Monday, 30 April 2018

From Maryport to Siloth

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

One of the things that we really enjoyed doing whilst we were up in the Lake District back in March was a drive north along the coast of the Solway from Maryport to Siloth.

We woke up on Wednesday to this as the view from the balcony of Sale View ...
... and the forecast wasn't the best so we decided we would go out for a bit of a drive, interspersed with short wanders.

As we'd loved Maryport the first time we couldn't resist a return visit and were hoping against hopes that this time the tide would be in. We weren't disappointed ...
It was just as lovely the second time, but very different with the tide in. We even managed to see some sunshine ...
We couldn't leave without a second visit to the cafe at the aquarium for lunch and, again, this was just as nice the second time around.

As we headed out from Maryport to pick up the coast road I managed to get a snap of this mosaic bench, which I'd wanted to capture on our last visit but hadn't been able to as there were people sitting on it ...
Maybe, just maybe ... this year will be the year that I complete a mosaic project of my own.

From Maryport we picked up the road that took us north to Siloth. It ran right alongside the coast and we were hoping for some good views across the Firth.

We had a bit of a caching route planned so our stop offs were determined by what we were hunting for and our first port of call was the Crosscanoby Carr Nature Reserve where, as well as finding what we were looking for, we came across some real signs of spring trying to make an appearance ...
Our next planned stop was literally just around the corner, where we were planing on exploring the excavated remains of Roman Milefortlet 21, built around 122-128 AD. This fortlet formed part of a chain of coastal defences extending westward from the end of Hadrian’s Wall, probably as far as Ravenglass. However, the weather was against us and the heavens absolutely opened so we hightailed it straight back to the car and carried on our journey northwards.

We followed the coast road, with a slight detour off through Hailsworth to pick up another cache, safely watched over by the Hailsworth Pixies ...
We were soon back on the coast road for our next stop at Mawbray Banks, an area of outstanding natural beauty, near to the village of Mawbray.

It wasn't raining, for now, and we had a short wander along the boardwalks and watched the weather rolling in pretty ominously ...
It was pretty impressive, we felt the temperature drop and the wind pick up and just knew that it was time to head back to the car.

A short way further along the road and we were out again. This time wandering along a sandy track alongside a golf course. The storm hadn't quite hit yet and the colour of the gorse against the grey sky was really vibrant ...
Our next stop was Siloth, the extent of our drive. Our first port of call was the lighthouse, which is really unusual and not like any other lighthouse we've come across. We managed to get a few pictures ...
... before the storm finally hit and this time we didn't manage to dodge it, so decided to just embrace it in all its glory ...
Back in the warmth of the car, we parked up outside the church in the main street to wait for the worst of the rain to pass.

Siloth is a lovely little place, vast wide cobbled streets, with lots of open space ...
The rain didn't last for long and we managed to explore a bit more ...
... before it was time for a final pit stop ...
We would love to have had more time to explore Siloth as it did look really lovely and there was a cosy little coffee shop on the main street that looked like it would be worth a visit. It's somewhere we would definitely come back to if we are back up in the area.

For now, it was time to head back to Sale Fell for an evening cosying up in front of the log burner.

I think that's pretty much it from our Lake District holiday. We had a really lovely week. Bassenthwaite was a brilliant location for exploring parts of the area we hadn't seen before. Sale Fell was the perfect holiday cottage. It's somewhere I can definitely see us returning to in the not so distant future ๐Ÿ˜€

*********************************************************************************

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Natural Treasures

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

We love getting out and about and exploring the coast or the countryside and are always picking up bits and pieces on our travels and tucking them in our pockets. These treasures always make their way back home and finding space to keep them can be a bit tricky sometimes, but we normally manage to squeeze them in somehow.

I thought it would be interesting to just have a wander round the house and see how many finds we have accumulated over time and, more interestingly, see if  I could remember where we’d picked them up.

On the back of the shelf in the downstairs loo is this little wire basket we picked up in the gift shop at Lanercost Priory in Cumbria, when we holidayed with friends in a beautiful barn in Brampton. It has become home to a fair few random bits and pieces ....
This beautiful abalone shell was a gift from my sister, brought back from an epic holiday she had a number of years ago in New Zealand. The colours are just beautiful ... opalescent blues and rich greens ...

The scallop shells are a reminder of the battered scallops and chips we've eaten from Rick Stein's, sitting in the sunshine, on the harbour, in the very lovely Padstow ...

I'm not sure that I can recall where the other bits and pieces are from, it's fair to say that Martin is more of the collector of fossils and pebbles than I am ...

This small Wedgwood dish, which I actually received as an 18th birthday gift from college friends has also been brought into service ....

The tiny pine cone is from balmoral, as is the piece of stone at the back, though I'm sure this is probably from a local builder's yard, rather than being indigenous to the estate ...

... and I'm pretty certain that the pebble was from the beach by the Bembridge lifeboat station on the Isle of Wight.

This big pine cone in the dining room was picked up on a holiday in Centre Parks in the Lake District. We went with our good friends Jackie and Phil and it amazes me that, even after all this time seeds still seem to keep appearing.
I'd been to Centre Parks a few times with Jackie and Phil, but it was the first time Martin had come with us and it was the first time that we'd ventured off the park and got to see some of the local area in the snow, which was a real treat.

