Standing Stones

There's something quite magical about standing stones don't you think?  I find myself drawn to them.  There are quite a few areas in the North of England where there's standing stones.  I think Castle Rigg is perhaps the most well known but not too far from Castle Rigg stand Long Meg & her daughters.  One day I'll get to stand with the stones at Stonehenge during the summer solstice, it's been on my bucket list for long enough.  The stones in the pictures are of Duddo Five Stones in Northumberland & Long Meg & her Daughters in Cumbria.

Our beautiful Coastline

We live 2 miles from this beauty spot & feel so lucky to be so close to a gorgeous coastline & countryside.  I love clouds & the formations/patterns they create.  These pictures are taken at sunrise, we live on the East coast in  South Northumberland.  

Cathedral Caves


This is The Langdales, we'd heard about some caves here & so off we went in search of the caves, it was such a pretty walk.  We parked up in Little langdale & walked down a track to an old stone packhorse bridge called 'Slaters Bridge' to get to the caves.  

Just look at that, it's fantastic.  We explored that big cave then climbed up to a tunnel which ran for about maybe 100yds. There's maybe more there to see but it was starting to rain so we thought we best leave & get back in case it got any heavier.  We will definitely go back, I think there may be a pool where you can swim as we passed a father & son in their wetsuits.  We got drenched getting back but by the time we found the car the rain passed & the sun came back out.

Black & Whites

There's something quite special I think about black & white photographs.  I could find myself staring at them for longer.  I love colour but black & white can show real drama, especially in skies, it can be a sunny day with some unusual cloud formations & black & white just make those clouds pop more.  I took some photos when we climbed Scafell pike & in colour they just seemed so flat as we were climbing in the clouds, I converted them to black & white which made them much more interesting & dramatic. These photos are just some I took of various little local walks & just felt they suited B&W more.  

Beauty on Our Doorstep

We're really lucky to live in such a beautiful part of our country here in Northumberland as we're surrounded by the countryside, a couple of miles from the coast & a few more miles into the city.  These images are from a walk we did over the fields, through Holywell Dene & out at Seaton Sluice.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  


Craggy Rocks & Craggy Bulls

We set off from Bolam Lake in Northumberland.  There are a couple of car parks there so plenty parking.  We carried on along the main road with Bolam lake to our right then crossed the road & onto the fields.  Chris is map reading, I'm never allowed to map read, I think it's a bloke thing, makes guys feel like they are in charge & know what they are doing.  Well that will soon be proven to be wrong as we got a little bit lost, just a little mind, but lost all the same.  

We headed over a couple of more fields when I caught sight of some bulls, yup BULLS!  Now these bulls were where we wanted to be & standing staring at us.  Chris didn't seem fazed by them & said we just needed to carry on walking & just not to make any sudden movements.............Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm that didn't really give me much confidence at all.  These were big bulls & they were staring at us, waiting for us to try our luck at passing them.  Thankfully just at that moment a group of mountain bikers on a nearby track cycled passed & thankfully they were more interesting to the bulls than we were so we took our opportunity to make a dash for it.   

This is just a little way around from the Devil's Punchbowl, it's called Salter's Nick & was used by smugglers taking salt to Scotland.

Are we lost again Chris?  He looks deep in concentration, best not ask him.

A couple of hours later after wandering around some fantastic countryside we're heading over a field when we come face to face with a heard of bulls standing guarding the gateway unable to cross to us due to the cattle grid (thank God for William J Hickey who invented cattle grids). Now anyone who knows me knows I love cows, however, I don't love being in the same field as them, I'm fine if there's a fence or wall between us, I will even attempt to stroke their pretty heads.  We stood again for a while scratching our heads, Chris said we should just go for it & they'll move out of the way, hmmmmmmmmmmmmm this was just something that I really didn't feel comfortable with at all.  Close by, sat on a wall basking in the sunshine we noticed to guys (a father & grown up son) eating their lunch, I asked them if they had plans on walking the same way as us (through that gate guarded by a heard of black angry looking monsters), to my delight they were (safety in numbers I thought) not that four is any better than 2 when there's about 500 angry bulls guarding the gate (ok perhaps not quite 500, but there's a lot & we're certainly outnumbered).  The father & son finished their lunch & all four of us maneuvered towards the bulls, I'm a whimp so I was at the back awkwardly squirming through, internally screaming my head off & perspiring profusely while Chris & the other 2 guys were quite at ease.  Now call me selfish but I just couldn't walk at their pace & found myself walking a lot quicker than normal, I wasn't running, I was definitely walking, but if there was an Olympic walking activity I'd most certainly be a gold medalist now.  I did fell bad when the gap between us & those 2 guys grew bigger but my legs just took off on their own, there was no stopping them.  

