Back in 2019 we were strolling around the town of St Ives in Cornwall. It’s a stunning place to visit.
On holiday we usually take a day off our hikes and drift around taking photos in the streets of houses and shops. Cameras in hand it’s a chance to find things we wouldn’t normally see in the countryside or coastal paths.
The Teddy Bear was up at a top floor window. I loved it instantly.
Later we did some window shopping though the photo below is Tim peering through a window into an art gallery.
Then cafe windows gave me the opportunity to do a reflective selfie looking out onto the harbour of St Ives.
We headed out of Norfolk to Southwold in Suffolk – a journey of about an hour by car.
Once we arrive the clouds cleared and the sun shone down onto our faces at the sea side. Morning coffee, mid morning small glass of cider and picnic lunch were all enjoyed outside. It stayed unseasonably mild all day for our short walk though it was a bit breezy.
This photo was taken early as the sun was starting to break through the clouds….
September 2021 and we were back up north, to Cumbria and The Lake District. Two weeks were spent in a small cottage that we’ve returned to many times over the years. And a spell of settled warm weather meant that we could enjoy our walking at high levels and take lots of photos along the way.
The Langdale Pikes is a collection of mountains with its highest point called Harrison Stickle. The whole area is a popular and magnificent place to be at any time of the year so it’s good to get an early start to enjoy the day. We did just that and were one of the first to arrive in the National Trust Car Park called Stickle Ghyll.
The building you can see right in the car park is actually the toilet block. A handy place at the start or finish of any walk!
This walk is steep going from the start and we were slow and steady as it was a hot day. Usually there are plenty of sheep on the move in this area, I only spotted one. A very sensible creature in the shade of a small tree.
Our route followed a waterfall all the way up to a Lakeland tarn – Stickle Tarn. It had been so dry that the water level was unusually low – you could hardly see the flow of water.
After lots of huffing and puffing we made it to the tarn and took a short break before heading up the flanks of Harrison Stickle.
Once we reached the top we could enjoy the view with our lunch.
To go down we explored and circled around the summit and this gave us fine views to the high mountains in the west. In the foreground of the photo below is the dome shaped top old Pike of Stickle. Several people were stood on the top.
Going downhill now we stopped frequently for sips of drink as the afternoon sun beat down.
At a nice resting place in some shade amongst rocks we looked back at the summit and our lunch spot. Wow it looked so far away. The photo below the highest point on the left hand mountain.
We continued downwards following a good path, quite steep at times. It was quite tiring. Eventually we made it down to where we started and headed to the sound of water and tipped our heads right into a small waterfall.
The second walk really began whilst driving over the Kirkstone Pass. In all of our years of walking in this area we had never seen anything like this view we had ahead of us looking down towards the Ullswater valley. Without speaking Tim pulled over at the earliest opportunity so that we could jump out and take a photo or two.
Our objective for the day was the mountain way ahead in the middle of the above photo. Here was Place Fell, standing at almost 1,500 feet, we couldn’t wait.
Once parked on the roadside in Patterdale we headed across the valley passing a scattering of typical Lakeland properties, then we joined a track going uphill.
A little way up we stopped to admire the low dispersing mists. I thought to myself that in years to come this spot, this bench, may well be as far as Tim and I can get our creaky old bodies to. If it is – it won’t be so bad.
The view in the opposite direction towards the Kirkstone Pass looked like this…
Much much later we reached the top and again enjoyed our sandwich lunch in glorious sunshine before heading down.
Once again the temperature seemed to go up and up as we went down. Only when we reached the footpath that is alongside Ullswater lake itself did we get any shade. We made for the water running down off the mountain and splashed our heads to cool ourselves.
Then slowly and surely we made our way back along the shore path admiring the steamers and views across the lake.
At the end we crossed the valley again back to the car.
Thank you to Sue and GC for their weekly prompts allowing me to link up to fellow blog writers and to those who follow my blog. Apologies I haven’t written too many posts just recently.
Hoping everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy and healthy New Year.
We were here a week ago. A favourite little spot, well photographed, often visited.
Not far from home on the north eastern edge of the Broads National Park is a body of water called Horsey Mere. A narrow channel of water running northwards from that is Waxham New Cut and on that is the derelict mill called Brograve. Built 1771.
The map below shows the extent of the national park.
In the photo below Tim is testing out our MSR Pocket Rocket camping stove – boiling water for lunch. This tiny lightweight stove might be something we will come to use for longer hikes…but for now it’s just for fun.
