27 July 2016
25 July 2016
Ok, so we don't normally frequent such places, this was a lovely gift from Mark's brother and sister in law. A whole gang of us went along... Mark and I, Mark's sister, son Alex and partner Neil with his 3 boys and Mark's parents.
Armathwaite Hall is a Grade II listed building, 4 star country house hotel and spa on the shore of Basenthwaite Lake. I have wanted to visit for ever, but never really had the opportunity before... So when we got the vouchers for Christmas I have been super excited... I couldn't resist snapping some photos...
I even loved the driveway... you always know you are going somewhere special when there is a long drive lined with Rhododendron bushes.
The back of the hotel was even more spectacular than the front... Check out that view out towards Bassenthwaite Lake.
There are acres of beautiful grounds, which guests are invited to explore... I love this old row of trees.
The hotel is really well known also for it spa. I will have to come back and sample the facilities here another time...
There was a wedding happening when we arrived, with wedding guests out on the lawn and drinking on the terrace, how lovely.
23 July 2016
Kielder Forest and Water are in Northumberland, on the border with Scotland. To get there from Carlisle is about a 1 hour drive, and you actually go up into Scotland and out again. Kielder Village where we stayed in the campsite, is the most remote village in the country.
There are SO many things to do and see around Kielder, with the large reservoir to boat on, play in, cycle, walk round. Numerous visitor centres and attractions dotted around the lake, mountain bike trails, cafes, pubs, play areas etc etc. We were SO excited to visit and it did not disappoint. In fact it very much exceeded my expectations. The entire place is stunningly beautiful, I felt a million miles away from everything, pure relaxation (and of course no phone signal and very little internet!)
So we arrived on a super sunny Monday afternoon after a scenic drive up through the teeny country Scottish roads. The plan was three nights at Kielder Campsite and 3 days of biking fun and exploring.
I highly recommend the campsite. The site warden could not be more friendly and helpful, a lovely welcome. The site is basic but beautiful, a long strip clearing nestled beside a stream and in the middle of the deep forest. But actually only a stones throw away from Kielder Castle, the area's main visitor centre, the start of the bike trails, a pub and a village shop, what else could you possibly need?
We put up the tent, I was super excited about the first outing for our new tent. We now have a huge tunnel tent that you can stand up in!!! This is revolutionary for me. Then we were keen to have a wander and explore our new surroundings.
Just through the campsite is the Angler's Arms, about 2 minutes walk. The pub is decent enough with good range of drinks and home cooked food. Of course we stopped for a cool pint in the sunny beer garden and marveled at HOW nice the weather was. We couldn't believe our luck to be camping in this beautiful place on the sunniest day of the yer so far, score!
We kept on wandering and found Kielder Castle. It houses a visitor centre and cafe. We got some ice creams and enjoyed the scenery. NO we didn't hunt down free wifi to check Pokemon in the area, we wouldn't do that!!! lol (No Pokemon in Kielder at all FYI!)
We had some giggles in a maze we found. Mark hilariously ran off leaving me lost in the middle. The maze was higher than us, but there were little step bits to stand on every now and again, was funny when Mark popped up over the other side!
The middle of the maze was a cool cube like structure with pretty glass rocks all caged in. We stopped for a selfie!
Hehe! How many selfies do you typically take before you get an 'ok' one? selfie outtakes! I LOVE our faces here, squinting from the sun, just had to share.
As the evening drew on we wandered further into the woods. Mark actually knows the area a bit more than me as he completed the 2015 Kielder Marathon. I was already super impressed that he completed a marathon, but after having cycled the route I now know he is insane and also superman, its NOT flat as one might expect being round a lake!
So we wandered to the viaduct that Mark was keen to see after remembering running across it. The place has an interesting history, this was an old railway line before the reservoir was made here. Makes you wonder what else is lurking under that water?
Back through the little forest lane to our pretty campsite...
A most wonderful, peaceful evening was spent, chilling with some ciders on the grass, reading, crocheting and just generally enjoying being outside in the heat!
The next day came the hard work. 27 Miles round the lake bike ride. It was tough, I won't lie, it was STUPIDLY hot, it's NOT flat, as I explained above, and turns out 27 miles is a long way. But SO worth it, a most beautiful bike ride, really enjoyed it.
The view from the dam is just epic.
At the opposite end of the lake to Kielder village is Folstone village. A picturesque little place with the promise of a tearoom...
Oh and the tearoom did not disappoint.. I do love a good tearoom. This one was in the old school! We could also sit outside! The ladies didn't seem to mind our red and sweaty faces... We enjoyed cheese toasties and a lovely gluten free almond chocolate concoction, that I could happily eat until it came out of my ears, delicious it were.
Such a pretty place...
Lovely refreshing cool Fentimans...
Setting off over the dam to complete the last half of the ride with full happy bellies.
I didn't take any photos after that, oops! We got back to our tent, Mark made a little shelter so we could snooze in some shade (the tent was hotter than hell inside!!! lol!) We then cooked up some pot noodles for tea and sat and made the most of the weather.