Windermere: prize-winning unusual views

A shepherdess who takes her son to school on the Windermere ferry has won a photo competition with her picture of the “school run”.

Andrea Meanwell’s stunning photo of Windermere from the Glebe, showing a cloud inversion below the snow-capped Fairfield Horseshoe, was judged the best by the Cedar Manor Hotel.

winning pic

Owners Caroline and Jonathan Kaye organised the contest to search for the most unusual view of the lake.

“We wanted to see some shots of Windermere that were a little out of the ordinary,” said Jonathan, whose hotel is just a few minutes’ walk from the lake shore.

“We had some wonderful entries from many talented photographers, though not all of them were quite ‘different’ enough. Andrea’s photo is marvellous. It captures so much of the spirit of Windermere, with the buoys and the islands in the foreground, and our magnificent mountains in the distance.”

Andrea, also a writer, who farms in the Rusland valley and has a big following on Twitter as the Rusland Shepherdess, has three sons, the youngest at Windermere School. Her first book A Native Breed: Starting a Lake District Hill Farm was published earlier this year. Her second, In My Boots: A Year on a Lake District Farm, is published this week. She wins a two-night stay at the hotel.

santa summer runner up

Two photos were awarded runner-up prizes. They are Steven Sanderson’s view of the lake from the Claife shore, and  Louise  Drinkald’s novelty shot “Not what I expected on midsummer morning”. (This was taken at Fell Foot in June when the regular parkrun there was celebrating its Christmas event which was cancelled due to bad weather.) They each receive a bottle of wine with dinner at the Cedar Manor.

runner up from claife steven sanderson

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Windermere hoteliers head to London for award ceremony

Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel has been shortlisted for another green accolade, the AA Eco Award of the Year.

Presented in recognition of a commitment to sustainability, the award winner will be announced at a celebration dinner in London later this month.

Hotels shortlisted have demonstrated that through good practice and policy they have made a positive contribution to reducing impact on the environment.

Cedar Manor and gardens

The Cedar Manor has always set out to prove that it is possible to combine luxury with sustainability, and was a recent winner of the Considerate Hotels national and international award for best practice.

Co-owner Jonathan Kaye, who is a trustee of Nurture Lakeland, said: “We’re proud of our green credentials. We focus not only on energy but on doing the right thing for the environment, educating ourselves, our staff and guests.

“The key is that we think ‘environment’ when we do anything in the building: when we instruct builders and interior designer to do anything we remind them we want to cover every angle, from insulation, to regulating water flow, to using recycled underlay, lead-free paints, LED lighting, thermostatic heating controls, sustainable wood and above all, trying to keep it British and local, manufactured in the North West.”

The hotel is involved with the CBEN scheme (Cumbria Business Environment Network) and holds the Green Tourism gold award , demonstrating it’s possible to operate in an environmentally-sound way without compromising guests’ experience. “We appreciate that visitors have very high expectations with regard to this, and in the heart of the national park we have a responsibility to maintain and improve the environment,” said Jonathan. “We are looking forward to the award ceremony.”

 

Dynamic young artist to launch Mountain Festival programme

A young artist offering a new perspective on the landscape will be the curtain-raiser for this year’s Kendal Mountain Festival.

The now traditional Festival preview event at the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere will feature the work of Stefan Orlowski. After the private viewing on Wednesday November 15, the exhibition, Land Lives, will run until the end of the year.

stefan head and shoulders

The work on show will combine Stefan’s own interpretation of the Cumbrian interior landscape and coastline. There are landscapes, subjects taken from domestic life and reclaimed objects from outdoor explorations that recur in a diverse range of media including oils, watercolours and small egg tempera panels.

The Heaton Cooper exhibitions have become an established fixture of the Mountain Festival calendar, in recent years featuring the Fell and Rock climbing guides’ drawings of William Heaton Cooper, the mountain charcoal and chalk pictures by Tessa Lyons, and the apocalyptic photographs by climate change campaigner Ashley Cooper, Images from a Warming Planet.

The Studio in Grasmere was opened by William Heaton Cooper in 1938, although the business was founded on another site by his father, Alfred Heaton Cooper, in 1905. A prominent and significant feature of Cumbria’s cultural heritage, and the Lake District Centre for the Interpretation of Landscape, it includes work by the Heaton Cooper family and guest artists, with the Lakeland landscape at the heart of displays in the newly renovated archive gallery.

Julian Cooper, grandson of the founder, whose own retrospective exhibition Full Circle is currently showing at the Studio, will curate Stefan’s exhibition.

Stefan says that the exhibition will attempt to offer insight into a handful of recurring subjects and motifs: “There are landscapes and a number of other subjects from domestic life that recur in an act of obsession and constant re-examination.”

Cumbrian-born Stefan, who is based at Barrow’s Art Gene Studio, studied fine art at Aberystwyth University and the Wimbledon College of Art. He has exhibited locally and in London, including St Martin in the Fields, the King’s Place gallery and the Mall Galleries. He spent four months as Artist in Residence at Trelex in Switzerland.

Director of the Heaton Cooper Studio, Becky Heaton Cooper, said that the partnership with the Kendal Mountain Festival had become an important and exciting feature of their gallery exhibitions. “We are delighted on this occasion to offer an opportunity to such a talented and dynamic artist as Stefan.”

landscape - Copy

Papal blessing for climate change campaigner’s book

The Pope has given his seal of approval to a book which documents the devastating impact of climate change around the world.

Photographer and campaigner Ashley Cooper sent a copy of his book, Images from a Warming Planet, to Pope Francis knowing of his concern about environmental issues.

Replying from the Vatican on behalf of the Pope, Archbishop Paul Gallagher thanked Mr Cooper and said that “the Holy Father…received it with interest and expressed his gratitude for the gift.”

ash with the book

He added: “Despite recent setbacks, the Holy See will continue to promote the issues to which you are committed, and which now appear to have a popular momentum of their own.”

Mr Cooper spent 13 years travelling around the world to photograph the impact of climate change on every continent. The resulting book, published last year, is deceptively beautiful, with its glossy pages of stunning photography. But every picture tells a story of grievous damage “and more views of earthly destruction than I care to remember”.

There are photographs of displaced flood-hit children in refugee camps, dried up river beds, receding glaciers, and – one which has captured public acclaim – a polar bear which starved to death because there was no sea ice on which to hunt its prey. There is an entire chapter on the Canadian tar sands, “of all man’s effort to exploit fossil fuels, by far the most environmentally destructive”.

Mr Cooper lives in Ambleside in the Lake District, where he is a member of the local mountain rescue team. He recently won a Green Apple Environment Award in the international campaign to find the greenest companies, councils and communities, which will be presented at the Houses of Parliament later this year.

His book has been hailed as a critical call to action by leading environmentalists, including Jonathan Porritt, who wrote in a foreword: “Do not ‘flick through’ this extraordinary photographic record…Do not be tempted into any kind of passive voyeurism; do not allow the power of the images to come between you and the people whose changing lives they portray.”

It has since been commended by a number of high profile environmental activists including the actress Emma Thompson, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron, and TV presenter and wildlife expert Chris Packham.

Mr Cooper said: “I am delighted that Pope Francis, a world leader with such influence, is committed to promoting the issues around climate change.”

He added: “I have been attempting to attract the attention of President Donald Trump but without success so far.”

A journey by bike reveals the secrets of Middle England

A new book published this week traces a very different “tour of Britain” on a bike.

Andrew Bibby, writer and cyclist, spent eight days pedalling 430 miles through “middle England” from the Dorset coast to the south shore of the Humber. This was his route that follows the line of Jurassic oolite limestone from Burton Bradstock to the village of Winteringham.

Fascinated by the history and geology of the “Jurassic” area Bibby devised a line which, as far as he knows, has not been tackled as a challenge, on a bike. What he saw along the way, and what he learned about the landscape and the land and the people who’ve worked on it, is now published in a fascinating new book, Back Roads through Middle England.

He had no idea what to expect, but his observations and detailed research offer an extended exploration of the state of rural England today.

“Middle England, you may feel, is a place out of touch with the artistic, intellectual and social buzz of metropolitan life. It’s probably a place of sleepy conformity, almost certainly of unthinking nimbyism and quite possibly of political prejudice,” he says.

“The notion is that Middle England is locked in the past, at a time when the country needs to engage with the present. But my Middle England turns out to be an altogether more complicated, and more contested, terrain. Middle England is not a place of homogeneity, it is where people live and work and argue, a place where things change and don’t change, where some are inspired with a hope to make their lives and their communities different.”

Bibby says: “I found that a bicycle is an ideal mode of transport if you’re not in a hurry and can choose the quiet roads. I enjoyed the way that, day by day, my bike and I began to work together as a team. I saw whole areas of England that I’d never before visited. I saw the landscape change. I’d seen the houses and churches built of oolite limestone stay more or less the same.”

Back Roads Through Middle England is published by Gritstone, £13.95

andrew and the bike

About the author

Andrew Bibby is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in The Observer, The Independent, The Guardian and other national papers. He has written widely on the countryside and the outdoors, including the well-reviewed Backbone of England on northern landscapes. This book offers his insights into southern and mid-counties English landscapes.

Towns and areas covered in this book

Dorset Jurassic coast; Yeovil, Frome and east Somerset; Bath; Malmesbury, Cirencester, Stow and the Cotswolds; Blenheim Palace and north Oxfordshire; Brackley; Wellingborough, Corby and Oundle; Stamford, Sleaford, Lincoln, north Lincolnshire.