Chloe runs

International runners head to the Lakes

Athletes from around the world will parade through Ambleside to launch a weekend festival of mountain running next summer.

The streets will see flags from more than 15 different countries carried by youngsters arriving to take part in the International Under 18 Mountain Running Cup, the organisers are hoping.

Susa runners

The English team in Susa this summer

And along with the world’s premier competition for young runners, to be staged in England for the first time, Ambleside will also host an uphill time trial race to the summit of Wansfell, and an open race over the championship course.

Chloe runs

England international Chloe Rylance in action. Photo: Steve Ashworth

The youth event has been a stepping stone for under-18 fell and mountain runners to race internationally since 2006.  Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee are among those who have started their international racing careers at this championship, and for the last 12 years teams from across the world have converged annually at mountain locations in Italy, France, Ireland, Bulgaria and Czech Republic to compete for the trophy.

handing over the flag


The event flag was handed over to Ambleside AC’s Duncan Richards, chair of the organising committee, by Jonathan Wyatt, president of the World Mountain Running Association, after this summer’s race in Susa in Italy. A fundraising push is now needed to finalise the plans; the organisers are close to their £30,000 target but need a little more help.

The races will start in the town’s Rothay Park and cover marked courses on Loughrigg fell. The athletes will be accommodated at Ambleside YHA over the weekend, with a few youngsters staying at Windermere and Coniston YHA hostels on the first night.


Ambleside AC has had to raise all the funding to stage the event, including the cost of accommodating 150 athletes and officials, and they are nearing their target. The championship is supported by a number of leading companies including Epic Events, Inov8, Pete Bland Sports, and Kong Adventure. There have also been contributions from AFWM wealth management and the Ambleside Masons.

Juniors on Loughrigg

Ambleside AC junior runners test the international course on Loughrigg

“This is a fantastic accolade for our local club and will bring the international spotlight on Ambleside,” said Duncan.

“This event is all about developing and inspiring young people, be it international athletes, local athletes, local schools, clubs and communities.”

Duncan, who has been the England team manager at the last six Youth Cups, added: “I have seen the benefit such an experience can bring to young athletes, the confidence born from the shared experience of international competition.”

On the same day, (June 20) the FRA English Junior Championships will take place in the morning, followed by the international races, and then an open race for all runners over the championship course. “So Ambleside will be full of junior fell runners who can support England teams and be inspired by world class young athletes racing over Loughrigg.”

On the Friday night, after the athletes’ parade and the opening ceremony, there will be an open, uphill-only time trial event on Wansfell, starting from Ambleside town centre.

The world’s top tri-athlete Alistair Brownlee, who came 4th in the event in Italy in 2005, said: “The Youth Cup holds many special memories for me. It’s a fantastic event that motivated me to carry on and continue in sport. It will be really special to bring it to Ambleside.”

PLEASE help Ambleside AC to reach the fundraising target :

WATCH the video about this event here





Bottom bunk club for Lakes visitors

A Lake District hostel has launched the Bottom Bunk Club for groups who want to stay without climbing a ladder to bed.

Elterwater Independent Hostel, in the heart of the Langdale valley, says it’s not an age related offer, but “we know that life can get a bit more challenging as you get older. And when they need to get up in the night to go to the loo (maybe a little more often than in your youth), the climb back to the top bunk can be more challenging, than it once was.”

The Bottom Bunk Club is aimed at those groups who are happy to share a room but fight to avoid the bed ladder. And they are happy to welcome groups who want to stay indoors and read or play parlour games, as well as those who can head straight out onto the hills from the door.

“We find that the young at heart, of all ages, love coming to stay here for our location, for the great home cooking, and a few days of companionship in a beautiful location,” said manager Nick Owen.

“Our dormitories are small ones, so it’s just three to share at most. There are good hot showers and a great drying room if you do choose to spend a day on the hills.”

Which is why we’ve launched the Bottom Bunk Club.”

The deal is for a group of at least ten people, who can then have the whole hostel to themselves for a mid-week break (Monday to Thursday) in November or December.

You need to book a minimum of two nights, but it’s only £80 per person for two nights bed, breakfast and dinner.

For dinner you might be offered homemade steak pie or mushroom stroganoff, followed by Nick’s fabulous sticky toffee pudding; and the next morning there will be a full Cumbrian cooked breakfast available.

Book the Bottom Bunk Club by calling  01539437245 or email for more details.

Ambleside store leads the way in sustainable trading

A Cumbrian couple’s new business venture is setting the standard for sustainable trading.

Claire and Alec McCarthy, who run the Rattle Ghyll café in Ambleside, have now opened a fine food and deli shop in the town.

the family at the shop

It’s stocked with local – and natural – produce. And in a bid to eliminate plastic from our shopping bags, one corner is dedicated to zero-waste self-service refills of a range of grocery products.

These include beans, lentils, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, rice and couscous, porridge oats and muesli, which can be dispensed into paper bags or customers’ own containers; and washing up liquid and shampoo.

Claire in the shop

The shop also has a wide range of teas and coffees from local suppliers Atkinsons, Rinaldos and Red Bank, unusual cheeses as well as dairy-free and gluten-free items, fresh salads and home-made cakes.

“We want to know what our customers – locals and tourists – want us to stock,” said Claire. “We’re not just open to suggestions, we positively want them to tell us what they would like to see here.”

There are wines and beers alongside on-trend natural products such as Kimchi -a staple in Korean cuisine, which is a traditional side dish of salted and fermented vegetables – and Kombucha, a fermented drink said to have health benefits. Coming soon will be spice mixes and recipe cards so that customers can make their own versions of what they have tried at the original café.

cheeses and salads at the deli

Claire and Alec, who have a two-year old daughter Adelaide, have been running the Rattle Ghyll café for six years. They have built an award-winning reputation for home cooking and baking which has won fans among locals and tourists alike. It’s especially popular with runners and cyclists.

“The new venture is enabling us to share our concerns about the environment, to help lower carbon footprints by offering a wide range of goods locally, and to encourage shoppers to abandon plastic,” said Claire.

Shoppers were enthusiastic. Early comments included: “This will change the way we shop locally” and “It’s like a proper grocery shop used to be, and so different from all the pre-packaged goods in supermarkets.”

Chris Hodgson, who with his wife Allie runs the town’s award-winning Haven Cottage guest house, and is a member of the sustainability group Ambleside Action for a Future, welcomed the new shop. He said: “This is an exciting new venture which will encourage people to shop locally, for fantastic tasting local produce, and cut down on our use of plastics. It also proves you don’t have to sacrifice taste and flavour to support sustainability.”

A spokesperson for AAFAF said that the group had been quietly cheering on the new venture and was absolutely delighted that it was coming to fruition. “It will certainly contribute very significantly to reducing plastic usage in the town and bring the issue of plastic containers and packaging to the forefront of people’s minds.” She added that AAFAF’s members would certainly be among its most regular and enthusiastic

