Special events

County Fair Season is upon us

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There are strange happenings in the Lakeland valleys in the summer time.

Grown men…often very large grown men….can be seen in an unusual costume, comprising white long johns underneath brightly embroidered shorts. And thus attired, they grapple with one another in the middle of a field.

Meanwhile, the betting booths are open not for horse racing, but for dog races the like of which you’ve never seen before. The trail hounds leaping around the fellside for miles, on steep and rocky ground, is a spectacle like no other.

But if neither Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling , nor hound trails, take your fancy, how about watching the very antithesis of the Tour de France, grass track sprint cycling? And then there’s always the fell races, where mere mortals (from the age of 8 upwards) run as fast as possible up a steep hillside and then plummet down again.

It’s showtime in the Lakes, from the small but perfectly formed Coniston Country Fair this weekend, to the massive Westmorland County Show in September.

But our favourite is on next week, Ambleside Sports, always staged on the last Thursday of July at Rydal Park, about five miles north from here (and on the bus route). This is the oldest and most traditional of the Lakes’ sporting events, running for well over 130 years.

There are craft stalls and local produce for sale, a beer tent, and plenty of opportunities to eat Cumberland sausage, but the sports themselves are the real attraction. As well as the guides races – that’s the short dash up and down a steep slope – there’s also the gruelling nine mile chase of the Rydal Round, over all the summits in the Fairfield Horseshoe. Come and see some of the country’s top athletes in action.

The grass cycle track racing is held in the central arena, with a spectacularly exciting event called Devil Take the Hindmost. And in the wrestling arena, this year they are hosting the world championship for juniors.

It’s a brilliant day out, and if you’re coming to stay we can provide you with plenty more information about this and other country fairs throughout Cumbria. You might even be tempted to join in if you’re a good sport!

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Wainwright Record Breakers Map for Auction

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The map used at mission control for Paul Tierney’s record-breaking run round the Lakeland fells is to be auctioned for charity.

We asked if it could be done…but we still want to put in a bid ourselves, for this piece of Lakeland history.

The special map, printed for the occasion by Harvey Map Services, has the line of the route over the 214 Wainwrights outlined in red. It has been signed by Paul Tierney who set a new record of six days, six hours and five minutes for the run.

After sponsoring Paul’s run, providing funds to transport his supporters and his food supplies, we watched the whole challenge on the tracker, and still can’t quite believe how anyone could move so fast!

The map was used throughout the run at the Ambleside HQ from where Paul’s run was monitored, and from where his supplies – and his team of pacers – were co-ordinated.

Harvey Map Services have given their blessing for the auction which will raise further funds of the mental health charity MIND. Paul’s run has already brought in more than £30,000, in memory of his friend and fellow runner Chris Stirling who died earlier this year.

Chris Beacock of Harvey’s said that the whole staff had avidly followed Paul’s progress on the online tracker and were very happy that the map had been useful.

As runners ourselves…and we’re ticking off the Wainwrights, one at a time… we know that this challenge gripped the imagination of everyone who loves the Lakeland hills.

It was a truly remarkable piece of fell-running history. And we really want to support the charity to raise awareness of mental health issues, particularly among the fit and active.

The online auction will take place on August 5 and 6, hosted and lived streamed by 1818 auctioneers. https://www.1818auctioneers.co.uk/auctions/two-day-catalogued-specialist-auction-5/

 

Photo: Record-breaker Paul Tierney signing the map of his route

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Sustainability in the Lake District

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We’re very proud of our green credentials here at the Cedar Manor, and we have become used to media attention, especially after winning the Catey award for best sustainable hotel. We were also finalists at the Cumbria Tourism Awards this week in the category for Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism.

So we were very happy to give answer a media request for an interview…from a nine year old schoolboy.

Tom Ashworth, who goes to Ambleside Primary School, has been inspired by teenage climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg and wants to raise awareness of what’s being done here in the Lake District to save the planet – and what needs to be done.

He’s on our wavelength. He’s worried about people driving around the Lakes, which is why we fitted an electric car charging point here in our grounds. And why we promote the fact that there’s a bus stop right outside our gate, which takes you into the heart of the Lakes.

He’s worried about the number of visitors arriving by car into the Lake District, and of course we have been recommending that our guests travel by train, as we’re only a five-minute walk from the station at Windermere. And we’ve been lobbying the rail companies to improve services to the north west.

