To Ambleside

Newby Hall is a Grade I listed building in North Yorkshire. Pauline chose this as the venue where we could meet up with a school friend of hers, Yvonne, and Yvonne’s husband Ian. They live a bit further north in Yorkshire. I haven’t seen Yvonne for over fifty years: in fact, the last time I saw Yvonne in real life, she was wearing her school uniform. Sadly not the case today.

The gardens are quite extensive and we wandered through chatting and admiring the work of the gardeners.


The colours were almost out of this world, I’m sure this verges on the ultraviolet.


During the guided tour of the house itself, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures. But there was more Chippendale furniture here, lots of books and pictures. Somehow, we missed seeing Gyles Brandreth’s collection of teddy bears.

We admired the miniature train as it whistled on by, but we were more interested in going out on a boat ride, on the River Ure. I saw a flash in my peripheral vision, and that was all I saw of the kingfisher, although others saw it for longer. Neither did I see the otters nor, thank goodness, the minks that are wreaking havoc on this stretch of the river. Still, it was a very enjoyable way to pass the time, sitting down, after walking around the gardens.

River Ure

What a beautiful day too. We ate lunch outside, torn between sitting in the shade and soaking up and enjoying the full blast of the Sun.

The shell grotto was interesting, Martha would love it, although there are warnings about the sharp edges.

Shell grotto
Newby Hall

It was lovely to meet Yvonne again after all this time and I said I hoped to see her again before another fifty years have passed by.

Back at Pateley Bridge, we weren’t tempted by the Oldest Sweet Shop in England. I don’t need to eat the oldest sweets in England, wherever they come from.

The Oldest Sweet Shop

But we couldn’t resist visiting the local car boot sale early the following morning. I tried, unsuccessfully, to conceal from Liesel the ten CDs that I’d bought. But I really do need them for the radio show. I do, I do.

Nidderdale AONB from Pateley Bridge High Street

We drove to Brimham Rocks, another place that was previously unknown to me. Everyone else on the planet knows about the place though, so they all came along today too. One car park was full but as members of the National Trust, we were directed to the upper car park. By ‘us’, I mean Liesel, Leslie and myself. Pauline and Andrew weren’t so lucky. They arrived a few minutes later and were sent to the overflow car park, quite a long walk away, as I discovered later in the day. Jenny, Liam and the children arrived in a third vehicle and found a parking space somehow.

Brimham Rocks is a fascinating place. There are several stacks of rocks which all invite you to climb them. I quite enjoy climbing up such rocks, intermittent shortness-of-breath issue permitting, but I really don’t like going down again. My depth perception while looking down has always been a bit dodgy, I almost have to do it by feel, even if that means using both hands and shuffling down on my bottom.

But William especially was in his element, he is such an adventurer.

Lover’s Leap

I think each of the stacks has its own name. I was surprised to see some of the individuals who scampered at least halfway up some of the rock formations, just to have their photo taken.

320 million year old structure

Again, the weather was quite agreeable. Except that when we sat down for our pre-packed picnic lunch, the wind got up a bit. Later on, we realised we’d plonked ourselves down in the middle of a wind tunnel.

Martha and Jenny way up there
Liesel and William up there
Jenny, Martha, Liam and William the conquerors

The café and ice cream shop are at the top of a hill, you just keep walking up until you see the queue. When you look away from the shop though, you will see lots of big golf balls on the horizon.

Menwith Hill

This is RAF Menwith Hill, a top secret listening station that at one point didn’t even appear on OS maps. Don’t tell anyone.

Pauline and Andrew

Get back from the edge, William!

One last rock for William

We all returned to out accommodation in Pateley Bridge, all 9 of us, where we ate supper from the local chippy. William must have Duracell batteries, he never slows down. But he did lose the wrestling match with a foot stool.

William v stool

As I hinted at earlier, Pauline, Andrew and I  walked a long, long, long way back to where they’d been encouraged to park. Liesel and Leslie wanted to leave earlier. Oh well, we always need more exercise. But if I’d realised that Pauline and Andrew had parked in the next country…

Before leaving for our next base of operations, I needed to get some cash out of the ATM. They saw me coming, and watered the hanging basket. I was typing in in my PIN code and wondered why my leg was being splashed. I stood back, looked up and got a faceful of water too. There are some jokers in Pateley Bridge.

Mick’s coming, quick, let’s water the flowers

Liesel had some work to do and the 4G and Wifi services hadn’t been too reliable recently, out in the countryside, so she and Mom chose to go home for a couple of days.

I accompanied Pauline and Andrew on the drive to Kendal, which was long but uneventful. Yes, the country lanes were narrow in places. And inevitably, we followed a tractor for a short while. On the way, we passed by close to Giggleswick,  Wigglesworth and an advert for Biggles removals. Like Bakewell, Kendal was a bigger town than we remembered from previous visits. We’d moved on from Yorkshire to the Lake District for more adventures in the big outdoors.

Old Shambles

My sister Pauline is always more than happy to pose for a photo.

Kendal United Reformed Church

During our travels, we visited a few churches. I like to light candles for my Mum and Dad and Sarah, but this year, there has been no facility to do so. I wonder if they’ve stopped this practice because of the fire risk? Having said that, no, we didn’t visit this United Reformed Church.

Fryer Tux Fish & Chips

I’m sure there’s more to Kendal than bad puns for shop names! Oh yeah: Kendal Mint Cake. But in the end, none of indulged in that very sweet and minty delicacy. We walked down an alleyway to look in the bookshop, only to be greeted by the sign: ‘Sorry, this is a storeroom, not a bookshop’. So we schlepped all the way back up the alley and wondered why they didn’t put this warning at the top. There are some jokers in Kendal.

And so to Ambleside, where we stayed at a b&b for a couple of nights. The first thing you notice about Ambleside is the ridiculous amount of traffic (yes, I know, we were part of it) and the one-way system. We couldn’t park outside the b&b, so we stopped as soon as we could. Andrew and I waited for Pauline to go back to ask our hosts where to park. They told us. Reluctantly, they gave us a Parking Disc that would allow us to park on the street for up to an hour at a time. We also got a pass that allowed us to park in the nearby car park overnight. We later found several of these rare, precious and beautiful Parking Discs in a basket by the Co-op supermarket.

We bought some groceries for a quick picnic which we enjoyed while sitting by the river, in view of Bridge House which was built over Stock Ghyll more than 300 years ago, probably as a summer house and apple store for Ambleside Hall.

Bridge House

Mostly we enjoyed our bread and cheese and tomatoes and crisps, which we ate without the aid of a knife. But, we were joined and pestered by a very aggressive mallard. He pecked at our shoes, attacked Andrew’s leg, and scared away the sparrows.

Mallard v shoe

We went for a nice, long walk to the head of Windermere, passing by the sporting facilities on offer: bowls, tennis, rugby and crazy golf. We were quite lucky with wildlife too.

Pond skater
Red squirrel

Well, I admit the last two aren’t the real thing, but they’re as close as we got on this occasion. There was a tree close to the lake that drew my attention though.


Our walk took us through a field of cows, which Liesel would have enjoyed, but they weren’t interested in us. We also saw a deer, a female deer with twin fawns, which was nice and unexpected.

Deer family

Silhouetted again a bright sunset sky was the church of St Mary’s.

St Mary’s

Liesel and Leslie decided to stay at home in Northenden, leaving me, Pauline and Andrew to amuse ourselves here in Ambleside.

Author: mickandlieselsantics

We are a married couple, one American, one Brit, one male, one female, neither of us as fit as we would like to be, well over 100 years old altogether.

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