Category Archives: grasmere lake district

Tour of Britain 2013: Organisers reveal Stage Two Lake District route

HONISTER Pass was today chosen as the iconic setting to unveil the Tour of Britain’s first visit to the heart of the Lake District.

Organisers gathered on the 356m-high route to reveal the path which 100 of the world’s top cyclists will tackle during stage two of the race.

The pass, which features gradients of up to 25 per cent, will provide competitors with their sternest test yet as they head from Carlisle to Kendal on Monday, September 16.

Setting off from the city centre at 11am, racers will snake down the county via Wigton, followed by a Yodel Sprint starting from outside St Kentigerns Church in Aspatria.

Moving next onto Cockermouth, another Yodel Sprint will follow at Dearham, near Maryport, before a third starting outside Whitehaven School.

They will then take on SKODA King of the Mountains climbs at Mockerkin, near Cockermouth, and Chestnut Hill, Keswick, in what is billed as one of the toughest stages of the entire 2013 tour.

After passing through Grasmere, Ambleside, Windermere and Crook, riders on the 186.6km route will have to summon the strength to climb Beast Banks, Kendal, which featured in the 2007 race.

Competitors face more than 3,000 metres of climbing during the stage with the first racers expected to cross the line at around 3.13pm.

North West professionals Matt Cronshaw, of Team IG Sigma Sport, and British Hill Climb Champion Jack Pullar, of Madison Genesis, joined Tour of Britain organisers and officials from across Cumbria to reveal details of the route.

The tour is returning to Cumbria after last year’s stage start in Carlisle, which attracted thousands of spectators.

It is estimated the event will generate up to £4 million for Cumbria’s economy.

David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “The Cumbrian stage will be a high point – in all senses – of this year’s tour.

“The excitement is building and Cumbrian schools and communities are already showing a great deal of interest.

“As the event gathers momentum, the benefits for the economy, the environment and people’s health all snowball as people show an interest in cycling.”

Lake District National Park Authority chief executive Richard Leafe said: “Hosting the most challenging mountain stage of the Tour of Britain in one of the UK’s most dramatic landscapes will provide a fantastic opportunity to position the Lake District as an exciting and awe inspiring place.

“It is also an excellent opportunity to encourage more people to take up cycling as a greener form of transport, whether they are a visitor or local, while enjoying the beauty and splendour that the Lake District National Park has to offer.”

And Richard Greenwood, Cumbria Tourism’s head of policy and research, added: “Hosting a full leg of the Tour Of Britain in Cumbria provides us with an excellent opportunity to showcase our beautiful county – the UK’s Adventure Capital – both within the UK and internationally.

“As a cycling destination Cumbria has so much to offer, with country lanes, quiet back roads and lots of National Cycle Network routes to explore, as well as more challenging off road routes over high fells and mountains.

“To have international cycling stars in our county for a full stage is a massive coup and will benefit the area in so many ways as well as showing the world what a beautiful place Cumbria is to explore on two wheels.”

Stage Two of the race is being organised in partnership with the Lake District National Park Authority, Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council, South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria Tourism.

The Tour of Britain, the UK’s biggest professional cycle race and largest free-to-watch sporting event, starts in Peebles in the Scottish Borders on September 15.

Attracting Olympic, World Champion and Tour de France stage winners, it runs until September 22.

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£100,000 bequest puts new life into William Wordsworth’s former home at Grasmere (From The Westmorland Gazette)

£100,000 bequest puts new life into William Wordsworth’s former home at Grasmere

By Hannah Upton

NATIONAL Trust workers at a former Lake District home of William Wordsworth were left open-mouthed when a surprise benefactor turned up with a cheque for £100,000.

Allan Bank in Grasmere, which was later home to one of the trust’s founders, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, was opened to the public for the first time last year after it was devastated by fire in 2011.

Staff had no idea that when they showed visitor Antony Elliot around the Georgian villa that he would present them with the donation on behalf of his cousin Brenda Donoghue. The former nurse left the bequest to the National Trust in the Lake District when she died last April, aged 83.

After visiting the house, Mr Elliot declared she would have approved of restoration work there as she loved gardens and literature.

