Here at Sykehouse Cottage we have some favourite Easter activities. These include:
- A trip on the Eskdale and Ravenglass Railway. Also known as “La’al Ratty”, this is one of the oldest narrow gauge railways in the country. They start running daily from mid March, through some beautiful countryside. Click here for their website. It’s about an half an hour from Sykehouse Cottage either across Corney Fell or taking the A 595.
- This can be combined with a ramble around Muncaster Castle and Gardens where for this Easter Weekend, they are running a Teddies Go Free promotion – free entry for every child with a teddy and there’s the
Muncaster Giant Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday and Monday. Click here for more details.
- And of course if anyone needs anymore chocolate, you could always find a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt at various NT venues including: the Coniston Steam Gondola (are they floating?); Fell Foot at Newby Bridge; Claife Viewing Station on the west bank on Windermere; and Wray Castle at Ambleside. Click here for more details and opening times.
A lovely new arts trail raising money for a local charity will go on display from 25 March this year. 60 models of Herdwick ewes, each decorated by a local artist and sponsored by a local firm will be displayed around Keswick, Grasmere, Rydal, Ambleside and Windermere. The animals will be placed in public places and follow the route of the 555 bus service.
In September the flock will be rounded up for a gala auction in October.
We are particularly pleased to see that a favourite local artist of ours, Jo McGrath, has one to paint. She plans “… to use the sheep raddle powder we use on our Herdwicks at Yew Tree farm, to mix up an acrylic paint to use to draw /paint designs of herdwicks onto the main herdwick model. The designs will be applied in such a way that they will look like the sheep model is marked with traditional ‘smit’!” To have a look at more of Jo’s work, click on this link for her website. I posted another blog about her here.
Money raised will help fund redevelopment of Old Windebrowe, the Calvert Trust’s grade 2 listed farmhouse and tithe barn, which is thought to date back to the 1550s and was once used as a home by William Wordsworth. The Trust provides adventure holidays for people with disabilities and plans to use the centre to provide specialist accommodation. If you would like to know more about the Trust and its campaign, click here.
Held at West Park, known locally as the “Show Ground”, Millom & Broughton Show is on the last Saturday in August every year. The field is easy to find: the first on the right running along the Coniston road and is a short walk from the holiday cottage. If you are lucky enough to be in the area, it’s a lovely way to spend a day.
The Show is relatively small – contained in the one field – but has lots to look at and enjoy. There are usually dog agility displays, fell racing, Cumberland wrestling and hound trailing, as well as all the livestock entrants, poultry tent and the fiercely competitive vegetable and flower competitions.
The tribe has variously entered edible necklaces, animals made out of vegetables, best handwriting of a poem and decorated wellies. More senior members of the tribe enter marmalade, bread and photographs.
Other local shows in August 2015 are:
A Celebration of Boats, Steam and Stories from Windermere Jetty at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House: Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 August, 10.30am – 5pm
Our very favourite Arts and Crafts house is planning a marvellous weekend of interactive arts and crafts for the last weekend of August. In the grounds, there will be innovative sculptures, live music, craft activities, and a large scale creative weaving project and much more.
A great fun Lancaster-based theatre company called Inner State who seem to specialise in “Boats with Legs” will be performing and Dan Fox’s Sound Intervention will be creating some marvellous sounds.
Admission includes entrance to the house, exhibition and all activities. Adult £8.50 (without donation £7.70), Children FREE. More details about the event, click here.
Guests with children at Sykehouse Cottage regularly say how much they enjoyed the Zoo at Dalton which is a 10 mile / 20 minute drive away.
The Zoo describes itself as a “Safari Zoo” because you can “safari” around some enclosures on foot. They have a good range of big animals including rhinos, lions, tigers, bears, hippos, wolves, snow leopards, jaguar, giant otters, primates, vultures, and penguins. There is an opportunity to hand feed giraffes, penguins and lemurs and there’s also an adventure playground and new coffee shop for 2015.
The Zoo is open all year apart from Christmas Day and children are free with the paying adult.
We were particularly pleased to learn that in March their second West African Giraffe was born. These beautiful animals with their distinctive light coloured spots are very rare animals; only 61 of these giraffes were living in the wild in Niger 10 years ago.
For more details, just follow this link to their website.
