Isn't it wonderful what some spring-like weather and a change of scene can do for the soul? During the Easter hols we headed North, first to the South end of the Lake District and then to Cumbria and Northumberland. This place was our first stop - Leighton Moss Bird reserve on The Solway Firth. It's flat land and reed beds - such a contrast from the Penine Hills (lovely as they are, we all need change) and yet so close. It was just beautiful and so were the Avocets , Egrets and Marsh Harriers - just a few of the local inhabitants. The girls seemed to really enjoy it too and it was an especially relaxed time once we realised that we could borrow some extra pairs of RSPB binoculars so that Charlie and I could actually have use of our own.
Next Stop was the Youth Hostel at Arnside where we met up with some friends, and finished with a lovely and varied walk up Arnside Knot where this photo (with the Hostel in the middle ground) was taken from.We then headed up to Cumbria for a really enjoyable stay with Charlies parents who live near to Hadrian's wall. On this visit we travelled to Wallington Hall - a fascinating Georgian Mansion full of wonderful decorative art and natural history collections. My favorite aspect was a courtyard room lined with Pre-raphaelite-era panels depicting the history of Northumberland. The girls on the other hand favoured a room full of dolls houses including this tiny little mouse-house (picture below taken through a mouse hole at ground level - I couldn't actually line my eye up with it without breaking my neck so taking a picture was the only solution - hope I didn't break any rules...)