Monthly Archives: July 2015

Move freely and reduce stress: a new method to change our lives

New classes in a revolutionary movement therapy are to start soon in the Lake District and Lancashire.

Steve Cheslett, a practitioner of the Feldenkrais method, aims to help people move more freely and reduce stress.

Steve, who is the only Feldenkrais practitioner in Lancashire and South Lakeland, is also a physiotherapist and works with stroke patients on their rehabilitation.

He says that Feldenkrais is an educational methodology which uses guided movement in order to increase self- awareness. “Through increased awareness we can become more conscious of habitual patterns and then increase our choices of movement possibilities. This in turn can lead to increases in efficiency in functioning and more ease and pleasure in whatever we do in life.”

More popular in America, Australia and continental Europe, Feldenkrais is only now having an impact in Britain, with students appreciating the holistic approach in helping the body to function more efficiently.

“Feldenkrais concentrates on enabling the brain to improve the organisation of all the other systems such as neurological, and muscular-skeletal, in order for the whole to function well,” says Steve, who lives in Kendal.

“It’s a software approach rather than the traditional body-work hardware approach.”

Steve, who has worked extensively in the NHS as a physiotherapist and has specialised in neurology and stroke rehabilitation, decided to train as a Feldenkrais practitioner after seeing the effect on a colleague whose life was changed “and she looked 15 years younger”.

Benefits, he says, are relief from tension and muscular pain, easier and fuller breathing, greater relaxation and well-being, improved performance in sport, dance, music and drama, greater ease in everyday activities and increased vitality.

He spent four years studying part-time, and now gives individual sessions, known as functional integration, as well as classes at Ambleside’s parish centre. He now plans to run further classes and regular workshops in Lancaster and the South Lakes, starting in September.

The group classes are known as Awareness Through Movement lessons, verbally guided lessons where the students are led through structured movement sequences which are like movement puzzles. “There’s no competition and no achievement required – just the opportunity to pay attention, tune-in, sense and feel,” says Steve.

He believes that the benefits are considerable for people of all ages, and that increased self-awareness can have an impact on improving posture and increasing the efficiency and comfort of movement, whatever the function.

For details of classes, workshops and one to one sessions see his website: or call 07854 645836.


The toughest challenge for fitness guru Ursula

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Fitness instructor Ursula Brendling plans to mark her 50th birthday in style. She’s going to do her first ever triathlon, and she’s picked the world’s toughest event to make her debut.

Ursula, who lives in Ambleside, has entered Triathlon X which moves into central Lakeland next year and will be based at Waterhead near Ambleside.

Competitors will swim two miles in Windermere, complete a cycle route of 112 miles following the course of the Fred Whitton challenge, and run a mountain marathon to the top of Scafell Pike and back.

Ursula will be raising funds for YHA’s bursary fund for disadvantaged young people, Breaks for Kids, which creates opportunities for young people to stay with YHA and have new, life-changing experiences. The organisers have also pledged £5 from each entry fee to the fund.

“My friends keep asking me why I am doing the hardest triathlon first,” said Ursula. “I only intend to do one, so this has got to be it. I love the outdoors, I love exercise and I love a challenge, and the Triathlon X combines all three in bucketfuls.

” I feel as though it is meant to be as it starts from YHA Ambleside which is the place that brought me to the Lake District when I worked there, it is the place I had my children, and it also takes place a few days after my 50th birthday. I also have a great affinity for the charity I will be raising money for, Breaks for Kids.”

Ursula has been a fitness instructor for 21 years and uses a wide variety of methods to improve fitness, and vary individual workouts to constantly challenge and maintain motivation. She runs weekly outdoor bootcamps and fitness classes including circuits, interval training, “Kettlercise” and aerobics.

She said: “I am in a lucky position to do a job I really enjoy. All my clients and class members impress me daily with their determination and effort to achieve their goals. I hope to use this training to further help and inspire them to see that anything is possible.

“As a child, I nearly died from asthma and spent many weeks lying in bed unable to breathe normally, so to do an iron-distance triathlon at 50 would be truly awesome and a great memory for life….especially as my secret fear is of getting my head under water. My children, family and business will always be my priority so I only have limited time to train but I will do my very best.”

Triathlon X will be staged on June 25 next year, and with steeper ascents and longer finishing times than any other extreme event, it is acknowledged as the toughest iron-distance race in the world. It is moving to Windermere after being staged successfully this summer at Wasdale where it attracted 133 competitors, of whom 98 finished.

Organiser Mark Blackburn said: “Ursula is a real inspiration and we are thrilled she’s decided to have a go. We hope everyone will sponsor her for the Breaks for Kids charity.”

In a new partnership with YHA (England and Wales), the organisers have created a route which is already generating excitement among triathletes, and entries are already pouring in. For more information see

The Tiny team backing a big charity event

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The Bay Search and Rescue Team is leaping into action – for the north’s biggest fundraising gala event.

The team will be one of three charities to benefit from the project 100-to-1 organised by Kendal photographer Glynis Bland which will be staged at The Villa at Levens in September.

And they have joined in the effort with the help of their “tiny team”, a series of Lego figures which have a cult following on social media.

Team member Mike Davies, who creates the Lego scenes and posts them on Twitter, has made a miniature auctioneer – complete with hammer – in front of the fundraising logo.

On Twitter the Tiny Team is “a miniature version of Bay SAR Team promoting the work of the bigger guys and girls”. Mike regularly posts photos of his creations, depicting the work of the rescuers.

“It’s a really fun way to reach a different audience,” said deputy station officer Paul man

Bay Search and Rescue is operated as a charity and was founded in 1999. The team is committed to providing all-terrain rescue vehicle support on and around the Morecambe Bay, the Lake District and North Lancashire area to HM Coastguard, North West Ambulance Service, Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service, and other agencies. They are well known for their rescue work on the Morecambe Bay sands.

The team was chosen by Glynis, along with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Macmillan Cancer, to benefit from her fundraising project. She has taken photographs of people born in the hundred years from 1915 to 2014, and a collage of all the portraits will be revealed at the gala event at The Villa. A book of the photos will also be published.

The gala event will feature live music, stalls, raffles, and a grand charity auction for which offers are already pouring in from local businesses.

“The Bay SAR Team do such incredibly important work in our area, and they are all volunteers,” Glynis said. “The Lego scenes created by the team will be used to promote the event. We love his creative talent.”

Bay Search and Rescue specialises in rescue and recovery from quicksand, swiftwater, floodwater, snow and ice using a fleet of all terrain amphibious rescue vehicles, 4x4s, support vehicles and trained personnel. They also search for missing people, and assist the fire services with large animal rescue and wildfire incident support.



Designer Alison in finals of premier business awards

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Windermere’s Alison Tordoff who runs Fidget Design has reached the finals of the Enterprise Vision Awards, the North West’s premier women’s business awards.

Alison was nominated in the Creative Category, and will now be interviewed by a panel of judges prior to the winners being announced at a red carpet dinner in Blackpool in September. She was chosen as a finalist from hundreds of entries across the region.

Alison’s company is well known locally, nationally and internationally and she has won awards for her designs including Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel, the best small hotel in Cumbria 2014 and recently highly commended in the Visit England excellence awards. She writes a monthly column for Lancashire Life magazine, and she was Cumbria Businesswoman of the Year in 2003.

Alison recently launched a new range of home décor products under the Love District label, all of them paying tribute to the history, landscape and heritage of the Lake District. It includes a distinctive “Lakeland books” wallpaper which is a feature of the new welcome lounge at the Cedar Manor.

Married with two children, Alison says that juggling deadlines, contractors and family is “just part of life”.

The EVA awards, now in their fifth year, aim to help women celebrate their achievements and contemplate future business development. Finalists are linked to the EVA website and winners are featured prominently, allowing extensive promotional opportunities.

Alison said: “This is a really exciting opportunity and I am thrilled to have reached the finals. There are many inspirational women in business and it is great to see their achievements rewarded.”

Coach House suite bathroom One of Alison’s designs, the Coach House suite bathroom at the Cedar Manor Hotel

A Tempest coming to Wordsworth’s garden

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An unusual production of one of Shakespeare’s plays will be performed in the gardens at Rydal Mount near Ambleside next week.

The Three Inch Fools company will stage The Tempest in the grounds of William Wordsworth’s home, in the gardens that the poet designed.

And the touring company will set up camp next door at the Rydal Hall campsite, staying in their own tepee, and using home-made costumes and props.

“We are a troupe of travelling actors in the true Shakespeare tradition,” said James Hyde, who founded the company with his brother Stephen earlier this year. This is their first tour, and takes in locations in Northumberland and Scotland as swell as the Lake District.

The collaborative venture involves ten company members, nine actors and a stage manager, who perform their own music. “It’s a creative and modern approach while being true to the Shakespeare tradition,” said James. “We think it is really important to bring this kind of theatre to the north of England and Scotland. My brother and I grew up in Cumbria and we really want to contribute to the cultural scene in the north.”

In The Tempest, magic and the supernatural come to life in a tale of monsters, drunken butlers and stormy seas.

The curator of Rydal Mount, Peter Elkington, said: “We are thrilled to be hosting this production. The company will use the mound in the grounds which creates a natural amphitheatre setting for the actors and the audience.”

The performances at Rydal Mount are on August 19 and 20. Tickets at the door £12.50/ concs £10.

Connect with them on Twitter @threeinchfools and facebook/threeinchfools

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Rydal venue for Wordsworth devotees

Experts and devotees of William Wordsworth will gather at Rydal Hall near Ambleside next month for their annual conference. Some 70 people – academics, poets, writers and enthusiasts – will spend ten days listening to lectures and hearing research papers presented.

They will stay at the Hall – one of the most magnificent buildings in the Lake District – and enjoy the 34 acres of grounds. They will also attend receptions at Wordsworth’s home at nearby Rydal Mount, and at the Wordsworth Trust (the Jerwood Centre and Dove Cottage) in Grasmere.

Richard Gravil, chairman of the Wordsworth Conference Foundation, said that Rydal Hall was an ideal venue. “There’s an excellent amount of space, a good choice of lecture rooms, a youth centre for postgraduates on bursaries, plenty of room to socialise, and the superb grounds.

“It is a very popular venue and the staff are wonderful.”

Rydal Hall, built by the Le Fleming family and now a retreat and conference centre run by the Diocese of Carlisle, also has holiday accommodation along with a camp site, eco-pods and a resident artist based in a yurt. There are also art exhibitions in the Old School Room tea shop, and an art and sculpture trail in the grounds.

Artist paints Wordsworth’s famous poem onto silk

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A young artist from Milnthorpe has found a new way to pay tribute to William Wordsworth.

Rebecca Bennett has painted the words of Daffodils (I wandered lonely as a cloud) and other poems onto silk scarves.

The scarves are on display in a show of Rebecca’s work at the Old School Room tea shop at Rydal Hall.

They form part of an exhibition of her exquisitely delicate paintings on silk, including wild life, landscapes, flowers and birds.

Rebecca, who works part time in an art gallery, has a degree in contemporary applied art.

The pictures, scarves and greetings cards at Rydal are also for sale.

The exhibition runs until the end of August. The Old School Room tea shop is open daily from 10am to 5pm.


Portrait of a fundraiser is one in a hundred

Sue McDonald has devoted her professional life to supporting people suffering from cancer. As fundraising manager for Macmillan Cancer in Cumbria she’s been finding the money to fund nurses and other specialist health care professionals and build care centres

Now Sue’s portrait will join more than 100 faces in a remarkable exhibition that aims to help the charity she works for.

Sue, from Carlisle, is part of the photo project 100-to-1 which celebrates an entire century – and urges people to be generous in their support. It’s run by professional photographer Glynis Bland from Kendal who took pictures of people born in every year from 1915 to 2014.

The portraits will be published in a book, and exhibited at a gala celebration day in September when the photographs will be seen together for the first time.

And Sue’s not the only member of her family involved. Among the portraits are her daughter Helen, her grand-daughter Nadine Rigg (10), and her grandsons Liam Cromar (12) and Joseph McDonald (3).

“When I heard that Glynis was looking for volunteers, and that Macmillan was one of the charities to benefit, I decided to join in – and took the family with me,” said Sue.

It was a poignant time for them. Less than a week after the photo session, Liam’s mum died from cancer, age 29. “It’s very close to our hearts,” said Sue. “At Macmillan we are a source of support, helping with all the things that people affected by cancer want and need. It’s not only patients who live with cancer, we also help carers, families and communities.”

Glynis’ project will also support the Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool, and the Bay Search and Rescue Team. The money will be raised from sales of the book, and from a number of activities on the gala day which includes an auction of promises.

Local businesses are already pledging gifts which range from meals at top-notch hotels, to an open-water guided swim.

“We are really thrilled that Macmillan is involved in this,” said Sue.

The gala event is on Sunday September 6 at The Villa at Levens. It will be quite an occasion, with live music, a magician (David Arkay), a vintage jukebox and other entertainers, stalls run by supporting businesses (including Blue Moose Kitchen and Bespoke Aroma), and a competition to spot a “rogue” photo in the display.

World’s toughest race comes to Windermere: new partnership with YHA

Ambs YHAThe world’s toughest extreme triathlon is moving into the central Lake District. Triathlon X, staged this year at Wasdale, will start and finish at YHA Ambleside at the head of Windermere next June.

The event, with steeper ascents than any “ironman” triathlon anywhere in the world, this year attracted 133 competitors, of whom 98 finished.

The race was won by Ryan Brown from Effingham in Surrey in 13 hours and 51 minutes. The first four athletes finished within seven minutes of one another.

In a new partnership with YHA (England and Wales), organiser Mark Blackburn has created a route which is already generating excitement among triathletes.

Competitors will swim twice round Seamew Crag island in Windermere, and then cycle all the Lake District passes on the route of the Fred Whitton challenge, some 112 miles. The marathon run of 26 miles will take the athletes out and back to the top of Scafell Pike via Elterwater and Great Langdale.

The total ascent on the cycle and run routes is 5150m, the highest in the world, with a projected winning time of four hours longer than Norway’s Norseman extreme race.

Anthony Gerundini, veteran of 99 iron-distance triathlons, said after finishing this year at Wasdale: “I was extremely happy to be in the Top Ten of the hardest extreme triathlon in the world.”

Another finisher, James Cooper, said: “It amazed me how we all managed to go through hell with a smile on our faces.”

Mark Blackburn said: “We are thrilled with the new arrangement with YHA which will mean that our race will be much more accessible to competitors from all over the world. It will be another great sporting event for Windermere, Ambleside and the Lake District.”

Andy Barnett, YHA (England and Wales) Operations Manager, said: “YHA Ambleside is the perfect setting for Triathlon X and I’m delighted that it will be starting and finishing here. Being a Lake District Youth Hostel, we’re geared up for outdoor events and have the facilities for competitors – whether that’s bike storage, a drying room for clothes, a bed for the night or simply a hot meal and drink.

“We’re delighted that Triathlon X and its participants have chosen to support YHA’s bursary fund for disadvantaged young people, Breaks for Kids. The sum of £5 from each entry will go to this cause. Every penny raised from this event will go towards creating opportunities for young people to stay with YHA and have new, life-changing experiences.”

Richard Greenwood, Cumbria Tourism’s head of operations, said: “As the UK’s Adventure Capital the Lake District, Cumbria has an adrenaline-fuelled calendar of outdoor challenge events every year and this event is no exception. There are plenty of events for the first time competitor, and others for more experienced athletes that require total endurance and dedication.

“Hosting TriathlonX on Windermere will allow even more people to access this high level event and allow them to come and embrace their adventurous side here in the Lake District.”

Entries are now open at

spectacular route runnersPhoto: Steve Ashworth/MovieIt

International award for luxury hotel in the Lake District

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A luxury Windermere hotel has been awarded a top accolade for sustainable practice and care for the environment. The Cedar Manor Hotel was named Considerate Small Hotel of the Year 2015 – National & International at the Considerate Hotels award ceremony in London.

Owner Jonathan Kaye (pictured) picked up the carved elm trophy after being shortlisted along with hotels from Northumberland and the Seychelles.

Created in 1991 in Westminster with initially just London’s flagship hotels, Considerate Hoteliers was one of the first associations worldwide to impart the message that care for the environment and social responsibility should form a major part of a responsible hotelier’s agenda.

In a keynote speech at the ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, TV presenter and nature documentary film-maker Simon King OBE said that the hotel industry was one which was taking seriously threat to the planet.

In an inspirational and frank address, he said that top hotels had the power to be opinion-formers and role models. “You hold the flag,” he said. And he warned: “We need to pay extra for our food; because cheap is costing us the earth.”

The Considerate Hoteliers organisation encourages the adoption of economically, socially and environmentally sustainable policies and practices among hoteliers in a way which enhances the viability of their businesses, the environment and the quality of the experience on offer to their guests, staff and visitors. Member hotels are expected to protect and improve the environment locally  – and thereby nationally and globally – by taking action in a number of different ways.

The Cedar Manor already holds the Green Tourism Business Scheme Gold Award and the Cumbria Business Environment gold award. Jonathan Kaye is a Trustee of Nurture Lakeland, which inspires people to care for and contribute to the natural environment of the Lake District through a visitor giving scheme. He said: “We are really thrilled to win this award and to see our efforts recognised. We make sure that relevant environmental legislation and regulation is understood and complied with, reducing energy and water usage wherever possible and by implementing increased efficiency.

“We are careful to use raw materials in a way that avoids producing waste where possible, and by reducing, re-using or recycling waste whenever possible.

“We use environmentally friendly materials whenever possible and appropriate, raising the awareness of staff and customers so that everyone may be involved in looking after our environment and the National Park, and use locally sourced and fair trade produce whenever possible.”

Jonathan encouraged other hotels to become members of the CH organisation. “It gives us access to industry leading advice on sustainability in the hotel sector. Case studies, reports, research, management templates and best practice examples are all available to us.”

The hotel shared a table with industry leaders including Professor John Forte, independent environmental and food safety consultant to the hotel and catering industry, and former Cabinet Minister Nick Brown MP.