New name and new brand for adventure specialists Swim the Lakes

The iconic Lake District adventure firm Head to the Hills has rebranded as Swim the Lakes.
“This reflects more accurately what we do and who we are, the Lake District’s open water swimming specialists,” says co-owner Pete Kelly.

He and his wife Andrea have been inviting enthusiasts to join the adventure since 2005 when they mainly focused on outdoor clothing, navigation and hill skills courses from their Ambleside HQ.

“The mountains and valleys of the Lake District have always been our playground and over the years the focus has gradually moved towards our passion for open water swimming and exploring the Lake District though water and land adventures, what we like to call Adventure Swimming,” says Pete.

“Swim the Lakes reflects not only where we are but what we do best.”

The company offers guided wild swims, adventure swimming breaks, and open water swimming courses. They are also wetsuit fitting specialists, and sell open water swimming gear at their Ambleside shop and online.

For more information see http://www.swimthelakes.co.uk/

 

Pete Kelly swimming with comedian Ed Byrne in Ullswater

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Water? Have some of ours, says Kendal to London

water bottles boxed

 A consignment of Lake District water is heading for celebrities in London as a gift from flood-hit Kendal.

The water – delicious, spring, and definitely not flood – has been sent to TV’s Matt Baker and radio stars Chris Evans and Vassos Alexander who have all highlighted the plight of Cumbria over the last couple of weeks.

“We wanted to say thank you, and remember us,” said Kendal Business Improvement District manager Sarah Williams.

“We have been hitting the headlines nationally, but now that the news is less dramatic we want to make sure that everyone remembers we have businesses here still up and running, and needing support. Kendal is definitely open, and visiting here has never been easier.”

To prove the point, the water bottles were decorated with a “Tube-style” map designed by Rory Black, director of  Kendal’s Designworks – and also a director of Kendal BID – showing the ease of travelling by train from London to the Lakes.

The linear map lists the handful of stations from London Euston to Kendal via Oxenholme, and highlights the journey time of less than three hours.

The water being sent is Lake District spring water bottled locally and produced by Willow. The company’s managing director Bob Woolf said: “We’re all doing what we can to help the flood relief. We have been sending pallets of bottled water to schools and old people’s homes.”

bottle label pic

Designworks: Rory Black created the label

 

Take a selfie in Kendal and win a prize

Schoolchildren in Kendal are being asked to take “selfie” photos in a competition to promote their home town.

Their photos can be uploaded to Facebook and Twitter to show Kendal at its best to the world, say the organisers. Selection box prizes will be awarded to the ten best selfies.

The contest will run throughout the school holidays but to get it off to a flying start, Kendal town centre will be visited by some weird and wonderful creatures at the weekend just crying out to be pictured in selfies.

The contest is organised by Kendal Business Improvement District (BID) which has invited street entertainers to parade around the town this weekend. They include Giant Funky Pigeons, Naughty Angels on Stilts, and a magical juggler.

The BID team has written to all the town’s schools inviting them to take part – and also inviting mums, dads and other members of the family to get into the picture.

“We are working hard to bring the spark back into Kendal after the last few weeks,” said BID manager Sarah Williams.

“We know that youngsters today are the selfie generation and we hope that they will use their creativity to take some great photos.”

The selfies can be uploaded to the following social media sites: Facebook: Kendal: mintcake and more; Twitter: @kendalmintplus with the hashtag #kendalselfie. Further details can be found on the website www.exploresouthlakeland.co.uk/kendal

Daniel Morley, BID chairman, said: “Kendal businesses have responded with speed and enthusiasm to keep the town trading. In Kendal, we have a fantastic, historic market town brimming with culture, lots of individual and specialist shops, and a great choice of places to eat and drink. And this Christmastime, the streets are also coming to life with fantastic musical acts and entertainment for all the family to enjoy. Visiting Kendal has never been easier.”

There will be no charges at the multi-storey Westmorland Shopping Centre car park on Friday and Saturday (Dec 18/19) on the busiest weekend before the holiday. Free parking will also extend to Boxing Day. The Marks and Spencer car park will also be free this weekend, Friday 18th,  Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th, and also Sunday 27th.

Cars can also be parked free at the K Village car park where a park-and-ride scheme has been operating since the beginning of the month. Sunday parking in Kendal is free in all SLDC car parks.

And the pigeons? Here they are

 

https://youtu.be/p_MOfxj8YQQ

Popular parkrun a victim of the floods at Windermere

The popular parkruns at FellFoot, Newby Bridge, have been cancelled until the New Year because of recent flooding.

National Trust rangers are working flat out to clear the park , and repairing the path to the lakeshore which had been badly washed out.

And while the path out to the gateway,  and the gateway itself, are still under water and unrunnable,  the footpath beside the boathouse and cafe has had to be fenced off for health and safety reasons due to possible structural damage caused by the flood.

Mortar has been washed out of the walls and the fear is the walls could bow outwards and collapse under the weight of the roof. A surveyor will not be on site to inspect the buildings until Wednesday January 6th which means no parkruns this coming Saturday, Boxing Day and 2nd January.

