Hosts who will help the Lake District

An Ambleside guest house with strong links to the Lakeland fells has joined the Lake District Foundation visitor giving scheme.

Guests planning to stay at Haven Guest House will now have an opportunity to make a donation when they stay at the property, and the owners will also donate £1 for every direct booking.

allie an chris

Allie and Chris Hodgson

The guest house is run by Allie and Chris Hodgson who are closely connected with an event that helps the local community across the valley in the Patterdale area. They are members of the team that organises the annual Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay race which in turn helps raise funds for the people and the places around the event.

“Over the years we have built a close relationship with many people in the local Patterdale community; we rely on the goodwill and generosity of the landowners and residents in the valley so try to put something back into the area on an annual basis,” said Chris. The event is named in the memory of two of his sporting brothers who died tragically young.

Leg1 start

Runners in the Hodgson Brothers relay in the Lake District

“So we are delighted to help the Lake District Foundation which funds conservation, environmental and cultural heritage projects in whole of the Lakes. As well as raising funds we want to raise awareness of the Foundation and will be publicising their work in our guest house”

Recent Foundation projects have included a grant of £4,500 to the Cumbria Local Nature Partnership, enabling them to lead the development of a strategic approach for managing the biodiversity of the National Park; and a grant of over £2,600 to the John Muir Trust, which last year took over responsibility for the management of a large part of Helvellyn. The money will fund a new project aiming to increase the populations of threatened arctic-alpine species found on the high crags of the Helvellyn range.

“The relay organisers made a donation this year to the John Muir Helvellyn project, and this is something very dear to our hearts,” said Chris.

In 2018 the relay organisers also supported Glenridding Village Hall; Patterdale School & Nursery who raise nearly £2000 by serving refreshments at the event; and the King George V Playing Fields in Patterdale which is race HQ and who are currently raising funds for a new pavilion.


The Lake District Foundation inspires people to care for and donate to projects that care for the spectacular wildlife, landscapes and cultural heritage of the Lake District and Cumbria.  The LDF supports the delivery of the shared aims of the Lake District National Park Partnership as the main fundraising and grant making partner. This is achieved through innovative and successful fundraising campaigns locally, nationally and internationally. The Lake District Foundation encourages partners to work together to ensure a coordinated approach to fundraising and income generation. For more information visit



New Kendal show by Cumbrian artist

New paintings by Cumbrian artist Linda Ryle are on show at Kendal’s Abbot Hall gallery.

The ten recent oil paintings fill the wall reserved for contemporary art in the gallery’s shop and all are all for sale. The display will run until the end of January.

Linda Ryle in her studio.

Linda made her name in the 1970s making belts for celebrities. She went on to develop an extensive and unusual career including craft work and different periods of painting. A major retrospective, Time Regained, was staged at Grasmere’s Heaton Cooper Studio two years ago.

Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Linda trained at Goldsmiths’ School of Art, London in the 1960s, and now lives in Cockermouth. She is married to the painter Julian Cooper.

She designed and produced leather belts for the shop Ace on Chelsea’s Kings Road (and later at Covent Garden market) whose clientele included singers, actors and celebrities such as Elton John, Lulu, Bianca Jagger and Brit Ekland.

As a painter her work included farm animals and cats, some of which were published as cards, but by the mid-1980s she had diversified.  There was, for example, a series of small canvasses based on dreams, after she had become immersed in the ideas of Carl Jung, the analytical psychologist.

Linda’s first solo show was in 2004 at the Percy House Gallery in Cockermouth. The paintings of trees, river and beck had begun in the late 1990s, inspired by the sound and movement of wind through leaves and branches, sunlight on pebbles, the drag and flow of reeds.

The new display in Kendal, interior objects, are oils painted on linen.

linda ryle paintings at Abbot Hall

A winning haven for guests in Ambleside

An Ambleside guest house has won the coveted Visit England ROSE Award in just the second year under new management.

Haven Cottage was taken over by Allie and Chris Hodgson in spring last year, and they are thrilled to be one of just 100 recipients across the country – and just three in Cumbria.

allie an chris

The ROSE Awards – Recognition of Service Excellence – put the spotlight on those accommodation providers who give visitors the warmest of welcomes.  They recognise the owners, management and employees of establishments that go above and beyond, making customers’ experiences extra special, irrespective of star rating, style or accommodation type.

Suite 8 balcony & seating

Haven Cottage, which has three double bedrooms and two luxury suites, holds four-star gold accreditation from Visit England. With a reputation for excellent breakfasts, for which they have also received an award, the guest house is currently number one in Ambleside in the Trip Advisor ratings.

Breakfast Special

Visit England Director Patricia Yates said that the ROSE awards recognised outstanding accommodation providers. “It is the human touch that these people provide that make visitors’ experiences memorable, ensuring repeat business and helping the industry thrive. The awards celebrate the teams and owners whose efforts surpass expectations.”

Allie and Chris moved back to the UK after running ski-chalet accommodation in the French Alps, in Morzine and then Samoens, and now run Haven Cottage with the help of housekeeper Cristina Dumitrascu. They make a point of using local suppliers in and around the Ambleside area.  Chris is a member of Ambleside AC and was one of the organisers of the recent British Fell Relay races at Grasmere.

Allie said: “We are delighted to receive this award. It is all the more rewarding because it’s based on visitors’ experiences and confidential nomination. 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? t’s a lovely surprise to be recognised this way.”

Haven cottage

Scholarship fund for young Lakes athletes

Young athletes in South Lakeland are invited to apply to a scholarship fund to help with their training costs.