Tom’s a natural in front of the camera, a potential TV presenter in our view. And he’s very well informed, asking pertinent and sometimes difficult questions. The session was being filmed by his dad, Steve Ashworth, a professional cameraman (who’s only just got back from Scotland, where he was filming an extreme triathlon. It’s all in a day’s work…)

We were able to tell him that becoming a Green Hotel was very important for us at Cedar Manor. We love the Lake District and sharing the beauty of the National Park with our guests, but we do want to minimise the impact that we as a business has on the environment. Sustainable tourism takes the needs of our environment, local residents, their businesses and visitors into account.

We look forward to seeing Tom’s film, and have already had a sneak preview of his final message – to Donald Trump: climate change is NOT fake news. Good luck Tom, you’re a star.

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Wainwright bagging the hard way

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We’ve been getting out onto the hills again recently on our rare mornings off, and Jonathan has now proudly bagged 44 of the Wainwright summits. So only 170 left to go.

Imagine how we feel, then, to see that our Windermere neighbour Paul Tierney is determined to do them all. In one continuous journey of 320 miles. In just six days.

He’s done many of them already, of course. Paul is one of our local heroes, a runner with Ambleside AC who has the ability to set off running…and keep going…and going…and going.

But this time he wants the record, the one that was set by Steve Birkinshaw back in 2014 who, in turn, broke the record set by the legendary Joss Naylor in 1987. Joss’s time was 7 days 1 hour 25 minutes. Steve took that down to six days and 13 hours. Now Paul wants to see if he can do it faster still.

There’s no point asking, Why? In these parts, the fells dominate our lives every day, and no one with a soul (and a decent pair of lungs, and a decent pair of boots) can resist going up there to find the top. When Alfred Wainwright wrote his seven guidebooks to the Lakeland Fells, choosing 214 of them, he was inadvertently laying down a challenge.

Some people climb them meticulously, book by book. For others it’s a more random journey, that sudden realisation that you’ve done more than half, so why not set off to bag the rest? Some try to fit them into a timespan (usually longer than six days, though); we have a friend who took 42 years to tick them all off.

So those who are lucky enough to live in the Lakes, and those who love the Lakes, can understand the appeal. And anyone who has ever experienced the exhilaration of running fast down a mountainside will understand why Paul Tierney is hooked.

Even so, it’s an almighty challenge. Paul will have very little sleep. He’ll need people to run with him, to verify that he has indeed visited every summit, and to make sure he keeps eating all along the way. Supplies will need to be ferried out to remote valleys; running companions likewise. So it feels like a privilege to be able to help, to offer to pay for the transportation costs, as our small contribution to this giant effort.

One more motivation, for us, and for Paul, and for everyone cheering him on. Paul’s good friend and fellow athlete Chris Stirling died suddenly last month, and Paul is doing this run in honour of Chris’s memory. And raising money along the way for MIND, the mental health charity. So when you settle down to sleep, on any of those six days from June 14, spare a thought for Paul and his team of volunteers, running late into the night, snatching a couple of hours’ sleep in a van somewhere in a valley. And spare a bit of cash for the very good cause which is his driving force.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-tierneywainwrights214

PS - who or what is a Wainwright??
Alfred Wainwright MBE was a British fellwalker, guidebook author and illustrator. His seven-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, published between 1955 and 1966 and consisting entirely of reproductions of his manuscript, has become the standard reference work to 214 of the fells of the English Lake District.  (and a fell is the Cumbrian name for a hill or mountain)

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Love is in the Lakes air

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It’s time to put a bit of romance back into your life.

How many couples go through the extravagance of a big wedding and an exotic honeymoon, and then wonder why life seems less than sparkling a year or so later?

Surveys both scientific and light-hearted say that a change of scene is one of the best ways to put some romance back into your life. (Don’t rely on gifts, they say. We all love chocolates and flowers, but if they’re only ever bought as an apology, the gesture wears thin!)

We’re delighted to have been voted no. 7 in the top 25 romantic hotels in the UK on TripAdvisor Travellers Choice for Romance 2019. Over the years we’ve become experts at what our romantic visitors want. These couples might be on a mini-honeymoon, taking an escape with someone special, celebrating an engagement, or even getting engaged here. And they all know that our special treats are very special indeed.

Throughout this year we’re offering a very special package for our Coach House suite, the ultimate in luxury with a private dining area and sitting room, spa bathroom and private parking.

A stay here is one of the most memorable and romantic Lake District breaks you will ever experience. The Coach House is tucked away in the Cedar Manor grounds, just a short distance from Windermere, so it offers you the best of both worlds – the full hotel experience, but with the indulgence of having your own private space.

