the small village of Boot. There are a couple of places to eat and drink there if you wish – The Boot Inn, Brook House Inn, and the Hardknott Bar & Cafe at The Woolpack Inn just a little further walk away. We didn’t eat in Boot but can vouch for a good pint in each establishment 😉👍.

On previous visits we have taken our push bikes on the train (you’ve to pre-book this beforehand) to Dalegarth and have cycled the Eskdale Trail back to Ravenglass. More details and pics of this along with other things to do around Ravenglass, including visiting Muncaster Castle, are included on our previous blog post. This time though with it being mid-winter we took the train both ways and just enjoyed a saunter around Boot for the afternoon. This included stopping a while to talk to a few gorrrrgeous Aberdeen Angus cows we passed grazing in a field.

We then caught the last train back to Ravenglass.

Well that’s been our last Jolly Jaunt of 2018. What a year we’ve had, so many adventures. We feel so lucky to be living our motorhoming dream. Hope you’ve enjoyed the posts too.

Bring on 2019! 🚐

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Broughton-in-Furness, Cumbria

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

To finish our afternoon wanderings off, we stopped off for a couple of drinks in town.  There are 3 pubs within the centre, the Black Cock Inn, the Old Kings Head and the Manor Arms

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.

However, we’d decided to cook our own meal back on Jolly that evening.  So we called into the village bakery (also a cafe), Butchers/grocers to collect our ingredients.

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.

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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.

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ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

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

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.