I think one of the greatest joys of our recent trip to Cumbria was the chance to explore a landscape so very different from the flatlands that we live in. Here's Graham hitting the trail, somewhere between Strawberry How Farm and Slate Fell It was a fairly short walk (about 5 miles) but even so we found a remarkable range of wildflowers, including ragged robin and some orchids.
I'd hoped that we might get a glimpse of red squirrels, particularly as we staying very near Cockermouth's cemetery, a known red squirrel haunt. Someone managed to spot one next to the road. Someone else saw two of them playing in the grounds of the Youth Hostel. Alas, I failed, even though we also went on a 10-mile hike to another top red squirrel-sighting point. But I wouldn't have missed that walk for anything!
We headed out from Cockermouth towards Redmaine, then from there we went across clover-strewn pasture into a steeply-sided, deeply-wooded hidden valley
before emerging in Isel. Passing through the valley, I was particularly amused by some branches so thickly wrapped in moss that they looked like green candyfloss.
Whilst we totally failed to find the local squirrel colony, we did enjoy visiting Isel Church.
There are even ancient sundials carved into the church wall:
From Isel, we headed steeply uphill through a wooded track (where Graham acquired a rather stunning stick),
then descended through pastureland back into Cockermouth. Here I saw a mustelid of some type (still not sure whether it was a weasel or a stoat) and some fabulous views.
Back in Cockermouth, we headed straight for liquid refreshment (in my case, a couple of pints of lime and soda with ginger beer chasers: I was seriously thirsty). And then I had a rare outbreak of meat-eating! somehow it seemed rude to be in Cumbria and not order Cumberland sausage. It was every bit as tasty as it looks!