Sophie's blog

17th July 2012Where to eat in Whitehaven: Daytime treats

Yesterday I popped into Whitehaven to do some shopping. I quite often do – it’s an easy place to park and there’s always a relaxed atmosphere in town. I like the feeling that everybody knows everybody. Anyway, no shopping trip is complete without a stop for coffee, cake, lunch or all three. There are so many options for refuelling in Whitehaven – whether you’ve just finished the coastal walk from St.Bees, been wandering around the Georgian port town’s fascinating museums, or simply been shopping for essentials. And if you’re visiting the area, you’ll want to go somewhere with a bit of flair. And why not?

Zest Cookbook

17th July 2012Bank Holiday foodie challenge: Black Combe Country Fair Cumberland Rum Butter Competition

“Let’s keep the traditions of Cumberland alive - get the rum out!”

These are the words of Black Combe Country Fair Secretary Ann Fretwell, who has a bit of a thing for Cumberland Rum Butter - a very traditional yet ‘exotic’ tasting local delicacy.

Walking sticks

10th July 2012The undiscovered lakes: Derwentwater

Well, Derwentwater can hardly be described as ‘undiscovered’. Its Borrowdale Valley is renowned as one of the most beautiful in the UK. But you’ll still find plenty of peace and quiet, even in high season, and there are endless beauty spots to explore. So how to go about it?

View over Derwentwater from Kettlewell National Trust car park, Borrowdale

30th June 2012Discover Swinside Stone Circle – best enjoyed on a misty day

This June I tried something new. Not archaeological digging or druidry, but guided walking. Giles and I were lucky enough to join local (and lovely) guide Meg Flux on a walk to Swinside Stone Circle (also known as Sunkenkirk), near Millom in the Western Lake District, as part of the prestigious Black Combe Walking Festival.

Here I’m checking out the ‘entrance’ to the Stone Circle, created by two larger stones.

18th June 2012Drop in: A treasure trove in Cockermouth’s oldest town house

Sometimes it’s nice to while away a morning or afternoon just browsing. And if you’re in Cockermouth, I can recommend just the place to satisfy your hankering for lovely gifty things and/or your appreciation of fascinating ancient architecture.

15th June 2012Devoke Water: tread quietly on the shores of the Lake District’s largest tarn

High up on Birker Fell, between the Duddon and Eskdale valleys, you’ll find Devoke Water. A mysterious yet tranquil atmosphere surrounds this breathtakingly beautiful body of water; the largest tarn in the Lake District and also one of the highest. In fact, there’s an air of the barren Scottish highlands – it must be the size and the feeling of distance from everything.

My imagination always stirs at the sight of the old boathouse. Apparently the ruins adjacent are an old stable.

1st June 2012Drop in: Millstones Barn


Millstone Barn shopping

Millstones Barn is already one of my favourite places to stop off during a day out in this area of the Western Lake District. You’ll find it on the A595 heading north from Millom, just outside Bootle village, and on your way to Ravenglass.

29th May 2012Stay the night: The Pheasant Inn

Pheasant Inn, great food, West Lake District, Bassenthwaite Lake

Ask any poet, rambler, historian or’s the contrasts that make the Western Lake District special. Rugged fell against shimmering lake, sandy beach against wild waves, lonely roads into lively villages…these things make a place unique.

28th May 2012Best fest is a west fest: Words by the Water

Melvin Bragg speaks is his inimitable style about his latest work, Book of Books.

Lovers of the arts will hardly be surprised to experience a spectacular setting recreated on a stage. But anyone will be inspired by the scene at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake, before they even reach the foyer. The theatre perches on the shores of Derwentwater where the scenery is simply spellbinding. And as one national newspaper printed it: “There is surely no lovelier nor more dramatic setting for a theatre in Britain.”

28th May 2012Ravishing Ravenglass – a lazy spring Sunday at the seaside

Ravenglass West Lake District coast

March might seem a bit early for a trip to the seaside, but frankly, I’ve been desperate since an earthquake booted me out of my seaside pad in New Zealand last February. And the weather’s been fantastic. So I decided to spend a deliciously lazy spring Sunday in Ravenglass – one of the most adorable spots on the Western Lake District coast. Prepare to fall in love.


Whitehaven - the perfect day out
Millom & Black Combe

Brian Sherwen Photography

Many images on this website have been supplied to us by Brian Sherwen.