Category Archives: Cumbria

Lost with Beetham’s Fairies!

Magic  magic everywhere!

Magic magic everywhere!

This delightful shot was sent to me by Robin Gregson.

I don’t know what I love more about it, whether or not it’s the actual hat and the marvellous Gruffalo, or the fact that it’s on a footpath sign directing you towards the Fairy Steps – how magical.

It makes sense. Among Robin’s many talents, he has just published his first novel Unreliable Histories. I was zooming through it on holiday, got 3/4 of the way through and I just don’t know where time has gone recently but I’ve not finished it, still!

Definitely worth a download, I’m enjoying it enormously….and not because he’s a mate and I’d have to say that (wouldn’t I?), but because it is rich in language, humour and plot.

I’m also looking forward to reading the Gruffalo to my young son, who, thankfully, adores books. It doesn’t matter if we’re reading That’s Not My Penguin or Peppa’s Viaje En Tren (I’m not kidding), he’s enthralled. I hope it lasts.

Sadly pregnancy and motherhood have not done much for my joy of reading, I don’t seem to have the attention span any more so it’s been a real thrill to read Robin’s first novel without, unrelatedly, having to put it down and pick up Closer magazine instead…..I never said I didn’t have a shallow side!

As for Beetham and The Fairy Steps, I’ve not visited myself but it looks lovely and like a walk the kids might enjoy, if only for the challenge of climbing the steps without touching the walls!

 

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Kendal Calling!

It’s been an age – I forget how long, since I last wrote a lost blog. A lot has happened and, as Booker T would say, Time is Tight.

I had a baby!

Yippee and hooray and everything else in life pales. Cheesy but true.

This morning this photo was posted by Justin Grammer on his Facebook page with a nod to the Lost Socks Laundromat….so I HAD to write.

Hat at Kendal Castle

 

Having never been to Kendal Castle I can’t comment on its visitor attractiveness but I’m guessing it’s a ruin and stands on a small hillock surrounded by the breathtaking Cumbrian hills. And this is where the hat resides.

Sadly my lasting memory of Kendal Calling – the title of this piece, was when the music festival was still sited just off the Kendal bypass in a farmer’s field. It was a dreadful weekend weatherwise, very sadly indeed 2 people died from dodgy drugs and with them died my inclination towards ever attending another music festival. I am told, however, that its new location at Lowther makes it a much more appealing past time. The line up gets bigger and better with every year and were it not for our dear, sweet, little boy, I might have given it a whirl this summer.

Kendal, itself, is a lovely place, made all the more enjoyable last year when a group of otters decided to take up residence on the river, slap bang in the centre of the town.

Give it a whirl. It’s got some great eateries and the number of locally produced gastronomic delights make it a must go for any foodie! I just wish I could still find Kendalicious Cordials but fear they may no longer be around. Check out their food festival in March.

Cheers Justin!

Lost racing around Cartmel

Ah yes our first walk of the New Year and I had managed to lose the trail within literally 100 yards of the car park…..what hope?

I handed over to Gillian, who set us right, allowing me to indulge in the pursuit of the lost.

And not long before we came across this…

Leftover from the fell run?

 

How do you lose one trainer?

Our route for the day was a walk I’d chosen from one of my favourite walking books and was a 7 mile, 4 hour circular walk around Cartmel, taking in Hampsfield Fell as an optional offshoot.

The great guy in the tourist info office, on the village car park, told us there’d been a fell run the day before with not a single parking space available from about 11am onwards…so I wonder was this rather new looking trainer belonging to a runner?

A few yards further on we spotted this…

As you know I’m not really one to veer away from clothing or footwear but the dummy seemed so photogenic I couldn’t resist. Seriously though, I know someone mounted it on a branch so that it could be easily spotted but am inclined to think if I’d dropped my baby’s dummy, I’d not want it back after it’d been dropped in God knows what muck half way up a country path!

The walk saw us through woods, wandering on farmland over fields, a bit of road walking, many stiles and finally up Hampsfield Fell whose summit is complete with a stone hospice…….when Gillian read this aloud I’d seriously imagined a rest home up a hill……but no, it’s a stone tower…no idea what its purpose, but given the wind it was a perilous climb to the top where I literally sank to my knees for fear of being swept off.

Back to the main path and  semi steep descent into claggy farmland once more and another loss hiding on a wall, we thought it might be a hat

We were home just in time for the heavens to open and refuge to be sought in the fab King’s Arms. Can I recommend, please? Wonderful, attentive staff, good ale and food at the bargainacious offer of £25 per couple YES per couple for a 3 course dinner as part of the Sunday Supper Club. I had smoked salmon, a roast beef dinner and then banana bread, ice cream and toffee sauce…….all for £12.50. And it was all delicious. I’ve not enjoyed such value for money in ages.

Sad that we didn’t have time to wander round the priory but I suspect I’ll be back in Cartmel sooner rather than later when I hope to check out L’Enclume! Hmm I wonder how I’ll find the value for money there….watch this space.

Finding yourself in the Lakes!

So anyway back on the current trail to lose weight, I took advantage of it being half term and went on a walk on Sunday with my husband, best mate, her husband and two godsons, Ollie and George – the apples of my eye.

You really couldn’t meet two more perfect children but never having been walking with them before I had no idea if they’d be bored, if they’d be shattered….or if they’d take to it like a duck to water….added to which I’ve not really done a proper walk in ages. David is a gym bunny, Gillie is naturally fit (how annoying) and Mark is a footballer so if there was a fitness fly in the ointment it was me….no surprise then that I chose a good, easy walk I’d done in the past……punctuated half way round by the appearance of the Lake District’s best cake shop, Chesters.

Park in Elterwater……head left out of village car park and turn right up the hill just past a small hotel…….walk about 2 miles, stop and take photo of lost pair of socks (what??)

The author shoots the socks in the Lakeland Laundromat!

The joy of being out and about with @markymarkf is that he could shoot me shooting the socks!

Walking socks stuck in Langdale wall!

At this point it is important to say that our navigator was George. He did a fine job. It’s not until you start explaining walks to someone that you realise how easy it was all those times to have walked up a sheep trail thinking it was the path!

Telling George not just to read the description of the route but observe the actual footpath signs was quite ironic given the number of times I’ve led my mate miles in the wrong direction!

Grabbing a shot of that lost glove at Stang End

The end of the wall for this glove!

Yes that is snow!

Past Stang End we headed across more farmland into woodland then down to Colwith Bridge. Across farmland and down towards Skelwith Bridge we decided against cakes until we were back at the car and the walk over.

Elterwater is delightful. If you’re not a walker, if you have a baby buggy, if you have a dog….it’s just the perfect setting. There’s the backdrop of the Langdales and it’s just beautiful.

Scarlet on a mossy mound!

Well done to George for superb skills, faultless on the first attempt…..you don’t know what you’ve let yourself into! Ollie’s up next time – I have high expectations young man!

Bob turns his hand to dry stone walling!

Can we find it? Yes we can!

Stormy weather not on this horizon - no need for wellybobs!

OK so I had to park about a mile ahead of this item in order to walk back to photograph it. Just outside Clappersgate on the way to Elterwater I spotted this Bob the Builder welly – some poor mite probably howled all the way home as a result of this loss. Ain’t it cute?

I was headed to Elterwater to do a favourite ciurcular route of mine, not least because aside from a real feast of Lakeland views, you get to take in the full force of the water at Skelwith Bridge where the water is a fabulous turquoise-green as it flows over the slate. You can feast your heart out at Chesters with any number of their divine cakes and puddings, and still walk back alongside the serene, and petite, Elterwater.

There’s also a small retail area, which I love, but then I would as newroomsonline and Chesters have many suppliers in common!

It’s a truly beautiful walk. Park in Elterwater National Trust car park and head out of it to the left. You can follow a path up and off to your right which takes you over a very gentle mound with the Langdales screaming overhead to your right. You drop down through a farm and meet a road which you walk along to your left until you come across a hole in the hedge on the right and make your way across another meadow and down towards the woods where you walk along side the swelling river…sometimes a dreamy little trickle, others a raging torrent not to be messed with!

You just keep following the path through meadows and across roads until you end up back at Skelwith Bridge where you can then walk alongside the river back in the opposite direction, then following Elterwater’s edge back to the car park. I don’t know maybe it’s about 2-3 hours walk but it’s simply lovely, especially if you’re not really a fell walker but want the Lakes experience!

Enjoy!

Anything to keep Mother Nature karm!

Ah this was a blissful day. I went off walking with some great chums from Glenridding Sailing Centre. Steve, in his infinite South African wisdom, managed to say one thing that has ruined walking for me forever more……evidently one is never supposed to do a circular walk anti-clockwise as Mother Earth gets all out of kilter and it’s bad karma! Bloody hippies!

So for the ensuing 4 years I’ve only done clockwise walks regardless of how inconvenient that route can be!

It’s a favourite haunt of mine – Grisedale just south of Patterdale…not to be confused with the Grizedale Forest. The Grisedale valley is just fantastic. Sometimes it’s so quiet it’s magical…mostly it’s just torrential and the tops of the fells hang with low cloud from Nethermost Cove and Dollywaggon Pike.

It’s quite a gentle plain until you start to climb and before you know you’ve gained quite a bit of height…then there’s this bothy type hut whose name I’ve totally forgotten…something like Ruthwaite Lodge pronounced Ruthut or something similar…anyway..you get there and think this is it…and still isn’t!

You just think you’re nearing the tarn at the end of the path when another mile comes into view…it’s like the episode of the Simpsons when Homer’s climbing Mount Springfield! You never seem to get there.

Once you reach the tarn (Grisedale Tarn) you just want to throw yourself in…or make camp or go for a swim…quite like the idea of wild swimming, in fact I’m a bit obsessed with it though nervous of where to try, having only yet managed Black Moss pot in the Langstrath Valley…if you’re going to start somewhere I can’t think of a better place.

Back to the sorry little lost glove – isn’t she adorable, all snuggly and striped?

Draft round the Nethers!

Nether Bridge barriers sport dandy cap!

Making his first appearance to this blog, this arrived from @justingrammer. The picture was taken close to Nether Bridge in Kendal, and it’s worth noting that the barriers were just hanging round doing nothing….apart from mugging small children for their hats!

I met Justin years ago when I’d first got into walking and Ullswater Steamers, where he was marketing manager, were my new best friends! He’s as big a pedant as me, if not worse, which is a great commonality to have, a true dying art I find, that is, until you’re trying to show off with your social networking skills and he notes your appallling typos! RAHHHHHH!

Thanks for the photo – top angle, right up my street and to style it to the blog is an added bonus!

If you’ve not yet discovered Kendal then shame on you. There’s the Mountain Festival starring nutters up scary ridges, Brewery Arts Centre featuring top giggage and just opposite a really fab restaurant called the New Moon, where the pigeon is truly gorgeous.

I’ve also recently found a few favourite outlets in the area for delicious food. I’m sure I’ve mentioned Low Sizergh Barn for top farm shop heaven, but there’s also Kendalicious Cordials – lime, lemon and strawberry being my favourite three and Savin Hill Farm meats – not sure the Lyth Valley, where they reside, is strictly Kendal but if you are in the area I cannot recommend their brisket and pork medallions enough! If you can’t get to the Lyth Valley then they attend Farmers’ Marketsw and were last spotted in Manchester’s Picadilly Gardens!