Lazing by Wastwater

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During our walk up Lingmell, we passed some very promising pools in Lingmell Beck. As usual B was very keen to swim. On the way up , we didn’t really have time, and on the way down we were also a bit pushed: I gave B an option and he chose a barbecue without a swim over a quicker meal with a swim. So, it would be a good thing if we could incorporate a dip into our plan for Sunday. A meanwhile, has problems with her knee at the moment, and it had swollen up and was uncomfortable, so a day without a walk would suit her. Once we’d packed up our tents then, we decided to drive down to where there’s parking close to the shore of Wastwater so that we could have a leisurely picnic and maybe a brief bathe. Having heard our plan, J, C and M opted to join us. For the picnic anyway.

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A and B chilling out.

We did a fair bit of loafing, picnicked, skimmed and threw a few stones…

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I watched a pair of Merganser’s out in the lake, hoping that they would come close enough in shore for me to get some half-way decent photos. They didn’t. Also on an ornithological front: I forgot to mention that I’d already heard my first Cuckoo of the year at the campsite, which is becoming an annual event.

B and I did go for a swim eventually. Wastwater is England’s deepest lake, and the water was very, very cold. Still it was fun, if short-lived. It was instructive to paddle across the mouth of the stream which you can see in the photo above – the water flowing in the stream was noticeably, considerably warmer.

Meanwhile, the girls had decided to give J a makeover. She demanded that I take her photo for the blog to ‘make her famous’. So….

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I’m not sure that J actually reads my blog, but all three followers and my Mum will now get to see her Pippi-Longstocking Got Married look. It’s sure to catch on.

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Lazing by Wastwater

Piers Gill, Lingmell and the Corridor Route.

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B outside St. Olaf’s Church, Wasdale Head.

A’s DofE training finished earlier than I had anticipated and we were able to make a leisurely trip up to Nether Wasdale and still arrive with plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine and have a barbecue with some of our friends. Church Stile campsite was heaving, perhaps because of the excellent forecast, but we were able to squeeze in next to J and C and C’s schoolfriend M. It’s a good job that I’d decided not to bother with the trailer tent however, because the ‘large grass plot’ we’d paid for was far from large. Church Stile is a first rate campsite, but extra fields have been added and all of the fields were, frankly, over-full. It was still quiet and friendly, but hot water for showers or washing-up was hard to come by, there were too many people on the site for the facilities to cope with. Hopefully, this was a one off: we’ve been many times before and have always been impressed.

Anyway, rant over, back to the real business of this post: other friends of ours were scattered over the site, some in vans, some in caravans, although others were missing, and much missed.  After a very leisurely breakfast, some of us gathered together to set off for a walk. Driving down to Wasdale Head proved to be a bit of a trial, with some real muppetry on display on the narrow lanes and idiotic parking at the end of the valley, but we managed to find spaces despite our very late start.

First port of call on the walk was the tiny church at Wasdale Head. The church is very old, these roof-beams reputedly came from a Viking longship.

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One of the windows apparently has an engraving of Napes Needle, which I seem to have missed – I shall have to go back to investigate.

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The post title pretty succinctly summarises our route. On the OS map, there’s a dotted line which follows the twists and turns of the edge of the deep ravine of Piers Gill. In years of visits to Wasdale, I’ve never climbed that path even though the prospect has always intrigued me. Time to put that right.

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Great Gable from Moses’ Trod.

Great Gable would dominate the view all day, which is no bad thing.

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Gable again.

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Walking beside Lingmell Beck.

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Crossing Spouthead Gill.

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Great Gable again!

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Crossing Greta Gill.

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The deep cleft of Piers Gill ahead.

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Greta Gill.

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Piers Gill with Lingmell behind.

The ascent beside Piers Gill was steep and I was still suffering with a rattling cough, which is my way of saying that I was very slow and probably held the others up no end. But they should probably thank me for that: this is rough, inspiring mountain scenery which, in my opinion, has no equal, in England at least. I can think of hills in Scotland which are crag-bound and steep and as awe-inspiringly formidable as this area, but I can’t think of a match in the Lakes. There was even a little easy scrambling to be had – which was highly amusing, as the children were solicitously checking that the adults were ‘alright’.