The Ambleside Sports Association scholarship scheme aims to help young people to take up and sustain an interest in competitive sports. Applications will be accepted from individuals and clubs or teams of all ages and from all areas and all competitive sports.

The Association is particularly keen to support, and will give priority to individuals who are under 21 and resident in the area of the Lakes Parish Council, who want to take part in traditional competitive Lakeland sports.

Grants may be sought for specific equipment including clothing and other kit, travelling expenses and entry fees for specific events or a group of events, and training sessions. There is no upper or lower limit of the value of the application nor is there any guarantee that a grant will be made. A grant may be for the whole or part of the application.

Applicants may be asked to meet members of the Association informally to discuss their application. Successful applicants will be required to submit a report of the events they have participated and their success so far. Further details from:

juniors race to the finish, pic by Woodhead

Chance for youngsters to try track cycling

Youngsters who want to try track cycling are invited to have a go at Ambleside Sports – even if it’s something they’ve not done before.

The organisers of the cycling events at the Sports have a number of special bikes they can provide if young people get in touch before the day.

The track events demand bikes that have fixed wheels, no brakes, and cross-track tyres. Riders who have their own bikes can enter on the day, but cycling manager Bob McLean hopes that youngsters who want to borrow a bike will get in touch.

Bob, now 76, of Border City Wheelers, still rides his own bike. He first came to Ambleside Sports more than 60 years ago, cycling from Egremont in West Cumbria over the Hardknott and Wrynose passes.

Ambleside Sports will be held on Thursday July 26 and features a whole day of entertainment and traditional events, including hound trailing, fell running, and Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling. There will be stalls and trade stands and plenty of food and drink. Gates open at 10am, and the first event – the Rydal Round fell race – starts at 12 noon.

Anyone who wants to borrow a track bike should call Bob on 016973 61392.

Full details about the Sports:

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Designer Alison heads for awards

Top designer Alison Tordoff has reached the finals of a major business award scheme.

Alison, who runs Windermere-based Fidget Design, is in the line-up for the Enterprise Vision Awards which recognise women in business from across the North West.


Recognised as dynamic and inspiring interior architect, Alison set up Fidget Design in 1997, and has earned a reputation as one of the most creative and innovative designers in the UK. She has worked on a wide variety of prestigious projects with top brands including Jaguar, Aston Martin, The Samling, Langdale Leisure Club and award winning Serenity Spa at Seaham.

Her designs for the Cedar Manor Hotel won Best International Hotel interior at the Bloomberg Hotel Awards. She has since created a distinctive Welcome Lounge at the hotel which helped them win a string of regional, national and international awards.

She pioneered a new range, The Love District, home furnishings based on the landscape, history and traditions of the Lake District, including cushions embroidered with the outlines of the fells, and a Lakeland bookends wallpaper.

Alison has recently been working with universities and design organisations and publishes a regular and highly regarded blog about design issues. And she is involved in a major Cumbria-based interactive project involving artificial intelligence, robotics and human machine learning.

Alison said: “This is a great honour. The North West is packed with amazing women running businesses in many different fields, and it is wonderful to be listed among them.”


Swim experts float eco-friendly company

The north’s leading open water swimming experts have launched a new company which aims to combine maximum safety with sustainability.

Based in the Lake District surrounded by water, Puffin Swim has grown out of a heritage developed by Pete and Andrea Kelly who run the adventure swimming company Swim the Lakes. They pioneered adventure swimming in the Lakes District and are specialists in outdoor swimming wetsuits and equipment.

Now Puffin Swim has launched the UK’s first biodegradable swim tow float. The Billy Eco15 Drybag float is a bright inflatable swim tow float designed to increase the visibility of the swimmer to other water users and increase safety.

puffin swimmers in Windermere (2)

Until now tow floats have been made from PVC or PVC coated nylon. The biodegradable tow float from Puffin Swim gives swimmers a more environmentally-friendly choice.

The new project is driven by the team’s love of wild and beautiful places and an understanding that they must try to reduce their impact upon them and to help protect them. It is partnered by the RSBP’s Puffin Appeal, to adopt a puffin.

Said director Andrea Kelly: “Puffin Swim is passionate about swimming outdoors and the real adventure of using swimming as a means to explore the wild environment and travel through open water.  For this we need reliable, good equipment that will empower us, improve our experience and be functional.

“But we have a duty to protect the environment as well as our clients. We rely on good equipment day in, day out, for work and play. We have tried and tested all of our products and will continue to source and design the best products for the greatest experiences. But wherever possible, these must be sustainable.”

Their first product, the tow float, is both tough and durable. Said Andrea: “For those who might be thinking …how can it float on water if it degrades? But it’s not affected by water. It will not degrade in use, only when composted.

“Biodegradable TPU is very durable and resistant to abrasions. It is also very tear and puncture resistant making it an ideal material for a swim float. It will last as long, if not longer than a PVC float; the big difference is in the way it is disposed of, composted rather than landfill.”



  • The Billy Eco15 is made from biodegradable TPU which when composted degrades over 3 – 5 years. This has a huge environmental advantage over PVC floats which following their useful but relatively short life can take hundreds and thousands of years to degrade.
  • Biodegradable TPU is a solvent-free TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) that can biodegrade. TPU is a form of plastic and traditionally it is not known for being eco-friendly. Biodegradable TPU, on the other hand, is low in toxicity and can biodegrade much better than traditional TPU, and better for the natural environment.
  • The range of swim floats from Puffin is designed with optimal streamlining which minimises drag whilst the swimmers tows the float behind them.
  • The Billy Eco15 float is simple to use and highly effective. As a 15 litre volume drybag float it also gives swimmers the option to take some small items with them during their swim.

More information:

Or contact Andrea Kelly: