It occurred to us that we have had very little daylight of late, going to work at first light and coming home in the dark. So a good dose of vitamin D was in order and the daylight hours of Sunday were spent exploring outside.
We headed to Lowther Castle just up the road, it is a ruined castle so the visitor attraction is outside and there are HUGE gardens to explore, perfect.
It was a stunningly beautiful day, frosty and very cold so we wrapped up warm. I've left my photos un edited and un filtered because I think the natural autumn light captured is really rather lovely.
Lowther, as you can see, is a ruin, it has a very long history in these parts and at one time the family owned great swathes of Cumbria. Their land is still vast and perfect for an explore.
The Castle itself was left to ruin in the 1930s and in 2012 was brought back to life with a multi-million restoration project and opening of the site to visitors. I don't think the plan is to ever restore the castle to a full building but rather to manage the ruin. The main focus is on the gardens and restoring what they can of them.
I visited the Castle a while back (peers through blog posts for exact date, apparently April 2014. Aren't blogs GREAT for that, my blog is a record of all the beautiful places I have visited) so over two years since my last visit and it was fantastic to see so much positive change. Loads has been done to the gardens to restore what they can and loads of original treasures have been uncovered.
There's a new exhibition inside the sculpture gallery, a part of the castle that has been restored with its roof. The exhibition explains the history and ownership of the castle and shows pictures of the interior. It is fascinating seeing the photos of the rooms next to photos of what the ruin looks like now.
The gardens are really what we came for and you can walk for hours here. It is great that there is so much outside to explore and you can pretty much walk anywhere you like!
The ground was thick with frost and crunchy leaves.
We walked right along the boundary of the castle gardens, along a terrace. The terrace has a steep wall down and overlooks the rest of the Lowther estate stretching for miles and miles...
As you can see, not a bad view at all! You can just make out some Lake District fells in the distance (don't ask me which ones, bad Cumbrian!!!) but they were covered in snow!
Playing with my new iPhone 7 camera! (love it, but do wish there was a macro setting).
And of course a feet in leaves shot had to be done! I loved that loads of the paths were blanketed in bright yellow leaves.
Of course there is a tearoom at Lowther (and a gift shop!) the tearoom is GOOD! Hot chocolates and cheese scones were consumed, yum!
Then back out to explore the rest of the gardens!
The gardens are so well planned, with the banking on the side, and the trees cut way to capture slight glimpses of the views.
Look what we found in the trees! I did have a go too, but Mark 'hilariously' kept pushing me really high and scaring me so I wimped out and jumped off!
Once we finished wandering the castle grounds we were still in an exploring mood. We wondered whether you could walk in the rest of the Lowther park itself. Turns out yes, yes you can, there are SO many walks and it is beautiful. Lots of new walk possibilities.... yeah
So we set off the explore outside the castle walls, following the river...
We walked another good couple of hours along the prettiest of paths admiring the beautiful autumn scenery around us. The path went beside the river, over little bridges, through gates, into the cutest little villages and through churchyards and farmer's fields. Just my kind of walk.
I didn't exactly plan my footwear appropriately (I always maintain the shoes are never a practical consideration). I should however learn from ALL walks Mark and I EVER go on, there is always mud, and not just little puddles I'm talking great quagmires. How is it that I am always the muddiest, always!
So the result of canvas cons (with holes in) wading through ankle deep mud, yep, mud covered bare feet when i got home, it went right through my socks too, lovely!