Archive for the ‘arnside tower’ Tag

Easter Sun – Silverdale (and around) Antics   10 comments

More weather madness as a bitterly cold day in Brecon Beacons was followed a week later by record breaking hot weather at Easter. We’d timed this to perfection with another visit the the Hotel Silverdale and our top notch friends who seem to tolerate our repeated visits with very good grace.


We packed in a lot over the four days around this rather beautiful and unspoilt corner of Lancashire.


An early morning walk to the shop to stock up on provisions via the The Cove and The Lots.


After lunch (or before maybe) a cycling trip to Trowbarrow Quarry.


I’d rather foolishly committed to a mountain bike ride around the many bumps, jumps and drops in the quarry with the Dangerous Brothers. They’d been reminding me for weeks not to forget to bring my bike seemingly concerned that I would chicken out (which was my plan all along).


I couldn’t let them down and did indeed have a go at most of the stuff they peer-pressured me into (although I decided not to try any of the jumps on the basis I’m far too heavy!)


I admit it was enormous fun and other than one wobble on a very steep drop that had me bouncing through tree branches I survived unscathed. As you can see above they even convinced their dad to give it a go!


Its a stunning spot on a clear sunny day and we all enjoyed a laze around as well as some more frantic two wheeled activity. I was actually a little disappointed that we never found time to head up there again.


We also found time to play with a boomerang in the fields behind the house.


Much harder than it looks actually.


Only a couple of attempts came close to coming back to the thrower. Doesn’t matter as we had enormous fun trying.


We took a walk up to Arnside Knott one morning. A fine small hill (England’s smallest Marilyn in case you were interested)


A gloriously hot and sunny day that had us searching for the shade to keep cool.


Superb views across the Kent estuary


And back via Arnside Tower.


An afternoon trip to sunbathe and swim at Levens Deer Park.


The water was startlingly cold but refreshing. I think its the earliest in the year I’ve ever been fresh water swimming.


The DBs of course were back in their element jumping of the banks (although as an honorary DB I joined in as well)


The evening on the patio was a festival of BBQ meat (and some Vegan stuff for those that way inclined) and a roaring fire burning the remains of the kids old swings.


And no trip here is complete without the classic walk around the coast to Arnside and back over Arnside Knott.


Arnside, packed with visitors, no seats in the cafe so an alfresco and delicious hot pie on the pier was a more than adequate compensation.


More views from Arnside Knott to finish off a superb weekend in the sunshine with good company, loads of activities and fine selection of food.


Big thanks to the Silverdale massive for taking care of us and making it into a wonderful mini-holiday.


Weekend With Long Lost Friends and Offspring   9 comments

Another visit to the very friendly accommodating Hotel de Silverdale an excuse to catch up with our errant son now living the high life up at Lancaster University. As always a splendid weekend of locals walks, banter and great food.

We took several outings the first of which was a wander to Trowbarrow Quarry. Its another of those places that I’m sure Mark must have taken me before, probably many times but I was insistent I’ve never visited.


A route through Eaves Wood and down to Hawes Water, now being remodelled with new boardwalks to protect the local flora and fauna.


This local fauna sadly will only be protected to the point where it becomes sausages.


Trowbarrow Quarry was rather fine. Lots of people rock climbing and the DBs took time showing me all the Mountain Bike routes.


Rather foolishly I seem to have made a commitment to bring my bike on the next visit so they can take me biking in the quarry. Likely to end in amusement for them and injury for me.


We stopped off at Leighton Moss on the way back and took a trip up their observation tower where the views were exceedingly fine.


And then back across the golf course and the fields for lunch of homemade mushroom soup – also exceedingly fine.


We went out for another brief stroll to the Pepper Pot in Eaves Wood hoping to see the sunset but the clouds had descended and it was a pretty murky. I tried a couple of black and white images to see how they came out.


The evening was characterised by a takeaway curry and the arrival of Mark’s brother and his two kids. I’ve not seen him since his stag do – pushing 20 years so it was great to catch up and swap some old and new stories.

A morning walk around Jenny Brown’s Point and Jack Scout. Still gloomy and grey but its a fine walk.


The weather and plenty of chatter meant only a couple of photos.


Despite a gloomy forecast the afternoon was glorious and sunny and a final walk was in order. It wouldn’t be a Silverdale weekend without a trip up Arnside Knott. and the late afternoon sunshine was very welcome.


Mark had found a new path to the summit – a very steep way as it happens but we timed our arrival with some stunning light conditions.


