We’ve been promising the kids a visit to London for ages, so with a bank holiday it was a great opportunity for us to go down on the train. It’s just over three hours for us so we bought activity packs for the kids and they were happy to read their books and look out of the window as we zipped along.
We pre-bought visitor oyster cards and had them posted to us so that when we arrived we were ready to ride the tube. I thought the kids might be frightened with it being so busy with lots of escalators, lifts and trains to navigate. They weren't bothered and enjoyed looking out for all the stations. I also felt a bit better as I'm doing this journey by myself in a few weeks with my big trek bags, this was good practice.
We stayed in a Premier Inn at Earl’s Court getting a family room, we’ve always found them to be clean and comfortable and if you eat there for breakfast the kids eat for free. My son always takes advantage of the cooked breakfast and this time the pancakes with chocolate spread! I didn’t mind as we a full day of wandering around planned so he needed a full tummy.
With a long list the kids wanted to tick off we headed for Hyde Park and Marble Arch. The park was lovely and we even got some plank training in!
The usual sights were on our list including a visit to the see the Queen of course! We also bought a City Cruise hop-on hop-off family rover ticket and spent a few hours cruising up and down the Thames, making it down to Greenwich for a wander. The tall ships festival was on so there was a real buzz about the place with people dressed up and lots of little stalls. We were so lucky with the weather and even had some glorious sunshine.
After the boat trip, we wandered around Westminster (no sign of Larry at Downing Street), Trafalgar Square and eventually making it to Chinatown and Leicester Square where we had a great meal in a Chinese restaurant. We had worked up quite an appetite now and despite some sitting on the boat had walked over 7 miles.
Our final day and we had a quick whizz around The Natural History Museum as my Daughter was desperate to see the Triceratops. We’d thankfully gone early and the queues when we went in were quite small despite a bag security check. She loved the Dinosaur exhibition and bought her own Triceratops from the Dino store as an early birthday present. We got a bit lost inside and with a train to catch we didn’t have time to explore.
On the way there we had walked through the stunning Kensington gardens and stumbled upon the newly opened Princess Diana Memorial garden. It was beautiful and the lovely weather had meant some of the flowers had come out early.
In no time at all our weekend in the big smoke was over. The kids loved London and even before we left they said they wanted to visit again. There were a few sleepy heads on the train home!
For more pictures visit my Facebook page - video coming soon!
All views are my own and I received no incentive to write this.
With the glorious weather this weekend we took the opportunity to plan a trip to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water garden a world heritage site near Ripon. After a week cooped up with an infection and a training ban I was eager to get back out and do some walking, especially in glorious weather. I’d taken Hubby to Fountains Abbey on one of our early dates in an attempt to sell Yorkshire to him (it worked!) and so was keen to take the kids to explore. My Daughter however was then poorly so Hubby sent me and my son on our own little adventure.
We had planned to do some of the walks we found on the website but we were both excited to see the abbey itself so first headed from the visitor centre down to the abbey. The surroundings are stunning and my 9-year-old even uttered a ‘Cool’ when we got our first glimpse and he practically dragged me down the winding path to get a better look.
After wandering inside the ruins, we walked up the wide lawn and looked back at the abbey getting a fantastic view and from there took the footpath around the Studley Royal Water gardens. There are so many scenic views as you walk around that I could have spent all day just taking photos but we were on a mission to pick up the route of the ‘Seven Bridges Valley’… oh and find deer which were on my Son’s must see list.
We picked up the route at the bottom of Studley lake and followed the path over the rustic bridges using one of the printed walking guides we’d picked up at the visitor centre. It was apt given I’m training for my China trek that these bridges now made of stone were originally timber and made in a Chinese lattice style and we would also walk past what were formerly Chinese gardens. The path then made its way up hill and we could smell the wild garlic and even managed to spot a few bluebells. Despite the full carpark we had the path to ourselves and as we walked through the woods my Son began to doubt my map reading and was convinced we were lost, never to find a deer! However, we soon came to the Mackershaw Lodge and its kissing gates to walk back down through Mackershaw park.
There under a canopy of trees and enjoying the shade were some deer. My Son skulked off in hunter mode with the camera to have a look at what he was convinced were horses! He was miles away from the deer and I assumed all this time he had been taking photos, but no he was just looking at them through the camera so he could zoom in. We only got one fuzzy shot of them but mission accomplished.
From here we walked back to Studley Lake, stopping for ice-cream and walking along another path past the Temple of Piety and moon pond and then eventually reaching the abbey again.
