Monthly Archives: June 2020

What’s open in the Lake District

After weeks of planning, hoping and waiting for official confirmation, it’s going to be possible to come and stay in the Lakes from July 4.

Hotels, guest houses and holiday cottages will be opening, though many will not be fully open immediately.

So if you’ve been longing to have a holiday and love the Lakes, what can you expect to find as lockdown eases?

Most of the car parks are now open, but there’s an alert scheme to let you know when they’re too busy: https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/car-park-status

You can check on this site to find out which public toilets are open, too. Remember that some attractions which are opening their gardens and outdoor spaces might not have loos available yet.

The biggest attraction in the South Lakes, Windermere Cruises, will have self drive boats available, and is making plans for how and when to start operating cruises.

Grasmere’s Heaton Cooper Studio and Gallery will be opening during the week beginning July 6. This is the leading gallery of landscape art in the Lake District, showing the work of generations of the same family of artists along with visiting exhibitors. https://www.heatoncooper.co.uk/

The gardens at Muncaster Castle are open daily, but tickets must be bought online in advance and numbers will be limited.

Likewise at Rydal Mount, where the house and tea-room remain closed, but the gardens are open: https://rydalmount.wordpress.com/2020/06/11/wordsworths-gardens-are-open/

Gardens at Rydal Mount

Zeffirellis café and restaurant in Ambleside is opening , along with two of their five cinema screens. Seating will be limited, with spaces between seats and staggered patterns of seating so that there will be no one directly in front or behind another. https://www.zeffirellis.com/

The National Trust has opened the gardens at Sizergh Castle and Fell Foot, along with the car park at Aira Force near Ullswater. Parking needs to be booked in advance. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/days-out/regionnorthwest/lake-district

Beatrix Potter’s house at Hill Top is closed. Likewise, for this month at least, the World of Beatrix Potter attraction in Bowness. Ullswater Steamers is hoping to re-open July 6.

Hayes Garden World is open weekdays only, 10-4, with a very strict safety social distancing and queuing regime.

It seems sad that we should have to remind visitors to the Lakes to respect the Countryside Code, to take their litter home, and not to light barbecues or fires. The responsibility lies with everyone to plan ahead and make the correct preparations to support safe, considerate tourism.

Businesses and organisations like the Lake District National Park Authority, Cumbria Police, Cumbria County Council and other local authorities are working hard behind the scenes to put in place all the necessary measures to enable visitors to enjoy safe and responsible visits to the county.

Here’s a further list of some attractions you might want to visit.

 

Further information:

https://www.visitlakedistrict.com/information/stay-safe-in-the-lakes-information-for-visitors

 

It’s Saturday, 9am, and it’s not-parkrun

“I’d like to welcome you all to Brathay Church Bridge parkrun. Do we have any tourists? Any first timers?” A sheep in the next field raises its head momentarily. My friend Jo doesn’t even raise her eyebrows any longer. I let her be RD one week, though we take it in turns to be tailwalker.

It’s Saturday, it’s 9am, and it would take more than a global pandemic to stop me turning up for parkrun. The first week of lockdown, I ran solo, doing 2.5k each way out and back from the front door.

Then Jo had a better idea. Initially meeting accidentally, and always running or walking at a respectable distance, we started our series of not-parkruns from bridges, a different one each week. Thirteen so far, and all but one within warm-up distance from home. A dozen have been out and back; one, a challenging and hilly route starting on the lower slopes of Wansfell, was a circuit that included the Billy Goats Gruff Bridge.

We are lucky (my most-often-used three words over the last three months) to live where we do, in the heart of the Lake District where there are not only lakes, but also many rivers and becks with bridges over them.

Jo has standards. An older, stone bridge will take precedence in route selection over a more modern wooden or metal structure. Which is why we were starting today from the footbridge to Brathay church rather than the nearby Bronwen Nixon Memorial Bridge (mainly wood, on a metal girder base) which will have to be chosen eventually when we run out of more substantial edifices.

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The route of not-parkrun number six

There have been two from Rydal. The Rydal Grotto bridge route took us across the road, through the woods and along the lake shore, while the Rydal tea-room bridge followed a steeper trail along the Coffin Route in the direction of Grasmere. Steeper still was the ascent of Skelghyll woods from our starting point at the Bridge House in Ambleside.

The town now has its own real parkrun, in nearby Rothay Park, one of the infants of the parkrun family with only six events held before lockdown. We wouldn’t run round there on a Saturday, of course, in keeping with HQ requests, but we can report that the local council has created a new path linking Miller Field to the main gate, which means the volunteers will no longer have to lay the artificial “path of doom”.

But we have done a not-parkrun from the far side of the park, from Miller Bridge (out to Waterhead and back). Fastest route? Pelter Bridge to Clappersgate and back, all on tarmac. Most enjoyable? Probably Skelwith Bridge, out and back towards Elterwater. (There’s another bridge near Skelwith waterfalls we can use for a subsequent starting point.)

The search for new ones comes naturally to this tourist (104 different events to date). And the routine has been almost as priceless as the regularity of human company; anyone living alone will recognise the limitations of conversational responses when talking to the teapot.

It’s familiar. It’s what I’ve done every Saturday for the past ten years, and what I’ve missed more than anything else during these crazy times. And, yes, of course I wear my apricot tee-shirt and my barcode wristband (fastened around the wrist on Friday night, so that when I wake in the morning I’ll know it’s Saturday). And yes, we go for a (take-away) coffee afterwards. Virtual parkruns concentrate on recording times, and mine have been enfeebled by injury. Zoom chats with the core team at Fell Foot, my home parkrun, have only made me long even more achingly for the real thing.

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Longing for the real thing

So we carry on, with the ritual weekly briefings. So far we’ve had no dogs, no under-11s to be kept on a short lead, no milestones to celebrate. Jo’s birthday is coming up soon-ish, but that’s on a Sunday. The proper celebrations will happen when we can all get together for the real thing. Who cares if July 4 is the date we can go in pubs or to cinemas or dine out? That’s officially New Zealand parkrun-envy day.

Eileen Jones