The Lakes were still under the gloom proving that sometimes small and local is best.


We reckoned if we pushed on at a brisk pace we could reach the Pepper Pot in time for what we hoped would be a better sunset.


Our route took us past Arnside Tower which looked magnificent lit up by the setting sun.


It seems rather sad that no-one seems to be looking after it and slowly it seems to falling down and will likely crumble at some point. A sad reflection that this beautiful historic building may not be around forever.


We reached the Pepper Pot a matter of seconds before the sun went down and whilst not exactly fire in the sky it was a wonderful and peaceful way to finish a cracking weekend


Thanks as always to Mark and the Family for letting us stay and making us welcome and great to catch up with old friends and enjoy the delights of this wonderful and unspoilt part of the world.


And Then There Were Three   21 comments


A couple of weekends back and a big change for the family. TJS having worked hard for his A-Level results was now about to start on his own way in the world. With full car and empty wallet we dropped him off and helped him settle in to his new life at Lancaster University. Four years of hard work and new experiences await him as he starts his Masters Physics course. He’s taken everything completely in his stride and seemed totally at ease with settling into life away from home. In fact they had set up all kinds of events for his welcome day and was eager for us to go! In truth the fact that he seemed so ready to go made the prospect much easier for me and TBF as parents.


Its a new life for us to get used to as well. Luckily we have our good friends Mark and his family who live nearby and offered to put us up for the weekend. That also helped to soften the blow of the changed circumstances. We managed to fit in a series of fine walks over the weekend around our commitments with Danny and their weekend plans.


After dropping Danny off in Lancaster we had time for an afternoon walk. As you know from my many previous visits to their home, there is a huge range of wonderful interesting walks that go straight from the door. First one, we followed Mark as he took us a tour that included Arnside Knott.


After cutting through Eaves Wood we passed by Middlebarrow Quarry. (I’m sure Mark will correct me if I have any of the locations or maps incorrect – there are so many paths around there, not all marked on the map, that its impossible to be 100% sure where I am. Not that it matters, its all wonderful). Its huge but you’d never know it was there unless you went looking for it


Across a huge open pasture with views to Arnside Knott and Arnside Tower. The railway line was close by and there a few people clearly waiting for a train to pass through. More on that later.


As we emerged onto the upper slopes of Arnside Knott the colours told us Autumn was on its way and the views, as they always are from up here, were superb


Here is the stream train crossing the Arnside viaduct over the Kent that the spotters must have been waiting for


One of the finest of the UK’s small hills in my view. Me and Mark played the game of which one we thought was best between Carn Fadryn and Arnside Knott. I think it was an honourable draw. 🙂



In the late afternoon sunshine the changing colours of the trees was spellbinding.


Throw in the sunlight behind the clouds and it was all rather splendid.



TBF looking cold




A view down over Silverdale village


And the setting sun.



A respectable 6 miles for a late afternoon walk

Arnside Knott

Next morning one of the DBs was being confirmed at a local church so me and TBF went for a short stroll down to Jenny Brown’s Point and Jack Scout


It was a pretty dull morning and very cold and windy. However even though I was without my local guides I managed not get lost!



A view across Morecambe Bay towards Lancaster


A view towards Grange over Sands from  Jack Scout


Another 5 miles to the total

Jack Scout

After a fine buffet lunch we were out again. Back across The Lots (one of my favourite spots around here). The weather had changed to bright sunny intervals and heavy showers



I don’t mind those sorts of days. Its wothn putting up with the odd soaking when you get clear spells and dark brooding skies like these





We wandered back through the edge of the village and along The Row (dodging another shower) and then up into Eaves Wood. The light in the trees was sublime




Emerging on to the top near the Pepper Pot the storms were still tracking across the horizon, missing us fortunately.



A storm completely covering Heysham and its power station – it was clearly visible a minute or two earlier


And the Pepper Pot itself.


Another 4 miles in the bank and almost 15 miles over the weekend. Not bad for a few strolls

Eaves Wood


So a contrasting weekend of emotions. A mix of pride and sadness that TJS has now left home to follow his own path and seems to coping so well, and a great weekend spent with good friends. Huge thanks to Mark, TBH and the family for helping us through the weekend, putting us up and feeding us amazingly well as they always do! 🙂

A Favourite Revisited   15 comments


Another day with our NW friends and another cold but much brighter day. It seems that whenever we stay this walk or a derivative of it always seems to be on the agenda and no bad thing. The coastal walk from Silverdale around the coast to Arnside, returning over Arnside Knott is a classic and one that always brings a smile to my face. The variety of scenery and great views is a winner, this time further enlivened by a fine lunch.