It’s not the only fir cone that has been picked up. The rest, other than a couple of small ones have had to be relegated to outside and have recently all been brought together and now sit nicely in this wire basket on the arbor. They are from all over the place ...
Also in the dining room is our conker collection. Yes, neither of us can resist the lure of a bright shiny conker hiding amongst the leaves and shells on the ground. There are housed in a glass lidded jar that used to have a candle in. It was a gift from my brother and his girlfriend and it was just too pretty to discard after the candle had been used. There are a few other random bits in here too and I couldn’t say where they are all from, but I do know that one of the conkers was collected on a Geocaching walk that we did with mum around Longdon Green back in 2014 ... 
This sticks in my mind as one cache involved climbing a pretty tall tree and neither Martin nor I were up for it, but there was no way mum was leaving a cache unfound. We both had our hearts in our mouths whilst she was up there, that’s for sure, crazy woman.
There actually aren’t any natural bits we’ve gathered in the lounge but there is this plastic giraffe ...
... which we just had to buy from the gift shop at the Woburn Safari Park. We spent ages watching the giraffes, they were absolutely beautiful and so graceful considering how big they were. We had the loveliest of days and this little giraffe always makes me think of it ...

There are more treasures upstairs too ... 

On the shelf in the bathroom are fossils that we found on Charmouth beach in Dorset ...
There are also two jars filled with shells, which I didn’t actually collect, but bought. One lot was bought in Padstow, from a gift shop, and the others from a stall at the side of the river in Boscastle. Two places that we both love dearly and hopefully we will be revisiting later this year.

The base of the wading birds, which we brought back from a holiday in Salcombe in Devon, has become home to a real collection of odds and ends.

The tiny periwinkle shells at the back are from the beach at St Mawes ...
We visited with mum and dad whilst staying in a cottage in Caerhays in 2012. I will never forget the visit to St Mawes castle, where all four of us were listening to the audio tour separately and all were running just a little ahead or behind of each other ... it was hilarious ...

The other tiny shells at the from are from Orford in Suffolk, where Martin spent absolutely ages taking photos of the wild flowers growing along the beach. It was our first visit to the county back in 2016. We both absolutely loved the Suffolk coast and it is somewhere that I am sure we will re-visit at some point but, for now, here is the Orford quay area. It was just lovely ...

This simple limpet shell was the first thing that we collected together. There are three of them, one is in the jar on the dining room window sill and the other is in one of my handbags. We picked them up on the beach as we walked over to the breakwater in Bude. It was our first holiday together in June 2006 after we'd been together for about a month ...

We had a lovely holiday, we were very much in the throes of new love back than ... not that we still aren't, but you know what I mean. Everything was new and exciting and we were really looking forward to the adventures we just knew we would have together.

We both really regret the fact that we didn’t bring this heart shaped stone back too ... we did go back to see if we could find it again later on in our holiday, but no joy. I'm sure we would have found a special place for it, but we will both always remember it anyway ... and doesn't Martin look slim ... and not much grey hair either ...
We both love Bude and the North Cornwall and haven't been on holiday there since 2009. We have two weeks booked to stay later in the year and we are really looking forward to getting back down there. The last time we went was pre Life of Pottering, so I'm sure there will be plenty of posts to come later on in the year.

There is also a collection of other fossils that Martin has picked up on random beaches, which I can’t quite recall where they came from, but I'm sure he will know where they are all from ...
Our latest find was from the beach at Ferryside in Wales, where we went for the last new year. The beach was stunning, the day was bright ...

... and we just couldn’t resist picking up this little lot ...
They haven't made their way to their final home as yet. They are still sitting in a plastic bag tucked away somewhere safe, but I have an idea brewing, so I am sure they will be featuring in a new project sometime soon.

*********************************************************************************

Well, what a trip down memory lane that was ... lots of really lovely holidays and days out, all in this country There really is so much to see and to experience without the need to jump on a plane or to leave our shores.

I feel just a little bit wistful and very ready for our next adventure which, thankfully will be very soon. Will we bring home more bits and pieces? I guess there's every chance. I just know that they will always survive any decluttering or minimalising session ... after all, if we love it and it brings us joy, it will always have a home ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

*********************************************************************************

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Caching in Cockermouth

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

We are back to our recent Lake District holiday for today's post ...

After three days of perfect weather, the forecast for Tuesday was not quite so good, with the promise of rain pretty much all day. 

We agreed on Monday evening that if we got up on Tuesday morning and it was raining heavily we would stay in and just enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Sale View. We'd got plenty of reading material, I’d brought some craft projects with me and Martin had brought the PS3, so we would have plenty to keep us occupied.

Whilst there was a certain attraction of a lazy day around the cottage we were pleasantly surprised to get up on Tuesday morning to find that, yes it was quite dull but, it was actually fairly dry and there were only a few clouds, so we decided to risk the weather and headed into Cockermouth for the day.