The route continued over a couple more fields & up to a place called the Devil's Punchbowl at Shaftoe Crags.  There are 360o views from up on top amongst some huge horizontal stones.  On a clear day you can see for miles.  

More bulls, these 3 were thankfully just young & had a huge field to roam in but they just wanted to stand guarding the gates making it impossible to pass.  They were also quite flighty & kept jumping around & chasing each other.  We needed to get through that gate.  We stood for a while scratching our heads & Chris came up with the idea of waving his arms about to scare them, well I'm not sure about scaring them, it certainly scared me when they got spooked & started jumping about more.  Thankfully we managed to get passed them & I was assured there would be no more fields of scary bulls.  That was not going to be the case.

Thankfully those bulls were just very inquisitive as they followed those guys right the way across that field. That's them in the image below.  The bulls above were chasing us but thankfully there was a fence in between us so we were safe.

Simonside Hills

The Simonside hills are in Northumberland National Park not too far from Rothbury. They're about an hours drive from us but if its not too windy then it can be a nice little wander to stretch the legs.  The views from up there are spectacular & you can see 360o for miles on a clear day. These hills are quite easy walks & are around 300 to 400 metres high so very popular to walkers.   The land is a mix of trees, shrubs, ferns & heathers making the colours very vibrant both in summer & autumn.  


One evening we thought we'd take the girls up into Loughrigg fell, they didn't complain about the heat & how far it was at all.  

There we are right at the top, you could see all of Ambleside & as far down the lake as Bowness, possibly further. I think the kids were happy now as there's no more climbing now.  

River Deep, Mountain High

Today we decided the kids needed some time away from their phones & a nice little walk, I'd been looking on the map & found a place called Dungeon Ghyll which looked quite interesting so had planned on finding it.  We parked in the car park across from The New Dungeon Ghyll hotel & started our ascend, of course the kids didn't moan about this once & were more than willing to keep on climbing, although it was cloudy it was in fact really warm which added to them being thrilled to be doing such activities.  

We arrived at the top & stopped by a tarn, later we found out this is Stickle Tarn & we'd just climbed Stickle Ghyll not Dungeon Ghyll, Ahhhhhh we'll find it on the way down I said, we never found it.

That big craggy faced rock in the backdrop there is called Pavey Ark, I suggested climbing this to the kids but they declined, I will have to go back as it looks quite a challenge.  

Honister Slate Mine

We went for a drive up to Honister Slate mine, there's a cafe there so we stopped & had a cup of tea while I took the opportunity to get some snaps of the slate sculptures there looking down the Honister pass.  There's loads to do here at Honister, you can climb the mines, there's an infinity bridge & via ferrata xtreme.  These activities are certainly not for the faint hearted, you definitely need a head for heights for any of them. 


I love highland cattle & had heard that there are some at Buttermere that are regularly photographed by people just walking around the lake & they seem to be quite friendly, so off we went in search of the highland coos.  Buttermere is a beautiful lake, it's a very small lake & its maybe about a 4 mile walk around the lake.  Unfortunately the cows were on private land when we arrived so even though we sneaked near them I was getting told off by Chris so we didn't get too close, we will just have to use that as an excuse to go back & hopefully they'll be wandering somewhere not on private land.

Buttermere is a very small lake & is an easy, virtually flat walk to get around.  The village itself is small but quaint, there's a great ice cream parlour with an abundance of flavours on offer.

Helvellyn via Striding Edge

We were up & out of bed before the birds to set off on our 2hr drive to Glenridding, we parked the cricket ground & headed along a road to start the climb. It was a fantastic day weather wise, it was mid September & still plenty light & heat thankfully, mind it got a tad bit chilly at the summit. 

I would say the first 3 or 4 kilometres is the toughest as it's just a constant climb, whereas the rest is varied & so you get to feel like its a bit easier.  There are a few different routes up but we decided on Striding Edge, it had to be, we couldn't whimp out & go the easy way up.  Striding Edge isn't so bad, thankfully we had great weather, (I'd imagine it be terrifying in strong winds & rain).  There's not much space to pass people in some parts & unfortunately for us the day we decided to climb that little hill was only the day of 'The Helvellyn Triathlon' & they were going an alternative way across striding edge to us (I wish we'd known this as we'd have gone the same way).  So balanced on the top of what felt like the edge of the earth for me, we had these fitties racing by, we felt obliged to step out of the way for them but in parts it proved difficult & flippin' scary I tell ya.  At one point we were perched on a ledge when an arm came from around the corner grabbing Chris by the chest followed by a little woman & then another arm with a lead & a Scouse voice saying "Eeaar Laa, owld tha will ya" then appeared a small dog on the other end of the lead.  This wasn't the first dog we saw being taken up England's third highest mountain by its owner. 

Once over striding edge there's a bit of a vertical climb up what was quite technical & certainly not somewhere you'd want to take a phone call. Yup a little way up & my phone began to ring.  I managed to wedge my backside into a crevice & quickly pulled my rucksack around to grab my phone, it was my youngest daughter Heidi asking where the cheese was, here we are almost at the top of Helvellyn, in probably one of the most tricky parts of the climb & back home Heidi is hungry asking where the cheese is.  Turns out we had none. 

 It was a great sense of achievement getting to the summit & I really wanted to video call my Mum & Dad so they too could experience the fantastic views but they would have worried about us coming back down so I didn't.  There's Red Tarn behind us & further again is Ullswater.  We sat to have a banana & a drink to re-charge ready for the decent feeling quite chuffed with our little selves for managing such a climb when right there in front of us popped up a young lad on a mountain bike (as if anyone could cycle up Helvellyn of all places).  Now feeling not so accomplished we set off back down the mountain via Swirral Edge (another bit of technical climbing & hang & drop from ledge to ledge) God knows which way that lad on the bike came up, but it certainly couldn't have been Swirral Edge.

A Foggy Climb up Scafell Pike

We'd been looking forward to this all week. It was another early morning start leaving home for a 2.5hr drive this time.  We were a little disheartened to find it foggy when we got there but thought it might burn off & pass (it didn't) but we were still smiling, well I was, while Chris pulled silly faces.  There's a stretcher in that box, this is a new metal box, previously there was an old wooden box which held a stretcher.  It's used by the Mountain rescue team & rather than them carry a stretcher up from the bottom, there's one in this box about halfway up. 

It was quite eerie watching the mist wrap itself around the mountains, one minute they'd be there then the next gone, hidden in a fast moving blanket of thick fog. 

Climbing that last bit was just awful, its just one big boulder field & so it takes longer to climb. At the Top, it was actually quite a shock to see so many people up there, when we turned to the last bit there seemed to be a whole load of people climbing from Wasdale Head.  

Scafell is a fantastic mountain to climb, the terrain is very much varied & its not a constant climb (well the Corridor route we did wasn't), I haven't tried an alternative route yet & to be honest I'd probably want to do the same route again but on a day when the weather is clear.   We had planned on coming down a different way but visibility was so poor that we just couldn't find the route down we originally wanted to go so we came back down the Corridor. 

A Leisurely wander from Boulmer to Craster & Back

The drive up to Boulmer from our house is perhaps an hours drive, maybe slightly less, but it's a very scenic drive along the coastal road through various little villages on the way.  We arrived to find some threatening clouds overhead but we were set for all weathers & had plenty of layers & waterproofs in our rucksacks so off we went.

The sun was trying it's best to make a show, I love the colours in the land when there's been some angry stormy clouds & then the sun comes out, the colours just seem to pop more.  

Cullnernose Point looks similar to The Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland with it's similar vertical, squared, rock formations. 

I love a good wooden style photo, they seem to be disappearing fast over in the lakes & replaced with an adapted section of dry stone wall with extra large flat rocks protruding for easy access over the wall.  It's a shame because wooden styles look great & can be spotted from a distance. 


We have no hills where we live, well not on our doorstep anyway.  The nearest thing to a hill is Northumberlandia, a beautiful land sculpture of a lady best seen from above.  So to get my fix I sometimes have to have a little bimble over there as it's just 5 minutes away.  Today was a beautiful day, perfect for a wander.

Rydal Caves

This is Rydal Cave, not far from Ambleside.  There are 2 car parks on either side of the road (White Moss & Rydal Water car park, White Moss has loos, I'm not sure about the other one).  The walk up to the cave takes you over the river Rothay & up the hill, it's a lovely half hour walk & you can see Rydal Water as you ascend along with beautiful views across the valley.  On a nice day this cave can attract quite a lot of visitors.  The cave is actually man made as a result of slate quarrying.  As you can see from the above photo, there is a pond at the entrance of the cave with stepping stones across it.  If passing then I'd strongly recommend a little wander up to this cave as you won't be disappointed.