Greetings, travelhounds! I’m Midge the Patterdale terrier!
My friend Monty and his humans came to stay with us in Cranborne, Dorset and wrote about our adventures. I was so inspired by Monty’s tales of canine travels that I thought I would share the story of a recent jaunt to the Lake District. What a dog-friendly time we had!
Our first stop (after Tebay Services on the motorway, which has a dog-walking area and excellent shop for humans) was Lowther Castle, located just off the A6 about halfway between Shap and Penrith, not more than a whine and whimper from the motorway junction. The castle was home to the Earls of Lonsdale until 1937, but it became too expensive to maintain and was abandoned after the Second World War. Later, the ornamental gardens were planted with commercial forestry, the lawns were used for a chicken farm and the castle ruins closed off to visitors. Now the ruins are being stabilised, the chicken farm has gone and the castle gardens are being restored after many years of neglect. The gardens are open to everyone, every day – especially us dogs.
Actually, the sign did say only well behaved dogs were admitted, but that didn’t stop them letting in the Little Pest, also known as Minnie the Jack Russell, who insists on following me everywhere. We had a wonderful time exploring the gardens and ran all over the place (on leads, but you can’t have everything). We explored ponds and pretty summerhouses, ruined rock gardens and avenues, lawns and woods and flowerbeds. All that exploring wore us out so we went to the cafe in the old stableyard and sat outside in the autumn sunshine, chatting to the other dogs who were minding their humans and having a drink from the bowls of water thoughtfully provided for us. It was a jolly sociable spot, I have to say.
After a tiring afternoon in the gardens, we adjourned to the George and Dragon pub in the nearby village of Clifton, a civilised establishment which welcomes the canine visitor into its bar and bedrooms – in fact the bar was busy with dogs back from exploring the Lake District fells and Eden Valley. The humans seemed to like it and I must say that our bedroom was very comfortable. We even had our own secret back staircase so that we could go out last thing at night and first thing in the morning without disturbing the rest of the guests.
After a restful night the Little Pest was up at the crack of dawn, raring to explore some more. We went back to Lowther, just a few minutes away, and had a lovely walk along a footpath which runs from the hamlet of Lowther Newtown across the park in front of the castle, down through the woods to the river and back along the road, past the little local church and through a park full of sheep. Sheep everywhere! How I would have loved to see them run. But I was on my lead, alas. The humans then went to look at another garden, this time at Askham Hall in the next village. They said it had a very fine cafe, but we weren’t allowed in. Boo! Apparently the house is to be converted to a hotel next year by the owners of the George and Dragon, so let’s hope that they will let dogs in then. Except Minnie!
Next we went to Ullswater, the nearest of the lakes, and drove along the western shore up to a place called Martindale, where there is a brilliant walk which I took my humans on the last time I came up here. It takes about an hour and a half to walk around Hallin Fell and you get great views of the lake in places. Sometimes you even see red squirrels – they are just as annoying to me as the grey ones, but my humans seems to like them. The plan after that was to take the steamer boat trip from Howtown to Glenridding, which I was looking forward to as dogs are allowed on board too, for a small charge, and I fancy myself as a salty seadog! But sadly the Lakeland weather closed in, the rain came down and the humans cried off. Wimps! We will have to save it for next time. Instead we drove to Patterdale, where I came from, apparently (although I was born on a farm in Lincolnshire so I can’t quite work it out myself). My humans got excited and made me have my photo taken next to the village sign, which was just silly, really.
After that we spent a while in the car going up and up and then down and down, eventually arriving in Grasmere. The rain had stopped and we had a pleasant little walk along a river after the humans had had their tea and cake. They didn’t bring us any cake, sadly.
Then it was time to go back to the George and Dragon for a well-earned rest and a snooze in the bar. I must say that Minnie THE PEST and I had a very jolly time and we hope to make the humans take us back there again for more exploring.
Until next time, travelhounds!
Midge, the lowland Patterdale
Phileas Phacts: Lowther and Askham
- Find out more about Lowther Castle at www.lowthercastle.org
- The George and Dragon is at www.georgeanddragonclifton.co.uk
- Sailing times for the Ullswater Steamers are at www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk