If I could look upon a single scene everyday for the rest of my life I would choose this place, Wast Water, high in the fells of the Lake District. Wast water is a remote area of stunning beauty, I use the word stunning as that is the feeling you have upon first casting your eyes on this place. I remember so well driving through the lanes as they became smaller and more uneven, cattle grids interrupting the drive and the sensation that your wing mirrors were so close to the dry stone walls, that the slightest deviation from the centre of the road would lead to certain removal of said mirrrors! But, that moment when I drove over another cattle grid and passed the National Trust sign for Wast Water I took such a gasp of breath and promptly stopped the car, walked several paces and simply stood in awe at the view before me . The sheer height of the scree covered slopes rising almost vertically from the deepest darkest waters to touch the crystal skies, the contrast to the flat grassy outcrops manicured by the weather, the far shores framed by the rising majesty of Kirk fell, Red Pike, Great Gable and of course the most celebrated of Lakeland peaks Scafell Pike, Englands highest mountain. No written word could convey that feeling on that day in that place. Beauty yet a sense of foreboding combined in a single landscape, pleasure and pain await the cocky conqueror of its peaks, a place where first you loose your breath and then your heart.
I wrote recently about my travels across one of the most testing of Lakeland roads, the Hardknott Pass. I could’nt continue my blog without sharing some of the spectacular views that can be enjoyed at it’s highest point of 1289ft, views that would have been seen through the eyes of the Roman soldiers and generals that occupied the fort in the 2nd Century during Hadrians rule. There are substantial walls still remaining and the general layout can be clearly distinguished, from the grain stores that fed the garrisons, the Commanders quarters and the main gate into the Fort. Standing within these walls you feel the atmosphere that lingers, the remoteness of its location, how isolated must those soldiers have felt, far removed from their loved ones and homes far away on warmer shores. The hardship of existence over the seasons, the boredom that must have been mind numbing, military training combined with raw survival, the prospect of battles ahead and a longing for the comforts of loved ones and a Mediterranean summer. Depression and anxiety must have been rife among these men, many of whom never made it home, a road to nowhere for so many, an existence suffered, yet I took my photos, breathed in the air and saw beauty all around.
ENVIRONMENTAL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR EXHIBITION SET TO STUN LAKE DISTRICT VISITORS
Having received wide acclaim at the Royal Geographical Society in London, the Environmental Photographer of the Year 2013 exhibition comes to Grizedale Forest in the heart of Cumbria’s Lake District.
The annual competition has become an international showcase for the very best in environmental photography and video, honouring amateurs and professionals of all ages.
The exhibition features over 100 astonishing images by international photographers who narrate a poignant story about the fragility of our planet, the pressures on land and resources and the people who are pushed ever closer to the margins by the persistent drive of globalization. Compiled from the very best of 3000+ entries, the exhibition aims to enhance our understanding of the causes, consequences and solutions to climate change and social inequality.
Italian photographer Michele Palazzi was awarded the Environmental Photographer of the Year Award 2013 for his image entitled ‘Gone with the Dust #02’ . Palazzi, who is from Rome, was awarded £5,000 by CIWEM’s President, Paul Hillman, at a private awards ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society on 9 April 2013. His striking and emotive prize-winning image shows a young boy and his sister during a sand storm in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia.
The Young Environmental Photographer of the Year (under 18) Award of £1,000, was awarded to Eleanor Bennett who has two works selected for exhibition, ‘Travelling Through’ and ‘Car Damage’. Bennett who is 17 years old is from Stockport, Greater Manchester.
Eleanor Bennett says, ‘I look everywhere for inspiration. To some I may seem comical in my endless tourist-like search for new sights. I was born in Stockport and have lived in Northern England all my life. I feel lucky that I have the time to look to the skies whilst the majority are just looking towards their next pay cheque.’
This year saw a major new partnership with Atkins, one of the world’s leading engineering and design consultancies who are supporting the competition and exhibition.
CIWEM Executive Director, Nick Reeves OBE says, ‘These photographs and videos are some of the most powerful images anyone will ever see. They tell a breathtaking and compelling range of stories on the environment and on the condition in which we live. Shock and awe, beauty and despair – it’s all there.’
Forestry Commission England, Arts Development Assistant, Antony Mottershead says, ‘We are very excited to be hosting such a prestigious exhibition at Grizedale Forest and make these thought provoking photographs visible to an entirely new audience. The photographs bring the ‘edges’ into startlingly clear view but also celebrate the character and resilience of extraordinary people and places around the world’.
Competition judge Dr David Haley HonFCIWEM says, ‘The final selection makes a very strong show with powerful rhythms in the groupings of images. And what emerges from those selected and the many excellent photographs that were not, is the despair, the joy and the passion of such a diverse understanding of our relationship to environment.’
