I like to experiment with different sorts of food. I like traditional red beetroot so decided to make a donation for some of golden beetroot that was on the Tyntesfield produce stand. It was grown in their kitchen garden.
I packed it up in a brown paper bag and put some money in the donation pot.
Later at home the beetroot had a good wash.
I popped it all into a big saucepan and simmered it for about an hour.
After straining off the water and letting it cool a bit I removed the skins. The skins just slide off cooked beetroot very easily.
All ready now for slicing up.
I sliced them all up, added a little balsamic vinegar and put them in the fridge ready to have for lunch the next day.
The glory of golden beetroot is not getting stained paws while making beetroot sandwiches.
Nye joined me for lunch as he rather enjoys a bit of beetroot. He added some horseradish sauce to his sandwich. We both agreed golden beetroot is delicious.
I heard my human saying “Horace is too big to take on a bicycle mini tour”. While the humans were asleep I curled up small in one of the panniers. I popped out just as they had started the Taff Trail in Cardiff.
The humans pedalled away along the trail and I just peeped out at the view. I climbed out to look at Castle Coch….
They cycled up a steep hill and stopped for a while outside the castle. We didn’t go in as the humans had a long way to ride.
They did stop for a bite to eat, and shared a tasty cheese and tomato roll with me.
After quite a long while going along tracks and roads through Pontypridd and Methyr Tydfil we reached the Pontsticell reservoir, where there are lovely views of the Brecon Beacons.
The humans kept pedalling, the ride got a bit bumpy in a few places as the Taff trail follows a gravel track up and around the reservoir. They got a bit tired cycling on the gravel, and after going the wrong way up a hill decided to continue on the road instead of the trail to get to Brecon before it got dark! Fortunately there was one pub still serving food, and after checking in to our B&B we went the George Hotel for some supper.
I was very pleased to be able to sleep in a bed and not the pannier!
The B&B that we stayed in cooked a yummy Welsh breakfast. We stayed at The Old Castle Farm Guest House.
The humans didn’t want to cycle over any more big hills so set off to Abergavenny along the Brecon Canal towpath. Here I am at The Brecon Basin, where the canal begins.
In the early 19th century horse drawn trams used to transport goods such as coal, limestone, timber, farm produce and beer to the canal from Hay on Wye, and the goods were then transported onto Newport by canal.
Here I am sitting on a wooden horse sculpture pulling a coal wagon at Watton Wharf.
As we went on along the canal we came across a family of swans that were following a narrowboat. I think they may have been hoping for some food!
The bicycles, or indeed no one could get through the Ashford Tunnel unless on a canal boat so we went around a diversion. Back in the 1850s the horses that pulled the canal boats were walked around on the outside, while men had to lie on the top of the boat and walk their legs along the tunnel walls to propel the boat along.
I spent a while reading about the tunnel. Fortunately there was text in English as well as Welsh. I only know a few Welsh words.
Further along the the humans stopped at Llangynidr where there are five locks quite close together. There was a little stall selling Welsh wildflower honey. As you probably already know I rather enjoy honey so I bought a jar.
A man who was a Canal and River Trust volunteer gave me a sticker.
I watched a canal boat going through one of the locks. It must take a while to get through five!
At Llangynidr there was water available for dogs, humans and bears. It is important to stay hydrated when the weather is hot so I refilled a water bottle there.
As we continued along the canal I spotted Rosie and Jim.
I would quite like to go on holiday on a canal boat, but I think sometimes they can be difficult to steer. This one was trying to turn round but seemed a bit stuck…
We left the canal path at Abergavenny, where we went to the train station as the humans had tired legs and didn’t want to cycle all the way back to Cardiff. At Abergavenny Station the Whistlestop Cafe serves made to order toasties. The cheese and tomato one was very yummy indeed.
I did enjoy my mini tour of Wales, and I don’t think I was too much trouble in the pannier as I don’t weigh very much, though I think I may weigh a little bit more now after all the food that I ate (I wasn’t doing any pedaling to burn it off!)
As the human took this photograph a flash of lightening appeared followed shortly after by a loud clap of thunder and heavy rain. Quite fitting for an Abbey and Town that inspired Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula!