He said: “My cousin loved books and beautiful colourful gardens and, though she had no children of her own, she delighted in seeing children play.

“Restoring the house and garden at Allan Bank for future generations is a wonderful and fitting memorial to her and I look forward to seeing her legacy come to life.”

Manager Dave Almond said: “This will allow us to continue some of the vital work needed to restore and conserve Allan Bank.

“This is the first step in a very exciting project that will allow us to recreate the original views and restore the kitchen garden, as well as creating more spaces for books and reading.

“Mrs Donoghue’s gift will ensure that we can continue to bring Allan Bank back to life.”

Visitor services supervisor Elaine Taylor said Mr Elliot, who visited the house with his wife and son, had already pledged to return to Allan Bank in the summer.

She said a lot of the work done at the home, which has mostly bare walls and basic furniture, has been to keep a relaxed, interactive feel where visitors could enjoy a ‘home from home’.

“Children and adults can play freely here, inside and out, they can create paintings of the views from the house, spot red squirrels in the grounds, take part in crafting, or just sit and read quietly.

“When we first opened we asked visitors to suggest what we should do with the house, and they said leave it as it is.”

Wordsworth leased the property, which he previously said marred his views from Dove Cottage, for three years from 1808.

The house is open seven days a week and staff said they were always on the lookout for volunteers to welcome visitors.

via £100,000 bequest puts new life into William Wordsworth’s former home at Grasmere (From The Westmorland Gazette).

Bull rescued from slurry pit in Lake District farm (From The Westmorland Gazette)

Bull rescued from slurry pit in Lake District farm

11:53am Sunday 31st March 2013 in News

FIREFIGHTERS spent four hours rescuing a young bull from a slurry pit at a Lake District farm yesterday.

Teams from Kendal and Ambleside were called to the Grasmere farm, at around 11am on Saturday, after receiving a report that a bull, weighing around one tonne, had ‘fallen through a hole in the floor’.

A Cumbria Fire spokesman said: “It was a hard lift because of the dangers of slurry pits.

“The hole was only about two metres by one metre wide, but we had to make it bigger to get the bull out.

“Crews had to take the safety of the animal, which was obviously distressed, and themselves into account.”

The roof of the barn had to be removed so crews could lift the bull vertically using strops and the farmer’s tractor. Attempts to winch the animal were unsuccessful.

via Bull rescued from slurry pit in Lake District farm (From The Westmorland Gazette).

Eco friendly breaks in the Lake District, go by train, electric car and bike in England’s biggest National Park – Mirror Online

National park and ride: Low-carbon breaks in the Lakes

Nigel Thompson uses an electric train, car and bike on a green trip to the Lake District

Wordsworth may well have wandered lonely as a cloud. But if the Cumbrian poet had done his misty meanderings around the Lake District in the early 21st century rather than 200 years previously, it might have been a cloud of petrol fumes the daffodil-dabbler encountered.

England’s biggest National Park – some 885 square miles of utter joy – has a problem. Too many cars. In short, it’s a victim of its own success.

The creation of the National Park in 1951 has, of course, inspired millions of visitors over the years, drawn by the timeless beauty of the fells and lakes.

And around 87% of the 16 million tourists a year arrive by car, choking the narrow roads and bringing the risk of pollution from exhaust fumes.

So, in a £6.9million, four-year initiative, the GoLakes tourist board has started a scheme to get the visitors out of their cars, into a low-emission vehicle, or on to public transport and bikes.

Not ordinary bikes, mind… but electric bikes that give the part-time pedal pusher some much-needed help up the hills. So, to join in the eco enterprise, I headed to the Lake District last autumn with the firm intention of steering clear of a car powered by the internal combustion engine.

Charged: Nigel ready for his trip on an electric bike
Charged: Nigel ready for his trip on an electric bike

That journey from my home in Essex began with a walk to the station, an electric train into London, the Tube to Euston station, and an electric train out of London to the Lakes.

And that Virgin Trains Pendolino service to Oxenholme is especially green too, as it is equipped with regenerative braking, which means that every time the driver applies the brakes, electricity is returned to the national grid.

