Archive for the ‘silverdale’ 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

R & R in Silverdale   4 comments

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A short post based on the few photos I took over this weekend back in September. More in tribute and thanks to Mark and his family for inviting the usual collection of kids young and now getting older and adults already old and trying to be younger, to their home and allowing us to eat their food, untidy their rooms and generally interrupt their busy life. Its a weekend we now always look forward to as a kind of last hurrah before the dark days of winter set in

We did a pretty long on the Saturday. Leighton Moss & Hall and down to Warton (where we met the Yorkshire contingent for a pint and a bowl of chips in a local pub) and then back to Silverdale via Warton Crag. It was an excellent day but as it was a little grey and overcast I took no pictures. It was more a day for catching up and chatting and none the worse for that.

Sunday was day of bright sunny intervals and though there were heavy showers we missed almost all of them on a walk down to Jack Scout and Jenny Brown’s Point. Its one of my favourites and this time took a few snaps to capture the day.

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En route we came across a rope swing that the kids had a great time with (and some adults who should know better)

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The tide was out and the views across Morecambe Bay, the wet sand reflecting the sun, were very fetching

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The kids gathered for a cheery team photo in the very strong and blustery wind, before we went back for yet more food. Eating is a big part of this weekend 🙂

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We enjoyed one final walk between late afternoon lunch and early tea – yet more food – up through Eaves Wood to the Pepperpot. The views across the village and the bay from here are superb and I’m always jealous of the fact that this view is no more than a 15-20 minute stroll from Mark’s front door.

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A fine way to finish another excellent weekend away – big thanks again to the Silverdale crew!

All Quiet on the Western (Blog) Front   4 comments

I’d like to say I’ve been too busy out-of-doors doing stuff since the summer to write-up blog posts. Not the case I’m afraid as in Football parlance I’ve picked up a knock. To accompany my bad knees I now have Plantar Fasciitis in my right foot. It’s very common affecting around 1 in 15 people and the causes are pretty poorly known. It’s an inflammation of the fibrous tissue in the bottom of the heel and very painful it is as well. For most of the summer I could barely walk at times and took to having a pair of crutches with me in case I needed help.

I decided rest was the best idea so I’ve not been out much in either September and October hence the lack of blog posts. Things are on the mend now though. A combination of calf muscle strengthening exercises, rolling a frozen water bottle under my foot, a support under the arch of my foot and an odd splint that I wear in bed seems to have improved things. It’s now just an uncomfortable bruised feeling rather than an excruciating pain when I put any weight on it. Hopefully that progress will continue (apparently in most cases it will eventually just go of its own accord) as the only other option are steroid injections into the foot which are most unpleasant I hear

Anyway, enough of my ailments and on to some photos from one of the regular gatherings. This time Silverdale at the home of Mark and his family. A fine weekend as always although I didn’t take many photos despite being out for a good part of the weekend. The weather was dry but a little drab and grey which probably explains my lack of photographic ambition. Saturday was the classic Silverdale to Arnside coastal walk returning via Arnside Knott. We took in the Apple festival (the edible ones, not a gadget in sight). Unless you count an apple juicing machine. It was run by an Austrian guy who we all agreed with expected puerility was Arnie, prompting the usual raft of “I’ll be back” and other such classic one-liners. Anyway it was fun and different and the kids had a ball

Sunday we took a walk to Jenny Brown’s Point, another popular local classic. Whatever the buildings were once used for (no-one seems to be 100% sure) they are slowly being re-claimed by the sea. We had some watery sunshine and some butterflies so finally I got the camera out and took a few snaps

silverdale, arnside, arnside knott, jenny browns point

silverdale, arnside, arnside knott, jenny browns point

silverdale, arnside, arnside knott, jenny browns point

silverdale, arnside, arnside knott, jenny browns point

silverdale, arnside, arnside knott, jenny browns point

A great weekend and big thanks to Mark and his TBH for putting us up, feeding us and making us abundantly welcome

silverdale, arnside, arnside knott, jenny browns point

silverdale, arnside, arnside knott, jenny browns point

Incidentally one thing I have realised what a great aide memoire my blog is. I often use it to confirm what I’ve been doing in recent and longer term history. For September and October while I was resting up I must have been out a few times other than this weekend but without the blog or a clutch of photos I have no idea how I filled the other half a dozen weekends. Possibly I slipped into an alternate dimension and saved a bunch of blue skinned aliens from an oppressive evil overlord. Or maybe I just watched a lot of TV

9 go mad in the North – Silverdale Rambles, Birkrigg Common and Roa Island   2 comments

Our last 3 days and very nice mix of local walks and a day out on the SW Lakes Peninsulas

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

Along with the Northern Funsters friend and kids we took an en-masse ramble around the local sights. The air was clear and still cold but the showers of the morning had gone. It was really rather splendid.  All these little spots have names but I can’t remember most of them (Mark I’m sure will take pleasure in correcting me and putting me right!)

