With cold conditions returning to the UK this month, the Lake District Ski Club has been open for business.
The club was founded in 1936 by a group of enthusiastic skiers who were looking for a place to ski in the Lake District. Raise, a fell on the main spine of the Helvellyn range, between Ullswater and Thirlmere, was chosen because it provided consistently good snow conditions - and still does! The club, run entirely by volunteers, operates a 360 metre button tow on Raise, with up to nine distinct, ungroomed pistes available, depending on prevailing conditions; the longest piste is almost a mile along. When conditions are right, Raise offers some serious skiing with incredible views over the surrounding fells for an average of 60 days each winter season.
Designed by architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, Blackwell is a Grade I listed building that is one of the UK’s finest examples of Arts & Crafts architecture, offering a perfectly preserved snapshot of early 20th-century living.
Unearthed is a new installation of intricate wildflower sculptures by Kendal-based visual artist Amy Williams that celebrates the significant contribution of extraordinary women throughout Cumbria’s history who have often remained hidden, over-looked or unrecorded. The installation takes visual reference from the flora and fauna found within Blackwell’s historic Arts & Crafts interiors, while paying homage to each of the women, including the activist Winifred Langton, who tirelessly campaigned for social justice, and Arts & Crafts designer Annie Garnett, whose Windermere based weaving workshop, The Spinnery, created well paid jobs for the region’s working class.
England Lioness, Georgia Stanway, has been named as Cumbria Sport's Personality of the Year. Originating from Barrow, Georgia became the all-time top goal scorer at Manchester City, before recently moving to Germany to take up a new challenge with giants Bayern Munich.
She played a vital part in the England Lionesses victory in this summer's European Championships. She started every game and scored the winning goal in the Quarter Final victory over Spain, with the squad making history as the first senior national football team to win a major championship since the World Cup in 1966.
Cumbria Tourism has launched a Virtual Christmas Market to promote homegrown festive gifts and provide an alternative to impersonal global online retailers. Packed with great gift ideas ranging from local produce to vouchers for fun days out, the market helps to support local artisan businesses, while giving buyers a little piece of the Lake District delivered directly to their door. Buying local has so many benefits – not only are you helping to support livelihoods and local communities through these challenging times, but you often get more unique and personalised gifts. Visit the market at www.visitlakedistrict.com and happy shopping!
British Life Photographer of the Year, Amy Bateman, has just released her new book, Forty Farms: Conversations about change in the landscapes of Cumbria. The book offers a unique insight into the everyday lives, fears and hopes of 40 extraordinary farmers and reflects the enormous diversity in farming across Cumbria. From the Herdwick-grazed Lake District commons to the big-sky Solway marshes; from isolated farmsteads unchanged in generations to businesses at the cutting-edge of innovation; from world-class sheep breeders to award-winning cheese-makers, Forty Farms is a visual record of farming at a period of profound change.
Back on BBC2 this month is Simon Reeve's popular series about the Lake District National Park and the county of Cumbria, looking at the changes that are sweeping through the ancient landscape. It was filmed in the summer of 2020, when British holidaymakers were pouring back into the Lake District as lockdown restrictions eased. Reeve delves behind the popular tourist destinations to explore the tensions between the land, the people who live on it and the people who visit it.
On 25 November 1911, at Windermere, Waterbird became the first aeroplane to successfully take off from and alight on water in the UK. After years of painstaking work, The Lakes Flying Company has successfully created an exact replica of the UK's first seaplane, albeit with a modern engine. The new Waterbird will take to the air for two public demonstration flights on 22nd and 23rd September. In recognition of the heritage connections with Windermere, special permission has been granted for these flights to take place, 111 years after Waterbird flew for the first time, and 28 years since any seaplane has flown at Windermere. During each sequence, Waterbird will take off from the water, fly at up to 100 feet in a straight line along the lake and then land on the water, demonstrating the incredible capabilities of this early aeroplane and giving spectators a chance to step back in history to the earliest days of aviation.
Rheged is a gallery, café, cinema, shopping venue, workplace and creative space on the edge of the Northern Lakes near Penrith.
It has curated and is currently exhibiting its first Paper Art Exhibition. This includes Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, his late works 1950-1954, a Hayward Gallery Touring Exhibition, which features 35 lithographic prints of the famous cut-outs produced by Henri Matisse in the last four years of his life. Alongside this, visitors can see 200 artworks by leading British Paper Artists including animation, origami, fashion, collage, 3-D sculpture and paper cuts, many of which are for sale.
The commission for the centrepiece of the exhibition was won by Amy Williams, a visual artist living in Kendal. Her idea was to explore Cumbria’s identity and heritage through a series of paper wigs and headwear, with each one reflecting an industry for which the region is well-known.
Ullswater Yacht Club will be celebrating the 60th Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy this month. Lord Norman Birkett is fondly referred to as the 'Saviour of Ullswater' after making a successful speech in the House of Lords which prevented Ullswater from becoming a reservoir. 230 boats are expected to enter the seven mile race down the lake, with the dramatic mass start stretching across the full width of the lake. It is rated as one of the top sailing regattas in the world by Yachts & Yachting magazine and provides an amazing spectacle for anyone watching.
This year celebrates 1,900 years since the building of Hadrian's Wall. Much of the 73 mile fortification passes through Cumbria, ending at Bowness-on-Solway in the West. To celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee on 2 June, beacons will be lit across the full span of the Wall, forming the longest chain of beacons in the UK. Special dispensation was given for them to be lit 15 minutes later than the rest of the country, in recognition of the scale and importance of the anniversary of the Wall.
