summer scenes #4 | a weekend in Ingleton part 2…

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Hey evryone, what with all the exciting things going on this summer, looking at these photographs it feels like an age since I was in Ingleton, but it is barely even a fortnight. Today I’ve got the second lot of my snaps from our quick get away. If you missed the first lot take a read here.

wpid-img_20150809_195345.jpgWe woke up Sunday morning to a really rather early but surprisingly generous full cooked breakfast, then checked out and head out to explore the town of Ingleton itself a little bit. The weather had taken a turn for the worst but it was still fairly mild, and the rain held off so we were happy.

Ingleton is a tiny place. With one street dotted with a few gift shops and one or two cafe’s but the views of the surrounding countryside are beautiful. We couldn’t have spent a whole day in Ingleton itself but it made for a very pleasant morning walk before we decided to get adventuring once more, this time heading to Ingleton White Scar Caves.

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White Scar Cave, in the Yorkshire Dales, is the longest show cave in Britain. A guided tour takes you about an hour and a half and includes, two underground waterfalls, stalagmites, stalagtites, and all the caving facts you could need. The caves remain a constant 8 degrees all year round regardless of the weather outside so be sure to wear something warm, and like with the waterfall trail sensible shoes are a must! Oh, and those glamorous hard hats? They aren’t just for show, a lot of the tour involves walking through passage ways with very low, natural formed ceilings, they call one stretch the ‘gorilla passage’ you can guess why! Entry to the caves is only £9.50 for an adult, and a beautiful guide book, filled with photographs much better than mine is only £3 and makes a nice momento.

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After all that adventuring, I was hungry again, or at least I told myself I was hungry again when we saw the cake counter at Frumenty & Fluffin! There was Salted Bannana and Chocolate Cake, Strawbery, Lime & Coconut Cake, Rice Crispie Cakes, Shortbreads, Strawberry Tarts, Banoffee Pie, Apple Crumble Bars and so SO many more to choose from. I was in cake heaven (also known as vegan hell). I couldn’t resist and went for Toffee Apple Cake with a pot of Lady Grey, and Rick had a Banana Milkshake and their best selling scones with jam and cream. This was definitely one of the best cafe’s I’ve been in in a while, and not just because it looked like my dream home! I just about managed to finish my cake (Rick didn’t) which meant the drive home was a sugar filled hyper active one!

Speaking of driving, for the first time in my entire life, I got behind the wheel of a car. I went forwards, backwards and round. I’m think I’m more than well prepared now for my first lesson in September. In fact I might just take my test and save myself a whole load of money!

We left Ingleton pretty early and headed home. We wanted to stop off and explore some of the towns on the way back but it was a Sunday afternoon and most of them were closed apart from the pubs, and neither one of us could face any more food!

We did briefly stop in Gisburn which is just up the road from me, for a walk and a play on the zip line. I’d put up a video of the young man playing, but he has threatened to retaliate by putting one of me up – in slow motion!

And that was the end of our little holiday! I hadn’t even been away from home for 48 hours but it felt like we’d been exploring for a week. I was so relaxed afterwards. When you can’t afford a real summer holiday, or a full week in the sun at any time of the year, you can start to feel a little claustrophobic, but for me this year, the summer has been packed with so many wonderful moments away from reality, i’m (just about) staying sane!

Live life & take a weekend away x

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summer scenes #3 | a weekend in ingleton part 1…

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Hey everyone, and happy Tuesday! How on earth are you? I’m currently typing this, sat on the floor with my back as straight as it possibly can be, because I’m getting old, and apparently suffer from back problems now. Ok that’s an exaggeration, I’ve only been suffering with the one back problem for just over a week, but dear lord, it’s like nothing I’ve every had before. However, if feeling a little withered is the price to pay for a gorgeous weekend then I’ll take it.

This weekend the young man – whose name is Rick (might as well tell you his name, as miraculously, he doesn’t appear to be leaving any time soon) – and I headed off to Ingleton for the weekend & a couple of days of countryside exploration.

We had wanted to squeeze in a quick and cheap weekend away together in between all the other exciting things we have going on in our lives separately this summer. We nearly lost all hope of finding anywhere as, dang, summer is expensive – pesky kids – but we persevered, and after ruling out all the usual suspects for a quick city breaks we took a look at Ingleton. A friend had recommended this quiet Yorkshire town as a beautiful place to visit with it’s waterfalls and caves and luck must have been on our side, because just as we were about to close the laptop with a sigh of despair we spotted a flash deal on a perfectly located, if a little rustic looking B’n’B.

We were VERY excited about going on holiday. Even if it was only one night away, and only one hour away, that didn’t matter, what mattered is that come Saturday morning the sun was shining, the car was packed and our road trip playlist had (partially downloaded). So with giddiness and questionable musical taste (and talent) we headed straight for the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail.

The trail is supposedly a 4 and a half mile walk, but according to our gps tracker it was more like 6, and heads through forest, over hill and down by the gorges. As you can see from the photographs we couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sun was shining and despite the tourists from further afield laughing at us, we both needed to slather on the sun cream. You know you’re on holiday when you need to slather on the sun cream! The trail costs £6 per person to visit, and well worth every penny.

The first stop on the trail brings you to the money tree, which is an old tree that has grown with pennies knocked into it’s branch for good luck. You can add your own pennies or if you’re not superstitious just look for the oldest coin you can find in it’s branches. Now I don’t want to over estimate it’s powers, but I added a penny to the tree and didn’t fall over once on the whole trail, so SOME luck must have rubbed off on me.

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The trail is split into 3 sections, the first set of waterfalls, the hill climb (oh the hill) that makes up the middle part, and then the second set of smaller falls. My favourite part without a doubt came just at the end of the first set of waterfalls. After climbing up through the trees, and just after stopping for a 99 ice cream, comes the biggest and boldest fall of the whole trail, Thornton Falls.

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And this is where that beautiful weather really added to the whole day. I’m sure the trail would be beautiful no matter what the weather, but I wouldn’t much fancy stopping for a paddle if it was pouring down with rain! I also wouldn’t really fancy tackling the climb along the side of the rocks to adventure underneath Thorton Force f in anything but glorious sunshine and sensible shoes. Even if my dress didn’t scream ‘I’m an adventurer’ I safely, and in my humble opinion, pretty nimbly made it along the pretty steep edge to take in the view.

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We happily spent an hour admiring the view and watching people play in the pool below, which was deep enough in places for people to swim, before we took on the hill climb. This part of the trail is the part that feels most like a hike. It wasn’t technically difficult, but without the cover of trees or the excuse of a pretty waterfall to stop and photograph, it was certainly more strenuous. Having said that even without the paddling pools the view was still pretty impressive!

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We stopped off for a picnic before making our way through the final part of the trail, a series of gorges and falls that looked more like rapids before coming back out into the village itself.

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Then we checked into our B&B, The Craven Heifer, for a nap and a shower. Our room was pretty basic and the shower made a noise like a drill but it was clean and really well priced so absolutely no grumbles there! Plus it was above a pub which had good ratings for food on tripadvisor but we decided to head back into the village, and while there weren’t a huge amount of options there were enough. A tapas bar, an italian and the old post office which served a selection of beer and deliboards all looked delicous, but after a day of walking and country air we decided only pub grub would hit the spot, so we headed to the other side of the town to The Wheatsheaf. The food was good and rustic if not instagramable and the atmosphere was warm, local and friendly.

Then we headed back for an early night before our second day of exploring which included caves, cakes, and a half 8 wake up call, which even if it was for a full cooked breakfast still felt a little cruel on a Sunday!

Walking through the waterfalls I couldn’t have felt further from Blackburn, and even though I’d still like to head somewhere for a city creak that is more cocktail dresses than sensible shoes, on a day like Saturday I couldn’t think of anywhere I would rather have been than sat underneath that beautiful waterfall paddling my feet. After a childhood spent dragging a very reluctant me around the Yorkshire dales, Pappa J will be pleased to hear, there might be a more outdoorsy version of me emerging! Although having said that I now can’t bend or slouch or sit still for too long because of my back so maybe I’m not cut out great outdoors after all.

Have you ever been to the waterfall trail? And do you have any tips or ticks for an old lady with a bad back?

Live life & enjoy the great outdoors x

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the train diaries: hmmmm Geneva…

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In the original plan, when I left Milan, I was meant to head over to Chambery in France. No I hadn’t heard of it either, but it seemed pretty enough and it was on the recommended route, on the Interailing site. However, my accomodation fell through a few days before, and I decided instead to be brave, and see where I fancied once I got to Italy.

So I looked again at the train map, and realised I would have to go through Switzerland to get to France (no I didn’t realise this before, because my general geography knowledge is shocking) and as Geneva was down as a station I would have to change at, it seemed to make sense, to see a little bit of Switzerland.

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In fact, I got see a whole lot of Switzerland through the window on the train ride, and it was stunning. The views you get travelling across Europe, are reason enough to go interailing. Yes you have to work out all the different reservations and the journeys are long. But you don’t get to really see a country by flying over it. All these beautiful mountains and perfect aqua green lakes, I started to imagine a Swiss Summer, as towns that looked like they had been painted to feature in a picture book whizzed past.

As you can imagine by the time I go to Geneva I was pretty excited to see it. The lake. The Fountain… The rain. Oh the rain.

And this is where I wrap up everything else I am about to say in this post on the pretext, that the weather was horrible, and no where looks its best in weather like that. And of course, I was going to compare wherever I went next to where I’d just come from. And I’d just come from Milan. BUT,  when it comes down to it. I just don’t think I liked Geneva.

I stayed in the City Hostel. Perfect location, I had 24 hours in Geneva, so a hostel that is 8 minutes from the train station and provides you with a free travel card for the trams makes a world of difference. No where near as swish as my Milan hostel, this was much more your average hostel experience. But it was nice enough, and the bathroom was very clean. And god knows a hostel should be judged on its bathrooms. Plus the two other girls in my dorm were really nice. Would I gushingly recommend it? Not exactly. Did it do? Yes.

Another thing you should know, that at £22 a night’s stay, it was a bit pricey. But then everything in Geneva is a bit pricey. Apparently this is a well known fact. Maybe they taught it in Geography, when I was undoubtedly, not listening.

They also have their own currency in Switzerland. Luckily the man serving coffee on the train let me in on that little secret.

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So I arrived, it was dark and it was wet, but I was determined to see something. I only had 24 hours after all. Once I’d dropped off my bags at the hostel, I took the 30 minute walk down to the old town, crossing the lake at night time. It’s charm wasn’t completely lost on me. I’d just left Milan so I didn’t much fancy eating pizza for three times the price, so instead ended up in a pretty swish food hall.  I feel like this food hall kind of summed up Geneva. It was designer and it was clean. It was a bit flash, and it was expensive. But it lacked personality, it could have been anywhere in the world. But still, I was happy enough to just people watch as always and then headed back for an early night.

One thing that was nice about the hostel in Geneva was that unlike Milan, there were a bunch of other people staying there and travelling through. After a couple of days without any prolonged conversation with anyone who wasn’t a waiter, or trying to chat me up, or both, it was nice to sit in the common room and find out where other people were going and what they were doing.

The next day I checked out early, and used my free tram pass to head up to see the UN. even with all the rain, the UN was still pretty majestic with all its flags, and I felt like for me, it was a big tick on the old ‘things to see’ list. Where I made the mistake was not going in to see if I could get on a tour. Instead I thought I would head over to the other side of town and see as much as possible in the little time I had left. So back on the tram, back to the old town.

To me it felt a little bit like the old town had been hidden away behind rows and rows of fancy retail shops, like they were hoping the neon signs would distract you from going any where else. But I perservered and headed up towards the cathedral. On my way there though, I found myself in the most adorable tea shop. And on this one, Geneva wins. Vivel Patisserie ‘Salon de The’, was exactly the type of place I imagined spending my time in Europe in (yes, when I imagined my adventure, it pretty much looked like one cake followed by another).The picture right at the top of this page was taken in there. A tiny tea spot opposite a chocolate shop (naturally) which really wasn’t all that expensive. Besides the hot chocolate was served in a tea pot. You can’t put a price on that!

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Revived, and ever so slightly dryer I headed up the hill. I was glad to see that some part of Geneva still had a personality. Old narrow streets that open up into squares, sit much more comfortably with the surrounding mountains, and I imagine on a nicer day, with more time to spare, and without a suitcase to drag along, I could have happily spent one or two hours just wandering around, and seeing what I could find. Maybe then I wouldn’t have felt quite so much like, seeing stuff was a formality. I saw the cathedral, so that I could say I’d seen the cathedral, and then I wandered back down to the lake and the botanic gardens thinking ‘Well it was ok, but wasn’t the Duomo.’

One of the things I was most disappointed about not seeing was the fountain. When I’d done my very little bit of research it was the iconic fountain that really pulled me to Geneva, but it wasn’t to be, and when I realised that, I just felt a little bit like that was that.

Like I said, Geneva had a lot of things counting against it, through no fault of its own. It was wet, I was tired and I tried to cram too much in. But that is ok, it is ok to see a part of the world and not like it that much. I loved every minute of my adventure even if I didn’t love every place I went. I went interailing to see a little parts of the world I’d never seen before and let them sink in. I saw Geneva and I wasn’t a huge fan. But it is better to see somewhere and know you wouldn’t go back then just to take somebody else’s word for it. I’m not going to tell you, not to bother with Geneva, I’d just check the weather before you go, and maybe make sure, you fill your purse with swiss francs and not euros!

Live life & make up your own mind x