Archive for the ‘fairy steps’ Tag

Takin’ it Easy   14 comments

Early summer has become a time of added pressure for the family over the past couple of years and will continue for a few years yet. As the junior members face up to GCSE’s and A-Levels, May and June are a time of revision and exams. TJS is now mid-A-Level and when he’s off to University the cycle begins again for TJF. The May Spring Bank Holiday was always a main holiday for us but for now we have to be content with weekend breaks that while a good chance to get away normally involve camping and all the hassle that goes with it.

We are therefore lucky indeed to have my good friend Mark, his better half and their kids who invited us up to stay for the weekend. As always it was superb time of walks, play, good fun and laughs aplenty. Just the ticket to break up the school pressures and for me, personally to wind down and just enjoy simpler pleasures

The weather seemed set fair but alas the glorious drive up in broad sunshine on the Friday was a farewell wave (or two fingers up, take your pick) from our fickle British summer.

Saturday was hot and humid and with a forecast of heavy thundery showers on the way. Time to take advantage of the joy of Silverdale with one of its many fine short walks.

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We went down to the cove where some sat and enjoyed the last of the warm sun, while me and the DBs explored the smelly beach caves

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From there we went across the Lots, a lovely open meadow overlooking Morecambe Bay and one of my favourite spots in these parts. We missed the best of the Orchids that flower here so compensated with a windy game of frisbee

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Alas the weather intervened and stopped outdoor play. A succession of heavy thunderstorms and its accompanying electric light show filled the rest of the day.

Sunday looked much better and we had a plan. A walk with a pub for lunch was in order. We had designs on a couple of spots but, rather unsurprisingly, most were fully booked with it being a Sunday on a BH weekend.

No matter, we had a resrve plan that included Garden Centres, cafes and a supermarket as a fail safe. Mark had a walk planned that ticked numerous boxes. After a visit to the Mill at Beetham (and an unsuccessful visit to the Garden Centre Cafe – packed out) we headed to Milnthorpe via Dallam Deer Park

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I like Deer Parks, something about their manicured pastures and woodland, here with some views to the Peaks of the Yorkshire Dales

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And of course Deer, although a little reticent and distant (the specks under the trees in the middle distance)

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Lunch was now becoming a matter of priority. We came across the Bulls Head in Milnthorpe. It wasn’t much to look at either inside or out, all flashing fruit machines and pool tables. We were assured the food was good so gave it a go. What a find, the menu was extensive, the food excellent and staff friendly and capable, coping well with a party of nine arriving mid afternoon expecting top fed unannounced. The prices were reasonable and we all left with happy burps and distended stomachs. Time to work off some of that acquired fat

We walked back through the edge of the deer park along the river Bela. It was exceedingly fine and under a warm sun the walk was a delight

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The river broadens and the path follows it out across the floodplain to where it joins the Kent

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Time for more contrasts as we headed back inland with a short climb up Haverbrack.

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The views across the Kent estuary to the distant Lake District fells was grand

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Even the butterflies looked happy

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Fairy steps was next on the tick list. A narrow passage with some old nonsense about fairies coming and giving you a blessing or doing the ironing for you or some-such if you manage to climb up without touching the sides. Here is Mark having a valiant attempt

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The kids making it look easy

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TBF seeming to enjoy the challenge

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After a pause on the top it was back down through the woods to the car, crossing this magnificent spread of buttercups on the way

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A fine walk and not an unsubstantial 6 miles in the end (a long way with a gang of restless kids I can tell you)

Fairy Steps

Mark had suggested we could walk back to the house and collect the car later. Seemed like a good idea in principle but when we reached the car the moment had gone. A much better idea was a late evening walk to the Pepper Pot.

