Pages

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Coast by Campervan - Day 2, RSPB Hodbarrow & Furness Abbey

No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy - or how a carefully conceived “plan” to travel around the coastline fell apart on its very first morning.

The idea behind this daft “Coast by Campervan” project was not simply to drive past all sorts of interesting places muttering a mental note along the lines of “that looks nice, must come back” which we all do and know we never will, but to actually stop and enjoy/experience some of them.  I quickly realised that my habit of thinking I can manage more in one day than is sensible or even physically possible (garden, anyone?) was going to have to be reined in. The first proper stop  (not a just-for-a-coffee-stop) was at RSPB Hodbarrow outside Millom. What a gorgeous site - a lagoon in an old mine.

I did the perimeter walk, supposedly three miles although it felt like less, but did it fairly quickly all the while thinking “I could really linger here …” but I “couldn’t” because I had more miles to cover to reach the pre-booked site at Meathop, and I wanted to stop at Furness Abbey on the way.  Long story short, the whole day was “short-changed” by my desire to fit in a couple of “tourist stops” and the mileage turned out to be more than I had predicted, and that was even after I missed the “bottom” of Barrow opposite Walney Island and skirted past Cark and Cartmel.

The other thing that seems to have gone skewed is my photographs.  Somewhere/somehow I must have changed a setting on the little Sony camera without intending to.  My RAW files are JPG's and the quality is decidedly pedestrian compared to that which I expect.  So just a few snaps as a flavour of the visits.

Hodbarrow:  I definitely missed more than I saw and I'd find it quite easy to spend an entire day here, which I plan to do.  Management might come with me, he might not;  he enjoys birding the same way I enjoy astronomy - just a little is quite enough :-)









Furness Abbey:  Absolutely "blew me away".  I had a wonderful time deliberately exploring the ruins without a guidebook and working out the function of each section.   The red sandstone has been badly weathered over the years and much of the carving is severely eroded, but in places absolute gems still remain.  The vaulting in the west end of the Infirmary gave me goosebumps.  It helps to have studied these buildings many years ago and have an idea of the construction techniques used.  Can you imagine what would happen if we tried to build like this now?  Can you imagine the budgetary overspend?









In typical fashion, there was one piece which moved me to tears.  Dogs, it's always the bloody dogs.



Much more information about Furness Abbey, and far better photographs are at Mike's "A Bit About Britain" site, which if you don't already know it, is a quite splendid resource.  His account and photographs are far more informative than mine, you should click the link :-)



I pulled into the Caravan Club at Meathop after 5.00, which is much later than I like to arrive on site. But what a little gem, they have an almost perfectly level tarmac area for motorhomers who are not going to try to hammer in awning pegs.  It is also the one part of the isolated site with a mobile signal, so I was able (just about) to get online after supper.



Don't get the wrong idea, I had a lovely day, BUT, it was not as good a day as it should have been, and that means the project has to change - drastically - because if I am not enjoying every single trip then there is no point in doing it.


18 comments:

  1. I do hope you manage to find a balance with what you want to achieve. It would be a shame for you to become disheartened by not managing to fit in as much as you would like or to end up feeling hurried.
    BUT how fantastic that you have made the first steps on this exciting journey and can now adjust your plans accordingly. X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jules. Much thinking still to be done - and so many places still to visit! I need to get back down to Barrow though, partly to spend longer at the Abbey but also Walney Island, to see the seals :-)

      Delete
  2. Last pic.... You have a level, in your camper!!!!! :-)

    Well, this is a learn-as-you-go project, I think. You can't have it all figured out, ahead of time. And you did have a lovely time, around the abbey. Now you know, some of what you have to change, concerning future plans.

    Best of all, you are doing it!!!!!!!!

    I can't imagine doing such myself, so I am amazed at you!!! :-)

    And to me, those are gorgeous pics of the abbey.

    Always be safe!

    Gentle hugs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not just a level Wisp, but a two-way level :-) Just a cheap thing fixed to the work surface behind the driver's seat, so I can check it as I park. You think it doesn't matter until you try sleeping on a non-level bed !

      The abbey was stunning and as I said to Jules, I have to return.

      Delete
  3. I love the look of Furness Abbey, the archway in the first photo of it is really something. Can't make head nor tail of the dog sculpture though, is it someone sitting down with a dog underfoot? Looks more like a lion to me, though I'm sure the whole thing looks really good. I'm tired now so will email you again properly tomorrow :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, symbolism of animals on medieval tomb - a whole new thesis subject (d'uh . . . must not get distracted, must not fall down a new rabbit hole . . .)