We had a great day, the scenery is so stunning and someone said to me the other day that Fountains Abbey has a magic about it and I can’t agree more.
What did you do this weekend in the glorious weather? Let me know in the comments, we’re always on the lookout for new places to explore. Over on my Facebook page we have more pictures and videos of our adventures.
All views are my own and I’ve received no incentive to write this post.
At last we had some sunshine this weekend for our walking adventures and we headed to Jervaulx Abbey for a circular walk of approx. 7 miles. Great to get outside when it’s not blowing a gale.
We started from the Jervaulx abbey tearooms carpark, putting our £1 in the honesty box for the parking and crossing the road to start our walk. What struck me immediately was the serenity of the gorgeous parkland…well it would have been without my two running around! The abbey grounds are beautiful and apart from a photographer who quickly beetled away and a few cyclists we had the grounds to ourselves. As we followed the track through the park we noticed some hilly mounds that my son decided were from the Hobbit and from a small copse we could hear the hammering of a woodpecker. He didn’t make an appearance for the camera though!
Having walked through the parkland we emerged on to a small road and for a while we walked along here until the next footpath took us across some fields. The weather was glorious but the rain in previous days had meant lots of water had collected in the most inconvenient of places…. right under the stiles we had to cross over! I’m not scared of a bit of water and mud but up to our ankles and with two kids who are even shorter certainly isn’t great. A few gates later and my son was once again dancing from foot to foot ankle deep in mud and not helping himself by trying to get to drier ground.
Eventually getting him out of the mud we arrived in the historic village of Thornton Steward which can be traced back to 1041, it’s a quiet village with picturesque views and I spied a gorgeous cottage I wouldn’t mind spending a weekend in.
At the far end of the village and through woodland we reached the church of St Oswald’s said to be the oldest church in Wenslydale. We had worked up quite an appetite and stopped for snacks and to shed a few layers – the thermal base layer had seemed like a good idea early that morning.
After the church, we had a stroll along pastureland and through fields of sheep and little lambs. I could have watched the lambs in their baggy skin all day, so cute! We walked past the gorgeous Danby Hall that I’ve put on my house shopping list and eventually alongside the River Ure.
We stopped for a quick drink in the Coverbridge Inn whilst the kids played on the swings before crossing the bridge and following the river back to the abbey.
A gorgeous walk although not suitable for pushchairs or if you have very small children as there are some points you need to walk on roads. You can follow the route we took here on the viewranger website it took us just under 4 hours but we did have a stop in the pub and some trouble getting over flooded stiles!
For a glimpse of what we got up to check out our video!
All views are my own and we received no incentive to write this.
This time our Hip2trek adventure was to Nidderdale in the Yorkshire Dales.
Our walk started near the village of Greenhow and so we took the opportunity before our walk began to explore the Coldstones Cut sculpture. I’d seen some amazing pictures of the sculpture on Facebook and so it gave us the inspiration to explore this area.
From the Toft Gate Lime Kiln free car park, we followed the clearly marked path 600m up to the Coldstone Cuts sculpture. It’s a massive sculpture perched on top of Greenhow Hill that you can walk around and which looks over the Coldstones Quarry, the highest quarry in England. It also offers stunning views across Nidderdale and you can see for miles. The Kids loved the street style of the sculpture and there’s two different winding ‘streets’ up to the top. Each child chose an opposite side and ran around to see who could make it to the top first. If you head to my Hip2trek Facebook page you can see a video as we walked to the top. Little lady had problems seeing over the handrail so I had to lift her up momentarily to see the incredible view and we waved to the boys on the opposite side. Having explored the sculpture, we walked back down the big hill to the car park for our next part of the adventure.
Nidderdale is an area on outstanding beauty and there’s quite a few walks in the area that you can find on the internet all following similar routes. We chose an anti-clockwise circular route and from the car park crossed the road to the fingerpost that led us downhill across pastures. Dodging the many molehills my Daughter was worried she might stand on a moles head!
It was a hard-strenuous walk, quite remote in places (or at least it felt like it!) but the scenery was beautiful and we certainly had some interesting encounters. We had heard shooting as we walked down a valley but with the surrounding hills and the sound travelling we didn’t expect to find clay pigeon shooters right below the path. It was a terrifying experience walking along the path knowing the guns were near but not knowing from which direction they came. There had been no signs so we assumed we were safe. I have never been so frightened but we walked past their shooting unscathed although the heart rate will have been high.
