Last year, Rick and I got married. It was a lovely weekend in the Lake District not dampened in the slightest by the inevitable (for the Lakes) rain. With Rowan now at school, we had to wait for the summer holidays for our honeymoon, but the end of August saw us heading north to visit Scotland in Miniature – the beautiful Isle of Arran.
Earlier this year, we made a last minute decision to visit Sale Water Park for the City of Trees Go Wild event. City of Trees are a movement aiming to restore Greater Manchester’s woodlands and generally make Manchester greener through planting trees, and their Go Wild event was aimed at getting kids outside.
Running up to getting married in Coniston earlier this year, we were up in the Lakes for meetings with the hotel on several occasions. After one, much shorter than expected, visit to the venue, we found ourselves with some free time but no walking gear to venture onto the fells with. We decided to make our way to Grasmere to visit Allan Bank, former home to William Wordsworth and Canon Rawnsley (one of the founders of the National Trust)
After our quick visit to Beeston Castle earlier in the year, we joined English Heritage knowing that we would be returning to explore the grounds a bit more carefully. The opportunity arose during the Easter holidays when we attended one of the many events held at the site – we went hunting for dragon eggs!
Earlier this year, we took advantage of some dry sunny weather and went for a day out in Beeston. The plan was to walk from Beeston Castle, around Peckforton Castle to get back to Beeston in time to explore the grounds. A walk around these two towers was something I’d had in mind for a while so I already had a shiny new OS map of the area (any excuse). There is parking outside Beeston Castle (postcode CW6 9TX ) and after going into the castle to pay the fee, and getting a quick bite to eat at the Sandstone Café we found the start of our route.
During the last months of 2017, I made plans to get up to the Lakes for a solo walk. I’m pretty cautious regarding the weather when I go on my own, and it seemed that every time I made plans to go, near gale force winds were forecast and I would end up cancelling at the last minute. After the third time of postponing it occurred to me that I didn’t actually know what it felt like to walk in 30 – 40 miles per hour winds. After a chat with Rick, I decided I would head up anyway. If it was too windy for me to feel safe, I would turn back and take myself for a nice low level wander somewhere.
My blog has just turned one year old! On 5th February 2017, I published my first post. It was about our first proper walk of 2017 – a stroll up Shutlingsloe with the help of some jelly babies. We didn’t make it. Arriving at a wall with a step stile covered in ice, we decided to cut our losses and head back to the car. Shutlingsloe would be there for another day. That day arrived a couple of weeks ago.
During the October half term holidays, we had a plan to get up early and head to the Pen-y-Pass car park on Snowdon. We were going to take in the lakes along the Miner’s Track, have a picnic and head back, dependant on how far Rowan’s legs fancied walking. We knew we would have to get up early as the car park fills up quickly, but knowing, 1. How popular a walk Snowdon is and 2. How rubbish we are at getting up super early, we had a plan B. Now there is the option of the Snowdon Sherpa, a bus that can take you from other car parks and villages round the foot of Snowdon to the Pen-y-Pass, but the thought of taking our ruffing furry pair on a bus wasn’t appealing. When we arrived at the car park, nowhere near early enough, plan B – the Watkin Path, was put into action.
A holiday in October means there is no guarantee of the weather (not that there is any time in the UK really). The night we arrived in Wales, I stayed up late till high tide as we had arrived just in time for Storm Brian and the caravan site was on flood alert. I wanted to go to bed knowing that we weren’t going to float off in the night – we didn’t. The next day was still really blowy with showers so, not wanting to stay in the caravan all day, we drove to West Shore Beach at Llandudno.
October saw our first holiday during a half term so we took the opportunity to spend the week in North Wales. For one of our days out, we visited Cwm Idwal – a beautiful National Nature Reserve and geography teacher’s dream.