We hid for a while inside the bear carrier until the rain went off, then had another look at Whitby Abbey. It was built about 1400 years ago.
The sunshine returned so we walked down the 199 steps. Some of the people coming up looked a bit tired.
It was good to sit on the harbour wall for a while and dry off fur, we did get a little bit wet before getting in the bear carrier during the earlier thunderstorm.
There was a vast selection of rock in a shop that only sold things made of rock. The human said rock is bad for teeth so we didn’t buy any as we want to keep our teeth.
Nye and myself had a bit of a disagreement about whether we should go to the beach as more rain clouds were gathering in the sky. We just happened to be outside the ‘Arguments Yard’. Can you spot the cat?
We did go to the beach and were very lucky not to get caught in another storm.
Nye thought it a shame that all the beach huts were locked up as they would make great rain shelters.
We would have to make do with huddling under the eaves if the rain reached us; we could see it falling further around the bay.
Having come down the 199 steps earlier, we had to go up them again. Rather challenging for two small bears already tired from walking to the the beach.
The good news was that next to Whitby Abbey there is a YHA cafe, and it was still open and serving cake. An excellent reward for climbing 199 steps.
Whitby is a great Yorkshire seaside town with something for everyone. Dodging rain and thunderstorms certainly made our visit more interesting.
The humans rented a National Trust cottage for a week to explore Lindisfarne and surrounding area. We spent quite a while sitting in the cottage window watching all the people visiting the island as our cottage was on the route to The Abbey and next door to Naitonal Trust shop.
We went out very early to see the Island before all the tourists arrived. Access to the island is restricted by the tides. The causeway to the island is covered in water twice a day and is only safe to cross when the tide is out. Here we are looking at Lindisfarne castle from the harbour.
Upturned boats are used by fishermen as huts.
This one was our favourite hut.
We walked across the meadow to get a better look at the castle which is perched high up on rock.
All the spring flowers were in bloom. This photo was taken from the Gertrude Jekyll Garden which is across the meadow from the castle.
The weather changed quite a lot while we were on the island. On the 2nd day it was very windy but that didn’t stop us going out to explore.
We found lots and lots of cairns built on the beach.
It seemed like a good idea for us to build cairns too, but it did take a while. Big pebbles are very heavy for small bears to move around
Finally we finished them.
On another day we went going back to the Gertrude Jekyll garden to take some more photographs for the blog.
Gates are sometimes a tad challenging to small bears.
There is a little shed in the corner of the garden full of gardening tools.
We enjoyed identifying some of the plants. The purple plant is Nepeta, sometimes known as catmint, there is some in our garden at home.
The sweet peas had a lovely perfume
After having a rest on the bench in the garden we set off to explore the Lime Kilns
Limestone was burned in the kilns to reduce it to lime which was used as fertilizer and in mortar and limewash for buildings. It was very hard work for the men that worked there around 150 years ago.
There were numerous kilns which would have been heated up using coal.
This is the bottom of one of the kilns.
The carts carrying the limestone were dragged up to the top to be dropped in by men to spare the horses the heat coming up from the kilns. The tops of the kilns are now all fenced in to stop people and other creatures falling down the holes.
We spent so long looking at the lime kilns the castle was closed when we got there! The humans had seen it one day while we were busy sitting in the window of the cottage and said the inside was worth seeing, so do go in if you are ever on the island.
We climbed up to the door just to make sure it really was closed,
The door was indeed shut, however it was a good place to have a rest after the climb.
Here we are having another rest after walking back down from the castle.
We managed to visit Lindisfarne Priory while it was still open. Some monastic bears were waiting for humans to adopt them in the English Heritage gift shop.
There isn’t actually very much left of the Priory. A very very long time ago, about 1400 years ago, a monk called Cuthbert lived here. When Cuthbert died he later became a Saint.
We spend a little while exploring the remains of the various rooms.
Apparently when the Priory was no longer in use the stone was taken to build the castle and local houses.
We could see The Castle from the Priory.
Lindisfarne is a great place to visit, but if you stay on the island as we did, you have to be mindful of the tides and plan outings off the island accordingly!
On this occasion we certainly weren’t going anywhere as the causeway was submerged.
The Ship Inn is one of the pubs on the island, and we very much enjoyed the fish and seafood stew that we had there one evening.
The evening before it was time to leave we went down to the harbour one last time.
We watched the sunset and listened to the sound of the seals singing.
On arriving at Cragside we did the Carriage Drive in the car, it is six miles long, The road winds around the hill past lots of tall trees and rhododendrons.
We stopped for a while to have a look at Nelly’s Moss Lake. William Armstrong created the lake in order to have water to provide hydropower electricity for his house and estate.
After parking the car we set off on foot, we didn’t know where to go first!
We were hungry (as usual) so started off with The Tea Rooms,
With tummies full we set off to explore. The big house was built into the rocks between 1869 and 1882. The house was equipped with all sorts of hydraulic machines including the lifts, and the lights all powered by hydroelectricity.
There is an iron bridge which spans the Debdon stream. We are standing on it in this photograph.
Here is the iron bridge photographed from below.
There are a few bridges in the woodland crossing the stream that runs down from the lake.
This bridge is on the way to the Power House which is at the bottom of a gorge, there were holes in the walls just the right size for bears to sit safely in for photographs.
It was quite a long way to the Power House.
We passed a big wheel which had been used as a water powered machine in farming.
We finally reached the Power House. Inside there was a turbine turning a dynamo that created the electricity for the house using water. Here we are looking at the dynamo.
It was quite a climb back up to the house to see the inside.
I had to stop and wait a little while for Nye who has shorter legs than me.
The food being prepared in the kitchen looked quite tasty, until the human pointed out that it was all plastic!
In the kitchen there was an absolutely huge pestle and mortar; initially we thought it was a washing dolly!
Down in the basement of the house there was an amazing spa, complete with a very deep plunge pool.
The shower was really impressive too. I was glad no one turned it on while I was stood under it though!
Upstairs we said ‘Hello’ to a one eared bear who was resting on a little bed.
In one area of the house there was a very interesting room showing Lord Armstrong’s experiments with electricity. This is the wine glass experiment.
Armstrong placed a cotton thread between two wine glasses filled with pure water. After applying a high voltage of electricity a watery connection formed, and after a while the thread pulled into one glass just leaving the a rope of water.
We had a wonderful time at Cragside, a really fascinating place to visit.
We have seen lots of photos of Fountains Abbey and were keen to get there to explore. As we walked down the path to it the ruined tower came into view.
We stopped for a rest and looked out through the meadow towards the Cellarium (I have used the guide leaflet to get the correct names, they aren’t word normally in a bear’s vocabulary)
The humans decided to do the walk along the water gardens before exploring the ruins. Here we are running through the meadow to join them.
Studley Water Gardens are really beautiful. They were created by John Aislabie in the early 18th Century nearly 300 years ago.
When we had got as far as The Temple of Deity we noticed some weird heads poking out of the water in the lake. The quickest way down to the water’s edge was to roly poly.
There were several statue heads in the water. This one had a garland of flowers around it.
Further along on our walk there was a canoe full of animal statues in the water. Having seen the heads in the water at first we thought that they were replicas of something that had always been there! However, it turned out that they were part of an art trail, Waterlogged, by an organisation called Henshaws. We enjoyed looking at them and thought they were quite quirky.
When bears find a tunnel exploration is necessary, so we made our way through this one.
We eventually emerged into the daylight.
The Serpentine Tunnel led to The Octagon House. Can you see us in the photo?
We went back down to the lakeside path until we reached the Fishing Tabernacle. Fishing used to take place from here, and below the building sluice gates that keep the water in the lakes are hidden.
Walking back towards the Abbey we discovered lots of animal sculptures floating on a raft, which was also part of the ‘Waterlogged’ art trail.
On arriving back at the Abbey we started to explore. The building of Fountains Abbey by monks commenced in 1132, so it has been there a very long time. We climbed up some steps leading from the ruins of The Warming Room.
We could see the Cellarium from the top.
One of the humans took a photo of us from the bottom.
On entering The Cellarium we were amazed by the wonderful ceiling structure.
Legs were getting a tad tired but we managed to find the energy to get to the prison.
We didn’t feel very comfortable in the Prison.
Before leaving we had a look inside The Tower, which like the rest of the Abbey doesn’t have a roof.