“I am sure everyone will be as disappointed as I am with this news but there is nothing the NT could do to speed up the inspection process,” said Run Director Ron Eadington. “They have assured me we will be told the outcome of the inspection on Jan 6.”

Parkruns are held across the UK every Saturday at 9am, entry is free, and the events are encouraging hundreds of thousands of people to take up sort.

It is hoped that the nearby Barrow parkrun will be up and running by this weekend.

For up to date information see the parkrun website http://www.parkrun.org.uk/fellfoot/

More free parking as Kendal shouts to the world, We’re Open for Business

More free parking will be available in Kendal the run-up to Christmas with Marks and Spencer joining the town’s recovery campaign.

The town centre store has announced that parking charges will be abandoned this weekend, Friday 18th,  Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th, and also Sunday 27th.

The move follows the announcement that there will be no charges at the multi-storey Westmorland Shopping Centre car park on Friday and Saturday (Dec 18/19) on the busiest weekend before the holiday. Free parking there will also extend to Boxing Day.

Cars can also be parked free at the K Village car park where a park-and-ride scheme has been operating since the beginning of the month. Sunday parking in Kendal is free in all SLDC car parks.

The Kendal Business Improvement District (BID) is working with South Lakes District Council and individual businesses in response to the recent flooding in the town. They want to encourage shoppers and other visitors to come into the town and support local shops and tourist attractions.

“We’re open and we’re buzzing,” said Kendal BID chairman, Daniel Morley. “And we are very grateful to M&S for supporting our efforts.”

South Lakeland district councillor Giles Archibald said: “We are providing free parking in response to requests from businesses in the town. We want to tell the message clearly, come and shop in Kendal.”

An extravaganza of seasonal entertainment is planned for the coming weekend in the town centre, featuring weird and wonderful performers like Funky Christmas Pigeons, Naughty Angels on Sticks and Magical Jugglers, along with seasonal music.

Mr Morley said: “Kendal businesses have responded with speed and enthusiasm to keep the town trading. In Kendal, we have a fantastic, historic market town brimming with culture, lots of individual and specialist shops, and a great choice of places to eat and drink. And this Christmastime, the streets are also coming to life with fantastic musical acts and entertainment for all the family to enjoy. Visiting Kendal has never been easier.”

The free shuttle bus leaves K Village on the hour every hour with a number of stops throughout the town. Full details of this, and other events, along with the Bubbal app, can be found on the Kendal BID website http://www.kendalbid.co.uk/2015/11/kendals-christmas-fun/

 

For further information: Sarah Williams, 07554994585

 

Free parking as Kendal says: Visit us, it’s never been easier

Shoppers heading into Kendal will have the Christmas bonus of free parking in the town this weekend.

There will be no charges at the multi-storey Westmorland Shopping Centre car park on Friday and Saturday (Dec 18/19) on the busiest weekend before the holiday. Free parking will also extend to Boxing Day.

Cars can also be parked free at the K Village car park where a park-and-ride scheme has been operating since the beginning of the month. Sunday parking in Kendal is free in all SLDC car parks.

The announcement follows a deal between the Kendal Business Improvement District (BID) and South Lakes District Council in response to the recent flooding in the town. They want to encourage shoppers and other visitors to come into the town and support local businesses and tourist attractions.

“We’re open and we’re buzzing,” said Kendal BID chairman, Daniel Morley.

South Lakeland district councillor Giles Archibald said: “We are providing free parking in response to requests from businesses in the town. We want to tell the message clearly, come and shop in Kendal.”

An extravaganza of seasonal entertainment is planned for the coming weekend in the town centre, featuring weird and wonderful performers like Funky Christmas Pigeons, Naughty Angels on Sticks and Magical Jugglers, along with seasonal music.

These will be centred on the Market Place which has seasonal stalls and also some temporary stalls set up for businesses which were displaced by the floods.

Town centre venues have programmes of Christmas entertainment. The Albion Christmas Band will perform seasonal carols, songs and stories at the Brewery Arts Centre, which is also showing the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. The Brewery is also staging a free carol concert at 12 noon on Christmas Eve.

At Abbot Hall the Gallery, Museum and Canaletto exhibition are all open. There’s also the spectacular Son et Lumiere shows visiting Kendal for the first time, for which local schoolchildren and youth groups have helped with the graphics and music. This can be seen from 4.30 daily from Dec 20-23, at the following venues: Parish Church (Dec 20); St George’s Church (Dec 21); County Hall (Dec 22) and Market Place (Dec 23).

Mr Morley said: “Kendal businesses have responded with speed and enthusiasm to keep the town trading. In Kendal, we have a fantastic, historic market town brimming with culture, lots of individual and specialist shops, and a great choice of places to eat and drink. And this Christmastime, the streets are also coming to life with fantastic musical acts and entertainment for all the family to enjoy. Visiting Kendal has never been easier.”

A free smartphone app, Bubbal, can be downloaded to find more local information and special offers.

