Archive for the ‘General’ Category

The Mountains of Britain and Ireland

Friday, November 14th, 2014
Pin It

For today’s instalment of the blog, we’re looking at the biggest mountains of the United Kingdom and Ireland. From the North of Scotland to Snowdonia and all the way to Macgillycuddy’s Reeks in the west of  the Emerald Isle, we’ve tracked down the highest peaks in order to give you some information about them.

Ben Nevis

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

  • Height – 1,344m
  • Location – Grampian Mountains, Scotland

Overlooking the stunning scenery of Loch Linnhe, Ben Nevis is the highest peak in the whole of the British Isles. Its name derives from the Gaelic Beann Neibheis although no one is quite sure what this means with suggestions ranging fromVenomous Mountain to the Mountain of Heaven. With an estimated 100,000 climbers making their way up to the summit, Ben Nevis is one of the most popular mountains in Britain as well as the highest; if you join them, you’ll be able to find some of the most stunning panoramas around as well as the remains of deserted observatory used around the turn of the twentieth century.

 Carrauntoohil

carrauntoohil

via. Flickr

  • Height – 1,038m
  • Location – Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland

Standing at the heart of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range in Co. Kerry is the highest mountain in all of Ireland – Carrauntoohil. There are three main pathways to follow if you fancy pitting yourself against it; the Devil’s Ladder, Brother O’Shea’s Gully and the Caher route. If you are going to try it, make sure you’re well prepared as the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean makes for extremely changeable weather condititions.

 

Scafell Pike

scafell pike

via. Flickr

  • Height – 938m
  • Location – Southern Fells, England

It may only be a few metres taller than its similarly named neighbour, Scafell, but it’s enough to make Scafell Pike the highest point in all of England. As climbs go, it isn’t the most strenuous, so when there’s the opportunity to experience the views that inspired Coleridge, Wordsworth and plenty others you certainly won’t regret setting aside a few hours to make your way to the summit. On a clear day at the top you may be able to catch a glimpse of Wales, Ireland, Scotland and even the Isle of Man – there can’t be many places that can make that claim!

Snowdon

snowdon

via. Flickr

  • Height – 1,085 m
  • Location – Snowdonia, Wales

The highest peak in Britain that isn’t part of the Scottish Highlands, Snowdon is probably the busiest mountain in the country with hundreds of thousands making their way up it every year. With a state of the art visitor centre at the top, not to mention its own railway, it draws in droves of people wanting to get a taste of the stunning views from the top. However depending on the time of year it can be quite a tricky climb, with Sir Edmund Hillary even using some of the steeper sections in his training to best Mount Everest!

So there you go, the lowdown on the highest peaks of the British Isles. We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading it, and maybe even learnt something new about them – and who knows, maybe you even fancy climbing on of them yourself! If that is the case make sure you take a look at our website so that you can find yourself a nice cosy cottage to put your feet up at the end of the day.

Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Watersports to try away from the sea

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014
Pin It

Today we’re going to look at the fantastic watersports you can try away from the seaside. This may seem a strange idea considering we’re an island nation and there’s never more than 75 miles between you and the coastline, but there are so many other waterways that you can take advantage of. With more rivers, canals and lakes than you could shake a paddle at, you’ll be spoilt for choice; take a look and see if we can tempt you into trying out any of these fantastic activities.

Paddle Your Way Along the Great Glen Canoe Trail

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

OK, it might start and end at the seaside, but after reading about this one we had to include it; after all, who knew you could canoe right the way across Scotland? Covering 60 miles of the Caledonian canal from Fort William to Inverness, the Great Glen Canoe Trail might take five days to complete but it’ll definitely be worth it. You’ll paddle through four of Scotland’s famous lochs (Ness, Lochy, Oich and Dochfour in case you were wondering), 22 miles of man made canal and, if you’re feeling intrepid, you can also have a crack at the rivers Oich, Ness and Lochy for a change of scenery.

Water-ski on Windermere

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

If you fancy something faster paced then you can always head over to the Lake District. As the name suggests, you’ll find a haven for all sorts of watersport enthusiasts, and at Windermere you’ll find the perfect spot for water skiing.  There is of course a speed limit at Windermere which means you won’t be allowed to go at full throttle; however, coupled with the calm waters this makes it a fantastic place to get some practice in before you head on to more changing waters.

Go Surfing in Snowdonia

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Yep, you read it right. From next year you won’t need to be at the seaside to go surfing; instead you can just head into the mountains of North Wales and Surf Snowdonia. That’s because they are currently in the process of building an artificial surfing lagoon amongst some of the most stunning scenery that you could hope for. With waves varying in size from 2-6 feet, and a 300 metre channel, the project promises to be something special and will cater for all levels of ability from absolute beginners through to die hard surfers, so make sure you pop down to give it a go!

So there you go,  a small selection of the amazing activities that you can have a go at on our country’s countless rivers and lakes. We’d love to know if any of you have been inspired to try them out so make sure you stay in touch either over Twitter or Facebook and don’t forget to take a look at our website where you’ll find a cosy cottage for a bit of R&R after a day out on the water.

Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Remembrance Day 2014

Sunday, November 9th, 2014
Pin It

Today we remember those who gave their lives to protect the UK and its people, and those still affected by conflict. Take a moment to reflect on the brave servicemen and women who showed courage in the face of adversity to defend our beautiful country.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Fun Facts for Bonfire Night

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014
Pin It

Remember, remember the fifth of November; gunpowder, treason and plot. That’s right it’s bonfire night and that means fireworks, sparklers and toffee apples! We all know the story about a certain Guy Fawkes being caught red handed in the basement of the Houses of Parliament with a large quantity of gunpowder. But what else do you know about the big night? For me the answer was not a lot, so I scoured the web to find out more about it all. So why don’t you take a look at my findings and see how many of these facts you know.

1. To this day, before the state opening, the Yeomen of the Guard search the Houses of Parliament just in case anybody tries to take a leaf out of Guy Fawkes’ book.

yeoman of the guard

Image via Flickr

2. The first time fireworks are recorded in this country was the wedding of King Henry VII back in 1486.

fireworks

Image via Flickr

3. Up until 1959 it was considered illegal to not celebrate Bonfire Night. However there is one place in the UK that has refused to take part in the festivities nonetheless. St Peter’s School in York has always abstained as a mark of respect to Guy Fawkes who was a pupil there in his youth.

bonfire

Image via Flickr

4. It’s still possible to see the lantern that Guy Fawkes was carrying when he was caught in the Houses of Parliament. Nowadays it’s housed in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

guy fawkes lantern

Image via Flickr

5. Queen Elizabeth I loved fireworks so much that she created a title for the best firework maker in the country. The lucky person was known as the “Fire Master of England,” how about that for an accolade? 

fireworks no.2

Image via Flickr

6. The village of Ottery St. Mary in East Devon sees a time honoured tradition where the locals take turns to carry large barrels of burning tar on their shoulders in celebration of Bonfire Night – maybe not one to try at home.

ottery st mary

Image via Flickr

7. Your average sparkler burns at between 1000-1500°c which means 3 of them burning together can reach the same temperature as a blowtorch. So make sure you put them out in a bucket of water to avoid any accidents!

sparklers

Image via Flickr

8. Lewes in Sussex may be your usual sleepy town for most of the year, but come November the 5th it sees a complete transformation! Tens of thousands of people travel there to take part in the famous celebrations making it the biggest Bonfire Night event in the country.  

lewes bonfire night

Image via Flickr

9. He may have been part of plot to commit high treason and destroy one of the most iconic buildings in the UK, but it seems people rather like Guy Fawkes. Back in 2002 the BBC ran a poll to find the greatest Briton in history and he came in at no. 30!

guy fawkes 2

Image via Flickr

10. In official firework lingo, different designs tend to be named after flowers. For example there are peonies, dahlias and chrysanthemums!  

fireworks 3

Image via Flickr

So there you go, 10 facts about Bonfire Night I know I certainly wasn’t aware of, but how many of them did you know about? Let us know over Twitter or Facebook, or if you know of any other interesting facts do get in touch!

Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Britain’s Best Bonfire Night Celebrations

Monday, November 3rd, 2014
Pin It

Are you bored of the same-old, average, local bonfire night?  For something a bit special this firework season, check out our pick of the best bonfire night celebrations happening around the UK; we’ve got displays in zoos, castles, theme parks and even on the beach!

Roundhay Park, Yorkshire

Fireworks

Via Flickr

The delightful Roundhay Park is one of the biggest city parks in Europe and is also home to Leeds’ biggest bonfire and fireworks display. Tens of thousands of people turn up to the event every year and this year, it’ll be taking place on Wednesday 5th November. The bonfire is scheduled to be lit at 7.30pm on the Soldiers Field and the fireworks will be starting at 8pm so make sure you get there early to get a good space!

Alton Towers, Staffordshire

Fireworks

Via Flickr

Alton Towers combine their bonfire night celebrations with their end of season festivities and the result is an event not to be missed! Thrill-seekers can spend the day riding the many fantastic attractions at the theme park before enjoying the spectacular fireworks display after dark. The displays take place on the 7th, 8th and 9th November and promise to tell a unique story with breath-taking fireworks, music, lasers and special effects.

Lyme Regis, Dorset

Fireworks

Via Flickr

Fancy watching fireworks on the beach? That’s exactly what you can do at Lyme Regis’ annual firework display taking place at The Harbour. This event is completely free and taking place on Saturday 8th November at 6.30pm. Head down to the beach to enjoy the incredible array of fireworks and warm yourself by the bonfire.

Leeds Castle, Kent

Fireworks

Via Flickr

If you’re in Kent this bonfire night, then head to Leeds Castle to see one of the best fireworks extravaganzas in the country. This year’s theme is ‘Go Wild’ with events inspired by animals from around the world. During the day, there’s entertainment, food and drinks on offer and after dark, the fireworks will light up the sky! This fabulous display will take place on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th November, although tickets for Saturday night have already sold out so book quickly to avoid missing out.

Bristol Zoo, Somerset

Fireworks

Via Flickr

Every year, Bristol Zoo holds a spectacular fireworks event that promises to be a great night out for all the family. This fantastic event uses specially designed low-noise fireworks that are both toddler and animal friendly, meaning the loud bangs and whizzes that would normally scare young children are a thing of the past! This family-friendly session is set to take place on 4th, 5th and 6th November.

If you know of any other magical bonfire night celebrations in the UK that we’ve missed out, please get in touch and let us know! You can do this by either leaving a comment on our Facebook page or by sending us a tweet.

Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.