The humble bee!

It’s amazing how you learn something new every day. Take Countryfile! I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but hubby and I both love it! It’s also one of Lola’s favourite programmes too!

We have a few to catch up on, however the episode last night featured a section on the bee!

We have all heard about the decline of the bee, but do we really appreciate the importance of them?

For some, they are a nuisance. The fear of getting stung out ways anything else! But to be honest, unlike the really annoying wasp, which I really can’t be doing with, the bee is only interested in your pollen! They will only attack you if they feel attacked themselves!

So, what did I learn last night? Well, did you know there is over 270 species of bee? I didn’t! There is the honey bee, who is all fluffy and cute! They live together with their queen and other bees! The women do all the work! I had to laugh last night! When asked on the programme last night what the male does, the answer came back – they have sex and get drunk ! Sounds about right ! 😂

The other bees live in solitude. Maybe in the same area as other bees but not in groups like the honey bee!

I also learnt that some bees build their nests underground. Not what I would have said! They are also related to the ant!!

The numbers of bees are in massive decline. We have already lost around 19 species ! That is so sad!

Bees are really important. Yes they make honey? But they do a whole lot more!

Their pollination means we get the fruit and vegetables we eat every day. Without this we wouldn’t have the food on our plate!

So why are they declining? There are many reasons including loss of meadows, pesticides etc.

There is a lot we could be doing to help them though! Planting flowers and herbs that are bee friendly will really help.

Lavender is a great one! If you are not sure what to go for, most garden centres now have signs that highlight if they are bee friendly.

You don’t need to have a big garden! A few pots on your patio would be a great help.

A good water supply is essential, so a pond or water feature would be great, but if you don’t have that, how about just a bucket or bowl ?

Why not put up bee hotels in your garden for the solitude bees?

Every little helps!

So next time you are in your garden have a look around! Is there anything you could do to help keep the food we eat on our plates ?

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Taking the Line to Latrigg!

Taking the Line to Latrigg is another walk from our AA walking book of the Lake District.

I was so happy this morning!  The first bark from the dogs next door wasn’t until 7.13 am!  An improvement on the previous days!  Even better, Lola only managed a weak bark, then went back to sleep!

Just after 7.30 am Lola then did her usual attention seeking bark, as she needed to loo!  Obviously, she must have been lying there wondering if she had the energy to get up or not!  Eventually, her bladder won!  I didn’t mind then as I was already awake.  I took them both out  and came back to make the usual cups of tea for hubby and I.

As he was still sleepy I returned the favour from yesterday, and let him sleep, while I came down and sorted dogs out.  I wanted to catch up on the news anyway so I didn’t mind.  I do miss that hour of the news in the morning.  It also gave me time to sort the picnic out for the day.

Today we were going to try and do a lighter walk.  After yesterday we felt we, and the dogs needed it.

We decided on a walk from Keswick, along a disused railway line.  The line was used regularly from 1864 until it was closed in 1972.

The walk according to our AA walking book would take around 2 hours,over 8 km!

To get to the starting point, we had to drive over Wrynose Pass again!  Thankfully hubby offered to drive today.  I wasn’t going to argue.  Although I’m not sure if being a passenger is worse.  At least when you are driving you are more in control! At least I got to take some photos and videos on the way!  Check out my Youtube channel to see them!

The walk starts at a car park outside what used to be the old railway station.  It’s now a hotel, but I’m pleased to say they haven’t changed the look of it from the outside.

As we started our walk we saw a few signs talking about a bridge being closed.  As we had walked over 2 bridges, which took you over the River Greta, we didn’t think they related to us.  In fact, we thought they were signs that hadn’t been taken down!  Well, that was until we reached the reached the bridge that was actually closed!

A flood in 2015 damaged a lot of the old railway track path, as well as taking out the bridge across the river!  We thought our walk had ended before it started!  Have no fear, we found a signpost just back down the path, and decided to take it!

As luck would happen, although this was quite uphill and with a few nervous drops to our right, on some thin paths, it actually took us back onto the path we wanted.