I was about to take another photo of Tim when we were joined by two ladies slowly drifting past on a boat called ‘Cloud Nine’. Smiles and a quick wave and they were gone…..
It was a bit rocky underfoot now and we worried about our new friend Sid. A very steep path, at times with stone steps and at other times with bracken, he certainly would find it tough. As we glanced back to check his progress we could see that he was being carried and would surely make it to the top.
September 2020 – The Lake District, Cumbria
We were in the Lake District only a few weeks ago and enjoyed some wonderful walking in gorgeous weather. Over the years we’ve found that it’s just the perfect place for getting away from it all and does wonders for both body and mind.
Often, on footpaths, we pass like minded people and occasionally they have dogs with them. With their tails wagging these four legged friends are, it seems, as keen to enjoy their time on holiday as we are. Usually we just pass with a friendly wave and a quick greeting to their pet.
However, back in September two dogs had quite an impact on us while we were out and about.
The first was Sid the Jack Russell (terrier).
We met Sid near the start of a walk which began on the outskirts of Grasmere. Our route would take us up to a rocky outcrop called Stone Arthur before going up to a fell top called Great Rigg. Great Rigg stands on a ridge and often reached on a route called the Fairfield Horeshoe.
Our walk up from Grasmere was a steep one from the start and about half way up we stopped at the last big tree for a breather. Suddenly a small fluffy panting animal bounded past followed by his owner.
We set off and soon caught up with the pair.
It was a sunny spells sort of day, no breeze, warm. Because of the slow pace we chatted with Sids dad. Dog owners love to do that don’t they? Apparently Sid was bought from a farm and arrived as a puppy in a box by taxi with a note saying ‘if this isn’t what you were expecting, send him back’. Sids dad said he wasn’t quite what they were looking for but didn’t have the heart to send him back.
Now aged 11 and having survived a cancer scare last year Sid was a real character. He barked along when we were talking about him. Apparently he had good days and bad days when walking in the hills. Today his little legs were struggling a bit so he was carried when he got a bit too slow.
He eventually made it to the top of Great Rigg at 2,513 feet, shortly after us, having had a little help. I’m sad that I didn’t take another photo of him standing at the top with his tail wagging. ‘Hey, we made it’ look on his face.
We waved goodbye now. They headed down the main ridge route back to Grasmere via a fell top called Heron Pike – the photo below shows their route to Heron Pike then a right turn back to Grasmere.
We continued up to the higher peak of Fairfield where we enjoyed our lunch at the summit and took plenty of photos before heading down.
On another walk we met a dog called Noodle very close to the Three Shires Inn, Little Langdale.
We were doing a low level walk, one of our favourites, and Tim was filming the route on a go pro action camera. The route itself starts at Elterwater which is a wonderful village at the head of the Langdale Valley.
By mid afternoon we passed the Three Shires Inn busy with people enjoying a drink in the afternoon sun. Shortly after, while taking photos, Noodle and owner Sam caught up with us along the road. Sam asked whether we were heading to Elterwater and could they join us if we didn’t mind.
We said we didn’t mind at all.
Both Sam and Noodle both carried packs and looked like they were on a real adventure. As it turned out they were. Sam explained that they were three days into a ‘alternative’ coast to coast walk from Walney Island on the west coast to Holy Island on the east coast. Sam was trying to find the best route to their campsite to avoid stiles and hot climbs. She had been unhelpfully given two routes, one which followed a road the other involved a long and unnecessary hill traverse.
We walked along and had a great chat with Sam. We don’t often walk with other people but Sam was great company. Noodle, her lovely golden retriever, was calm and friendly and seemed to take everything in her stride.
Sam was so grateful for our help and we were pleased to be at the right place at the right time for her.
At Elterwater it was a bit sad to say goodbye. I took a quick photo before we went on our seperate ways.
A couple of weeks after getting home I contacted Sam to see how they had got on. The weather had closed in over the Northumbrian Hills and, soaked and chilled, Sam decided to call it a day.
The English weather can do that to you. She and Noodle had covered 162 miles crossing some of England’s highest ground. Sam will be back to complete the remaining 35 miles when she can.
Her achievement (and Noodles) was absolutely amazing I’m sure you’ll agree.
Would we be the only ones to go hunting for street art on a sea wall? Last Saturday we found out.
Banksy has caused a big stir along the coast here in East Anglia. The secretive, famous street artist has been busy on a spray paint graffiti bonanza. He has produced a set of art now known as The Great British Spraycation. And, as we lived so close, we thought why not go and take a look at one.
