Monthly Archives: November 2019

Lakes hotelier joins the national judges

Windermere hotelier Jonathan Kaye joined the judging panel for the hospitality industry’s top award event in London.

Jonathan was invited to be a judge at the Hotel Catey Awards at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel in London. The presentation dinner was attended by 750 guests, representing the best of the British hotel industry. Jonathan was there with his wife, Caroline.

The Cedar Manor has regularly featured in the finals, and last year was judged to be the UK’s top hotel in the sustainability category.

Since they started in 1984 the Cateys have become established as a celebration of UK hospitality, showcasing innovative brands and trail-blazing individuals who are nominated, selected and rewarded by their peers.

Jonathan and Caroline Kaye

Jonathan and Caroline Kaye

Jonathan said: “It was a great honour to be asked to join the judging panel after Caroline and I have attended many ceremonies as finalists and guests. The UK has the best hotels in all the world, and our association with the Cateys has helped us develop and improve our own hotel to be a world class establishment in the Lake District.”



Cumbrian film festival awards top movie

The extraordinary true story of the teenage Arab prince sent to London on a high-stakes diplomatic mission was voted the best feature film at Ambleside’s Inward Eye film festival.

Born a King took the honours after a showing on the final night of the three-day inaugural event, organised by Hopscotch Films at Zeffirellis cinema, and Rydal Mount. The festival was deemed to be a great success and is likely to become an annual event.

Four years in the making, Agustí Villaronga’s Born a King, starring Ed Skrein (Deadpool) and Hermione Cornfield (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) and produced by Andrés Vicente Gómez, is a true events-based historical drama.

Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia, aged just 14, was sent by his warrior father to London in 1919 to negotiate the formation of his country – dealing with Lord Curzon and Winston Churchill among many other eminent political figures. His job was to persuade the great powers, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire with WWI, to adopt a policy of non-interference towards Saudi Arabia.

A Spain/UK production, filmed mostly in Saudi Arabia, the screenplay is by Henry Fitzherbert, co-writer of the 2018 Simon Pegg/Nick Frost comedy horror Slaughterhouse Rulez, along with Bader Al Samari and Ray Loriga.

Ambleside audiences judged that it was a beautifully-shot portrayal of a fascinating and deeply moving little-known story.


Screenwriter Henry Fitzherbert and actor Simon Paisley Day with the best feature film plate awarded by Zeffirellis

Charlotte Wontner of Hopscotch Films said she was thrilled that the film’s screenwriter and one of the actors were present at the festival. She said: “The festival was a great success and we hope that Inward Eye will now become an annual feature on the film calendar.”

Alongside the festival, the very first Inward Eye Writers Workshop took place at Rydal Mount, which is the home of the poet William Wordsworth, and still owned by the Wordsworth family. Charlotte Wontner is a great great great great granddaughter of the poet.




A friendly Lakes sheep and a running shoe join forces to support international races

A partnership between two iconic Lake District brands will enable the International Under 18 Mountain Running Cup to be staged in Ambleside next summer.

The Herdy Company, with its world famous smiling sheep, and the running shoe specialists inov-8 are to be headline sponsors of the event which will bring young athletes from across the globe to the Lakes.

Herdy at Blea Tarn

The IUMRC is the world’s premier competition for young runners, and is being held in England for the first time, organised by Ambleside AC. The runners will tackle a typical Lakeland fell-race course on Loughrigg as part of a weekend festival of running, with a flag-bearing parade through the streets launching the start of the event.

Event director Duncan Richards, the England team manager, who has been negotiating to bring the event to the Lake District, said that the organisers were thrilled to be working with two of the most important and exciting brands in the region, after needing to raise £30,000 to stage the races.

“We have inov-8, who are the technical specialists who are synonymous with fell running, and Herdy is the welcoming face of a character that symbolises the Lakes,” said Duncan. “One enables runners to tackle all levels of fell terrain, while Herdy is inspired by the Lakes’ native Herdwick sheep who know the fells even better than the best runners!”

Spencer Hannah, co-director and founder of Herdy, said: “The fit couldn’t be better. Herdy was born in the Lakes 12 years ago and the Herdy face is all about spreading smiles and sharing happy moments. We’re here to welcome the runners, their families and all the visitors to this fantastic event and the spirit of Herdy is here to inspire friendship, shared adventure, the freedom of the Lakeland fells and communities coming together.

Michael Price, COO of inov-8, said: “inov-8 was forged in the fells of the Lake District 16 years ago and we are supremely proud of our heritage. Loughrigg and the surrounding fells form part of our testing ground where we go to test the grip of our running shoes, so we know it well and will be out there in force to support the world’s best junior mountain runners when they come here next June.”

Their sponsorship is joining other local and national partners who are contributing to make the event happen. They include Epic Events, retailers Pete Bland Sports and Kong Adventure, the wealth management company Atkins Ferrie, and Love Ambleside, the local organisation that was founded to promote the town in the wake of Storm Desmond.

Other companies, including McClures of Windermere, and the Grasmere Brewery, are providing items for the athletes’ goody bags.

Alongside the international race, Ambleside will also host an uphill time trial race to the summit of Wansfell on the Friday evening after the opening ceremony.

On the Saturday, (June 20) the FRA English Junior Championships will take place in the morning, followed by the international races, and then an open race for all runners over Loughrigg and Silver Howe the following day.

The youth event has been a stepping stone for under-18 fell and mountain runners to race internationally since 2006.  Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee are among those who have started their international racing careers at this championship, and for the last 12 years teams from across the world have converged annually at mountain locations in Italy, France, Ireland, Bulgaria and Czech Republic to compete for the trophy.

The visiting athletes will be accommodated at Ambleside YHA over the weekend, with a few youngsters staying at Windermere and Coniston YHA hostels on the first night.

“This is a fantastic accolade for our local club and will bring the international spotlight on Ambleside,” said Duncan.

“This event is all about developing and inspiring young people, be it international athletes, local athletes, local schools, clubs and communities.”

Duncan, who has been the England team manager at the last six Youth Cups, added: “I have seen the benefit such an experience can bring to young athletes, the confidence born from the shared experience of international competition.”

More details:


Top actor heading for Ambleside film festival

The acclaimed actor Tom Conti is to make a surprise visit to the Ambleside Film Festival on Friday.

The screen and West End favourite will be in conversation with the audience at Zeffirellis Inward Eye festival on Friday afternoon. (Screen 1, 4.30).

Famous for playing Charles Bovary in Madame Bovary, the Jewish novelist Adam Morris in The Glittering Prizes, and Norman in Alan Ayckbourn’s Norman Conquest trilogy, Conti has had a wide-ranging career on the stage, in the cinema and on TV.

Born Thomas Antonio Conti in Paisley in 1941 to a Scottish mother, his father was an Italian immigrant.

Conti initially trained for a career as a classical pianist at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, but switched to acting. He began in repertory theatre in Glasgow and London, and then had a number of successful TV mini-series roles before hitting the headlines as the paralysed sculptor in the right-to-die play, Whose life is it anyway? in London and on Broadway.

American audiences loved his starring roles in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, and Reuben, Reuben for which he earned a leading actor Oscar nomination.

with Pauline Collins in Shirley Valentine

With Pauline Collins in Shirley Valentine

He starred in Shirley Valentine opposite Pauline Collins, Someone Else’s America, and Blind Revenge.

And he earned glowing reviews for his performances in Jeffrey Barnard is Unwell in several different stage productions, and One Helluva Life.

He’s also a writer, and has published a thriller novel. Conti is married to the Scottish actress Kara Wilson, and his daughter Nina is an actress and ventriloquist.

Zeffirellis managing director Dorothy Smith, who is organising the festival along with Hopscotch Films, said: “We are very excited that Tom Conti is joining our list of actors, writers, producers and directors who will be talking to our audiences here. We love his work, and we know that he has appealed to a wide range of cinema and theatre audiences.”

To book tickets for this talk, and for any of the films at the festival, go to

or call 015394 33845.