On the way Mark showed us a Woodpecker nest he’d watched the previous week. We were sure the chicks would have flown by now but after a couple minutes one of the youngsters popped his head out and started squawking to be fed – boy are Woodpecker chicks noisy. We could hear the parents in the distance but they never appeared, clearly waiting for us to move before they returned

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As always the view from the top was superb and we sat watching the light fade in peace and quiet before returning in near darkness through the woods. A quite excellent day

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Monday was a washout but only in weather terms. Heavy rain kept us indoors but spirits were high as we filled the day playing a variety of board games of which the Silverdale gang have many. It was in its own way as fine a day as the previous one and it was with a heavy heart that we ate heartily again and bid our hosts farewell

A top notch weekend and as always a huge message of thanks to Mark and the family for putting us up and feeding us like kings and queens. We are an active family, a little too absorbed with doing stuff every minute of every day of holiday for our own good. Sometimes I forget that there is as much pleasure from timeless easy-paced wanders, games, play and just great company. I sometimes return from a holiday fulfilled yet needing a break to recover. A weekend in Silverdale sees me return fulfilled and relaxed in equal measure and isn’t that what a holiday should be

The Annual Silverdale Gathering 2014   7 comments

Every year, in early autumn,Mark and his family take the very foolish decision to invite us and our kids to overrun his house, make a mess and eat all their food. Its become something of a tradition now and everyone looks forward to it. Let the record show that they are the most gracious and generous of hosts and it’s always a most enjoyable weekend. Only downside (outsize) is my waistline. We barely have time to venture outside such is the volume of food on offer. Massive cooked breakfasts are the order of the day together with smorgasbord of lunch items and monster curry from the village take away. I never need to eat for a week after a weekend up here. Still I like to eat to it’s a win-win situation. Whatever, the hospitality is hereby recognised.

It was a long time ago but my memory of the weekend was one of average weather but then I looked at the photos and realised that it was pretty splendid. The various families turned up at various points through the Saturday so it was a collection of shorter classic walks around the village to fill the day. Firstly up to the Pepperpot, as fine a viewpoint as there is with woods to explore, a profusion of wildlife and flora and trees to climb

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

Even though we are very settled and happy in Herefordshire my idle mind often wanders to thoughts of where else I might choose to live. Being the outdoor mountain and water-borne enthusiast that I am the obvious thought would be to live in the hills or by the west coast. Notwithstanding the need for work (not much IT work in such places) I’m not sure I could live in such remoteness. I do like some of life’s creature comforts. Scotland with its glorious scenery would be a draw surely. But let’s be realistic it has some pretty nasty weather and as soon as summer arrives so do midges. The only thing that I crave is somewhere I can go for a walk through pleasant and interesting surroundings from my front door. I have some glorious mountains between 30 minutes and 2 hours from home but immediate surrounds are rather bland arable farming fields. Silverdale is blessed with some wonderful scenery and interesting walks with great views. It’s the only other place I know that I would live other than where I am now. I always enjoy my time spent here and I’m always grateful to Mark and his family for showing off their locale which they are always pleased to do

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

After lunch with a few more people in tow it was another favourite with the stroll down to Jenny Browns Point. I love this stretch with the expansive views across Morecambe Bay, the fossils in the rocks by the Lime Kilns and the bird life

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

With everyone in tow on the Sunday we took a longer walk heading for Beetham Fell and the Fairy Steps. Mark assures me he’s taken me here before but I don’t remember. It was a very pleasant warm morning and after some tomfoolery involving toilet stops and lost adults and kids we finally made some progress past Haweswater and over the limestone enclosed fields beyond

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

I suspect the plan was to lunch at Beetham Fell but we fell short, considerably short of that objective. We passed through a sunny meadow with a small wood alongside and almost as one flopped onto the grass. The adults to laze, drink tea, chat, talk nonsense, the kids to do what all kids should do, build dens in the wood. And a very fine job they did too. No finer way to spend the time

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

After that it was over the fields again to Beetham Fell.

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

This is the old coffin route from Arnside to Beetham when Arnside didn’t have a cemetery. There is an initial taster with a narrow passage cut through the rock before the main event.

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

A narrow passage through the rocks. Very narrow. It’s said that if you can reach the top without touching the sides you are granted a wish. Fat chance of me achieving that 🙂

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

At the top the views had gone a little grey (perhaps the reason for my grey memory of the weekend). It was still a fine spot to linger before the long walk home, more food and a long drive home.

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

silverdale, eaves wood, pepperpot, morecambe bay, jenny browns point, hawes water, beetham fell, fairy steps

Another great weekend of fine strolling and great company. You can read Mark’s account of the weekend here

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