As always on a sunny day the walk through the village and Holgates Caravan Park was lovely, wild spring daffodils in abundance. This short stretch between Holgates and Far Arnside across the fields is superb with views over the bay and up to the Knott




I’m sure I must have done this walk with the tide in but I don’t remember. My memory of this walk is of strolling across the sands and mud towards Arnside from somewhere near the point below. Whatever, the section along the narrow coast path is very fine



The view across the Kent Estuary towards Grange


And back towards Heysham Point and the Fylde


We could see the high peaks of the Eastern Lake District still with plenty of snow. A fact we were reminded of as we turned the corner into the wind where the temperature dropped markedly


The full tide made the final couple of miles into Arnside much more interesting. Not an exceptionally high tide according to Mark but as high as I’ve seen it



The last passage into the village, had us scrambling across paths and diverting inland to drier ground



All part off the fun of this walk


Our lunch was at the eclectic Gado Gado restaurant. By that I mean the name is Indonesian but the food takes inspiration from many far eastern origins and it was all marvellous (the sweet and spicy duck was lush as was the less exotic Sticky Toffee Pudding). We stayed a long couple of hours and left with full bellies and a warm glow. Just as well as it had clouded over while we were inside and was now distinctly chilly


A steep climb up the Knott to take in the views, climb trees (younger members) and complain about how far the climb is on a full stomach


Even on a grey day it the views are majestic


Our hosts took us on a path I’m sure I’ve not been on before, a high, narrow and quite exposed route above the southern slopes with great views over the bay and Silverdale village. Makes the Knott seem far higher than its modest 522 feet




Our route home took us past the Arnside Peel Tower


No idea how far the walk actually is, my OS route mapper says just over 8 miles but I’m sure its further

Silverdale Arnside

Despite pigging out for lunch by the time we were home it seemed entirely acceptable to spread out a feast of meats, breads, cheeses etc as the round of scoffing began anew. It must have been the fresh winter air! 🙂


The Second Half and into Extra Time in Silverdale and Beyond   7 comments

So on we traveled through the length of Wales and beyond to Silverdale and a visit to “Our Friends in the North”. They’ve been down to see us the past couple of years so this time it was our turn to mess up their house, eat all their food and generally make a nuisance of ourselves 🙂

As you can see from the slideshow below we had a fine old time

But you want to hear, I know you do. Ready, let’s begin

As is traditional on these house swaps the first day was grey wet and miserable. Fortunately the kids had a plan. Laser Quest. Oh deep joy, running about a warehouse in the dark with a bunch of noisy kids. At my age. Actually it was great fun and most of the kids were friendly and eager to join in the team games with grumpy strangers like me. The day was almost a 100% success but DB Junior managed to split his lip open and spent the next day in hospital having it repaired. He took it all in his stride and was very brave, bless him. He’s not one of the Dangerous Brothers for nothing

The next day we just took the rest of the kids out for a local walk through the woods and up Arnside Knott. A pretty gloomy day but we made the most of it and the kids enjoyed the usual tree climbing antics and poor DB Jr didn’t miss out anything too exciting while he was in hospital

silverdale, arnside knott, arnside tower

silverdale, arnside knott, arnside tower

silverdale, arnside knott, arnside tower

It was then time for ED to show us the sights. He’d been promising to take us to the SW coast of Cumbria near Barrow and it didn’t disappoint. We stopped off for lunch at Aldingham, deserted and peaceful we spent a very nice couple of hours chilling, digging holes, making temples out of pebbles and an absolutely pathetic attempt to light a fire using dried seaweed and a flint-stone (Fred or Wilma, who knows). Where is Bear Gryllls when you need him

aldingham, roa island, piel island, barrow in furness

aldingham, roa island, piel island, barrow in furness

aldingham, roa island, piel island, barrow in furness

On to one of my longed for visits. Piel Island and what a place. The childish delight of a small ferry boat ride to a perfect little grassy island with a ruined castle.

aldingham, roa island, piel island, barrow in furness

aldingham, roa island, piel island, barrow in furness

aldingham, roa island, piel island, barrow in furness

The high tide mark was just a long line of crab shells, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Oyster Catchers paddled and pecked.