After a long climb, we eventually came to a view point at Latrigg, which gave spectacular views over Keswick.  It was extremely windy, but the sun did try and come out!  At the top, I remembered that I had been here a few years earlier.  We had been to the Lakes with my mother, brother and sister in law.  My mother and sister in law were over from South Africa for a holiday, so my hubby, stepdaughter and I had a week together with them in a log cabin in the Lakes, along with my brother in law who also lives in England now.

There was a carpark to the right of this view point, which we drove to, then walked up to the viewpoint. It was windy that day too!

Many years ago, hubby and I were up in the lakes with our old dog Ember.  We did a walk up Cat Bells.  It was such an exhausting walk which took us about 7 hours in total.  The views were stunning though.  From the viewpoint at Latrigg you can see the same mountain.  When you look at it, you can see why it was so tiring and long!

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We really wanted to do this walk again on this holiday, however the weather has been against us!

We then descended down a track.  The views on this trip were amazing.  Wherever you look, there is always something to photograph! Thankfully we missed the rain, which after yesterday was a great bonus!

So, the walk was supposed to be 8 km.  My app on the phone worked today!  Ok, we do stop a lot to take photos, so it was always going to take longer.  In fact for us, it was 2 hours 44 mins.  How far did we walk?  Over 11 km’s!  That detour must have really added on the km’s.  Not that I am complaining.

Another quiet night is required especially for 2 tired dogs!

Tomorrow is our last full day.  I have clocked up over 130,000 steps in the last 7 days!  Tomorrow, will no doubt be another good walk!

Yew Tree Tarn From Coniston – Lake District

Well today started a lot better than the last few days!  The dogs next door didn’t start barking until 6.30 am!  What was even better, Lola and Fido must have been so tired as Lola  gave out a little quick bark, but that was it!

I came down anyway just to check on them.  Lola was fast asleep on the sofa!  Yes the sofa!  She isn’t allowed on it, but had got herself comfortable with her head on the cushions!  Fido was in his bed.  I took them both out for a walk anyway, so they could do their business.

They both must have been very tired, as I hadn’t even put the leads away when Lola was back on the sofa asleep!

I went back to bed for a bit.  The dogs next door had quietened down very quickly today and we didn’t hear from them until 7.30 am.  I got up and made a drink to take back to bed.  I was so so tired.  I was so relieved when hubby told me to go back to sleep, and he would go down with the dogs!  Lola was quiet but Fido was crying for attention so we couldn’t really leave them on their own.

I slept right through to just after 9 am!  Heaven!

Today we decided on a 10 km walk from Coniston to Yew Tree Tarn.  It was absolutely pouring with rain when we arrived, but as we started to walk it eased off!

Just before we went around the Tarn we spotted an ice cream van.  Hubby can never resist an ice cream so while I had a diet coke, my  hubby and my stepdaughter both went for a 99!  Just what the doctor ordered!

The walk round the tarn was beautiful.   With the rain there was a lot of mist, but you could still see the beauty of the place!  We were doing so well up to this point, but then we just couldn’t work out the correct route.  We use a book called ’50 walks in The Lake District’ by AA. Most times it’s easy to follow, but today it certainly wasn’t clear!  We had to change our route a couple of times and were still not convinced if we were right.

At this point the heavens opened!  And it stayed heavy for the rest of our walk!  We really wasn’t sure our path was the right one and with the rain, our book was getting soaked and so it was hard to turn the pages!

In the end, we saw a path for Coniston.  Even though it wasn’t the books route, we knew we would be going in the right direction for the car.  We had been walking for 4.45 hours at this point,  we were soaking wet, and hungry.  I think all of us just wanted to head back to the car!

According to the signposts we were 1.5 miles from Coniston.

We start to see the village in the distance and my spirits lifted!  By this point, my shorts were so wet they were dripping!  I had a waterproof on, but I don’t think they are designed for this type of rain.

We finally reach the carpark.  When we arrived, I spotted a shop that sold lolly pops.  When I say lolly pops, I don’t just mean your ordinary ones.  Oh no, this one had probably about 30 different flavours if not more!  I just had to stop and get some for my stepdaughter.   I wish now I also got a couple for me too!  They smelt delicious. I just didn’t think at the time! Doh!  I have never seen a shop with so many.  Next time I’m definitely stocking up!

