Thursday, 30 April 2009


Decided on a walk from home.
We headed off up Wardrew Hill, passing Irthing House Farm and onto the steep climb up the hill to Temple Mount.
I don't know the origins of the name but it would seem that there may have been a temple here at some point in history.
As we approached a cattle grid at the top one of Paul's ewes and her two lambs were wandering about, they're great escape artists. One of the lambs ran over the cattle grid, using the flat side strut and the ewe and remaining lamb went the other way. I opened the gate but the lamb wouldn't join it's family and ran off down the road. Eventually we took the turn down the drive to Wardrew House and the ewe called the lamb back to her.

A left turn takes you into Irthing Wood, it's an ancient woodland under various ownerships.

When I first came to Gilsland, six years ago I was struck by just how many wild flowers there were here. For anyone interested in flowers, grasses, lichen and mosses it's a lovely place to be. We also have red squirrels, returning to the woods after culling of the greys, roe deer and various small creatures who leave footprints in the mud but whom you never see.
At this time of the year the woods are alive with birdsong and your head swivels about trying to pinpoint the various songsters.

The bluebells are just starting to flower here, some patches fully out where they catch the sun others well into bud but not quite open yet. I imagine there should be quite a show for the May Bank Holiday.

After the rain on Wednesday night the waters were rushing down the River Irthing and under the Spa Bridge meaning we wouldn't be able to use the stepping stones path to get back into Gilsland. We went that way last week and one of the stepping stones had been washed away, someone had kindly made a temporary path using river boulders, but they wouldn't withstand a rushing river.

We took the route that leads towards the Popping Stone, made famous by Sir Walter Scott who allegedly proposed to his bride there. It's a lovely detour but it's always muddy. Masses of wild primrose on the banks here, this part of the walk is an SSSI and on a warm summers day it's alive with butterflies on the wild flowers.

Heading up the path past the old Iron Chelate Well, one of the Spa treatments the Victorians were fond of, I determined yet again to bring a spade with me and clear out the area around the well so it's more easily visible. On up towards Gilsland Spa we stopped to talk to one of the groundsmen, there's been felling of trees and he was telling us they're taking out non-native species so some quite large conifers have gone. Not the Scots Pine though, they're native and essential for the squirrels.
We walked down the road back to the village, Jonathon at Howard House Farm has moved his little flock of Jacob's sheep, I'd hoped to get some pictures of the lambs, they're so cute with little spotty coats.

Lunch at The House of Meg Tearoom in Gilsland, it's in Mump's Hall home of Meg Teasdale whom one of the characters in a Walter Scott book was based on. She's said to still haunt the house. The food is very good but you can't be in a hurry, the service is so slow. There were only a couple of people in the tearoom and they had already been served, so it wasn't that they were rushed but by the time our sandwiches came the coffee's had gone cold. Maybe asking for the coffee to be served at the same time as the sandwich would help but they need to speed up service a bit.
Catch you later.


  1. we found the House of Meg Tearooms service very good and friendly and feel it alittle unfair to say it is slow as all food is fresh and made to order and is worth waiting for as we found on our enjoyable walk in the area

  2. You posting would have carried more weight had it not been anonymous.
    Food is fresh and is made to order but we waited in excess of 15 minutes for 2 panini's and that was just too long especially as there was only one other customer at the time.
    I'm sure it might have occured to you that since my posting, and I did point it out to Andrew, things have improved.

  3. Sorry did,nt mean to offend by being anonymous my name is Sarah Charles I live in Portsmouth, my Boyfriend and I spent a few days walking in your area and called into House of Meg this is where I saw some of your work,The owner kindly gave me your details as well as local information.

  4. I'm very fond of Andrew (the owner) and do want him to succeed. I know he has hopes to open in the evenings as a bistro, so any critism is meant in a constructive way.
    Glad you enjoyed your holiday and will return to sample more of Andrews fare.