We haven’t done much Geocaching in ages and there seemed to be a few interesting looking ones in Cockermouth that we really wanted to have a go at. There were two multi-caches and a mystery cache that looked like they would give us a good walk round the town, taking us off the beaten track and letting us explore parts of the town you wouldn't tend to see if you were just passing through.


The multi-caches are a bit like treasure hunts and involved visiting local points of interest looking for answers to clues. These answers then provide the information needed to calculate GPS co-ordinates for a final hiding spot. 
Mystery or Puzzle Caches - Large Icon


The mystery cache involved finding the actual location of a number of picture images and, again, answering questions to give us the information we needed to find the final bounty.



I know it all sounds a bit complicated, but trust me, it really is good fun ๐Ÿ˜

We parked up just off the Market Square and soon spotted the ancient method of sheep counting, which I'd never heard of before ...
We thought we would try to be efficient and look for the information we needed for all three of the caches at the same time. We were following the route for one of the multis, whilst looking for the clues and the images for the others at the same time, which did get a bit complicated at times, especially as we hadn’t printed out the pictures so we were actually looking for them based on my own artistic impressions, which didn't really much resemble the originals.

We started off quite well and by the time we got to Wordsworth's birthplace at the bottom of the High Street, we had managed to find all of the information that we needed for one of the multis, were doing OK on the other one and had spotted a few of the images we needed for the mystery cache.
We decided to take a bit of time out and spent a good hour exploring the house and garden, including a pit stop in the National Trust cafe, before getting back on the caching trail and looking for the rest of the clues and the pictures that we still needed to find.

It's a fairly small property, but it is interesting to see it laid out as it would have been back in Wordsworth's day ...
The garden was looking a little bleak ...
... but there were lots of pots with spring flowers to give bright pops of colour here and there ...
... and other bits and pieces to look out for ...
... and, of course ...
From Wordsworth's birthplace we took the place alongside the river and headed back towards Jennings Brewery ...
Eventually we were back where we started and we had everything we needed for the two multis but were still missing four of the pictures, one of them being a town trail plaque.

Well, there was only one thing for it, having taken a photo of a map of the town trail on my phone to identify where all of the plaques were, we decided that we were too close to give up so we set out again, this time following the town plaque trail, making sure to look closely for all of the plaques.
We pretty much redid the whole of the trail, which took us well off the beaten track passing quaint old cobbled streets and criss crossing the rivers. We managed to find two more of the images, but there were a couple of plaques that seemed to be missing and we were left still missing two of the images we were looking for.
We decided we needed another breather and headed for a cafe where we had more refreshment and worked out the final location for the two multis, which we had all of the information for.

We knew that one of them ended up in the library, which closed at 4pm. By now it was 3.30pm and, whilst we weren’t far from the library, we still had to go and find the second stage of this cache, which, frustratingly, we had already walked past once and not realised.

We set off at a pace, picked up the information we needed, which seemed to make no sense at all and headed back to the library with 10 minutes to spare.

We showed the lady behind the desk the information we had and asked if it meant anything to her and she grinned. We asked if she could point us in the right direction but no amount of pleading would elicit any further assistance. We were on our own, with 1000s of books and 10 minutes.

Well, having been a school librarian, and yes, of course I still have my badge, I pulled some useful information from the depths of my brain and it wasn’t long before we found what we were looking for. We were both so chuffed to find it, we had worked hard for it and it has to go down as being one of our favourite caches ever.

So, one down, two to go ...

I’d identified one last possibility for one of the two pictures we were missing and hallelujah, we managed to find it, so just one missing now.

It was time to pick up the 2nd multi, which was exactly where it should have been and was a nice easy find for Martin, whilst I was trying to work out if we could find the last cache with one clue missing.

As all Geocaches work on the basis of GPS coordinates, which are made up of 15 digits, and we just happened to be missing the very last digit, we decided to take a punt and headed in the general direction of where we thought it could be.

Wahey!!!! We only went and found it. What a result. We were both so pleased with ourselves you wouldn’t believe.

By now we were both shattered, we’d walked up and down the Cockermouth High Street more times than I would like to mention and we’d seen all of its nooks and crannies, some of them twice, we’d crossed the Derwent, walked by the Cocker and visited Wordsworth's birthplace, we were creaking at the joints and more than ready for home ๐Ÿ˜€

*********************************************************************************

Back in 2015 Cockermouth suffered major flooding as a result of Storm Desmond and, whilst there was no evidence of the devastation to be seen on our visit, there are lots of reminders dotted about the place ... with flood markers and pictures of the floods on the town's history wall. There has clearly been lots of work done to try and avoid the same situation occurring again with lots of flood defenses to be seen around the town.

Seeing it as we saw it on our visit we couldn't imagine how awful it would have been for the town, with all of the places we'd visited being under water and the High Street looking like it did in the picture below ...
Image result for cockermouth floods 2015 images

We really loved Cockermouth. It was an unexpected treat and well worth the visit. We would definitely go back, but maybe for more of a leisurely visit and a bit of shopping ๐Ÿ˜€

*********************************************************************************

"The Geocaching Logo is a registered trademark of Groundspeak, Inc. Used with permission."