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The path beside Piers Gill.

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Looking across one bank of the gill to Gable (of course).

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B admiring the ravine.

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The Adopted Yorkshireman on Lingmell.

We seemed to have numerous lunch stops, but I didn’t take advantage of any of them for a collective group photo. I think I was genuinely a bit worn out. Eventually, we made it to Lingmell.

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Gable and Styhead Tarn from Lingmell.

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Scafell Pike and Scafell from Lingmell.

Old Father Sheffield half-mooted the idea of continuing on to Scafell Pike, but his suggestion didn’t meet with any enthusiasm. Scafell Pike is always thronged, even on a rotten day, and today it looked like it was absolutely overrun. Besides which, A and B and I were up there relatively recently. And I was already cream-crackered.

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Red Pike, Pillar and Kirk Fell.

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The Screes and Wastwater.

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A filling our bottles from one of the streams which feed Piers Gill.

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By Piers Gill again.

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Heading down the Corridor Route. OFS seems to have a hankie on his head. I think it was actually an Eddy Merckx style cycling cap.

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Round How and Great End.

I suggested diverting to Round How and Lambfoot Dub, but then decided that was too much effort and left the AYM to do it on his own.

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Looking back down the valley towards Wasdale Head.

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Piers Gill and Lingmell from our descent route.

We came down a superb, well-made path, clearly very old, with nice easy zig-zags. I felt sure that I had been down this way before, perhaps it was with CJ when we stayed at the Wasdale Head Hotel.

Gable still dominated the view. Here’s some close-ups, using my camera’s zoom…

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Napes Needle on the left. (I think).

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Napes Needle?

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A superb day. I’ve been walking in these hills, with these same friends (well, the AYM anyway), for over thirty years. I hope that this day will live as long in the memories of the four children who were with us as many of my previous outings have with me.

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Later, back at the campsite, another barbecue. B and I had Church Stile’s own Herdwick burgers, which were delicious. Then, for the second night running, a chinwag around a wood-fire burning in the portable fire-pit which TBH bought me for Christmas. B tended the fire whilst I sampled some Ennerdale Brewery Beer. I didn’t know there was an Ennerdale Brewery until I saw some bottles in the camp site shop, but I can now report that their beers are very palatable. Marvellous.

 

Piers Gill, Lingmell and the Corridor Route.

Wildflowers on Heald Brow.

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Meadow Ant mounds on Heald Brow.

The Friday evening of the first May Bank Holiday weekend. TBH and Little S had tootled off to Dublin for their rugby tour. The team had had a surprise good luck message from “you know, that England rugby player, Dylan Thomas”, as TBH put it. Turned out to be Dylan Hartley, which is almost as impressive.

A and B and I were also going away, but A had a DofE training event on the Friday night and Saturday morning, so I decide to take advantage of the good weather we were having and get out for a local ramble.

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The ‘force that drives the green fuse’ had been hard at work and Heald Brow was resplendent with trees bedecked with new-minted leaves and a host of wildflowers.

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Primroses.

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Cowslips.

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Early Purple Orchid.

I walked a small circuit around Heald Brow and stumbled across an area carpeted with Primroses…

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If anything, this is even more impressive than the patch nestled in the limestone pavement at Sharp’s Lot which I am always keen to visit each spring.

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In amongst the standard yellow flowers were some variants…

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In the past, I’ve always assumed that these colourful exceptions were garden escapees, but now I’m wondering whether it was simply mutations like these which led to the selective breeding of the diverse variants which are now available for gardens.

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Bugle.

I dropped down to the salt-marsh.

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Warton Crag.

Which, unfortunately, left me in deep shade for some time.

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Scurvygrass.

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Gorse at Jack Scout.

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A Jack Scout shrub – shaped by the lashings of salty winds off the Bay.

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Sunset from Jack Scout.

Wildflowers on Heald Brow.