Series 2 of this popular documentary is back on Channel 4, following the farm shop at Tebay Services in the run up to their 50th birthday celebrations. The family-owned service station close to J38 of the M6, is well worth a stop off whether you are looking for a delicious home-cooked meal or browsing the farmshop that sells craft produce from more than 70 farmers, growers and makers within a 30 miles radius.
This month, local fundraising hero Gary Mckee will complete his 100th marathon of the year. Gary has set himself the challenge of running a marathon every day for the whole year and hopes to raise a staggering £1million for two charities close to his heart, Hospice at Home West Cumbria and Macmillan Cancer Support.
You can follow his journey on the ‘365 Marathon Man’ Facebook page and show your support by visiting his JustGiving page
Simon Rogan's L’Enclume, in the South Lakes village of Cartmel, has become the first restaurant in the north of England to win three Michelin stars, nine years after being awarded its second and 20 years after it opened. The Michelin Guide cites it as being a restaurant that is at the top of its game and somewhere that could rightfully take its place among the best in the world. The restaurant is immersed in the Lake District and follows a very strong sustainability ethos. Fruits, vegetables and herbs, as well as chickens, ducks, pigs and cattle all come from Simon’s 12-acre farm just a few miles away and it is this reliable source of top quality, seasonal ingredients that drives its menu.
In addition to its permanent sculpture collection, this spring Grizedale Forest plays host to a stunning selection of the shortlisted images from Earth Photo 2021. The international photography project developed jointly by Forestry England and the Royal Geographical Society, with categories including People, Place, Nature, Changing Forests and A Climate of Change, aims to stimulate conversations about the world, its inhabitants and our treatment of both.
An appeal has been launched to replace the current boat used by Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team for rescuing people in difficulties on Ullswater. It is primarily used for rapidly transporting people and equipment to emergencies on the remote eastern side of Ullswater. However, there have also been a significant increase in call-outs for incidents on the lake, largely due to the growing popularity of sports such as wild swimming, paddle-boarding and canoeing. The vessel has also proved invaluable during floods, especially in the aftermath of Storm Desmond.
Lake Nights has pledged to donate 10% of income from all stays at Hawkhow Estate during January to the appeal.
Christmas Day 2021 marks the 250th birthday of Dorothy Wordsworth. Although best known as the sister of poet William Wordsworth, Dorothy was a writer, friend, pioneering walker, local philanthropist, inspiring gardener and author of the Grasmere journal. William often used this journal as inspiration for his poems, most notably 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud' (better known to many as 'Daffodils') based on Dorothy's entry of a walk they took together around Ullswater when they came upon a large swathe of daffodils at Glencoyne Bay. Wordsworth Grasmere is celebrating Dorothy's legacy with an exhibition dedicated to her story told in her own words from her original manuscripts.
One of just six buildings nominated, Windermere Jetty Museum was runner-up in the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize. The jury concluded that the museum should be celebrated for having a "restrained and simple beauty that is boldly confident in its design and delivery." It is the first contemporary building on the lakeshore for over 50 years, formed of a cluster of buildings that frame and connect views to boats, to water and the landscape, with large, cantilevered canopies providing shelter for visitors and boats alike.
Open daily, the museum is a vibrant, family-friendly destination dedicated to the boats, people and rich history of Windermere, England’s largest natural lake. 200 years of boating history are brought to life through a fascinating collection of boats, equipment and curiosities.
The stage is set for audiences to take their seats at this popular Lakes venue for the first time since the pandemic began.
The first on-stage season in nearly two years is being launched with a modern comedy, 'Home, I'm Darling', with performances throughout October. Ironically, this is set in the confines of one home and follows the 1950s-obsessed couple, Judy and Johnny, who appear to be living in perfect domestic bliss until things being to unravel and gender roles are put to the 21st Century test. Are they living the perfect life or a perfect lie?
The Old Stamp House in Ambleside has been named the Best Fine Dining Restaurant in the World in Tripadvisor's 2021 Travellers' Choice Awards.
The restaurant is housed in the former office of William Wordsworth and seats just 28 customers at a time. It was launched in 2014 by brothers Ryan and Craig Blackburn, head chef and restaurant manager respectively. It was awarded a Michelin star in 2019, has been named Cumbria Life Restaurant of the Year, and been awarded three AA rosettes. The menu is inspired by Cumbrian heritage and its produce is sourced from local farmers, fishermen and other producers.
On Thursday 12th August, Lowther Castle & Gardens are hosting this family friendly outdoor performance in aid of the Calvert Trust. The Lake District charity welcomes guests with disabilities to its dedicated centre near Bassenthwaite where they can enjoy the benefits of outdoor activities in a safe and accessible, yet challenging environment.
The play is packed with larger-than-life characters and laughs galore – perfect summer fun for all the family. The event includes a brief charity auction with exciting ‘Lots’ to bid on and tickets include free afternoon entry to Lowther Castle & Adventure Playground.
The Lake District provides the stunning backdrop for this film starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci as a middle-aged couple coming to terms with a diagnosis of early-onset dementia. After receiving the heart-breaking news, the couple set off on a driving holiday to visit family, friends and places from their past, taking in the beauty of the Lake District from their old campervan.
Supernova is showing on various dates in July at local cinemas including Zeffirelli's Ambleside, Rheged Centre and Alhambra Penrith.
At just nine years old, Flora Rider became the youngest ever winner of the Best-in-Show Award for her Seville Orange and Orange Blossom Marmalade in the 2021 Homemade Marmalade Awards. She beat entries from over 30 countries around the world with what she describes as her 'little pot of sunshine'.
The Awards are judged at Dalemain Mansion, a beautiful stately mansion with historic gardens at the northern end of Ullswater. Flora's winning marmalade can be purchased from Dalemain's Teamrooms, with 50p from the proceeds of each jar being donated to Hospice at Home.