Ambleside is to stage the country’s first Festival of the Fells, offering a feast of walking, swimming and scrambling in the town once known as the anorak capital of the world.
The event, in September, will celebrate the landscape, culture, history and outdoor activity in the heart of the Lake District.
Organised by Ambleside Together, the festival will be staged over four days from Thursday September 22 until Sunday September 25. It will include guided walks, swims in lakes and tarns, food, music and other entertainment.
The organisers already have leading outdoor brands who want to be involved, and they hope that the festival will become an annual event.
“This is a really exciting opportunity,” said Ambleside Together chairman Andrew Hewitt. “The town is known in the equipment world as the European outdoors capital, and we have so much to celebrate here on our doorstep. We hope that this will be appreciated and enjoyed by regular visitors and newcomers to the area.”
Ambleside, in the heart of the Lakes, has the highest concentration of outdoor equipment shops in any European centre, as well as being surrounded by fells offering high and low level walks, in one of the most popular walking and hiking centres.
A programme of events is being planned and these will include guided walks over Loughrigg and Wansfell, Red Screes, and the Fairfield Horseshoe, combined swim and walk tours using lakes and tarns, and talks on the history, fell-walking and climbing exploits of the area. The organisers also hope that local restaurants and cafes will create special festival dishes for their menus.
One of the talks already scheduled is by Clive Hutchby who has been commissioned to revise and update all the Wainwright guide books to the Lakeland fells.
The organisers want to meet guided-walks leaders, outdoor instructors and others who might want to contribute to the festival programme. They also want to talk to café and restaurant owners, outdoor equipment providers, and musicians and entertainers, and a meeting will be held before Easter.
Meanwhile Ambleside Together has bought a number of “feather” banners which are going on display around the town with the logo “Love Ambleside”. They also have a new and vibrant social media presence with Facebook and Twitter pages which have already attracted messages of greeting from celebrities such as broadcaster Clare Balding, explorer Paul Rose – and the casts of the West End musicals Les Miserables and Cats.
And they have produced a short “We love Ambleside” video featuring local locations and local characters which is being watched by audiences around the world. https://www.facebook.com/LoveAmbleside/?target_post=440478042815714
Anyone interested in being involved, in leading walks or giving talks, putting on a music event, or a special menu in a restaurant, fell runners, etc, please come to a public meeting at the Ambleside Parish Centre on Thursday March 10 at 7.15pm