Consequently, Virgin Pendolino trains generate enough electricity each year to charge 4.5 million mobile phones.

On arriving in Oxenholme, there would of course be no using a taxi to get to my accommodation in Windermere. A short train ride – diesel, but still public transport – saw me to the Cumbrian town’s station then a 20-minute walk brought me to the delightful Rum Doodle B&B. The bed part was a lovely four-poster and the breakfast part was good too. It was named and styled after a 1950s spoof mountaineering book, The Ascent of Rum Doodle, which I bought on Amazon and it is indeed very amusing.

As was the witty, wry commentary from the crew on a boat trip around Lake Windermere from neighbouring Bowness-on-Windermere that afternoon.

It was a glorious autumn day and the lake was mirror calm as we chugged past various sights including the unusual, circular house on Belle Isle. It was £7.20 very enjoyably spent.

But the purpose of my trip was to test the GoLakes options, so the next morning I made an early start to catch a bus to Ambleside – where there was time for a quick wander around a very pleasant town – and then another bus on to Grasmere. Here, I headed to the Wordsworth Hotel and Spa, having reserved an electric bike.

Tranquil: Lakeside reflections at Grasmere
Tranquil: Lakeside reflections at Grasmere
Getty

The Giant machine is a sturdy beast and comes with two battery packs so you would probably be good for at least 30 miles. There are three settings – economy, normal or sport – which offer 25%, 50% and 75% power assistance.

So basically on the lowest, most frugal setting you do 75% of the work and the motor chips in with 25%. On the steeper roads of the Lake District – and there are plenty of those! – you really do need the highest setting.

I had reserved an electric Renault Twizy car for £10 an hour at the Langdale Estate Hotel and Spa in Elterwater and the direct route there meant tackling the Red Bank road with its brutal 25% incline.

Even with the battery going with the full 75% assistance it was eventually more than I could manage and I had to get off and push. Still, coasting on the other side of the hill to Elterwater soothed my thighs, as the bikes are heavy and even pushing one up a 25% slope is hard work.

At the Langdale, I met Andy Dawson, the grounds manager who was getting my car ready, and Dan Visser, the marketing boss who is on the GoLakes committee and is one of the driving forces behind the electric car initiative.

The Twizy is a small two-seater – one behind the other – and there’s no glass in the side windows, so you need a coat on a cool day. The range between charges is about 60 miles and, as with the electric bikes, GoLakes has created a network of charging points around the National Park.

In an emergency you could simply stop at someone’s house and ask for a plug. Some people have been known to do that.

So what’s the £6,690 Twizy like to drive? In short, fantastic fun. It is light, manoeuvrable, surprisingly nippy and virtually silent, which is very strange at first. But that silence means that as you are whizzing around the lakes and fells you hear the sound of sheep, birds and sometimes just the sound of silence. It’s wonderful.

I pushed the Twizy hard, tackling a steep, hairpin pass with no problem at all.

On the instrument panel there is an indicator which shows how much you are draining the battery and, conversely, when you are coasting downhill it displays the charge which is then being returned to it. After zipping around for an hour and a half I still had plenty of charge and if time had permitted I’d have whizzed about for another 90 minutes.

But it would soon be getting dark and I did not want to tackle Red Bank at night – a wise decision as the damp hill was tricky to descend even in diminishing daylight as I gingerly inched down.

Back at Grasmere, as I neared the Wordsworth Hotel to return the bike, I notched up a GoLakes electric bike first – a puncture.

Luckily it was only 200 yards from the hotel, as wheeling the bike with a flat tyre was a real effort. Once the staff at the Wordsworth had worked out how to process the flat-tyre paperwork, I headed back to Ambleside on an open-top service bus, which really blew away the cobwebs. At Ambleside there was time for a couple of locally brewed beers before catching my bus back to Windermere, packing my kit ready for the morning train back home and having a pleasant pub meal at the Elleray.

In the spirit of an ecofriendly trip to the Lake District I had a salad… plenty of greens, you see.

via Eco friendly breaks in the Lake District, go by train, electric car and bike in England’s biggest National Park – Mirror Online.

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