Having past this and walked down a winding footpath into an old mining area we came to a ford across the path. We’d known from checking the route beforehand to expect this but with the rain the night before it had become a bit more of a raging torrent! There was no way I was walking past the clay pigeon shooters again so there was nothing for it we going to cross somehow. Me and our eldest could get across by jumping from rock to rock (My Son had a wet foot!) but Little legs and Hubby were a bit stuck. In the end after much debating they walked further downstream and with a bit of team work we got them across. You can see more video of this on my Facebook page!
A beautiful walk through moorlands and old mining areas, we certainly got a good workout and the last mile home was all up hill. A great day out, some interesting moments adding to the adventure and despite a slip and slide in the squelchy, boggy mud we had all managed to remain upright!
Recently we had a very busy weekend but not an outdoors walking one, this time it was with a family wedding and then our fundraising fair for the Ectopic Pregnancy trust at a local community hall in Birkenshaw.
The family wedding was in Manchester and it was lovely to dress up for the day and swap the walking boots for some smarter shoes!
The next day was time for the fundraising fair. Friends and friends of friends were brilliant in collecting books for our book stall and there were many times I walked through the school playground to be handed another bag of books! Everyone was so helpful in finding me raffle prizes and I roped in some helpers who baked cakes or bought a stall space. Thanks to local businesses we had a great variety of wonderful raffle prizes for the raffle.
I was completely overwhelmed by the support from people and those that visited the fair, we raised a fantastic amount for the charity (over £316!) and hopefully more people are now aware of ectopic pregnancies. The good news didn’t end there as more donations poured in and the next day I was in my local paper detailing my China trek.
I can’t thank all those involved enough including local Bradford businesses who donated the raffle prizes Heathfield Farm Inns, Café Lulu, Jellybean Bakery, Ginger Whale, Keelham Farm Shop, Mandy Miller Broadcast Services ,Willow and Blossom Pamper Spa and Emma Driver Forever Living. Matilda Brooke – Felt and Fabricated donated proceeds from their sale of purple bows.
Now back to the walking boots and training as the China trek draws nearer!
Our half term activities were thwarted somewhat by the weather AGAIN! I can’t wait for spring to arrive and better weather as at the moment we just seem to be going from one storm to another.
We did manage a small walk from Grassington to Burnsall recently, walking along the River Wharfe but the wind was starting to pick up and there was lots of mud around. The muddy walks sap so much more energy but we certainly got to blow some cobwebs away and this would be an easy walk on nicer days. I’d picked the wrong day to start wearing in my boots for my trek!
We followed the footpath from the corner of the carpark at the Grassington visitor centre and made our way downhill to Linton falls, stopping first to spot some aliens in the carpark that were part of the dark skies trail. From here we followed the fingerpost towards Burnsall and the path along the riverbank.
The surrounding trees had suffered from the recent gales and fallen trees were blocking part of the path, but we spotted the promise of spring nestled on the banks of the river with some lovely snowdrops.
The path is wide enough in most places that the kids can go on and run ahead. Our eldest was playing the usual sniper game and hiding behind the rows of trees along the way.
We soon arrived at the suspension bridge at the bottom of the footpath to Hebden. The kids loved that it looked really wobbly and narrow and all was fine crossing it until we met someone coming the other way who was so impatient he tried to barge past us. There was no way I was going in the water but we all made it safely across. There’s always one isn’t there!
With a Son having the name of a great racing driver as a middle name I am perhaps a little worried that in later years he might try to live up to his namesake when he gets behind the wheel of a car. We’ve been trying to teach the children about road safety when we’ve been out walking and recently at school both children have had a road safety lesson. My Daughter was thrilled that they turned the school hall into a road and had the children pretending to be cars. But what about driving a real car, would you let your Child drive a car before the legal age of 17 at say age 5? And can I curb my Son’s inner racing driver?!
After the euphoria of last week and feeling pretty good I came down with a bug and have been a sofa sloth for the best part of a week. I was itching to get outside at the weekend and although not well enough to do a big walk we decided some fresh air might do me some good.
My eldest had asked if we could visit Ilkley Moor and the Cow and Calf rocks, I think this is because he knows there’s lots of places he can leap about and streams to dip feet in. He seems to be the one that needs most persuading to go out for a walk (although once out he loves it) so when he suggested somewhere I was happy to go with that. It’s also not far from family so if the weather turns nasty there’s somewhere near to retreat to!
We had a great time exploring different paths and letting the kids stand on the smaller rocks and without too much wind it was nice to get some fresh air. Unfortunately, it was a bit misty so we couldn’t see for miles like you usually can up there. Despite it being a bit frosty my Daughter still managed to get covered in mud.