We got into the car and I think we could all agree that we were starving.  We were only 45 mins from home, but after walking what was actually nearly 16 km in 5.5 hours, we just needed fuel!  I’d done my usual picnic so we all sat in the car tucking in!

On the way home I had the heating on to try and dry us all out!

The hot shower when we got home was so so welcome!

The fire was put on to dry the book out and our bags.  Even though we were wet I think we all had a good day.  Even the dogs.

Sadly the app on my phone didn’t pick up all the walk, but my fit bit recorded 25,000 steps!  I think we will all have a few aches in the morning!

A quiet night in front of TV is definitely in order tonight!

Walk around Buttermere Lake

Ok, I’m quite a tolerant person, but enough is enough!  Once again not long after 5 am the dogs next door start barking!  Of course, that is going to wake up Fido and Lola, who have been fast asleep all night.

The problem is, with Lola and Fido, they are really good all night.  Once they have had their evening walk that is it until they wake up again.  Once they are awake both will need the toilet.   Even if I wanted to ignore them I can’t! So once again I am out walking them early!

They are both really good now at going in the new place, so I don’t spend as much time out in my pj’s with them!  Mind you I say that, but I’ve done over 3000 steps before we have left the cottage for the day so maybe more than I think!

Hubby and I both decide that once next doors dogs start barking,  there is no point in trying to lay in bed.  They don’t stop until the family obviously get up to them, which is not for another 2.5 hours!  I can’t believe they can sleep through it or even ignore it.  I don’t let my dogs bark for even a few minutes, for my own sanity, for their behaviour and also for anyone around who may hear them!

I was already cross with the owners last night.  I took Lola and Fido out about 11.30 for their last walk of the night.  It’s pitch black out the back, so I only had the torch off my phone for light!  They just opened their back door and let their two run out.  Both were barking and ran straight to Fido.  They were barking in his face.  He was on a long lead so he could have a bit of freedom.  I couldn’t see him very well and was desperately trying to pull him back to me.  I was calling to Fido so they opened the bedroom window to look.  They gave me the look that I was in the wrong.  My 2 dogs were on leads and behaving!  Their 2 dogs were barking and running riot!  I was not impressed.

The male owner is a big guy and hubby had advised I don’t say anything to him!  I fully agree, we are only here for a week so it’s not worth a fight,  but I am not a happy chappy!  Another night of only  5 hours sleep and I’m certainly not impressed.  I get up at this time every day for work.  I go to bed early to make up for this which is my choice.  I don’t expect to have to do the same on holiday, just because next door can’t control their dogs!

Anyway I’m not going to let it spoil my holiday!

Today we decide to do a walk around Buttermere Lake.  After yesterday, we decided something flatter might be better for all of us and the dogs.

The drive there is a nightmare! You have to go over Wrynose Pass again – we did that on Sunday too!  It’s so scary at times, sheer drops with thin single track roads.  There isn’t many passing places either, so not great on the nerves.

You then go through my favourite town in the Lakes, Ambleside then Grassmere!  Next you head to Keswick.  We needed to get something from the town, so had a quick stop off there.  I stayed in the car with the dogs.  It was a good excuse to try and get the first reception on my phone in over 2 days!  I got a little, but not enough to get all my emails and messages sadly!

The next stretch was over Honister Pass.  This is another steep climb before we got to Buttermere!   The journey should have taken us around 1.5 hours, however due to traffic and lots of lorries trying to pass on narrow roads, it ended up nearly 3 hours!

We are looking for National Trust parking but end up behind the Fish Inn.  Parking there is £6 for only 4 hours!  I don’t know about you, but I think that is expensive to park on what is effectively gravel!  What is worse, you have to pay 30p to spend a penny!!

The weather is a mixture of showers and sunshine.  We have waterproofs, so we are not going to let the weather stop us getting out!  We did over 25000 steps yesterday, so I don’t want today to be much less than that!

Lola broke her lead before we came away.  I thought I had repaired it!   We had swapped it onto Fido as he doesn’t pull as much.  Today of all days it decided to fail again.  Fido didn’t mind.  It is an extendable lead and now it was full length.  Yey, so he thought!   Not likely!  I had to use Lola’s figure of 8 lead which wasn’t ideal, but did the job!