aldingham, roa island, piel island, barrow in furness

The views across the sands to Walney Island and over Barrow to the Black Combe where I’d walked a few weeks before were sublime even on a pretty grey day

The castle is substantial and extensive and clearly you were once able to climb to the top of the keep. Health and Safety seem to have put a stop to that – villains of the piece. Most of the grassy areas outside the castle seem to open for camping. It would be a fine place for a couple of days. Just a shame there’s no pub on such a small island. But, no, there is a pub as well. Be rude not to pay it a visit so a pint of shandy and a lemonade for the kids was very much in order.

aldingham, roa island, piel island, barrow in furness

aldingham, roa island, piel island, barrow in furness

aldingham, roa island, piel island, barrow in furness

We only had a couple of hours and the island deserves much more, a return visit needs to be made with a picnic to really explore the island over a full day. I just loved the unusual views of estuary, boats, sand-banks and unusual structures. It’s rare in these small British Isles to find somewhere unique and that was Piel Island

Back to mainland for a beach BBQ at Aldingham to finish the day. But no, one more final treat in store. ED has often told me of the tidepooling at Roa Island (where you catch the Piel Island ferry) and that due to the currents or nutrients or some such the pools under the Lifeboat station are teeming with life. We had to wait till nearly 8pm for the tide to go out but it was magnificent. I’ve never seen so much stuff, hundreds of crabs, anemones, fish, worms crowding every pool. Even the clouds parted and we had some late golden sunshine.

aldingham, roa island, piel island, barrow in furness

I’m in my element in such places and the kids had a ball. It was a shame it was so late and starting to get dark when we had to tear ourselves away and head home. I could have stayed for hours. What a top day

Saturday brought on a Yorkshire Dales walk. ED has been telling me about his renewed enthusiasm for the Limestone scenery and I was keen to revisit. It was a warm and sunny day in Silverdale but as we headed west it clouded up and by the time we arrived in Stainforth it was gloomy with drizzle in the air. We lunched in the rather bland picnic area by the car park and set off for a walk to take in Catrigg Force and the Ribble

Catrigg Force was great in a dark and gloomy sort of way, tucked in as it is in a wooded ravine. Very hard to do it justice with photos.

stainforth, stainforth force, catrigg force, river ribble, upper winskill, lower winskill

stainforth, stainforth force, catrigg force, river ribble, upper winskill, lower winskill

Onward and upward onto the fields and stone walled pastures. The sun made a fleeting appearance and the fields, full of wildflowers were enchanting

stainforth, stainforth force, catrigg force, river ribble, upper winskill, lower winskill

stainforth, stainforth force, catrigg force, river ribble, upper winskill, lower winskill

As we approached the bridge over the Ribble the sun burst forth from a rapidly clearing blue sky and everything was bathed in sunlight as a dramatic contrast to the earlier grey.

stainforth, stainforth force, catrigg force, river ribble, upper winskill, lower winskill

We stopped and lazed on the grass (others rolled about in it) and all was well with the world.

stainforth, stainforth force, catrigg force, river ribble, upper winskill, lower winskill

stainforth, stainforth force, catrigg force, river ribble, upper winskill, lower winskill

However we had plans for a BBQ in the sun so we pressed on past the excellent Stainforth Force (try saying that after a few beers) where a group of teenagers were swinging from the trees and plunging into the brown water. It had turned into  stunning afternoon to accompany a very fine walk indeed

stainforth, stainforth force, catrigg force, river ribble, upper winskill, lower winskill

stainforth, stainforth force, catrigg force, river ribble, upper winskill, lower winskill

stainforth, stainforth force, catrigg force, river ribble, upper winskill, lower winskill

stainforth, stainforth force, catrigg force, river ribble, upper winskill, lower winskill


4.5 Miles

4.5 Miles

Our last day and we headed to Sizergh Castle for some easy strolling around the gardens. It’s a beautiful spot and there were loads of diversions for the kids including a sort of adventure course in the woods. I satisfied myself with playing photos of the kids, flowers and wildlife in the large pond that sits in front of the castle.

sizergh castle

sizergh castle

sizergh castle

sizergh castle

And that was that. We returned for an outrageously oversized lunch in the garden (joined by a very striking dragonfly) and then set off for home.


A huge thanks to ED, TBF and the family for making us so welcome and relaxed. It was a really great few days and here’s hoping we didn’t outstay our welcome and that we get an invite for next year – lots more to see and do! 🙂

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