The free shuttle bus leaves K Village on the hour every hour with a number of stops throughout the town. Full details of this, and other events, along with the Bubbal app, can be found on the Kendal BID website http://www.kendalbid.co.uk/2015/11/kendals-christmas-fun/

 

 

 

Flooded, but kitchen business still wants to help others

A kindhearted Kendal businessman whose showroom was wrecked by flooding is offering to help householders whose homes were damaged.

Ben Monaghan of Webbs Kitchens on Shap Road came home from hospital on Saturday, bringing wife Cathy and newborn son Lucas, to see photos on Facebook of his showroom under water.

Cathy’s business, Babyworld, also on Shap Road, was also wrecked by floodwater, but like Webbs it is open for business, stock held for customers safe in the top floor.

Now Ben is offering to help people who need to refit their homes. If families don’t have insurance, he will provide a new kitchen for them at cost price. And for those who are insured, he will help with insurance quotes and help them get the best possible deal.

“We know what it’s like to be affected but this is only stuff,” said Ben, who lives safely in another part of Kendal. “It is people who have lost their homes and their possessions that we feel so sorry for. I wanted to do something to make it just a little easier for them to start again.”

Ben and Cathy, who also have a three year old son Oscar, had just relaxed after a worrying time following the birth of Lucas. Cathy suffered complications and was in intensive care in hospital for 10 days.

benandcathy-001

Ben, Cathy, Oscar and Lucas. Picture: Glynis Bland

“Cathy was just released from hospital that day,” said Ben. “I managed to find a route to drive her home. We thought that all our troubles were over.”

Ben is the grandson of Charles Webb who founded the family-run business in 1926. The kitchen showroom was a write-off but the offices and design centre on the first floor were unaffected and are still operating. Contact Ben on 015397 29632 or info@webbskitchens.co.uk

See website for terms and conditions. http://www.webbskitchens.co.uk/#more-than-just-a-kitchen

Roll up, roll up and roll the dice: backgammon club opens doors to new members

jonathan plays backgammon smaller

New players are being sought to join the South Lakes backgammon club.

The group began playing two years ago following the launch of the Lake District backgammon championship tournament at Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel.

Players have met regularly at the hotel ever since, and organiser Jonathan Kaye is now hoping to recruit newcomers.

Backgammon is one of the world’s oldest board games, combining skill and chance, and is played in cafés across the Mediterranean and in the most exclusive of London clubs, with world championships staged in exotic locations.

“It’s a fascinating game, not difficult to learn, and it is great fun,” said Jonathan, owner of the Cedar Manor.

The hotel will be staging the third annual Lake District championship, supported by the UK Backgammon Federation, in the spring. Previous contests have attracted top players from across the UK.

But Jonathan says that the local group welcomes novices and complete newcomers to the game.

“We have had some really good sessions with players of all ages attending,” he said.

A keen player himself, Jonathan used to roll the dice during his time living in London, where for 10 years he managed the exclusive Chelsea nightclub, Raffles, frequented by celebrities and royalty.

“Everyone who has been on holiday to Greece or Spain will see how popular backgammon is there, with games being played at roadside cafes by all age groups,” he said. “It can be played online, but we think it’s far better to meet socially – rather than on social media.

“We want anyone who might be interested to get in touch, and then we will let them have dates for regular meetings.”

Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and a player wins by removing all of his pieces from the board before his opponent. Excavations have revealed that the game was played around 3000BC in Persia (Iran) and it was played in various forms by the ancient Romans, and subsequently throughout Europe. The first world championship was held in Las Vegas in 1967, and later moved to Monte Carlo for many years.

Anyone interested should contact Jonathan on 015394 43192 / info@cedarmanor.co.uk

How to succeed in business – over a leisurely lunch

The ideal balance between business and leisure is being offered to lunchtime diners at a hotel near Preston.lunch at bartle pic

The country hotel Bartle Hall has hit on a formula which is proving attractive to business people entertaining clients, networking groups, and out of office meetings, with their “leisure lunches”.

The informal lunches, in the new restaurant, Nest, offer the chance to meet and eat in relaxed, countryside, surroundings away from the office but only minutes away from the city centre.

At the same time, Bartle Hall can provide conference facilities – or just a quiet corner in the lounge for a confidential discussion.

“We have come to understand what our business visitors need and want,” said Nicola Haworth, who manages the hotel with husband Andrew.

“They appreciate being able to bring clients here rather than meeting in the centre of Preston. The change of scene helps them to see things from a new perspective, and of course there’s plenty of free parking here.”

The Bartle Hall team have become experts at providing the setting – and the food – for crucial business decisions as well as informal meetings. The hotel also hosts regular networking lunches.

The lunch menu in the Nest restaurant, at £19.50 for two courses or £24.50 for three courses, is available Monday to Thursday during December, and the location – only minutes from the M55 motorway – is now attracting business visitors from Manchester and Yorkshire.

To make a booking, or see a sample menu, visit the website www.bartlehall.co.uk.

The hotel also offers a coffee and cake deal in the lounge from 10am till 2pm Monday to Thursday, at £3.95, with a different cake each day.