A Change is Gonna Come

Eaves Wood – Waterslack – Sixteen Buoys Field – Hawes Water – Thrang Brow – Yealand Allotment – Leighton Moss – Golf Course – The Row – Hagg Wood.

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Hawes Water.

A midweek evening walk from the beginning of the month.

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Dryad’s Saddle.

I’ve haven’t been able to visit Hawes Water for some time: the paths have been closed whilst some tree felling is carried out.

The paths are still closed…

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…but my patience has run out, and besides, I was pretty confident that nobody would be still felling trees well into the evening. Clambering over the fallen trunks was relatively easy, but the bridge over the stream between Little Hawes Water and Hawes Water had been blocked with a huge pile of twiggy branches, which was a bit more tricky to circumvent.

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I think that I understand both why the work is being carried out and why some people are upset by it. I was concerned that the tree by the path which hosts Toothwort would be felled and it has been. But it will presumably send up new shoots and the Toothwort shouldn’t be affected. Time will tell.

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A top-loading washing machine?

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Time will also perhaps heal the huge ruts left by whatever has been used to haul out the timber. In the long run, we shall also see whether the stated aims of improving the water quality in Little Hawes Water and extending the area of grassland by the lake where Bird’s-eye primrose and Grass of Parnassus flower are achieved.

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With these thoughts to mull over, I set off for Thrang Brow, hoping for a view of the Lakeland Hills. The sun was in the wrong spot – although I shouldn’t really complain about being able to see the sun!

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I dropped down to Leighton Moss and before I left the road to gain the path there was pretty sure that I could see a Red Deer moving through the trees. There were Chiff-chaffs singing in the treetops too.

This warbler…

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…I think that it’s a Sedge Warbler.

This part of the reserve is criss-crossed by tracks where the thick black mud is churned by a herd of Red Deer and I was hopeful of spotting some deer again. I didn’t have to wait long…

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Two stags, whose antlers are just beginning to grow, unlike the Roe Deer bucks who have mature antlers at this time of year.

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I dipped into Lower Hide briefly. I once saw an otter here, on a late visit, but this time I had to settle for a low-key sunset.

I realise that the felling of a few trees and the removal of a boardwalk is not the sort of change that the song refers too, but I heard the Sam Cooke version of this tune on the radio the other day and it’s been in my head ever since. I think that I may just prefer this Otis Redding take on the song, but I’m not entirely sure.

A Change is Gonna Come

A Walk after York

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Honesty.

We arrived back from York late in the afternoon, but the sun was still shining, so I was quickly out again to take advantage of that fact.

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Wood Anemones.

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Primroses.

This was one of my little annual pilgrimages – this time to see the Green Hellebores which grow around the margins of the Caravan Park.

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Green Hellebore.

The plants look to be in rude health, but at first I couldn’t find any flowers and wondered if I’d left it too late. This is any early flowering plant – apparently in the south of England it can sometimes be found in bloom as early as New Year’s Day.

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Fortunately, I hadn’t missed it entirely.

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The flowers are unusual rather than spectacular, but I’m always pleased to see them.

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Blackbird.

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Arnside Tower.

Goldfinches seem to be almost ubiquitous these days. I thought I could see a pair hopping about near the top of the walls of the tower.

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Goldfinches.

The camera’s zoom helped to confirm my suspicions.

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Silverdale Moss from Arnside Tower.

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Middlebarrrow Wood.

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Honesty on The Row.

I continued around the bottom edge of Middlebarrow wood to the quarry and then home via Waterslack and The Row. This hedgerow had an impressive display of Honesty. A splendid ginger bee (some sort of Carder Bee perhaps?) led me a merry dance amongst the flowers. It’s colour was perfect against the purple of the Honesty, but every time I took a photo, it moved, so that I have photos without a bee, or at best a blurred bee.

A Walk after York

Scarborough’s North Bay

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A fortnight ago now. B’s rugby team had a tour to Scarborough.

We stayed at Scarborough YHA, which was terrific, very comfortable and welcoming. What’s more, I survived Friday night’s drinking games relatively unscathed.

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Before Saturday’s match we had an hour to spare, so took a short trip down to Scalby Mills. The hostel is tucked away on the banks of Scalby Beck and this is where the beck emerges into the sea.