How marvellous! Here at Sykehouse Cottage we just love the cabinet of curiosities that is Kendal Museum. The place houses the Kendal and Westmorland Galleries, the World Wildlife Exhibition, The Lake District Natural History Gallery and The Hamer Mineral Collection.
The late John Hamer was a potholer and mineral collector. He collected one of the most superb and extensive mineral collections in the North of England. This collection exceeds 2000 pieces and includes specimens from disused mines in the Lake District, where mineral collecting is now banned, and other regions of northern England. This invaluable collection is available for research and enjoyment by both geologists and those who are just fascinated by beautiful minerals.
A spectacular display from the collection together with a complete catalogue, original note books, display charts and a map locating mine sites are featured as a new permanent display at Kendal Museum.
If you would like to know about opening times and current exhibitions, click on a click to their website HERE.
When we come up for a holiday at Sykehouse Cottage, there are certain things we love to do. Here are five of our favourites.
1) Walk across the fields for a gorgeous pub lunch at the Blacksmiths Arms, Broughton Mills. Click here for details of opening hours on their website.
2) Ride on the La’al Ratty : the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway. Click here for their details.
3) Run around Muncaster Castle for the “Luck” and a pose in the stocks. Click here for their website.
4) Imagine, for a moment, living at Blackwell, one of the country’s finest Arts and Crafts houses. The stained glass! The views! Visit the website here.
5) Have a mooch around the lovely clothes, craft and book shops in Market Street, Ulverston.
If you read many of our posts, you will realise we are fascinated by all things industrial in the history of the Lake District and so we are thrilled about The Lakeland Arts’ new development, Windermere Jetty. This is the new name for the Windermere Steamboat Museum and will house a unique collection of historic vessels with a working and possibly viewable (yes, please) conservation workshop. Scanning through the publicity, it looks as though “the Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories” will be a fun and inspiring experience and a great addition to a visitors’ itinerary.
The opening of Windermere Jetty is scheduled for completion in 2016 and, in the meantime, Lakeland Arts are “Just Visiting” at Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre, where you can find more information this exciting project. Click this link through to the Lakeland Arts main website. And this link will take you to their informative WordPress blog.
Walk : Duddon, Bleansey, Lickle.
This short stroll down to the river and back up again is now called Uncle David’s Walk as we rambled around it after his funeral one fine September.
Turn right out of Sykehouse cottage and up the hill to the High Cross Inn. Cross the busy A595 to the pavement beyond and walk down to find the signpost and gateway off to the left. Leaving the traffic madness behind, stroll along the footpath across the River Lickle and fields down to the Duddon at a spot called The Sheep Dip. Good bathing in the Summer. At the river bank turn right and stroll along past the wild garlic and trees to the bridge. Stopping for the obligatory skimming stones contest.
Then cross the road by the traffic lights at the bridge and climb up the Ulpha Road, pass the first set of houses at Bank End. Look out for a rough track and signpost on the right leading up through some woods and out down the bottom of gorse covered Bleansley Bank.
At Lower Bleansley, a collection of farmhouses, turn right through the barns, down across the marshy pasturelands by the Lickle again, heading for Manor Farm. Follow the farm road up to the Coniston Road. Cross over to the White Gates of West Park, known by locals as the Show Field. Stop and admire the newly dredged pond, before making you way back across the field and into Broughton Square by the Coniston Road.
Takes about 2 hrs. One short steep climb through the woods at Bleansley Bank.
After enduring many “experiences” of an expensive and very themed nature in days out with the Rigg tribe, a trip to Muncaster Castle is always a delight. There are no expensive photo opportunities to catch the unwary, nor an exit-through-big-gift-shop policy. The castle has a charmingly individualistic audio tour written and read by the family which makes a refreshing change from an actor reading from carefully nuanced script.
They highlight family favourites: “I always point out the ships’ anchors and the date 1588 on the fireback!” barks the owner. “Never forget the Armada lost some ships on this coast!”
Family losers:“This portrait is of the one we call the Drip.” “Here’s a family portrait and can you see how two of the sons’ heads are pasted in? They must have been the ones he wasn’t talking to.”
And apologies for not opening more rooms on account of the mess: “Sorry, you’re not allowed into my dressing room. We all need a door to throw our pyjamas behind!”.
I only paraphrase slightly.
Muncaster Castle is an truly original day out and 12 only miles from Sykehouse Cottage. It would be a shame to miss it if you are in the area.