This powerful and thought provoking exhibition of outstanding environmental, social photographs by international photographers and filmmakers will be on display at Grizedale Forest Visitor Centre, Forestry Commission England, in Cumbria from 25 May – 1 September 2013.
For further information visit – http://www.forestry.gov.uk/grizedale
TV presenter Helen Skelton, of Blue Peter fame, has become one of the first people to experience an innovative new cycling initiative in the the Lake District.
|The initiative aims to encourage people to experience the Lake District in a healthier, greener way|
The event was the first in a series of 30 free guided group bike rides led by British Cycling trained Ride Leaders planned for the Lake District this summer.
Aimed at all age groups and experience levels, the Sky Ride Local rides encourage people to experience the Lake District in a healthier, greener way.
It is the first time Sky Ride Local has come to a National Park, and the GoLakes Travel programme has teamed up with British Cycling to bring the initiative to the region.
Between now and the end of September, Sky Ride Local rides will also take place around scenic spots such as Hawkshead, Coniston Bowness, Elterwater and Ambleside.
Starting points for the routes will also make the most of traffic-free cycle routes being enhanced through the GoLakes Travel programme, with many getting underway close to bike hire points. For some routes, there is even the option of hiring an electric bike.
Helen Skelton said: “I’m delighted to be one of the first to experience this new cycling initiative in what is probably one of the most perfect locations in the country to cycle. I love to leave the car at home and get out on my bike. Cycling is such an important sport for all ages to get involved in and this ride will bring cycling fans together from all different backgrounds and abilities to enjoy riding in such a stunning landscape”.
Claire Maclaine, GoLakes Travel Programme Manager added: “Sky Ride Local rides are a really exciting, way for people of all ages and abilities to explore experience and enjoy cycling in a unique natural setting. Go Lakes Travel is proud to be part of a fantastic year for cycling in Cumbria, with the county hosting the longest leg of the Tour of Britain in September. As part of this, we want to show that cycling is for everyone and what’s great about Sky Ride Local is that it’s free, accessible and genuinely aimed at building people’s confidence whether they’re a regular cyclist or not.”
To see the full list of Sky Ride Local rides in the Lake District, or to book a free place, visit: www.goskyride.com/lakes
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.
By Victoria Brenan
Penrith has been praised as having the best high street by Great British Bake-Off host Mel Giedroyc.
The Lake District is the third most popular domestic holiday hotspot for UK residents, new figures have shown.
Despite the dismal weather and tight household budgets, 2013 is going to be a record year for the ‘staycation’ trend as 65 per cent of Britons opt to take their summer holiday at home this year.
The holiday report reveals that the Lake District, which came second last year, ranked third behind London and Edinburgh.
For the first time in five years, Cornwall has lost its crown as the nation’s top ‘staycation’ destination and dropped to fourth.
The figures show a significant increase on the past two years, when 41 per cent and 35 per cent of Britons respectively took a domestic break.
With the average trip costing Britons £399.28 this year – a £34.19 reduction from last year – it is estimated this investment will boost the UK tourism industry by £12bn – up £3.3bn from last year.
The findings have been revealed in a new holiday index by Travelodge.
The hotel chain’s fifth annual holiday report surveyed 3,000 British adults to investigate their summer holiday intentions.
It revealed that 42 per cent of these people are taking a week’s holiday in the UK this summer, 15 per cent are indulging in a two-week break on British shores, and a third are splitting their holidays over three short domestic breaks so they can visit a series of locations.
Grant Hearn, Travelodge CEO said: “The ‘staycation’ trend accelerating to record levels and boosting our economy by £12bn this year is a very welcome sign, and hopefully this is the start of our 2012 Olympics legacy gain.
“During 2012, our capital city was showcased in its true glory to all corners of the UK and the world, and it’s a great result that London has been crowned as the top ‘staycation’ destination for 2013.
“However we cannot rest on our laurels, as one of Britain’s biggest business sectors, the opportunity to grow is still great.
“We are not yet near to unlocking the true potential of our industry.”
John McHale, Reporter
Outdoor enthusiasts are being offered the chance to clean up the environment and join in action pursuits for a second year.
The Respect the Mountains Envirotrek Mountain Clean-Up sponsored by outdoor brand Keen, will this year take place at two venues.
A June clean-up in the Peak District will be followed a week later in the Lake District.
|Clean up participants from a previous Envirotrek event|
Participants will join in the clean-up in the morning and then will be provided with lunch before enjoying their choice of outdoor activities.
The Peak District event will be based at Castleton and the Lakeland one at Keswick.
