in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #131 — The Great Outdoors

A wonderful week’s holiday. On Monday evening we were joined by some good friends who had rented a neighbouring lodge for four nights; it was lovely to spend some time with them, and fun for our children to have some friends around as well. We’ve holidayed together before and they are great company, but we agreed that it was much better to have separate apartments where we didn’t feel under any obligation to start socialising the minute we heard other people were awake.

We were fortunate to stay at the stunning Bowland Retreat Lodges on their second week of taking paying guests. They will eventually have ten bespoke rentals, thoughtfully located on their site to maximise the enjoyment of the views. They are all finished to an incredibly high standard and we felt very privileged to have stayed there.

I never seem to have any problems in putting work to one side and switching off, which I think is a good thing. As the new week approaches I need to remember what all of the important things were before I left.

This was a week in which I:

  • Thought about visiting Blackpool, but at the last minute switched to take a look at Lytham St Annes and the confusingly similarly-named neighbouring town of Lytham instead. Lytham St Annes seemed like a quite generic seaside town. My children wanted to spend some time at the pier arcade, so I waited outside and people-watched for a while. We then jumped back into the car for the short trek south to Lytham, which turned out to be much more peaceful and beautiful.

  • Got back into running. I didn’t take my bike on holiday but I did pack a pair of trainers. After a run with my wife and eldest son on the first morning of our holiday I went out solo the next day, and suffered for a couple of days afterwards. Running seems to use completely different muscles to cycling and I always spend a few days wandering around like a geek version of John Wayne whenever I pick it up again. There’s a simplicity to just going out without all of the cycling faff which I love.
  • Took a trip to Whitewell for a lovely short walk that involved crossing an amazing set of stepping stones across the River Hodder. Our lodge had a set of leaflets called Walks With Taste In Ribble Valley, each with a round walk and a suggested location for lunch or dinner. We followed the route on the Whitewell leaflet which was a good setup for some longer walks later in the week.

  • Visited Lowland Farm to take their beautiful alpacas for a walk. I had no idea that alpaca fur is so soft! Our youngest boy reported that this was the best part of the holiday. We all loved it.

  • Had a couple of meals out, neither of which were particularly great. We enjoyed getting together in one of the lodges and cooking our own food a lot more.
  • Wandered back to Malham with our friends so that they could see Janet’s Foss and Gordale Scar for themselves. We brought swimming gear and towels for the children as they wanted to brave the cold waters of the plunge pool. It is such a magical walk that we were happy to do it again.

  • Revisited Billy Bob’s Parlour in Skipton with our friends so that they could grab an ice cream, milkshake, burger or coffee (and in one case, three out of the four in one hit!) It was interesting to see that the ice cream parlour was constructed with the help of the EU.

  • Ventured on a magnificent walk up and down Pendle Hill. We’d been looking at the hill all week as we mooched around Clitheroe, wondering whether we could climb it, and a quick web search found a very useful step-by-step guide on the best way to do it. We started at Barley, winner of the Evening Star’s ‘Best Kept Village Competition’ in 1975, according to a plaque above the car park toilet. The whole walk was stunning — past two reservoirs before turning up a steep ascent to the top of the hill and then down a set of very long, very steep stone steps to get to the other side, with a mile’s walk to get back to Barley. It was the kind of walk that made you feel glad to be alive, and wanting to be nowhere else.

  • Enjoyed a wonderful afternoon in Romsey, seeing lots of family members all together for the first time in years. After our six hour holiday drives to and from Lancashire I wasn’t looking forward to another four hours in the car but it was worth it. The time went too fast, but I am hoping that we’ll be able to get together with everyone again soon.

Next week: A public holiday to get my house in order before starting back at work again.

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