The changing weather really transforms the landscape in the Lakes, and today is no exception.  The walk is quite relaxing but there still is a lot to see.

The walk takes just over 2 hours and is 8 km. We stop at the car again afterwards and have lunch.

My walking shoes have this holiday started to fail me.  I’m gutted as I love them.  They are 12 years old, so have done me well! I have a summer pair and winter pair, and these are my summer ones!  We decide to call back into Keswick on way back and get myself a new pair.  I saw a pet shop there on the way in this morning, so plan to call there too to get a new lead!

The route home started off easier!   We didn’t have to do the Honister Pass.  Woo hoo!  The sun was out when we left Buttermere so I had high hopes for the journey home!  In Keswick it was still warm, so yey!

I bought my boots and a bit random, but a pair of binoculars too!  I have a small pair, but they are not great for birds of prey at a distance!  Along with sheep and highland cows, I have a fascination for birds of prey!  Who knew that Millets give you 15% off if you are members of National Trust!  It would have been rude not to buy them!

I also managed to get a new lead for the dogs.  I love the extending leads, but I won’t have the cord ones, as I have seen and experienced too many friction burns from them.  I am sure they are great for small dogs but definitely not my size dogs!

I start the drive back to the cottage.  The road isn’t too bad, but then I remember I have to go through Wrynose Pass!  What is worse, it starts to rain really hard!  My heart is in my mouth!  There are so many steep drops and the roads are steep, twisting and very narrow!   I really don’t feel happy doing this drive.  Its only 10 miles, but believe me, it feels like 100!

I am so glad when I see our cottage.

We get out the car and guess what?  The neighbours have gone out and left their dogs again, and they are both barking!  Great!

I am so so tired today!  I prepare dinner and while its cooking have a quick shower!  Time for a nice glass of Slimline Wine!  I so deserve it!

Keep watching my Youtube channel for more photos of today, including some gorgeous scenery and cows.

 

 

Our first full day in the Lakes

So today was our first day here.  The cottage has beautiful views over the mountains.  I imagined waking up gently, to the view shrouded by sunshine!  Instead, I was woken just after 5 am by Lola with her attention seeking bark!  Believe it or not, Lola has 2 distinct types of barks.  There is a deep bark which means she is unhappy, and then there is this high-pitched bark which is solely to seek attention!

I know you should ignore her when she is seeking attention, but that time in the morning she knows she has got you! It rings through your ears!  She is such a little drama queen!

The cottage we are staying at is dog friendly, however there is a strict policy of no dogs upstairs!  The dogs are therefore downstairs whilst we sleep upstairs.  At home both dogs sleep in our room so this is a bit weird for them.

I sleepily come down stairs to find Lola by the door.  She obviously needs a toilet break!  I have to make a quick decision!  It’s absolutely pouring with rain outside!  I could find my car keys and run out to get my coat – which I stupidly left in there last night.  This would cause Lola to bark further!  We are in a semi-detached cottage, so I didn’t want to wake the neighbours!  The alternative was to take them out in my PJ’s (a vest top and shorts) and try and take shelter under a tree as quickly as possible!  I opted for the latter!

So just after 5 am I am stood under a tree in the pouring rain wishing Lola and Fido would hurry up!  Typically, as this is a new place for them, they both had to sniff around a lot before they could even think of doing anything!

Finally, I get back inside, completely soaked, but at least it was still warm outside!  I leave them both downstairs and go back to bed hoping to get another hour or so!  Oh, I wish!  Lola is now obviously awake!  I can hear her moving around and I just know she is up to no good!  I have to go down and check on her!  Thankfully I did, as I found the oven glove in her bed!

With a telling off I head back to bed!  She doesn’t want to be left so we get a few bouts of the high-pitched barking again!  By 6.30 am we could almost kill her if we didn’t love her!  She then goes quiet!  That is always dangerous!  I lay there not thanking my lucky stars for some peace and quiet, but wondering what she is up to!  I have to take a look!

What do I find?  Our walking book in her bed half chewed!!!  I was so cross at her!  She knew she was in trouble as she immediately hid in the kitchen!! And then she does the most un lady like thing! I think you can guess!  I can’t help but give out a little laugh.  She looked horrified !