After making our way back up the hill we went in the shop. Instead of buying cake in the cafe we bought ourselves a little pine cone hedgehog each. The hedgehogs are made by a local wood carver, they will remind us of our lovely day spent at Fountains Abbey and Studley Water Gardens.
After walking a little while from the car park a very big house came into view.
The main house was closed on the day we visited, but ‘downstairs’ where the servants worked was open, the area of big houses that we find most interesting. There was a huge iron warming stove covered in lots of flat irons. Apparently it was originally used in a training school for maids.
We were amazed by the huge contraption that was used for wringing out wet clothes.
The copper boiler was huge; I was a bit worried that Nye might fall in.
A laundry maid’s life was very hard, they had to get up at 5am every day to fill the coppers with water using buckets.
The kitchens were very big too, with a huge collection of jelly moulds.
Being in the kitchen made us feel very hungry so we called into the Mansion tea room for a pasty lunch.
Here we are outside The Flight House.
Inside The Flight House there were beautiful stained glass windows.
The River Trent runs through the Estate. We stopped and watched the swans for a while.
Swans always look very serene on the the water.
This is the Chinese House. It is thought to be one of the oldest Chinese style houses built in the UK and dates back to 1746.
The bridge makes an excellent backdrop for a photo of two handsome bears!
Only staff and pigs were allowed through this gate, so I didn’t proceed and further.
The Tamworth pigs came outside to say Hello in pig language, the humans lifted us up so that we could see them.
We wondered why this cow only had one horn. She was expecting a calf soon and staying cool under the shade of the tree.
The dipping pond in the kitchen garden was dry. Gardeners would have used this to fill watering cans. Shugborough was only taken over by National Trust in 2016 and they are still in the process of restoring it.
There were beautiful flowers and vegetables available on the produce table. We thought about having some rhubarb, but being on holiday the humans had already organised our food.
When we got back to the car we sat and enjoyed a rhubarb yogurt each, eating them with rather strange bits of cutlery known as ‘sporks’.
Shugborough is a great place to visit with plenty to explore outside and inside, though we were only able to see the downstairs area as the house and Lichfield apartment are not open on Mondays and Tuesdays at the moment. Please check before you visit!
Today has been the hottest day of the year so far. The humans decided to take full advantage of the sunshine and have a day out at Symonds Yat. I was jolly pleased they took me along too. First thing I did when we arrived was to make a cup of tea for everyone.
Shortly after finishing our tea we set off upstream along the river Wye in our kayak.
After about half a mile we came across a swan with her cygnets.
After paddling for another ten minutes we paddled past lots of geese and their goslings.
It was great fun being on the river but after a while my tummy started rumbling for food. We went back downstream to our base where I cooked some sausages to make hotdogs.
Yum yum yum. Food always tastes better in the open air!
We decided to spend the afternoon walking along the downstream section of river. The humans wouldn’t take the kayak that way as there are rapids in that part of the river, and they only do calm water kayaking. In order to get to the other side of the river we had to use the ferry. I watched as the ferry man pulled the boat across using his hands holding onto a cable strung across the river.
It was quite a quick journey across to the other side.
We walked along the path for about one and a half miles before reaching a rope bridge that we could cross back again on. I stopped for a drink as was feeling thirsty in the heat.
We don’t have any photos of me toddling across the bridge as my human finds the bridge a bit wibbly wobbly and gets a bit scared crossing it. She was too busy holding the handrails to take photos! Though I did manage to get her to take my photo just before I walked across.
It was indeed rather wobbly especially when other humans were also walking over. Only 6 humans are allowed on it at a time. We walked back towards our base and I enjoyed looking at the scenery. There is a special trail marked out with poles over the rapids for humans that like to race kayaks through them
I squeezed through two tree trunks to see another view.
Sitting on top the tree trunk was more comfortable.
We will visit Symonds Yat again one day I am sure, it’s not too far from Bristol and is a good place to kayak, walk and cook sausages.
Until 1965 people were living in houses carved into the rock at Kinver. It was a very interesting place to visit. Here are my photos. Please note the captions are below the photos (they are usually above them!)
As you can see I ended my visit in the cafe. I was hoping to sit outside under the top cave but a cold wind had blown up so we sat inside the cafe. The women running the cafe were very friendly and helpful.