Thanks to our award-winning interior designers, it’s an elegant and exciting hideaway which is the perfect combination of total privacy, yet with all your luxurious and high-tech home comforts – and more – at your fingertips.

The ground floor provides a super king-sized bedroom, and  a dramatic bathroom. The striking pieces of furniture have been created by skilled local craftsmen, while the generously proportioned bathroom boasts a double spa airbath, double wash-basins and a double wetroom shower area, as well as mood lighting, television and a fantastic sound system.

Upstairs it’s bright, spacious and open plan, with a lounge and dining room, complete with a 42” flat screen TV and state-of-the-art entertainment system and Wi-Fi of course. There’s also a kitchenette – perfect for chilling your champagne and strawberries or satisfying the midnight munchies.

And if you really don’t want to step outside your door, you can eat breakfast or dinner in your own private dining room.

So here’s the deal. We’re offering a 3 night stay (midweek, Sunday to Thursday inclusive) for £999, which is a massive £301 saving on our usual rates.

This includes:

  • a bottle of Prosecco on arrival in the suite
  • room service breakfast every morning
  • dinner for 2 on the night of your choice in the hotel's fine dining restaurant 

And outside, on our doorstep, is the most romantic landscape in the world, our beautiful fells and valleys, lakes and becks. It might be the moment to fall in love all over again.

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Book Directly with us for your Staycation

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Wise travellers are realising that the best deals for a staycation are no longer found with the big multi-national booking agencies.

It’s common sense really. How can a web-based system, hosted in another country, know what’s the perfect room for a couple coming to stay for a weekend in Windermere?

How can they explain about our breakfast menu, about the valuable knowledge we have of the local fells, about the attention our staff will pay to their very individual needs, from their choice of peppermint tea at bedtime to the strength of their coffee in the morning?

We have always encouraged prospective guests to book direct with us, and that’s where they will get the very best deal … because we’re not having to pay commission fees.

Here in the Lakes our local Cumbria Tourism has set up a Fair Booking scheme which encourages visitors to book direct with accommodation providers. The campaign aims to help businesses be less dependent on multi-national Online Travel Agents (OTAs), so we can avoid the high commission fees they have to pay when advertising on these channels, and YOU get the best rate available.

There’s much more to it than that. Fair Booking assures customers that with

every direct booking a donation is made to an approved good cause that supports destinations, such as a woodland/wildlife conservation group or a rescue service.

You also get the local welcome, with visitor experiences and added value, while supporting the local economy and environment of your chosen destination.

Here at the Cedar Manor we are very proud of the help we give to the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, to the mountain rescuers and the red squirrel protectors, and to the very critical work being done by our local Fix the Fells team.

All of these are organisations whose work will enhance your visit to Windermere and the Lake District.

And there’s the added flexibility for you by booking direct, if something goes wrong and you have to change your plans.

So please, before you go ahead and book online, just pick up the phone and give us a call. If you’ve been before, you’ll know how approachable we are. If you’ve not, then of course you might want to check what others have been saying about us on review sites. But use them as a guide, and then book direct with us.

All the travel experts will now advise that the best room, rate, service and stay come from booking with the hotel directly. There’s the issue of accountability: when the reservation relationship is between the guest and the hotel only, it's clean and easy because there are only two parties involved: the customer and the business. So give us a call. We will talk about our rooms, about which one will suit you best, about how to get here easily by train so you can relax and leave the car at home. We can even tell you what the weather’s doing right now! We’re really looking forward to meeting you.

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Backgammon in the Lake District

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Board champion takes Lakes and Cumbria title

The Lake District backgammon championship title went to David Gallagher from Silloth in West Cumbria.

In the sixth annual tournament here at the Cedar Manor Hotel, Gallagher defeated Zohrab Yoncali in the final.

The event attracted 16 top players from across the UK. Another Cumbrian, Alan Farrell, beat Martin Barkwill in the consolation final. Farrell, who comes from Whitehaven, lived for many years in Windermere.

The winner took a cash prize and a two night stay at the hotel. There was also a cash prize for the runner up.

The championship, which has the backing of the UK Backgammon Federation and the British Isles Backgammon Association, was launched by Cedar Manor owner Jonathan Kaye who said: “It was a great day with some thrilling matches.”

He added: “We are now recognised as one of the major tournaments on the UK calendar.”