I tried to tell her off for the book and barking again, in the hope that she will go back to sleep!  But oh no!  She really doesn’t want to go back to bed!  I end up making tea for hubby and I!  Even drinking that in bed is a no no!  More barking results in us both having to get up with her!  So much for a holiday lie in! I have to point out that Fido is being the perfect little boy!

So it’s not even 7.30 am and hubby and I are up having our second cup of tea!

When I’m at home I always love to watch BBC news in bed drinking my tea.  We don’t have one in our bedroom at the cottage so having to get up meant we could watch the TV in the lounge.

It sounds silly but I love mornings.   Once the dogs had chilled out it was relaxing just sitting on the sofa, drinking tea, watching the news and discussing with hubby plans for the day.

When we originally planned this holiday, we both wanted to do a specific walk.  It’s 15 km up Cat Bells.  Its quite a strenuous walk so we thought it should be one of the first walks we did of the week.  Now today looking at the weather outside, that really isn’t going to happen, so what was our plan B?

We have our waterproof clothes and walking boots, so the weather shouldn’t really stop us going out, but we do have to think about slippery paths and how muddy the dogs might get.

After a good bit of reading by hubby we make a decision!  A walk around Grassmere!  It is relatively flat and from memory the paths were really good!

The walks starts at Dove Cottage, the home of Wordsworth.  You then head towards some woods before you come to the Lake.  A lovely walk around the lake brings a changing landscape.  Whilst the heavy rain has gone, there is still the odd sprinkle!  Surprisingly though it’s really humid! The weather means the mood of the lake changes continuously.  It’s still very beautiful.

The walk takes just under 2 hours and 6 miles.

We return to the car to have lunch and plan on what to do for the rest of the day!  We decide that its probably not the weather to do a long walk so instead head to Lake Windermere!

En-route we stopped off at Ambleside.  There is the most amazing Apple Pie shop there.  It also does a great selection of cakes and breads.  My stepdaughter loves Soda bread and flapjacks which they have available.  In fact, the flapjacks are still warm as only just been made, so it would be rude not to buy them.  If you are ever in the area, you really have to stop at this bakery.

Just as we head off to Windermere, the heavens open!  We decide that it would probably be better to head back to the cottage!

The road to the cottage is a challenge!  Its single lane, very steep (1 in 3) with lots of shear drops. With a distance of 10 miles through these roads, it certainly tested your nerves!   I have a 4 x 4 but even my car was struggling at times.  It was no surprise then that we saw one family stuck halfway up a hill.  Their small car just didn’t have the capacity to go any further!  The family had to get out of the car to lighten the load, while the father reversed it down the road.  With other cars like ours on the single track, it was quite a difficult move for him!

We get back to the cottage.  I didn’t bring  my book with me, so knew that sitting doing nothing wouldn’t be my first choice.  Anyone who knows me knows I’m terrible at just sitting doing nothing!  In the morning when I was out with the dogs, I saw river just behind our cottage.  I suggested to hubby we try his camera lenses out there with the tripod.  He has some filters which he hasn’t yet had the chance to use properly.  This seemed an ideal time just to play around.

It does kill a bit of time but not much, so what to do?  I’ve now downloaded my photos onto my laptop.  We don’t have WIFI in the cottage or phone signal, so there isn’t much more I can do!  Then hubby suggests Monopoly!   We haven’t played it for a long time so a good idea.

So, the 3 of us spend the next couple of hours trying to out wit the other while I multitasked cooking a roast dinner!

I really thought I had come up with a great strategy of buying every property I could on the way round to stop others.  My stepdaughter tries some hard negotiation for a swap of some of our properties.  I think it will work for me so agree an exchange to give us both full sets!  Oh, what I fool I was!  Whilst she had plenty of cash to buy properties, I was very poor.  Mainly because every time I passed go I stopped on the tax square!  Grrrrr!

The first to fall was hubby!  I knew that my time was limited!  After a few more rounds, remortgaging and remortgaging, I can’t meet the £1250 bill for landing on her!  My stepdaughter is victorious!