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After some team photos the boys all darted off to charge around on the beach. B managed to fall over and get plastered in mud. Also, when we rinsed away the mud it was to reveal some nasty scratches on his shines from the rocks he’d fallen on.

There was some speculation amongst the adult members of the party about how far it would be to walk around to the Castle on the far side of the bay. Perhaps that set some cogs whirring in my head.

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The facilities and pitch at Scarborough RUFC were amazing and the boys really enjoyed their game.

In the afternoon, we went to a water park with a wave pool and lots of slides for the kids and open-air heated pools and lager for the dads. The sun was shining, but the wind was artic, so this was a very odd experience. I could see that a second beer was likely to follow hard on the heels of the first, and knowing that mid-afternoon drinking would wipe me out, I decided to leave B with his friends and in the capable hands of the other dads and have a bit of a wander.

I first returned to the hostel, where one of the wardens recommended a path which follows the beck to meet the cliff-path, the Cleveland Way no-less, just north of Long Nab. I was pleased to see a hedge of Blackthorn decked in white blossom, a spring event which I always look forward to, but which I seem to have missed this year at home.

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Scalby Beck.

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My first thought when I reached the cliffs was that I must walk the Cleveland Way some time. It’s an idea I’ve often entertained.

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North Bay.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Alexanders…

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…growing abundantly in several places on my walk. They’re unmistakable, even though it’s eight years since I last saw them, when we were down in Cornwall.

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My walk took me along the sea-front, which was being splashed by waves.

And then up to the grand houses of Queen’s Parade.

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North Bay from Queen’s Parade.

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Scarborough Castle.

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South Bay from near the Castle.

 

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The Castle was just closing as I arrived, not that I had time for a visit. Another time.

I dropped down through a park, full of Alexanders, called The Holms and then back along the sea-front to the hostel.

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‘Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers.’ by Ray Lonsdale.

“The sculpture is based on a retired miner Ray became friends with who turned out to also be one of the first soldiers to relieve the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the end of World War II.

This piece of art is not just about Freddie Gilroy but represents all the normal people that were pulled out of an ordinary life and forced into a very extraordinary and dangerous one during the World Wars.”

The statue is huge, perhaps twice life-size and very striking.

All-told the walk was almost exactly 5 miles, so I had an answer for those who had been wondering in the morning.

The following day we were in York for another match. Then last weekend, Little S was away on his team’s tour, this time to Dublin (accompanied by TBH). Both tours were superbly organised and very friendly, and great experiences for the boys. What’s more, I enjoyed myself too.

 

 

Scarborough’s North Bay

Thurnham Hall Birthday Bash

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A family gathering, during which I don’t seem to have taken many family photos. We stayed at Thurnham Hall, a Grade I listed 17th Century Country House, but now also a hotel with lots of cottages in the grounds.

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The occasion was to celebrate my Dad’s eightieth birthday which happened earlier in the week, and also B’s birthday. Later in the day we would have the former chapel on the right here for our sole use as we ate a very fine evening meal.

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Primroses and Celandines.

We got out for a bit of a stroll in the very welcome sunshine early on the Saturday (in fact my Dad and I did this short circuit twice).

Our walk took us past Saints Thomas and Elizabeth Church…

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Lych Gate.

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Apprentice gargoyles.

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Mausoleum in the churchyard.

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The churchyard was also full of Primroses and Daffodils.

Whilst the woods opposite…

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….were equally full of Wood Anemones and Bluebells, some of the first I’d seen this spring.

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The church is quite isolated, alone in the woods.

We also walked briefly along the Glasson Branch of the Lancaster Canal…

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Later, we were back in Silverdale, to watch a dress rehearsal of a children’s production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in which A and S were appearing as Oberon and Lysander respectively.

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The following day we were Go-Karting in Lancaster, although sadly I’d been struck down with another bug and wasn’t well enough to participate.

A fabulous weekend all round, especially because we got to spend it with my Mum and Dad and my Brother and his family.

 

Thurnham Hall Birthday Bash