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5 Things to do over Easter in the Lake District

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What’s on this Easter in the Lake District

Visitors staying with us at Easter will find that the Lake District has the country’s best range of tourist attractions, indoor and out, to suit every kind of holiday break.

We’ve picked out some of the lesser-known places to go, including a couple of visits to the theatre.

1: Our favourite garden of all is just a mile away, along the main road towards Ambleside and then right at the mini roundabout. It’s Holehird Gardens, the home of the Lakeland Horticultural Society which is marking its 50th anniversary this year.

This wonderful estate is run entirely by enthusiastic volunteers, and they open up every day from dawn till dusk.

In the walled gardens, display houses and glass houses you’ll find national collections of astilbe,  meconopsis, daboecia, and polystichum (hardy ferns). Holehird also has the Lakeland collection of hydrangeas, and stunning early flowering rhododendrons, which you’ll see as you set off up the drive.

There’s no admission charge but a recommended donation of £5. You will certainly think this is worthwhile.

http://holehirdgardens.org.uk/visit

2. Another lovely garden can be found just a little further along the road towards Ambleside, at Stagshaw. This is a small National Trust estate with a woodland garden that bursts into colour and life in the spring. Following rambling paths you’ll come across unusual combinations of shrubs, trees and plants, with splendid native oaks, and a wonderful display of bluebells. The views across Windermere are special, too.

There’s no admission charge, and just a small car park. So why not walk along the back road from Ambleside through Skelghyll Wood.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ambleside/features/escape-to-stagshaw-gardens

3.The new season at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick gets under way with a co-production by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers of the Willy Russell comedy Educating Rita. You may remember the film version with Michael Caine and Julie Walters, but here we have a more recent star favourite in the lead, Stephen Tompkinson.

His television credits include ITV’s Torvill & Dean, BBC’s The Split, five series of DCI Banks, four series of Trollied, seven series of Wild at Heart, six series of Drop the Dead Donkey (British Comedy Award Winner for Best TV Comedy Actor) and three series of Ballykissangel, and his films include Brassed Off.  

The play won the Olivier award in the West End when it was first produced by the RSC. We have every faith that this will be as brilliant as everything we’ve seen over the last few years at the Theatre by the Lake.

 www.theatrebythelake.com

4. On the other hand, we have absolutely no idea what to expect from the latest production by Ambleside Players – although it will be hilarious. This talented amateur group puts on a play every Easter, and this time it’s a crime comedy, Death by Fatal Murder.  We understand it features the hapless and hopeless Inspector Pratt whose record of crime detection at Bagshot House is not impressive. There are bodies piling up as usual, and once again it promises to be a chaotic experience. The shows by the Players are VERY popular and it’s advised you book in advice, either online or at Fred Holdsworth’s Bookshop in Ambleside. Venue is the town’s Kelsick Centre.

http://www.amblesideplayers.co.uk/

5. If you’re new to the Lakes, or don’t have much experience of walking in the fells, why not try one of the guided walks organised by the Lake District National Park. They are organised to suit different levels of ability and experience, with some lovely seasonal themes. It might be just too late for the famous daffodils walk, but what about trying a bit of industrial history with a walk into Coniston’s fascinating Coppermines Valley. You’ll learn about the history and archaeology of this beautiful part of Lakeland and hear stories of the many men, women and children who lived and worked here. There’s a full programme over the Easter holiday on the website.

https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/events-and-guided-walks/

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Top 5 Boating Experiences in the Lake District

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Launch of the boating season in the Lakes

Easter sees the launch of the boating season in the Lakes, and the best reminder of why we’re called the “Lake” District.

And with Easter being later than usual this year, there’s a really good chance of some good boating weather to enjoy being out on the water, or next to it.

So here’s our top five boating experiences in the Lakes:

1. We have to start with our brand new Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories. It’s been a long time in the planning and building, but we’re really excited by what we’ve seen so far. The whole place is a celebration of Windermere’s importance in the Lake District, one of the world’s most important collections of boats related to a single location. There’s working steamers, a conservation workshop, exhibitions, regular events and, of course, a Lakeside café. See the website to plan your whole day there. 

https://windermerejetty.org/

Windermere Lake Cruises will also be calling at the Jetty on the regular service from Bowness to Ambleside.  You should also look at all the cruises on Windermere including our favourite the Walkers Ticket.

Cruises connect to some of the most famous and iconic walking routes in the National Park, and if you are lucky you might still catch a glimpse of Wordsworth's Daffodils on the west shore of the lake.
 