After such an early start I’m now getting quite tired.  We have dinner and I’m struggling to stay awake.

We have basic TV in the cottage, so channels are limited.  We have found Pirates of the Caribbean.   Its great watching classics like this, and this is one of the funniest films.

There is obviously a storm somewhere as the signal keeps breaking!  Then there was the biggest clap of thunder I have ever heard!  The poor dogs (and me) jumped out of our skins!  That was the TV out for a while. We eventually get it back but I’m so tired!

After a hot bath, I decided to call it time!  I know I’m going to be up early again with the dogs tomorrow so its time to stop fighting it!

Tomorrow is another day!

Check out more photos of the walk on my YouTube Channel!

 

 

Walking in the Peak District

As the weather promised to be so nice this weekend, my husband and I decided it would be an ideal time to do the 10 km walk we ran out of time for on our last trip to the Peak District.

It’s only a 2 hour drive from home, so we felt it would be a good day out with the dogs!  We set the alarm for 7.30 and had a nice start to the day, with a cup of tea in bed and a nice cooked breakfast.  We wanted to be on the road by 10 am, so were happy that we actually got out by 9.30 am!

I’d packed a cool box full of drinks and snacks.  Healthy ones for me, not so for hubby!

The 10 km walk started at a beautiful village called Beeley, and took in Hob Hurst’s House, which is owned by English Heritage!

We arrive at the village and park outside the Devonshires Arms.  Anyone who knows me knows, I can’t go far without visiting the ladies, so I popped into the pub and asked if I could use their facilities.  They were so welcoming.  The pub was beautiful inside.  Very traditional and I made a mental note to go their on our way home!

We started the walk, which was up through a field by the church.   We met another couple who were on their way down.  They asked if we had done this walk before, which we said we hadn’t.  They said that the stile was blocked by an electric fence and a herd of cows.  They had walked the entire field but couldn’t see a way through.  We showed them our map and they decided to go back.  We thought we would go and see if we could find a way!  We climbed a hill to the top of the field, where we too were met by a herd of cows and the fence!  After walking the field we could see no way through here but there was another stile in the next field.  We decided to explore!  An hour later we couldn’t see a way through that was not covered by an electric fence.

We were so looking forward to this walk and it was very disappointing that the farmer had blocked a footpath off this way!  As we headed back to the car I was determined that my 2 hour drive was not wasted!  My ‘Map My Walk’ app had logged 3.45 kms, but I hadn’t come all this way for such a short walk.

We looked at our book of walks and found another one.  It was only 6.5 miles away and started at the village of Elton.  It was shorter than we had expected – just 6 km but it was a walk.  Lola and Fido were so excited to be out too, so we couldn’t disappoint them!

The walk starts off by the church in Elton opposite what looked like a closed down pub – Duke of York.  You pass through fields, woodland and an outcrop of bouldery rocks.

On the walk you pass 4 upright stones of a Bronze Age Circle, one of several around the area.  There, we met a man who said he had been there 2 hours, and although he had seen many people walk past, we were the only ones who had stopped to look at them!

A bit further on you see many rock formations including a hermits cave where in the 12th century a crucifix was cut into the rock.  It was absolutely beautiful.

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We crossed many stiles, both wooden and stone.  I have to say, I was amazed at both my dogs.  They both managed to jump all of these with ease!  The weather was amazing, so whenever we saw water we would allow the dogs to have a drink and cool off.  Mostly though this was due to the recent high rainfall!  In fact it was so muddy on one occasions my hubby walked out of this trainer!  I laughed so much, but the laugh was on me a bit later when I walked into a muddy bit up to my ankles!

There were a lot of cattle and sheep around but neither dog were bothered.  This was their first test together of being near cattle, so I was very pleased.

The walk was a circular walk back to the village.  It was such a beautiful day, with lots of amazing views.  We did over 17000 steps today.  What a way to get out and do exercise.

Tomorrow promises to be another amazing day, and we can’t wait to get out again an burn off a few calories!

If you want to lose weight, exercise will help you.  Rather than go to the gym on a day like today, you could go for a walk.  Canal walks are gentle, but if you want something a little more active something like this may suit you. You also get to see some amazing views and history!