To visit Cromer we parked the car at the village of Overstrand and set off along the cliff top path. It’s a regular trek for us to take on this route to the town, I don’t think there can be a better way.
Sunshine, some cloud, light wind. Perfect temperatures for a summer walk.
Once at Cromer we took the first path down to the promenade and turned right towards a row of beach huts. Strangely we have never ventured this way – we’ve always just headed towards the town, pier, etc as shown in the photo above.
A steady stream of people were going our way too, we knew that this had to be ‘the way’. Mostly politely keeping to one side, people were also passing us in the opposite direction – a flow of people in shorts and t-shirts and flip flops.
Then we were there.
Once we arrived at ‘the spot’ we joined a small queue to take a photo (or two or three). This sort of thing, and I can’t really compare it to anything else really, this sort of thing makes me happy.
We stepped back and sat away from the other visitors to watch the steady flow of people all keen to take a look and say ‘yes we saw that for real’.
And yes, the fishing of crabs is still a part of this seaside town for real.
On our narrow cliff top path we passed two ladies. One of them said ‘have you seen anything exciting’? I wasn’t sure how to reply and I could see Tim was just as puzzled. Had we? Seen anything exciting? All we could manage was ‘Er, well, hmmm….’
‘Dolphins or Porpoises?’ they both said together. We all turned to face the sea as if they might suddenly appear. ‘Er, no, we haven’t – not today’. They nodded, then we turned and went our separate ways. As we got out of ear shot I whispered ‘they’ll be lucky’.
We should have paid some attention to our Pembrokeshire guide book which mentions resident porpoises in the area. Perhaps they were lucky….
This continues an earlier blog posting about walking along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path during May 2021. The link to that is below…
During our 2nd week in Pembrokeshire in May this year we stayed in a cottage which was just a short drive from St David’s, the smallest city in Britain. It’s a city because it has a cathedral and what an impressive cathedral it is. The city, however, is no bigger than a really small town.
Two minutes by car from the cathedral is Porth Clais. We visited this small narrow harbour as a starting point for a circular walk and another time because it was part of an out and back linear walk.
1. Circular walk
Our circular walk started from the National Trust car park behind the picturesque, small and sheltered harbour of Porth Clais.
We made our way uphill, steeply, on the coast path. Within a few minutes we had left the harbour behind and were walking on a pleasant flat path with calm views out to sea and our route clearly seen way ahead of us.
It’s really remote here, but the walking is fairly easy. We didn’t see anyone until we reached a bay where we saw a small family who had the whole beach to themselves.
Further along we reached a bend in the path which turned northwards into the wind. Across the water is Ramsey Island – the water here is called Ramsey Sound and the bit of path you can see Tim standing on in the photo below is the most westerly point on mainland Wales.
We kept glancing over to Ramsey Island but generally keep our heads down as we had the wind in our faces. Clouds rushed overhead and the water passed quickly through Ramsey Sound. This is where we should have been looking for Dolphins but instead our eyes were focused on brightly coloured buildings in the distance. The photo below shows the buildings far away.
I wasn’t sure what was on the water here but I’ve checked this out and think it has something to do with measuring the tide.
After being alone for quite a long time we were starting to see a few people, then before we knew it we reached St Justinians and the very impressive new and old life boat stations. The lifeboats and the brave lifeboat men and women on board must really zip down into the water from here in quite a big splash.
Stepping quickly over a large cable we stared down at the view. Then we had a little competitive ‘who can take the best shot’ moment. Tim’s iPhone is proving hard to beat but this was what I achieved with my canon compact.
We continued to Whitesands Bay, found a very big car park and a large cafe (which was only serving take away due to restrictions in place at the time) and bought a couple of coffees to have with our sandwiches.
I think this might be one of the best beach lunch stop views we have ever had.
We then zig zagged our way inland back to the car at our starting point.
2. Out and Back walk
Our second visit to Porth Clais began from our rental cottage. Two minutes from the coastal path we set off with a plan to take a bus back once we reached Porth Clais. But we later changed our plans as we still feel a little nervous of taking public transport and returned via the same route – making it an ‘out and back’ route.
Two minutes from ‘home’ this was the view out over St Brides Bay.
With cliff top paths there’s usually a few ups and downs, although not too many or too difficult, it was just after our second ‘up’ that we spotted our first welsh ponies.
Gentle walking followed in sunshine. We reached a bay and passed visitors who were either from a nearby campsite or car park, it was hard to tell. One family had already set up for the day way down on the sand below.
Not far after this is a very popular spot. The patron saint of Wales, St David was born to St Non (ad520) and the place where he was born was right on the coast in a chapel (now ruins). These days you can walk over to those ruins but there is another chapel that seems to be the one to photograph. We spent a reasonable amount of time getting our best shots.
The cliffs here are really quite dramatic, the path often goes close to the edge but is always safe enough, though I suppose in bad weather it might not be.
Two more headlands and we were at Porth Clais. We dropped down to where the harbour meets the sea and as it was low tide walked amongst the stranded boats to the kiosk in the car park.
Once we’d enjoyed our packed lunch followed by an ice cream we turned and retraced our steps all the way back to the cottage, passing our horse friends on the way.
This post is linked to Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – the view.
If I wore a fur coat all year round I would do this on warm summer days….
This dog was called Holly and she worried her owners by not getting out of this muddy puddle.
‘Holly, come on girl’ they called. ‘Come back up here Holly’ they called a little more urgently. ‘Holly are you stuck?’ When the dog didn’t reply the owners stumbled down the bank and through the nettles and reeds in a rescue attempt. I continued to stare. Holly then decided she’d had her fun and staggered out dripping. Everything below her neck was brown but she was grinning. I walked away grinning too.
Saturday 17th July 2021
Up in north Norfolk is a village called Blakeney. It’s definitely a place to visit and we do regularly, though it had been well over a year since the last one. Bring family and friends but park at the Village Hall and walk down to the Quay it really does make sense especially on warm summer days. Actually it makes sense on all days – the car park is prone to flooding at high tide.
In front of houses, alongside gateways and walls, down alleys and next to roadsides Hollyhocks bloom here in large numbers. It’s a wonderful picture of cottage gardens at their best and we had timed our visit to perfection.
They don’t need much soil it seems. In fact they seem to prefer it rough and like their own company. So, side by side they reach for the sky and delight visitors.
The cottages here are almost entirely brick and flint stone fronted. Previously lived in by fishermen they are now almost all holiday rentals.
We reached the Quay and this is what it looks like at low tide. The temperature was going up and we expected to see scores of children all playing in the water here on our return.
At the other end of the Quay visitors started to queue for boat trips out to Blakeney Point – to a see a seal colony.
We headed for a coffee and got the best seats in our opinion. A bit pricey at the Two Magpies but the coffee and Portuguese custard tarts were delicious. It was the first table service we had experienced since before Covid-19.
We then took a bit more time enjoying Blakeney. Just above from where we had sat the view of the car park on the Quay really comes into view. The tide was coming in by now but the parked cars were safe today!
Afterwards we followed the coastal path around to the village of Cley. It’s just under three miles to reach this village – famous for its Mill.
This is how you see it from the coast path. This is where we met Holly the golden retriever.
It’s a real treat to admire the properties and shops in this small village with its narrow roads.
Hollyhocks were abundant here to but so were roses.
We had our picnic lunch and returned at a sensible pace (taking into consideration the temperature) to Blakeney village.
Once back we had a cool drink and a sit in the shade before driving home. A lovely day.
The following link is to the weekend challenge set by Sue and GC as their Weekly Prompts.
I was feeling foolish. This little sign had me crossing a canal to read its polite words and now I had to cross back. Thankfully there wasn’t any water in the canal otherwise I’d been cross. ‘No water in a canal?’, you may well ask. All will be revealed….
A recommendation from a friend had us exploring new territory this weekend. I always love finding unwalked paths and this one included a canal.
The North Walsham & Dilham Canal originally stretched 9 miles from the River Ant at Wayford Bridge near Stalham to Antingham near North Walsham. It passed six mills and had four locks.
Our OS map (Ordnance Survey – Norfolk Coast East) marks the canal as ‘disused’ in several parts, and we’ve ignored it because only a tiny bit had footpath access. However, the area at the southern end of this old waterway isn’t new to us. Infact we’ve enjoyed many walking days alongside it and even hired canoes from Wayford Bridge, a few times on our own and another with visiting family – which was great fun.
Pigneys Wood was our starting point for our walk. A small car park has spaces for about 12 cars and we took the last one! This woodland is owned by Norfolk Wildlife Trust and they seem to be doing a fantastic job of looking after the land here.
The wood is fairly small and we soon arrived at the canal. Even on a cloudy day everything looked lovely.