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

The kids had great fun exploring a very well hidden rift cave. Alas it was too narrow for middle-aged wobblies like me

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

We went down to Woodwell, a very pleasant warm and sunny spot with a natural spring and pond. We spent a very happy hour sitting around and chatting, watching the myriad of insect life, fish and tadpoles that inhabit the surroundings.  Talk moved on to newts and how they are becoming increasingly rare in the UK. Mark has read that they do inhabit the pond but in all his many visits he’s never seen one. Luckily several pairs of eyes are better than one and we soon saw one, the two, then three, several in fact. It was a real highlight. I didn’t take any pictures for some reason but I think Mark did so you’ll have to wait for his blog reports. I haven’t seen newts since we bought some for our garden pond when I was a kid. We watched the swim into pond weed and never saw them again!

On the way home we went via The Lots. The views across the bay were simply magnificent as were the wild flowers and especially the orchids. The stiff breeze made it pretty difficult to get a decent macro shot alas but the wider views more than made up for that

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

Not hard to see why Mark and his family love it here so much when you have these views on your doorstep

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

Our last full day saw us take another trip to the beaches and commons around Roa and Piel Island. After stocking up on food we headed to Birkrigg Common for a picnic. Never heard of this place but it’s  a really fine area of open common land with expansive views across the bay. It’s perfect for al-fresco eating on a warm May weekend. Except this was a cold and very windy May weekend. Some judicious arrangements of cars and tarp created shelter and we did what we always do and ate far, far too much food, huge hunks of bread, cheese, pate, pies and the like. It was grand. I love a good picnic and this was a fine spot for future reference.

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

We had planned to take another trip to Piel Island but such was the length of time needed to eat all the food we couldn’t fit it in and went straight to Roa Island for some more tidepooling. Possibly due to the cold weather and water and the fact that it wasn’t an exceptionally low tide but it wasn’t quite as great as last year. However “not as great as last year” is not much of problem as this place is just crammed with stuff anyway. We saw the usual huge numbers of crabs, small fish, anemones, sponges, shellfish and the like and spent a very happy couple of hours poking about, turning over stones and the like

The highlight was this pipe fish that TJF spotted just swimming about in a shallow pool. A magnificent specimen. Never seen one in the UK and it was a special find.

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

Again for some reason I only took a few photos. Most likely that I was too absorbed in poking about. Like most other childhood activities I still love these sorts of things as an adult. I was distracted as I easily am, much like my errant children. Like father like son/daughter I suppose. The views across to Piel Island were still fine although not as sunny as promised.

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

The day was finished off in style with more al-fresco eating, a very fine Chinese takeaway in Ulverston, eaten in the park where the kids enjoyed a seriously bouncy zip-wire. Actually the day wasn’t quite finished. When we got home there were two small and I guess young deer in the garden nibbling on the shrubs. We spent several minutes watching them treat the garden like home, entranced.

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

A real treat, the only wild animal I’ve ever seen in my garden is a rat!

It wouldn’t be a week in  Silverdale without a trip to the Pepper Pot through Eaves Wood. To draw our week to a conclusion we took a last stroll up there before we headed home. The perfect family walk with trees to climb, rocks to scramble on and superb views.

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

silverdale, woodwell, caves, the lots, roa island piel island, peel island, birkrigg common, pepper pot, eaves wood

A fitting finale. Another amazing, fun, entertaining and hospitable trip so a huge thanks to our hosts for a wonderful time. I just wish I’d taken a few more photos 🙂

9 go mad in the North – Arnside Amble   3 comments

After my bout clumsiness inspired self harm, the start of our half term holiday was scuppered. To the rescue came Mark and his wonderful wife and family who offered to put up with us for an extra couple of days. Clearly they had a mountain of food they wanted us to eat and a tidy house that needed a good mess up. Seriously I was and am eternally grateful for rescuing our holiday and my own embarrassment

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

So we got to spend a whole week oop North and despite the ice age that descended for the week we had an amazing time, a mix of some local wanders which the area has a vast multitude and a couple of longer days out mixed in with lots of chilling and quite staggering amount of food eaten.

The first day was the Bank Holiday so we obeyed the golden rule of staying well away from cars and driving. Instead we took what I consider to be a classic walk, from Silverdale, around the coast to Arnside and then back over Arnside Knott. The coastal stretch through Far Arnside, Arnside Point, New Barns (and a short diversion into Grubbins Wood this time) is a cracker. The beach was kind to us today with firm sand rather than the gooey, trainer-swallowing  mud the last time we did the walk

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

It was a little grey to begin with but slowly, surely as we reached Arnside the skies became clearer and the sun came out.

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

Arnside is a lovely seaside (or estuaryside!) village on the Kent and we timed our arrival to squeeze in lunch at the local pie shop. Pies, peas, mash gravy and pickles were heartily consumed to sustain us on the major ascent of Arnside Knott (via an extended play in the very fine park). As we climbed the sun really came out to play and as always the views across the estuary to the mountains of the Lake District and over Morecambe Bay were sublime.

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

It’s one of my favourite small hills and Mark and the gang are so lucky to have this fine eminence on their doorstep to climb whenever they feel the need.

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

It was even warm enough – just – on the top for a sit down in the sun. The Dangerous Brothers led the tree climbing frivolities as always frightening the hell out of me as they always do – I’m sure they do it deliberately.

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

We could have stayed for hours such is the quality of the views but we had chickens to cook and at this rate we’d be eating after midnight and turning in to Gremlins

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

silverdale, lancashire, far arnside, arnside point, new barns, grubbins wood, arnside. arnside knott

A very fine first day and bank holiday indeed

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

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.

silverdale

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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