Monthly Archives: March 2016

Experts in selling online helping traditional retailers

A Kendal company has been helping local retailers to stay in business after their premises were damaged by December’s floods.

Sell Your Products Online works with any business from a sole trader to a multi-million pound operation to simplify and make more efficient the process of trading via the internet.

SYPO, the e-commerce and web development company based in Sand Aire House, were flooded themselves and had to relocate to the first floor of the building. “So we really empathise with flood victims because we were hit ourselves,” says managing director Alan Jewitt.

He and his team team of web and technical specialists who can help you to design, create, manage and promote your online business have been advising companies on who were forced to close, many of them losing all their stock, when the storms hit Cumbria at the end of last year.

“We wanted to show them that they can be operating online until their premises are back in action,” says Alan. “We have a team of  web and technical specialists who can help you to design, create, manage and promote your online business.”

His company are also experts in dispatch integration which means that they are able to streamline the entire sales and delivery operation.

“When you are selling your products online, both you and your customers need to know how and when your products will be dispatched and delivered,” says Alan.

“You need to keep data for payments, stock, packing, transportation and/or postage, and if there’s a problem, you need to be able to investigate issues and find the right answer quickly. That’s what we can do for our clients.”

While SYPO are dealing with the technical details for traders who have previously only operated in high street stores, a leading retail expert is advising shopkeepers to trade online as well.

Bill Smith, the Windermere-based Shop Doctor, who is currently working with a number of local authorities in Scotland to help retailers in small towns, says: “The inexorable rise of internet shopping has had a major impact on shopping habits, of course, and it’s impossible to divorce high street retailing from online operations.

“Creating an implementable and easily managed online presence should be an objective of any retailer; creating a platform from which online selling can be efficiently delivered is essential for those who seek to develop their marketplace and drive onward viability.

Retailers who need help are asked to call SYPO on 01539 741461




Ursula’s triathlon: 100 days and counting…..

Ambleside’s Ursula Brendling is training for her first ever triathlon to mark her 50th birthday. She’s chosen the world’s toughest event, Triathlon X. Here’s her latest training update

There are three things that worry me about completing my first ever endurance Triathlon.

  1. Not getting to the start line.
  2. My Mum finding out that I’m doing it.
  3. Being in the middle of Lake Windermere with a mouthful of water.

I am still waiting for my Eureka moment in my swimming training. The moment when you feel comfortable, relaxed, knowing you have the correct technique, gliding through the water and your breathing becomes natural.

It is fair to say I feel like a fish out of water when I am swimming. I am a Gemini after all, an air sign. I have no fear of hang gliding, via ferratas, Hardknott pass. Where there is oxygen, I’m happy. Maybe it comes from a childhood where I spent most of my days asthmatic and unable to breathe. Now that I can, why should I make it hard for myself again?

Hey, but I’m positive. I have a persistent swim coach (who’s losing patience), I have buoyant swim shorts (thank you Pete from Swim the Lakes) and I’m going to nail this front crawl to show myself I can overcome my fears.

ursi with medal

So how is the training going with just over 100 days to go? I have reached some benchmarks. I overtook my first serious cyclist. You could tell he was serious. He had the gear, the tucked in elbows and a bike computer.

“Yes!” I said to myself, punching the air as I spinned past him.

One mile later, he pedalled past me. He didn’t punch the air.

I have run up Rossett Ghyll which leads to Scafell Pike. Wow, what a route. Loved it. Not fast but manageable and just hope there will be lots of marshals to direct me from Esk Hause, as knowing my sense of direction I could end up on Bowfell instead of Scafell on the day.

There is one other Ambleside mentalist I know that is taking part in Triathlon X. He is our local doctor. Another centurian.  We have enjoyed our two bike rides together. Being with Paul is like having your own walking talking First Aid kit in tow. He is also incredibly fit. Whilst cycling on a 20% gradient, he talks continuously without taking a breath “What do you think Ursula?” he asks. I just nod and agree with everything he says. Half the time I can’t hear him anyway. He is an amazing guy and he will definitely reach the finish line.

I am still not sure I am up to the job, but I am really trying. People are asking if I am doing the Triathlon X for charity. Yes, definitely, but honestly, I am doing it for myself. My last ego trip. After that, I am dedicating my body to others so they can achieve their goals. Before I can do that really well, I have to know what it’s like to be truly challenged physically and mentally and how to train myself. I want to teach from a place of experience and not from what I read or hear from others.

I am entering my first cycling sportive this weekend. The Brathay Belter…just to see how it feels cycling in among lots of others. Whatever happens, this adventure is more fun that I thought it would be and I hope you enjoy reading about it.

Thank you for all your kind comments and all your support

Young poets mind the gap in Wordsworth-inspired verse

School pupils across Cumbria are proving that they have inherited the poetry tradition from William Wordsworth.

More than 100 young poets from all over the county have submitted entries for the annual Rydal Mount Wordsworth prize, organised by the descendants of Wordsworth who are now judging their work.

Members of the Wordsworth family will attend the award ceremony and prizegiving to be held at the poet’s home near Ambleside, Rydal Mount, on Thursday April 14.

The poems this year are on the theme: Mind the Gap. Peter Elkington, the curator of Rydal Mount, who is organising the contest on behalf of the Wordsworth family, said: “The writers could interpret the theme in any way they wish, but we thought that it would be an opportunity for some of them to consider how the winter storms and the Gap on the A591 have affected their lives and their family lives.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the response and with the standard of writing.”

The winner will receive a £50 cash prize, a personal trophy, and his or her name will be added to the roll of honour on the plaque at Wordsworth’s former home at Rydal Mount near Ambleside. There are book prizes for the poets judged as highly commended in the primary and secondary school categories.

Each entrant also receives a certificate signed by the descendants of William Wordsworth.

Last year’s winner was 13 year old Jessica Dickinson, a pupil at Keswick School, with “I wandered into my childhood”, a tribute to William Wordsworth’s Daffodils. Her poem was deemed to be the best from more than 150 entries from school pupils across Cumbria by members of the Wordsworth family, who will judge the entries again this year. Her poem has been framed and displayed at Rydal Mount for visitors to read.

Jessica and Chris close up 1

Two award finals in one night for Bartle Hall

Two award ceremonies in one night saw one of Lancashire’s top hotels in the finals of outstanding service events.
Bartle Hall Country House Hotel was a runner-up in the tourism category at the Lancashire Business View Red Rose Awards, finishing just behind the ceremony hosts, Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.
Meanwhile, in London, the hotel was also a runner-up in the customer service awards organised by the Guides for Brides.
Bartle Hall, near Preston, is a popular wedding venue, and is also developing a reputation as a short break holiday and business destination.
Set in an historic country house in 16 acres of grounds and woodland, the hotel is now a top choice for out-of-town conferences, business lunches, and mid-week breaks, as well as a social destination for coffee, lunch and afternoon tea. The hotel recently opened a new restaurant, Nest.
Owner Andrew Haworth, who was at the Blackpool event with his wife Nicola, said: “We are really thrilled to be finalists in two prestigious competitions. It is recognition of all that we are doing to make Bartle Hall a first choice in Lancashire and the north of England.”
Andrew and Nicola were kept up to date with proceedings at the Brides awards by two members of staff who were attending the London ceremony on their behalf.
“It is really exciting to be recognised nationally and regionally, and we are aiming to win next time,” said Andrew.
The hotel is currently hosting the annual art exhibition of the Preston Art Society, which is open to the public free of charge each weekday (except March 18).

The X movie that everyone wants to watch

A film that highlights the best scenery in and around Ambleside and Waterhead is reaching a global audience.

The short film was made to promote the world’s toughest extreme triathlon, The X, which is being staged at Waterhead this summer.

cyclists in TriX

It features some of the event’s main sponsors including Heart of the Lakes cottages, Lakeland UK, Hawkshead Relish, and YHA Ambleside which will be headquarters for the event.

And it shows some of the routes that will be followed by around 250 competitors from all over the world as they swim in Windermere, cycle over all the Lakeland passes, and then run a tough marathon to the top of Scafell Pike and back.

The film was made by Ambleside-based Steve Ashworth of Movie-It, the adventure specialists who also produced the recent promotional video Love Ambleside.

Within a week it had been viewed almost 5000 times, with feedback coming from around the world.

Event director Mark Blackburn said: “We are really proud to be staging this race here this summer in the heart of the Lakes and using our amazing local terrain. The film captures everything that’s best about adventure in the Lakes.”

The organisers are planning a weekend of entertainment for spectators and supporters, including events in and around the water at the head of Windermere, and live music.

The X is also being supported by a number of other local and national businesses including Swim the Lakes, Blue Seventy wetsuits, Pete Bland Sports, Mountain Fuel nutrition, Romneys Kendal mint cake, and Willow Water.

Prizes of £1000 for both the first man and first woman have been pledged by Lakeland UK and Heart of the Lakes. And a percentage of every entry fee is going to support the YHA bursary fund Breaks for Kids which provides adventure holidays for disadvantaged children.

Watch the video here:

All change as Creative Lakes helps company re-brand

A new name and a new lease of life for a digital display firm has been launched by Kendal-based Creative Lakes.

The marketing and branding specialists took on the challenge to create a new company name, Vaadhoo, along with a logo, website, marketing collateral and a launch email campaign.

Creative Lakes also generated initial sales appointments for the digital display provider.

vaadhoo display

Cumbria-based Vaadhoo is a digital signage consultancy, providing advice, hardware, software, installation and support to a wide range of businesses, including high street retailers, event management companies and hotels.

The new name from Creative Lakes was inspired by the island of Vaadhoo in the Maldives which famous for its bioluminescent displays. “In the same way our screens offer you bright and vivid displays to engage your customers,” according to company director and founder Mark Carr.

Neil Corrigan, Managing Director at Creative Lakes, said: “This project was a superb opportunity to showcase our branding and marketing skills. We have worked closely with Vaadhoo to really understand their market and their objectives.”

Mr Carr said: “We are delighted to recommend Creative Lakes. They took our disparate identity and marketing materials and in a short time turned it in to a unified brand with a new website and a marketing strategy we can build on. At all times they involved us and they have produced results that not only we are proud of but our clients and suppliers have felt obliged to comment on as being particularly strong in our sector.”

The new Vaadhoo website ( was launched recently.  “Since it went live we have received many positive comments from clients who have visited the site and have recently landed a high profile international client who initially screened us on the basis of our website and who felt our brand fitted theirs,” said Mr Carr.

Vaadhoo is currently developing its marketing activity plan for 2016. Mr Carr said: “Creative Lakes has really helped us to punch above our weight in a fast-paced and competitive marketplace. We look forward to working with them as we grow our business.”

Creative lakes-010

Neil Corrigan: Building new brands for clients

Mr Corrigan added: “As a business, one of our key strengths is building new brands that really work for clients. We enjoy the collaborative process of working closely with businesses, to really understand their needs. We are a company that can help with tactical marketing elements, but also work at a strategic level with clients.”


Creative Lakes is a specialist marketing and branding agency in the North West based in Kendal, Cumbria. The company focuses on brand development; creating names and brands for small to medium sized organisations. Services also include creative marketing, web design, development of marketing collateral and digital marketing services

Further information: Neil Corrigan, 07765 257 627

Star potter Matthew opens art show at Bartle Hall

Artists and art lovers gathered at Bartle Hall Hotel near Preston to see a TV celebrity open a new exhibition.

Matthew Wilcock, the winner of the BBC TV contest, The Great Pottery ThrowDown, was the special guest at the opening of the Preston Art Society annual show.

The exhibition had moved to its new out-of-town venue for the first time, but was such a success that the organisers hope it will be a permanent move.

Matthew, who teachers pottery at Giggleswick School, told the visitors that he was hugely impressed by the standard of work on display.

“There are paintings here by some very talented artists,” he said. “Perhaps next time there might be some potters’ work too.”

Nicola Haworth, who runs the hotel with husband Andrew, said that the opening had been a great success.

matthew and ceris

Matthew with Ceris Jones. Photo by Richard Gill at Great Impressions

“We have never staged anything like this before, but the hotel seems the perfect setting to show off all the paintings,” she said.

Work was exhibited in the hotel’s grand entrance hall, the panelled lounge bar, up the stairs and along a first-floor corridor.

At the opening, Matthew Wilcock was re-united with his former art teacher at Broughton High Schjool, Ceris Jones.

“He’s a cherub,” said Ceris. “We have kept in touch since he left school and he has always been very supportive of the community of artists in and around Preston.”

The exhibition runs until March 24 and is open weekdays (except Friday, March 18) from 10-4. A special coffee and cake deal will be available for visitors, along with afternoon teas.

“We are delighted to be exhibiting at Bartle Hall, and thrilled that Matthew could join us for the opening of our exhibition,” said Art Society chair, Pam Potter.

“The hotel is a perfect setting for us to show off our work, and  visitors will be able to linger and enjoy it all the more because there’s plenty of free parking.”


Last places available for backgammon championship

Anyone in the Lakes play backgammon? There’s still time to enter the third annual Lake District backgammon championship which will be staged at Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel on Sunday March 13.

Leading players from across the UK have already registered for the contest, but the organiser, hotel owner Jonathan Kaye, has four places left for the event.

“You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy this,” said Jonathan. “Backgammon is a game of chance as well as skill, and it is great fun to take part. We’ve had some surprising results in the past.”

The competition, backed by the UK Backgammon Federation, has been growing in popularity since it was launched at the hotel in 2014. It also led to the formation of a Lake District club which meets monthly.

Last year’s contest was won by Edinburgh-based science researcher Samantha Wilkinson who took the title after a thrilling final against financier Barry Teece, also from Edinburgh.

Jonathan said: “It’s always a really exciting day, with some terrific matches. Backgammon is growing in popularity and our monthly club has seen some great competition during the past year.”

The first prize is a two-night stay at the Cedar Manor Hotel. Those interested in competing should call 015394 43192 as soon as possible.



More details: Jonathan Kaye, 015394 43192


A tale of two gardens as historic houses at Rydal join forces

Two of the country’s most admired gardens are joining forces to offer a unique tour in the heart of the Lake District in the “year of the English garden”.

Visitors will be given a guided tour of the totally contrasting formal Mawson-designed gardens at Rydal Hall, and then, adjacent, the Romantic garden at Rydal Mount.

gardens in may

At Rydal Hall, one of the most magnificent buildings in the Lakes now used as a conference and retreat centre for the diocese of Carlisle, the formal Edwardian gardens were designed by landscape architect and town planner Thomas Hayton Mawson in 1911. The Italianate terracing includes herbaceous borders and lawns set against the imposing architecture of the Hall.

Nearby Rydal Mount was the home of the poet William Wordsworth who began the work of landscaping the grounds in a natural way in the manner of the Romantic movement. His designs and plans are used by the gardeners there today, to recreate what the poet intended.

“It is remarkable that in a tiny village such as this there should be two prime examples of completely opposite and contrasting styles of gardens,” said Peter Elkington, the curator of Rydal Mount, which is still owned by the Wordsworth family. “There is probably nowhere else in the country where in such close proximity you can see two completely different approaches to garden design.”

The tours will be led by the head gardener from Rydal Hall, Kate Jackson, and Mr Elkington “We are great admirers of each other’s gardens and it seemed obvious that a joint tour could provide something really special for garden lovers,” said Kate. “We’re really excited about it.”

Tours will begin in April, once a month, and booking must be made by calling Rydal Mount 0n 015394 33002.


4:30pm- Tour begins at Rydal Hall, where head gardener Kate Jackson will introduce the formal garden and the Quiet Garden, with a visit to the “Grot”, a 1695 artists’ viewing station. This was frequently visited by William Wordsworth and features in his  poem, An Evening Walkgardens pic

5:30pm – Visitors will cross the road to Rydal Mount, Wordsworth’s home from 1813 until his death in 1850. The poet was a keen landscape gardener and designed the garden which contains fell-side terraces, including Dora’s Terrace, rock pools,  and the poet’s outdoor ‘writing hut’ where he composed works that still shape culture today. Peter Elkington will explain how Wordsworth brought his vision to the grounds.

6:30pm – The tour finishes with an informal chat and a refreshment break (wine or juice, and a piece of Grasmere gingerbread) on the garden terrace at Rydal Mount or inside the house.

The cost of the tour is £I2 per person.