A Keen spokesperson said: “Group leaders are allocated and all participants will be provided with cleaning and safety equipment and fully briefed with a safety talk.
“The clean-up finishes at around 12.30pm, with volunteers being rewarded for their mornings’ efforts with a hearty lunch – soup and bread in Lake District, a barbecue in the Peak – on the hillside.
“Participants get to spend the remainder of the afternoon enjoying a range of fun outdoor pursuits organised by the Envirotrek leaders. In the Peak District this will include caving, climbing, rope activities and a ridge walk, whilst the Keswick event will feature climbing, canoeing and gill scrambling.
“There’s also a chance to win some great prizes including Keen footwear and gifts for the quirkiest litter found on the hill, with the day’s event closing at approximately 4pm.”
The English gatherings are part of a series of mountain clean-up events held across various European mountain destinations since 2009 including Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and France.
The Keen spokesperson said: “With an estimated 16 million visitors to the Lakes and an incredible 22 million scheduled to visit the Peak District this year alone, the environmental footprint is considerable and so popular mountain destinations are becoming increasingly in need of on-the-ground action to clear them of waste in order to maintain their natural beauty and enjoyment for generations to come.
“Envirotrek helps to address this need, drawing together tourists, local communities and businesses to give something back to their environment while enjoying some playtime in the great outdoors.
“Through last year’s Envirotrek initiatives, more than 750kg of rubbish was cleared in 1,000 hours across five European countries.”
The clean-ups will take place on 16 and 23 June.
An entrance fee of £9 is payable locally on the day. Children with a responsible adult are welcome; the fee for ages up to 12 is £4.50.
Keen said if you bought a pair of Keen footwear since August 2012 registration is free.
More details are on the two websites.
Cumbrian bike, hike and canoe challenge raises £6,000 for NSPCC
A ‘chasing the sun’ charity challenge raised more than £6,000 for the NSPCC in Cumbria.
The inaugural event, held in the heart of the Lake District, saw competitors from across the UK take part in a hike, canoe and bike ride.
They all completed the course between the sun rising and setting on April 20.
The challenge started at the crack of dawn with off-road mountain biking around Derwentwater – 25 miles in total – followed by a trek up Catbells to enjoy the view, before an eight-mile hike downhill. From there, participants canoed one mile back to awaiting bikes before cycling to the finish line.
More than £6,000 was raised for the NSPCC locally.
Among those who took part were Penrith-based Team Hip Hop, comprising Nick Hall, 18, and Andy Bremner, 19. They are both Lake District National Park apprentices working near Keswick, and were among the fastest to complete the challenge in around six and a half hours. Between them they raised nearly a £1,000.
Andy said: “I really enjoyed the variety this event offered – it was a real challenge. I’ve never done anything like this before but I would definitely do it again.”
The Lake District is a popular destination for mountain biking, family cycling outings and road riding alike (Seb Rogers/Future Publishing)
Saturday 4 May saw the launch of a new ‘Bike Bus’ service in the Lake District. The Stagecoach 800 runs the full length of England’s largest lake, Windermere, and has been specially converted to carry up to 12 bikes.
The new route includes the following popular stops around Windermere and links in with the ‘Bike Boat’ ferry shuttle from Brockhole to Wray:
- Ambleside (Kelsick Road)
- Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre
- Windermere train station
- Bowness-on-Windermere Pier
- Fell Foot Park
- Newby Bridge
- Lakeland Motor Museum
- Lakeside& Havethwaite Railway
For 2013, the Bike Bus will run on the following dates:
- 4 May – 14 July (Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays)
- 20 July – 1 September (daily)
- 7 Sept – 28 Sept (weekends only)
Claire Maclaine, programme manager for the GoLakes, supporter of the Bike Bus service, said: “The Bike Bus is another great way to help people to explore and enjoy our stunning landscape without the hassle of loading up car bike racks and fighting for parking spaces at the other end. This regular service is geared up specifically for the needs of cyclists and is ideal for families to hop on and off at a range of locations running the full length of Windermere.”
Two new leaflets are being produced to complement the service, ‘Rides from the Bike Bus’ and ‘Days out from the Bike Bus’. Printed on waterproof paper, they will both be available from late May. Alternatively, a full timetable can be viewed online.
Sustrans’ National Cycle Network route 6 runs east from Windermere, linking riders with Kendal and going on through the Howgills and Yorkshire Dales. There’s also a short family friendly bridleway ride on the west side of Windermere, through National Trust land, that can be accessed via the ferry that runs from Bowness-on-Windermere.
It’s about 20km to cycle the length of the lake one way, and there are mainly minor roads and bridleways on the west side and main roads on the east.