2. If we were forced to name our favourite Lake, it would be hard to ignore Ullswater. Its serpentine shape and stunning position with high ranges of fells on either side make this an artist’s dream location, and a great place for dreamers, too. The Ullswater steamers provide the best way to see the lake itself, and the best view of the surrounding mountains. They have been operating for more than 150 years with one of the largest heritage vessel fleets in the world.

Onboard there are open and covered deck seating areas, licensed bars and toilets. The steamers actually operate an all year service with varying timetable connections between Glenridding, Howtown, Pooley Bridge Piers and between Glenridding and National Trust Aira Force Pier. Cruise times vary from 20 – 120 minutes.

https://www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk/
 

3. After a winter out of the water for maintenance, the historic steam yacht Gondola is back sailing on Coniston now. It’s a re-built Victorian vessel that offers the chance of an experience that takes you back to a more leisurely era, riding in style in the opulent saloons or relaxing in the sun on the open deck. We love Coniston for its connections with Donald Campbell, the hero of the Lake District who died here attempting the world water speed record. And for the stories of Arthur Ransome in the Swallows and Amazons series which are set on the lake itself, and on the fell territory all around. The “Wild Cat Island” of the stories lies at the foot of the lake, while the majestic Old Man of Coniston (which the children in the books rename Kanchenchunga) can be seen at its best from the water.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/steam-yacht-gondola

 

4. On Derwentwater the Keswick Launch Company offers the best way to see the fabulous hills of the northern Lake District. Derwentwater, which is three miles long, can be cruised in a 50 minute round boat trip from Keswick. But you can also use the boats as a water-bus service, disembarking at one of the eight jetties en-route and walk back via well-marked paths to famous landmarks such as Ashness BridgeLodore FallsGrange in BorrowdaleBrandelhow and Lingholm, the holiday home of Beatrix Potter. The cruises sail past four islands, now owned by the National Trust and each with its own special history: Derwent IslandLord’s IslandRampsholme and St Herbert’s Island.

The four launches have open and covered decks and operate on a regular timetable throughout the year. Rowing boats and motor cruisers are also available for hire so you can explore the lake at your own pace.

https://keswick-launch.co.uk/

 

5. This is the smallest, and quirkiest of all boating experiences, a visit to the magical Faeryland at Grasmere. It’s a tiny bay on the north shore of the lake, a five minute walk from the village centre, which has a handful of pretty rowing boats for hire. There’s a tea garden, with a vast range of teas on offer (try their Faery blend) and a basic menu of scones and cakes. And there are fairies galore in the garden if you go looking for them.

http://www.faeryland.co.uk/

By the way, want to know why Easter is so much later this year? Well, the holiday, in the Christian church celebrating Christ’s resurrection, can actually occur on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25.

It's set to coincide with the vernal equinox, a day when the sun shines directly on the equator and the majority of the earth experiences nearly equal hours of sunlight and night-time, which signals the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere

Because Christ's death and resurrection happened after the Jewish Passover, which is celebrated on the first full moon after the equinox, early Christians wanted Easter to always take place following Passover, so Easter falls on a different date each year because it, like Passover, is tied to solar and lunar cycles.

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Sunday Lunch at Cedar Manor

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Sunday  Lunch

We now serve lunch instead on Sundays, starting at midday with last orders at 2pm.  The menu includes a delicious Roast of the Day along with fish and vegetarian options.  We like to think this will tempt those that are checking out to stick around for a while to enjoy lunch before travelling home, and we hope also to attract those that are checking in to come a little earlier and enjoy a traditional roast before heading out to explore.  And of course, any locals and visitors in the area will be most welcome to come and enjoy our Sunday lunch at Cedar Manor.

 

Sample Sunday Lunch Menu

Starters

Ham Hock and Mustard Terrine
with homemade piccalilli

Beetroot, Pink Grapefruit and Pomegranate Salad
with labneh

Soup of the Day

Mains

Fillet of Cod
with a green chilli, ginger and coconut cream, sugar snaps, samphire, asparagus and Jasmine rice

Roast Rib of Beef, Yorkshire Pudding
with roast potatoes and market vegetables

Tagine of Aubergine, Sweet Potatoes and Chestnuts
with couscous and naan bread

Desserts

Hot Fudge Sundae

Rhubarb & Apple Crumble with Custard

Home–made Ice Cream

Coffee or Tea with Shortbread £3.95

2 courses £19.95
3 courses £24.95                                                                                          

For those arriving after 2pm, we will be serving dinner as usual from 6.30pm.

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