The canal was opened in 1826 and built to be used by Norfolk Wherries. So, it was a sailing canal not one used where horses towed boats and it had to be built wide enough to fit with the Wherries. There were tow paths but these were for humans to drag these large sail boats along if they needed it. People were tough back then.
The growth of rail transport overtook canal transport and the canal stopped being used in 1934. Not being used meant that miles of the canal became neglected, overgrown or just dried up.
Thanks to the work of a voluntary group The North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust, this old waterway is getting a second chance. This has only really been happening very recently and along the way we could see renovations and rebuilding of embankments and locks.
We reached Royston Bridge and crossed a surprisingly busy road by running across! This road comes directly out of the town of North Walsham heading east to the village of Bacton which is on the coast.
Once over the road we were on another grassy path. Next to the road and alongside the bridge was a house that deserved a photograph. It clearly has some age to it – having done a bit of research since the walk I have found out that this was The Old Wherry Inn, so it definitely would have been a place for wherrymen to stop.
There wasn’t any water in the canal on this side of the road, just long grass and flowering weed.
A little way along from here and I spotted the sign on the opposite side. Tim watched me rush down the embankment and brush through the undergrowth to investigate. I looked over to Tim and saw him strolling away – I took a photo of the dry canal and a bored Tim.
I eventually caught him up and said ‘hey guess what that sign said, you won’t believe it’. He said ‘you’re on the wrong side, go back to the one you were on’. How did he know? Really.
Next we stopped and had a good look at these locks. Apparently only recently completed/restored in readiness for future use. Very impressive I thought.
The other side of the lock gates were sitting in water.
There is a bend in the waterway here. Perhaps the volunteers have been using the sheds in their restoration work? We crossed the bridge in the photo below.
Bacton Wood Mill was glimpsed through overgrown foliage. This place would have benefitted from the transport of wood along the canal.
Here is Ebridge Mill, a flour mill and granary in a previous life, converted to residential housing in 2015. It still has a grand and commanding appearance. We sat and ate our sandwiches watching families laughing and playing with inflatable canoes and paddle boards. Now that so much work has been done to improve this area it was great to see people having fun.
We started to head back. I’m not sure any footpath continues along the water from here, we will need to keep that for another day.
We passed through a meadow then into Bacton Wood. This wood is quite large – the photo below makes it look like a forest.
At the edge of the wood we came across these wonderful foxgloves.
After that we zig zagged our way along quiet lanes and back to the car park. It was an interesting walk this one and we will be back to look for future developments.
It’s a giant fish. Certainly a fine sculpture and it has a message for all of us.
On Sunday 16th May 2021 we started walking the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path from the very beginning. For some its the very end, it really depends how you tackle this 186 mile (299 km) trail in South Wales. Apparently it can take just 10 to 15 days to complete it – we will take…..well we will take as long as it takes! Why rush?
It just so happened that our rented cottage was very close to the start (or end) and we could walk to it and complete the first few miles of the trail on day one of our holiday. After our 400 mile journey the previous day it was a relief to leave our car behind. The start for us was Amroth, which is a village on the south coast of Pembrokeshire 7 miles east of Tenby. Here is the plaque that marks the spot. The sun came out just as we posed for photos.
The plaque is at the quieter eastern end of Amroth – it didn’t take too long to walk 1/2 a mile to the other end of the beach.
Here we came across Bertie the Sea Bass sculpture and took some time to admire it. The message is that we can all try and take care with litter – in particular plastic before it gets into the sea and into our wildlife. The sculpture was full of plastic bottles collected from local beaches. It looked great overlooking the Bay of Carmarthen.
From here we walked on to the coastal hamlet of Wisemans Bridge, following a cliff top path (climbing steeply at first) through trees. Eventually it leads out to the outskirts of Wisemans Bridge.
And the beach and generous parking along the front appears. The parking I think is free here and goodness the Wiseman Bridge Inn was really busy with Sunday visitors. All sitting outside of course as our restrictions continue in Wales as well as England and Scotland.
We walked to the other end and enjoyed our picnic lunch away from the crowds.
Apparently this beach was used to practice D-Day landings for the Second World War. It’s hard to imagine isn’t it?
This was how we began our two week holiday. It was a great taste of things to come.
More to write about our walks in Pembrokeshire to follow.
Thanks to GC and Sue for their very suitable midweek weekly prompts challenge of ‘Outdoor Artwork’ (linked below) this fitted right in to my blog post.