      Anyway, setting aside opportunity for another study topic, animals on tombs have many purposes. Most common are dogs or 'beasts' from the family coat of arms. The representation could be as simple as the deceased's dog continuing to protect them in the afterlife. If it is a beast from the coat of arms that's fairly obvious . . . you regularly see a lion under the feet of a knight, that is what's in my photo. The adjacent tomb cover was of a woman resting her feet on a dog, but the picture wasn't useable. It is more common for women to be depicted with a dog, and men to be shown with a 'beast' or larger hunting dog.

      Dogs also represented fidelity, faithfulness, allegiance, commitment - which could be to a spouse, to the King, to their religion . . .

      And of course seeing a lady with her beloved dog . . . set me off. D'uh. But it is a fascinating subject, nice article on this blog:
      http://diannesmedievalwriting.blogspot.com/2014/12/whats-with-medieval-tombs-part-2.html

      Delete
  4. Dear Jayne
    The abbey looked beautiful and peaceful too. Absolutely right about enjoying your trips - that is the whole point, after all. I am sure you'll find the right balance before too long.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Ellie, half the problem is there is too much I want to do/see, if I am not careful I could spend nearly all my time on the road! This trip reminded me how much I enjoy sitting quietly at nature reserves, and also how much I enjoy medieval sites.
      Cogitating continues . . .

      Delete
  5. Ah, 2nd time, as i'net went down in middle of comment. I'm not awesome or fierce, but am small of stature, just like a little lamb(giggle). Thanks anyway. Gee, we went to Barrow & Furness Abbey all the way back in 1999. 20 years ago!!!! I loved it, then we saw Stott's Bobbin Mill & were given a guided tour, just the 2 of us, so made it quite special. I bought a little handmade cotton reel & was asked if I sewed, to which I answered yes, that I was a keen quilter. The gentleman asked if I'd been to the quilt shop in Cark,(his wife frequented it), so we called in on our way home. Very nice. Your photos are lovely BTW.
    Holidays don't always go to plan, but the best to enjoy what you can & you're no different to us with, we'll go back one day or come & spend more time, so don't go into stress mode just yet. It'll come slowly as to how you are going to work it all through.
    Take care & huggles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How lovely that you have also been to the Abbey. I also remember the Cark quilt shop from a zillion years ago, I don't think it is there any more.

      I worked out pretty quickly that I had to adapt and "go with it" and it must have worked - back more than two days and I am still completely relaxed and still in 'holiday mode'.

      Delete
  6. Handy to have that little spirit level, makes sense that you'd need to be perfectly flat. I hope you can find the right balance between driving and places you want to visit so that your trips are enjoyable. Great start and lovely photos of the abbey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Eileen, 100% level is not essential, but everything is more comfortable if you can get as close as possible.

      Ideas are forming for an alternate approach which still achieves some goals, but not fully formed yet.

      Delete
  7. The early days will feel like a learning curve - may be make no plans except to 'stop' on demand, 'linger' as long as you want and 'drive in to the sunset' after a lovely day xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This trip was a definitely learning curve Kate, but I need to know where I'll be overnighting so "just winging it" is a bit too relaxed for me.

      Delete
  8. Can't see anything wrong with your photos - but I appreciate the vote of confidence, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mike, thanks for the nice words about the pictures, but before Blogger squishes them there is a significant difference between the RAW I thought I was shooting and the JPGs I found myself with.

      Delete
  9. That little spirit level is a wonderful thing. I have one, essential for campervanning as my gas hob refuses to work unless the 'van is absolutely level (and as you say, sleeping can be uncomfortable if the bed has a slope). Love your photos - but then, all mine are jpeg; I have no idea how to change that.
    I have found that I prefer to spend 2 nights at any stopping point, so that I have a completely full day in which to explore or simply sit, read, relax and just 'be'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much :-) Your 2 night stop is probably the way I need to go, your description of to explore or simply sit, read, relax and just 'be' sounds just like me. xx

      Delete

I love receiving your comments, you know I do, and always try to respond to each and every one.

Sometimes it is the only way I know I am not talking to myself . . . 😊


(comments are automatically moderated on posts over a week old, I'll free them from Comment Prison as soon as I see them 😱 )