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Saturday, 19 May 2012

Cycle rides with our children part two: Threlkeld to Keswick

To my mind this is the ultimate in child friendly Cumbrian bike rides. It ticks all my boxes - off-road, flat (amazing!), scenic, and somewhere fab to visit at the end of it.

Annoyingly I have no photos from the day we did it, so I am borrowing this one from Visit Cumbria hope they don't mind.

So the way to do it is to park at Threlkeld, and don't fret about this, there is an old school or community hall, can't remember which, but it's well signposted with plenty of car parking and handily some toilets. Leave the car there then head off on bike or foot (plenty do) through the village towards the Keswick turn off of the A66. Just to the right of the big turn off is a path that goes down to the track.

The track is actually part of the old Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith railway which no longer exists. It has been made into a terrific bike and walking trail with some gorgeous old railway bridges to cross. It's about four miles in length so it will test the little ones but there are lots of places along the River Greta where you can stop and rest and throw in stones. You'll never be alone on this ride, it was suprisingly busy with other riders and walkers when we went, but the atmosphere was really nice and cheery. The great thing about it is that it comes into Keswick right near Fitz Park a perfect place to stop for an ice-cream and play before setting off back again - or alternatively sending mummy or daddy back to get the car!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Best places to see the bluebells

It's bluebell time again, my favourite time of year, and there's a short window to see them in the next couple of weeks, so here's two of the best places to spot them in all their glory in the Lakes this spring:-


In the hidden valley of Rannerdale near Buttermere there is an unmissable display of bluebells every year. Combine them with a walk up to Rannerdale Knotts, my favourite fell climb, and you have a perfect day out.
Picture taken gratefully from

A guided walk to see them at their best has been organised by the Lake District National Park Authority and is happening on the 12th May

Dufton Ghyll and Flakebridge Woods near Appleby

This is a gorgeous place for a walk and the bluebells make a spectacular carpet to the wood at this time of year.

Make the most of the woods with a guided walk with the Friends of the Settle to Carlisle Railway on the 19th May this year.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Ride to Stride festival

Just a quick heads up that this week is going to be extra special for travellers on the Settle to Carlisle railway line. A week long festival of walks, music and talks will run from the 1st to the 7th May all tied in with the most beautiful train line in the country.
A full programme of events, many of them free of charge is available from here

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Perfect places to picnic

The clouds are drawing in, it's -3 on the tops, it must be nearly time for picnic season! We were thinking yesterday about all the great spots we've come across for picnicking and thought we might share a few with you in the hope that you might share some of yours with us!

So in no particular order here are some of our favourites-

Small Water, Haweswater
A gorgeous spot accessible with a bit of effort from the little ones. Park at Mardale at the far end of Haweswater and follow the rocky path signposted Kentmere via the Nan Bield pass. It's scrambly and good fun with a couple of stepping-stone water crossings. When you get to Small Water you are rewarded with views down to Haweswater and lots of places to sit and picnic and throw in stones. .

Friars Crag, Keswick
My favourite minimum effort picnic spot. Drive to Keswick, park at the Theatre by the Lake follow the lakeside path to Friars Crag described by Ruskin as one of the three most beautiful scenes in Europe; fight your way onto the bench to enjoy that famous view or go on a tiny bit further and, hey presto, grassy lakeside shores are all yours. Take a football and your crocs for paddling and enjoy it all afternoon long.

Yew Crag, Gowbarrow, Ullswater
A good one for those who want to look at the water without the wee ones being in the water. Start at the Aira Force car park and walk up to the right, go through a gate that takes you away from the falls and to the side of Gowbarrow Fell. Follow the gentle upward path parrallel to the lake until you get to a stone seat placed there in 1905 with a message of thanks to God, opposite is Yew Crag, park your bum and enjoy!

Suprise View, Keswick
 Drive out of Keswick on the B5289 to Borrowdale. Go over the famous Ashness Bridge and keep going until the Suprise View car park, opposite which you will find the truly wonderous viewing spot seen here. If you can manage to pull yourselves away from the view, follow the tracks along into the trees to the lovely path to Watendlath (makes for a gorgeous walk) along the side of the beck.
There are lots of places along the beck that make perfect spots for picnics and paddling. Just don't forget the spare trousers!!

Great Crag, Borrowdale
Bang in the middle of Wainwright's most lovliest square mile, this is a great picnic spot for lovers of stairs - and not so good for those with no head for heights!

Park at Rosthwaite and cross the bridge over the beck, head up and up and up some more on the stone staircase through the woods and you will be rewarded at the top with a fab clearing with spectacular views over Borrowdale.

Loughrigg Terrace, Grasmere
Solitude is unlikely here but great views are guaranteed . Park at White Moss car park and cross the bridge over the river then follow the path upwards. At the top there is a choice of left or right for views over Grasmere or Rydal water. If you turn right and follow the path along you can turn off to the left to ascend Loughrigg itself - not a bad choice for a first fell climb.

Sandwick Bay Ullswater
The drive to Sandwick Bay is almost as much fun as the destination. Drive past Howtown and keep going, you might think you're in the Tour De France at times as you zig zag along through Martindale! Follow the signposts to the hamlet of Sandwick where the road ends, park up (if pos) and enjoy the view from the lovely sandy beach. Gorgeous...

Monday, 9 April 2012

Baaa-rmy goings on at Rheged

Over the winter months last year school children and ladies of a certain age from all over Cumbria, and indeed the world, were eschewing the delights of the x-factor and nintendos for a simpler way of passing the time. They were getting together to make masses of pom pom sheep in a project to celebrate the beauty of wool. And now in a production to rival Antony Gormley's Field for the British Isles, the sheep are herding together at Rheged for one huge installation.

Join the flock from Wednesday this week

p.s. if you see a lurid green fella with wonky legs give him a special squeeze from us!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Peter Rabbit's Egg Hunt

One of the country's biggest Easter egg hunts starts today. Every year the lovely people at the World of Beatrix Potter museum hide ceramic eggs in various locations around the county, and winners get to keep not only the beautiful egg made by local potter Sue Dunne, but also get a free family entry to the attraction and a book. The map with clues will go live here today at 10am

Last year I went slightly bonkers trying and failing to find one, this year we are egg-stremely determined!!

Saturday, 31 March 2012

National Learn to Play Day

Today is National Learn to Play Day and to celebrate Lakeland Music in Penrith are offering free taster lessons on the 2nd,3rd & 4th of April for piano, guitar, keyboard, violin, saxophone, banjo, flute, trumpet & drums.

Phone 01768 864024 to make the most of this great opportunity, or see their webpage for more details