After our walk we treated ourselves to hot chocolate and warm pasties in the café in the carpark. With blankets and heating lamps we were nice and toasty. I grew up in this area and when I was little and visited Ilkley Moor there was just a carpark and no facilities unless you went up the road to the pub!
Great to get outdoors for a bit but I’m looking forward to getting out and doing some bigger walks. Bug be gone!
Do you let your kids choose where to walk?
For more photos or to join in the chat pop over to my Facebook Page.
My plans for great walking adventures were thwarted last week with snow and ice falling on Yorkshire after the battering we received from the gales. We weren’t as badly hit as other places in the UK but the pathetic amount we did get caused chaos near us with the ice. We live at the bottom of a big hill which had turned into an ice skating rink, cars stuck everywhere and someone did a pirouette in a van! I took the car home and decided there was nothing for it but we would walk to school. This usually is an easy 2 miles and we’ve done this walk loads of times. In snow and ice and with a time pressure it was completely different. We skated along in places but I got the kids to school in one piece, just a little late. My daughter loves anything from the Frozen movie and likes the idea of ice skating but didn’t enjoy this walk and the ice novelty soon wore off. Great cardio workout for myself!
I’ve been enjoying the new fitness programme I’ve been doing so although I haven’t got outside as much as I’d like I’ve still be able to do lots of exercise. Not loving protein shakes it has to be said but I did find adding some coco powder made it more bearable.
The best news this week was that I’ve been discharged from my Physio! It brings an end to a long 6-year journey of hip hell, two hip arthroscopies and lots of physio. I’ll still carry on with my exercises but after lots of hard work I’m so much better and looking forward to my walking challenges this year. I can’t thank my physio’s enough for getting me back on my feet even if they did make me do hideous inchworm exercises. It wasn’t on the nutrition plan but I treated myself to bubbly and pie and custard!
Hoping to get out this weekend, enjoy some fresh air and share our adventures with you next time!
Hello and Happy New Year! Did you have a fabulous Christmas? We had fun at home, getting outside a few times and managed to sneak in a little mini cruise from Hull to Amsterdam, just spending a few hours there to explore before we were back on the boat home.
We didn’t tell the kids we were going, telling them we were just going for a drive(!) and it was a complete surprise to them! Their faces as we walked onto the ferry and then handed them the guide book was brilliant.
We arrived in Amsterdam and unfortunately it was foggy so we didn’t actually ‘see’ much of it, but we took a canal cruise and did lots of walking around the centre. We discovered Vondel park which was on my list to see, the palace and sampled important things like pancakes, frites with mayonnaise, a very strong blonde beer and some gorgeous bakery delights called Oliebollen. We’d love to go back and explore the museums and surroundings at a more leisurely pace without worrying about getting back for the boat. With it being the holidays it was absolutely heaving and great waves of people filled the streets. We managed to walk 9 km just wandering around, although we needed to keep moving because it was so cold!
Now back to reality! Having said that I’m so excited about this year. My China trek is in May and I’m hopping between giddy excitement and being daunted about organising my fundraising, training and kit. I have quite a few fitness goals to keep me going through the year and towards my trek. I’ve joined My Peak Challenge #MPC2017 which is a yearlong fitness and nutrition programme and is about reaching not only fitness goals but non-physical goals too. I’ve a few of those too including growing my blog! Half the joining fee goes to Bloodwise the UK blood cancer charity, so in helping yourself you help others too. I’m also going to try and join in the #walk1000 miles challenge and walk 1000 miles over the year – everyday walking counts towards this. We’ll see how that goes but we are now a walking family and I’m so proud of how far my little people walked last year. It was mentioned to me recently that I might be cruel ‘making’ my children take part in my training walks, but I don’t make them walk anywhere and we’re not trying to climb massive mountains. The harder walks I’ll keep for myself and we always do a distance they are capable of. Over the last year we’ve got outside into the fresh air, they’ve enjoyed discovering nature, identifying trees and we’ve visited some great new places.
So at the moment the sky’s the limit and as long as I keep my hips healthy there’s nothing stopping me…..I may need a few cheerleaders along the way though!
Have you any challenges this year or some non-physical goals? I’d love to hear what you’re getting up to.
I'm a 'thirty something' Yorkshire Mum of two, recovering from two hip arthroscopies and hoping to get fit for a new challenge. My aim is to also get my kids out into the countryside and get fitter as a family. Follow my blog about hips, trips, training and getting my kids outside!
I'm taking part in a charity China trek. For my story or to sponsor me please follow the Just Giving link.