Birthday Weekend Getaway: Forest of Bowland

Hi friends, and happy Sunday! How’s your weekend been?  We had a nice, quiet weekend at home — just the ticket as last weekend was full of adventures!  It was my birthday this past Tuesday (the big 3-0!) and to celebrate, Mr. N planned a lovely weekend away as an early birthday celebration.  It was a great way to mark the start of a new decade, filled with all the things I love: great food, outdoor adventures, and, of course, sheep and wool!  So much has happened this past week, it’s actually hard for me to believe that this time last week, we were just getting home from our mini holiday!

When we knocked off work on Friday evening, Mr. N told me to pack a bag for two nights away, with “indoor and outdoor clothes” as he put it.  So I quickly put together a bag, we hopped in a rental car he’d sneakily arranged for, and wended our way through some dark and rather curvy country lanes to Parkers Arms Inn, a lovely place nestled almost smack in the middle of the Forest of Bowland Area of National Beauty.

One thing I’ve really enjoyed so far since we’ve moved over here is staying at country inns, and the Parkers Arms was a great example of one!  Downstairs was a cozy dining room and bar — and our room was just upstairs.  It’s probably the homebody in me coming out even while traveling, but I love having a delicious big dinner and knowing the room I’m staying is within walking distance!

Not only was the inn lovely, but the food was amazing.  The inn tries to source most of its ingredients from within a 30 mile radius, and everything we had was scrumptious.  Of course, I forgot to take pictures of the inn or the two awesome dinners we had (well, I took pictures of one in my Instagram stories, but they don’t save to my camera).  But here’s the cooked breakfast we had Sunday morning: all sources from local farms and butchers:

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Mr. N’s original plan had been for us to do some walking in the Forest of Bowland on Saturday and go to Kendal Wool Gathering, a yarn and wool festival that was on all weekend, on Sunday.  Well, we woke up Saturday to lots of mist and cloud cover, which turned into a persistent rain with some strong winds. So we swapped plans and spent Saturday peeking around Clitheroe, then headed in the afternoon to the Kendal Wool Gathering.

Once again, I forgot to take many pictures (possibly because I was in such a rush to see everything before it closed) but what a lovely festival it was.  Smaller than Yarndale, but it had lots of great stands with local and breed specific wools — yay!  I got to meet the smallest of sheep breeds:

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Spotted some lovely alpaca:

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And I got to give a big old squeeze to some glorious Border Leicester top from Doutlon’s Border Leicester yarns (I am hoping to plan a project using some of their gorgeous wool soon!)

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I promise I had permission for this — in fact, it was encouraged! 

And I showed admirable self restraint, I think, in only coming away with two skeins from Williams Wools which are now becoming the fraternal socks I talked a bit about on Thursday.  The yarn is called Twist & Shout and is a no nylon sock yarn with Hampshire Down, Shetland, and Mule wool all from Cumbria.  The tag actually lists the two farms and farmers that the wool came from — love it!

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It would have been rude not to … 

It was a good job we put off our walk, because Sunday was a brilliant day — perfect for an autumn stroll!

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We decided to do a walk that was supposed to be a six-ish mile loop that goes past the small ruins of Langden Castle.

I say supposed to be because we went a bit amiss. We didn’t realize that walking in the fells typically means no signage or posts — you’re supposed to have compasses and maps (there were signs to this effect, but we didn’t see them til the end of the walk — oops!) So we were ever so slightly unprepared.  And hadn’t packed a lunch, as we’d had a giant cooked breakfast and thought we’d be walking for just a little over three hours.

Things started off alright, with us having a leisurely walk (which means me stopping frequently for sheep pics):

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I came across this lady in a shady spot, and I swear, it was like she knew just how beautiful she was and was showing off for the camera … she kept hitting the most beautiful poses:

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But then, we overshot, by a long way, the place we were supposed to turn off, meaning we ended up walking alongside the wrong fell — but we still got some good views:

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Heading back the way we came

We then got going in the right direction thanks to the help of a pair of lovely walkers, who instructed us that the way ahead was going to involve a few difficult crossings of a stream.  We gamely set off, telling them we didn’t mind our feet getting a touch wet — and wet they did get!  Lesson learned if people who seem to be experienced hikers seem to maybe be discouraging you from going ahead, listening might be a good thing!

We finally forded the streams though, and, with some very soggy boots (not photographed as the walkers had kindly suggested I’d want to put away my camera for what was coming!), we carried on down a lovely valley and then up a fell.

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By the time we started making the ascent, we were getting a little worried about time — the clocks had gone back Saturday night, so we knew it’d be dark by 5 pm, and all our wandering around meant we needed to keep up a good pace.

But then, of course, there were more sheep … which always distracts me a bit (Mr. N: You know you can’t take pictures of every sheep we see  Me: Just watch me!)

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The autumn colors of the fell were stunning …

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By the time we got to the very top of the fell, we stopped even seeing sheep!  It almost felt like walking on a different planet:

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While four legged friends weren’t to be found up top, we were surprised every few steps with grouse and pheasant alighting — I haven’t seen many in my time, and they’re such lovely birds (sadly I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture!)

Once we were on top of the fell, with no signs or markers, we had trouble finding the path that led back down the other side — just as we were getting a little worried (and hungry … regretting not packing a lunch!) we spotted the path (some distance below) and picked our way down the hill toward it.  As much fun as we had wandering, we were pretty relieved when we got back down onto the flat, just as the sun was beginning to go down.

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So our 6 mile, 3.5 hour walk ended up taking quite awhile longer … but it was still a pretty perfect day after an excellent weekend. I’m excited to see what adventures this next decade holds.

Hope, whether you’ve spent most of your weekend on the couch (as I have this weekend) or gone on a spectacular adventure, you’ve had a nice weekend.

xo K

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Birthday Weekend Getaway: Forest of Bowland

  1. Happy belated birthday! Your Mr. N is definitely a keeper 🙂 It looks like you had a beautiful weekend and I am adoring all of the gorgeous pictures you are sharing. I feel like chanting…sheep, sheep, sheep…every time I see them in your posts 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful weekend! I’m glad you had such clear skies for your walk, especially since it took longer than planned. I have bad news, though; I’ve been here for about 9 years & still feel compelled to take pictures of nearly all the sheep I come across! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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