Monthly Archives: January 2015

Time for tea – in the bath

bath tea

Candles lit, lights dimmed, towels warming. Soothing tea in the bath: total relaxation

But not a cup of tea while you lie back and soak your cares away, though. This tea is IN the bath, an infusion that works wonders for your tired body, in the same way that a good cuppa revives the soul and spirit.

The Bath Tea Infusion is part of a range of truly luxurious yet natural products from Bespoke Aroma, the skin-care specialists who know how to pamper.

There are bath teas for hard-working muscles, teas for dry skin , teas to soothe and teas to lift the spirits There’s relaxing tea full of scented herbs and flowers, oatmeal and salts, and perhaps best of all, an age-fighting tonic tea with rose and hibiscus petals

All are made with 100% natural ingredients – oils, herbs, spices, flowers, salts and oatmeal – to ensure that relaxing in the bath will pamper your skin, as well as your spirits.

The Bespoke Aroma range of teas, skin creams and oils was created originally by aroma massage therapist Jo Evans, a former spa manager, who learned from her clients what best suited their own personalities – skin, soul and spirit.

So the exclusive, natural products were developed, not by chemists in a lab, but by Jo’s team who know first-hand what works best for clients with dermatological problems, allergies and eczema. The range has also been developed to suit the needs of cancer patients who may have specific skin problems after treatment, as well as those of us who just want to be pampered with the best creams and oils.

The result is a range of luxurious bath and beauty products hand-blended in the beautiful Lake District using natural and organic ingredients.

Alongside the bath teas, there are hand creams to suit the state of your own skin, whether your hands have been working too hard, or just need a tonic. There’s skin tonic facial oil, and pulse point oils made with relaxing bergamot and lavender, or uplifting peppermint and lemongrass. You can also order gift cards, or gift hampers with your own selection.

Bespoke Aroma products are stocked by “bespoke” and select high street outlets, luxury spas, and a few exclusive hotels. See the whole range and order online at

Bespoke Aroma also offer pamper parties for special occasions including massage or facial treatments and a chance to sample the range of beauty products.

And a new year resolution? To be in everyone’s top ten for natural beauty.



New social networking nights for single people in the Lakes

A new series of social events for single people is being launched in the North West. A pilot scheme, Lakes Singles Nights (LSN), aims to attract members from throughout Manchester, Lancashire and Cumbria.

The aim, says organiser Nina Scott, is to provide social networking in the real world for single people, with events at cocktail bars, outdoor activities, music venues, art galleries and theatres,  and lake cruises. LSN hopes to provide a busy and exciting social life in a world often dominated by couples.

“We want to provide friendship and companionship for people of all ages. Singles often feel isolated and are spending time trying to make friends, or find dates, online. This is a return to the traditional face-to-face way of meeting people.

“We want to make sure that everyone – single, divorced, widowed – can have a good night out without being part of a couple. And without necessarily going on a date.”

Miss Scott says similar schemes work well in London and take the pressure out of socialising. The Lake District was chosen for the northern launch because of the range of venues and activities available, including lake cruises and walking as well as bars and restaurants.

The first event is at the Country Hut cocktail bar in Bowness-on-Windermere on Thursday February 12, 7pm. Potential members can register on the night.  Further events will be announced. The entry fee for the first Singles Meet Up Night is £10, with a free drink on arrival. Email for further details.

Daffodils, and the top ten flower poems

It’s arguably the most famous poem in the English language, and its first few lines are universally recognised. William Wordsworth’s Daffodils was published 200 years ago, and celebrations will be held all year at the house where he lived then, Rydal Mount, near Ambleside in the Lake District.

Visitors will flock to the house and gardens in March to see the display of daffodils there, in Dora’s field, flowers planted by the poet on the death of his daughter some years later. The actual daffodils that inspired him were the wild ones near the shore of Ullswater.

But what are your favourite poems about flowers? Here’s our top ten, starting with Daffodils, of course.



1: Daffodils: William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.



2: Ah Sunflower: William Blake

3: Red red rose: Robert Burns

4:The flowers: Robert Louis Stevenson

5: Flower gathering: Robert Frost

6: The Lotus: Li Bai

7: Flowers: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

8: Mayflower: Emily Dickinson

9: To the small celandine: Wiliiam Wordsworth

10: A tulip garden: Amy Lowell





The Great Lake District Swim Challenge

great lakes pic

17 Lakes, 4 Days, 2 New Challenges

A new challenge launched by Ambleside-based swim company Head to the Hills offers the chance for adventurers to swim in all of the English Lakes over two weekends.

The Great Lake District Swim Challenge is set to establish the Lake District as the UK adventure capital for outdoor swimmers.

The Challenge is split into two halves, east and west Lake District, and each is a non-stop action packed trip where the swimmers will have to cross a width, sometimes twice,  of each of the swim-able Lakes in the allotted time before moving onto the next venue by chartered mini-bus.

One of the organisers, Andrea Kelly, said: “The Lake District attracts thousands of swimmers each year to organised events, but this new challenge aims to capture the imagination and adventurous spirit of swimmers.

“The great Lake District swim challenge will allow us to really showcase the beauty – and the beast – of the Lake District with its clear waters and soaring mountains.”

The two weekends are 8th – 9th August and 5th – 6th September 2015 and accommodation is included in the challenge.

Groups are small as Head to the Hills are keen to protect the environment of the Lake District so they advise to book early by visiting or ringing 015394 33826. 

Great Lake District Swim Challenge Statistics 

  • Swim Total: 16.1km
  • Longest v Shortest Swim: 2000 metres v 500 metres
  • Lakes: 17
  • Journey Miles: 214

Link to GLDSC West:

Link to GLDSC East:

Lakes Backgammon championship: still a few places available

A few places remain for the second annual Lake District backgammon championship will be staged at Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel in March.

Reigning champion Graeme Turner from Newcastle has already booked a place to defend his title on Sunday March 8.

The inaugural contest last year drew players from all over Britain and led to the formation of a Lake District club which meets monthly. There has been an enthusiastic response to this year’s event, with just a few places remaining.

Turner, a commercial banker who had taken up serious competition only a year previously, defeated Edinburgh’s Ian Hesketh after knocking out the then current British open champion Martin Barkwill in an earlier round. He carried off £100 in prize money, and a free weekend at the Cedar Manor,

A 16 year old Cumbrian schoolgirl, Kate Watton, from Grange over Sands, reached the semi-finals last year, after defeating the organiser, the Cedar Manor’s Jonathan Kaye, in the first round.

Jonathan said: “We were thrilled by the response for the first championship last year. It was a really exciting day, with some really top class players in action. Backgammon is growing in popularity and our monthly club has seen some terrific competition during the past year.

“But this is an open competition and we  hope to see players of all abilities, from beginners to experts. It’s a really relaxed environment in which to gain competition experience.”

Anyone interested should call 015394 43192 as soon as possible.

The toughest triathlon ever comes to the Lakes

Photo by Steve Ashworth/MovieIt

warning steep descent

A  triathlon to be staged in the Lake District this summer looks set to be the world’s toughest ultimate race.

The Wasdale X is a full distance extreme event with a total distance of 140 miles (226km) and a record-breaking 16,994 ft (5,180m) of ascent – more than comparable events anywhere in the world.

It involves a 2.4 mile swim in Wastwater, England’s deepest and coldest lake, a cycle ride over the passes following, largely, the route of the Fred Whitton challenge, and finally a 26-mile mountain run: out and back over Whin Rigg and Illgill Head, followed by the ascent of Scafell Pike via Sty Head and the Corridor Route, to achieve the marathon distance.

The cycle section covers 112 miles around the Lake District, taking in climbs of the Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose passes. The event has already attracted some 200 elite entries from athletes from around the world.

The organisers have already successfully staged the “half iron-man” distance event at Wasdale each September, the “deepest, steepest, highest, hardest” (

“The shorter event was immensely popular, and we knew that we had the location and the terrain to attract competitors for something even tougher,” said one of the organisers, Mark Blackburn. “The bike section, for example, will be the hardest of any ultra distance triathlon anywhere in the world.”

The event will be staged at midsummer on Sunday June 21, to take advantage of maximum daylight. Competitors will be warned that mandatory cut off times must be met to

ensure that they finish the event within the 20 hours of daylight available.

Richard Greenwood, Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Operations said: ‘’Hosting an event like this in Cumbria provides us with an excellent opportunity to showcase our beautiful County, the UK’s Adventure Capital. As an outdoor events destination we have so much to offer, after all Cumbria’s landscape was made for events of this type and those competing in this unique and very demanding triathlon will certainly appreciate all that our natural environment will throw at them along the way.’’


Entries open for Wordsworth Young Poet award

 Schools throughout Cumbria are invited to submit entries from their pupils for the Wordsworth prize in this 200th anniversary year of the publication of Daffodils. Details of how to enter can be found below.

The Rydal Mount Wordsworth prize for young poets

Dear Head Teacher

The descendants of William Wordsworth invite entries from your pupils for the annual Rydal Mount Wordsworth prize for young poets.All students at Cumbrian schools are eligible to take part. This is a special year to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Wordsworth’s poem, Daffodils.

Entries should be typed in 12 or 14 point font, double spaced, and no longer than one side of A4 paper. The poem’s theme must be “I wandered…”.

Entries should include the name and age of the entrant, and the contact details of the student’s school. The closing date for entries is Friday Feb 13, 2015.

The poems will be judged by the Wordsworth family and an award ceremony will be held at Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, on Tuesday March 31. A trophy will be awarded, along with a cash prize of £50, to the overall winner.  The winner’s name will be added to the plaque on the wall at Rydal Mount. There will be signed book prizes age group winners.

Please send entries to

Poetry Competition

Rydal Mount, Ambleside, LA22 9LU

For further information please call Eileen Jones at Cumbria PR

on 015394 33931, or email


Climbing exhibition hits the heights

Pillar east faceAn art exhibition highlighting the development of rock climbing in the Lake District is proving to be a huge success in Grasmere.

Lines of Ascent features the work William Heaton Cooper produced for the Fell and Rock Climbing Club guides for 50 years from 1930s onwards. The books were bibles for the climbing community, showing new routes as they developed, drawn on site and working closely with the climbers at the crag face.

Since it opened in November at the Heaton Cooper Studio, the exhibition has drawn enthusiastic visitors from both the art and climbing worlds.

“We are thrilled by the response to the show,” said Becky Heaton Cooper, director and general manager of the business established by the landscape painter Alfred Heaton Cooper in 1905. His son William built the present gallery in Grasmere in 1938. For generations their paintings and books have influenced the way the landscape of the Lake District has been viewed.

“It is one of the most successful exhibitions we have ever staged, and clearly highlights the place of the Lake District as one of Britain’s cultural capitals.”

Lines of Ascent was opened by veteran climber Al Phizacklea who took on the task of illustrating the guidebooks after William Heaton Cooper. He described his own work as “technical, with none of WHC’s artistry”.

One of Britain’s pioneer female mountaineers, Gwen Moffat, now 90, hailed Heaton Cooper’s influence as a climber and guidebook illustrator. “He was a man who knew his mountains; in his illustrations the routes are lines running up pencil-shaded rock where every crack and overhang, every buttress is correct and matched neatly to the text.”

Alongside the drawings, guides and journals are climbing photographs from the 1930s and 1940s from Heaton Cooper’s private album, as well as some of his paintings that reference the mid-twentieth century climbing scene, including some not seen before.

There is also an Alpine sketch-book of drawings and  sketches of the Grandes Jorasses from above the original Couvercle Hut, and crowded interiors of the old hut in the 1950s.

But one of the most striking works in the show is the huge oil painting of the Eiger North Face by Julian Heaton Cooper, the son of William Heaton Cooper and the sculptor Ophelia Gordon Bell. He is an internationally known painter and a member of the Alpine Club who has climbed throughout Britain and the Alps.

Lines of Ascent runs until the end of April and admission is free.

East ButtressScafell WHC

Scafell East Buttress

  • The Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere was opened by William Heaton Cooper in 1938.    It is a hugely popular tourist attraction, with more than 90,000 visitors last year. It features work by the Heaton Cooper family and guest artists, with the Lakeland landscape at the heart of the gallery’s displays.


  • The Heaton Cooper family tree is a pictorial essay on the development of art in the Lake District and beyond. There are 10 artists represented, including the sculptor Ophelia Gordon Bell, (herself the daughter of the animal painter Winifred Gordon Bell) and Julian Cooper, the internationally renowned painter whose recent work has been concerned with finding a relevant contemporary language for painting mountains and rock all over the world. The most well known works are by Alfred and William, each distinctively capturing the magnificence and beauty of rock and fell, stream and lake.