home baked bread at the new shop

Rydal Round results 2019

Rydal Round Results, July 25 2019

  1. Ricky Lightfoot, Ellenborough (1.25.12)
  2. Nathan Lawson, Dark Peak (1.25.30)
  3. Rhys Findlay Robinson, Dark Peak (1.25.49)
  4. Garry Greenhow, Ambleside (1.28.58) MV40
  5. Joe Kenny, Helm Hill (1.29.09)
  6. Tom Simpson, Ambleside (1.34.15)
  7. Jack Wright, Ambleside (1.35.09)
  8. Max Wainwright, Dark Peak (1.35.12)
  9. Oliver Gajdowski, Ambleside (1.35.16)
  10. James Harris, Ambleside (1.38.41)
  11. Pete Rigby, Helm Hill (1.39.59)
  12. Luke Bowen, Ambleside (1.41.50)
  13. Julian Hood, Barlick (1.42.18) MV40
  14. Steve Jones, Keswick (1.42.33) MV40
  15. Kelli Roberts, Helm Hill (1.42.41) F
  16. Barry Wilkinson, Borrowdale (1.45.15) MV50
  17. John Horrocks, Blackburn Harriers (1.46.00)
  18. Philip Pearson, Northern Fells (1.46.18) MV50
  19. Josh Hartley, Black Combe (1.48.01)
  20. David Blackshaw, u/a (1.48.33) MV40
  21. Dan Gilbert, Horwich (1.48.41) MV40
  22. Dominic Raby, Chorley (1.48.56) MV40
  23. James Baron, Helm Hill (1.49.13) MV50
  24. Simon Netherway, Keswick (1.49.57)
  25. Calvin Routledge, Ambleside (1.50.11) MV50
  26. Natalie Beadle, OUAC (1.50.43) F
  27. James Titmuss, Horwich (1.52.18) MV40
  28. Ben Timbers, KCAC (1.53.11) MV40
  29. Shane Ohly, Helm Hill (1.55.24) MV40
  30. Graham Kennedy, u/a (1.53.50) MV40
  31. Gary Crone u/a (1.54.41) MV40
  32. Karl Steinegger, Ambleside (1.55.01)
  33. Richard Cross, u/a (1.55.19) MV50
  34. Darren Fishwick, Chorley (1.55.31) MV40
  35. Andy Preedy, Rossendale (1.57.27) MV40
  36. Andy Summers, Victoria Park Harriers (1.57.33) MV40
  37. Lucy Scott, u/a (1.57.50) F
  38. Stephen Burton, Accrington RR (1.59.22) MV40
  39. Paul Chamberlain, u/a (2.00.07) MV40
  40. Steve Angus, Keswick (2.00.17) MV50
  41. Bryony Halcrow, Harrogate Harriers (2.00.28) F
  42. Carlos Bedson, Cheshire Hill Racers (2.00.35) MV50
  43. Jo Buckley, CVFR (2.00.55) FV40
  44. Keith Melvin, u/a (2.02.06)
  45. Jonathan Whitaker, Harrogate Harriers (2.02.44) MV50
  46. Jackie Murdy, S Shields Harriers (2.04.57) FV50
  47. Rosie Watson, CVFR (2.07.31) F
  48. Jess Richardson, u/a (2.08.08) F
  49. Leigh Warburton, u/a (2.08.20) MV60
  50. Adam Hayden, Dark peak (2.09.49)
  51. Dan Croft, Macclesfield (2.09.59) MV50
  52. Andrew Tongue, Chorlton (2.10.32)
  53. Ben Vince, u/a (2.11.23)
  54. Joe Rigby, u/a (2.12.36)
  55. Keiran Horrigan, u/a (2.12.42) MV50
  56. Graham Brown, Macclesfield (2.13.52) MV40
  57. Alison Wainwright, Dark Peak (2.14.35) FV50
  58. Jack Waterhouse, u/a (2.15.30)
  59. Jon Underwood, CVFR (2.15.32) MV40
  60. Scott Watson, Hyde Park Harriers (2.15.56) MV40
  61. Marcus Taylor, Horwich (2.16.23) MV40
  62. Ian Greenfield, u/a (2.20.04) MV40
  63. David Williams, Ellenborough (2.20.15)
  64. Nicola Sikes, Bournville Harriers (2.20.16) F
  65. Roger Taylor, Preston Harriers (2.20.23) MV50
  66. Julie Darigala, u/a (2.22.00) FV40
  67. Ella Waddingham, Wimbledon Windmilers (2.23.02) F
  68. Andrea Frost, Macclesfield (2.24.11) FV50
  69. Catherine Spurden, Keswick (2.24.19) F
  70. Tom Makin, Achille Ratti (2.25.24)
  71. Kelly Clark, Victoria Park Harriers (2.28.02) F
  72. Katherine Barker, u/a (2.28.29) F
  73. Dan Oldfield, u/a (2.29.46) MV40
  74. Trevor Symonds, Northern Fells (2.30.37) MV60
  75. Michael McLoughlin, Preston Harriers (2.32.59) MV60
  76. Tom Robinson, u/a (2.33.54)
  77. Katy Thompson, Clayton le Moors (2.34.06) FV60
  78. Neil Weightman, u/a (2.34.17) MV50
  79. Brent Lindsay, Penistone (2.35.52) MV50
  80. Bob Summers, BC Runners (2.36.16)MV40
  81. Alice Kershaw, u/a (2.36.57) F
  82. Don Kershaw, u/a (2.36.58) MV60
  83. Paul Stocks, u/a (2.38.36) MV50
  84. Andrew Conner , Helm Hill (2.47.02) MV50
  85. Denise Turnstall, Durham FR (2.50.44) FV50
  86. Howard Proctor, u/a (2.50.45) MV50
  87. Kevin Ayre, S Shields (2.51.36) MV50
  88. Francis Woofk, Chorlton (2.52.22) MV50
  89. Peter Murray, York Acorn (2.52.47) MV40
  90. Susie Anton u/a (2.53.36) F
  91. Simon Wiggins, Felixstowe (2.54.09) MV40
  92. Ben Gent, Winston Runners (2.57.58) MV40
  93. Niki Rylance, Ambleside (2.57.58) FV40
  94. Richard Tait, Ambleside (3.12.03) MV50
  95. Craig Eccles, Clayton le Moors (3.14.35) MV40








Free help for small business

A project to provide small businesses with graduates and undergraduate interns is under way in Cumbria.

Businesses can apply to have funded assistance for 20 days from under graduates and graduate students with a range of skills, from digital technology to forestry.

The project, organised by Cumbria Innovations Platform, is arranged so that the innovation needs of each small business are supported.

Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 17.35.07

And there’s flexibility in the project, with students able to work remotely or on campus if it suits the business owner’s needs.

“We have access to a wide range of skills among students who have either graduated or are in their third year in subjects including outdoor studies, science, business studies, creative media and health studies,” said project manager Sarah Allison.

She highlighted as an example Beth, a concept artist with a 2.1 BA (Hons) Games Design who was looking for part-time work before beginning her Masters in September.

“Cumbria has a host of small and micro businesses, with a big emphasis on digital technology and creativity,” said Sarah. “This is a great opportunity for them to access help from people who have the most up to date skills in their particular field”.

Cumbria Innovations Platform is a unique project provided by Lancaster University and University of Cumbria, funded by European Regional Development Funding. It aims to support and encourage innovation in Cumbria by providing micro, small and medium enterprises with a competitive edge, combining the capabilities of various departments from the universities and the provision of bespoke business support.


Anyone interested in taking on an intern should contact




Simply the best in Cumbria

An Ambleside guest house has been judged the best in Cumbria just two years after the new owners took over.

Haven Cottage won the title at the Cumbria Tourism awards, with the judges highlighting the excellent customer service of Chris and Allie Hodgson.

Allie & Chris awards night.JPG

The award was open to bed and breakfast and guest-house businesses providing “truly memorable guest experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business”.


Chris and Allie swapped their corporate jobs in their 30s to set-up and run a catered ski chalet in the French Alps, first in Morzine and then in Samoens, before moving back to the UK four years ago, and now run Haven Cottage with the help of housekeeper Cristina Dumitrascu. Chris is a member of Ambleside AC and was one of the organisers of the recent British Fell Relay races at Grasmere, and he’s also an active member of the sustainability group Ambleside Action for a Future.

crhis and allie nice 1

They recently won the coveted ROSE award from Visit England in recognition of service excellence and Haven Cottage is the long-term Trip Advisor No 1 out of 101 establishments in Ambleside. The guest-house has three double bedrooms and two luxury suites, holds four-star gold accreditation from Visit England – and a reputation for excellent breakfasts. They also hold the Green Tourism silver award and are working toward gaining gold status.

Said Allie: “This is a wonderful accolade for us. While we believe that Haven Cottage provides a high level of comfort, it is more about how we run our guest house, and the exceptional customer service we provide, that we believe sets us apart.

“We have a genuine desire to make sure guests enjoy their stay in the Lakes to the maximum and spend time each day helping guests plan their day’s activities and provide detailed itineraries and walks if required.”

Chris said: “We spent over a decade running a very successful ski chalet in the French Alps. The time in France was invaluable in developing our hospitality skills and gave us confidence that our model of ‘excellence in customer service’ was the right one, both for ourselves and our guests.”

The personal touch is combined with an increasing focus on sustainability and community. Products are sourced locally in and around Ambleside to provide high quality breakfasts and toiletries, and the couple actively support the local community both in organised events and helping shape tomorrow’s world of sustainable tourism.

Allie said: “We do go out of our way to ensure guests are having a great stay. What’s the point in having all this knowledge and love for the Lakes if we don’t share it with our guests? It’s great to be recognised this way.”

What guests have said about Haven Cottage:

  • Absolute perfection.
  • The Haven is perfect.
  • Chris and Allie were friendly, informative, welcoming and great breakfast chefs.
  • Nothing I can fault at all.
  • We were there for four nights and were able to observe a variety of guests from hard-core walkers (like us) to people who were car touring. Each couple was given the warmest of welcomes, and if they were new to the Lake District, very personal advice on how to use their time or where to walk given the weather conditions and their skill level.



Paul to tackle the biggest fell challenge

Ambleside AC runner and inov-8 ambassador Paul Tierney is to make an attempt on the UK’s toughest individual mountain challenge, to run all of Alfred Wainwright’s 214 peaks in the Lake District in six days.

Paul (36) is hoping to beat the record time set by Steve Birkinshaw in 2014 who ran the circuit in six days and 13 hours.

Steve Birkinshaw broke the record set by Joss Naylor in 1987, who completed the challenge in seven days, one hour and 25 minutes.

Paul is running the route to raise money for the mental health charity MIND, in memory of his close friend and fellow athlete Chris Stirling who died suddenly last month.

An Irish international trail runner – who also played the sport of hurling at county level – Paul came to live in the Lake District in 2013. He’s a sports therapist who runs Missing Link Coaching with his partner, the Irish international runner Sarah McCormack. They live in Windermere.

Paul and Sarah are both inov-8 ambassadors, running for the Lake District brand which specialises in footwear, clothing and equipment for committed athletes. Forged on the same fells that Paul will be crossing in his Wainwrights attempt, he will rely on the brand’s iconic grip in the rugged off-trail terrain.

paul running

Photo: Steve Ashworth

Paul will eat on the move and sleep in a van at road crossings. He will be supported throughout by family and friends, with groups of runners taking it in turns to pace and navigate him over different sections of the route.

An endurance expert, Paul is a former winner of the Lakeland 100 mile race, and has twice competed in the four-day 330k continuous race in the Italian Alps, the Tor des Geants. He and partner George Foster recently won the 37-mile Old Counties Tops fell race. He completed the Bob Graham round (66 miles, 42 Lakeland summits) in 2012.

The latest challenge, which starts in Keswick on June 14, is 320 miles, with 118,000 feet of climbing. The attempt is sponsored by inov-8, and supported by a number of local companies including Cedar Manor Hotel, Sally’s Cottages, McClures of Windermere and Wilsons of Kendal, and staff at Elterwater independent hostel.

Paul said: “I’m under no illusions as to how tough this challenge will be. I fully expect it to test me to the absolute maximum and probably beyond what I can imagine. I will run what I can, but obviously there is going to be a lot of fast-hiking and, as time goes on, slower hiking involved.

“Once I started recceing the route the scale of the challenge in front of me really sank in. But it is great to know I have Steve’s support and he has been very good to me with his advice and encouragement.”

“I’m also lucky to be part of a great club in Ambleside AC and plenty of my clubmates have already offered their support, as have others among the local fell running community.”

Steve Birkinshaw said: “It’s nice to see someone giving it a go again. The nature of the fell running community means I have offered Paul any help I can with this attempt and will be out supporting him on his run to break my record.”

Paul said: “I want to honour the memory of Chris who overcame so much in his short life and epitomised all that is great about endurance sport. He was an inspiration to me, in how he went from knowing nothing about triathlon to winning the world’s toughest, the Celtman, in just a few years.”

The 214 peaks were described in Wainwright’s seven-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells.

with ben McClure

Paul with Ben McClure of the Windermere food wholesalers who are providing some of the energy requirements for the athlete and his support team, including Lucozade, chocolate bars – and huge quantities of Wilsons Kendal Mint cake!

You can donate to the charity here:

inov8 logo

Cedar Manor Final-01 (002)


mcclures logo jpgelterwater_hostel_logo