Monthly Archives: May 2021

Vernon and Laura’s walk of love for Kathryn

The husband and daughter of an Ambleside woman who died earlier this year have completed a marathon walk in her memory.

Kathryn Rigg died at home in March after a battle with cancer. Vernon Rigg and his daughter Laura Swainson aimed to walk 10 miles a day for 10 consecutive days to raise money for St John’s Hospice, Lancaster.

Laura and Vernon at Derwentwater

But they went several steps further, totalling a massive 144 miles over the 10 days, and raising so far £8528 for the charity. Add to that the 150 miles they walked in training, and their tally is close to 300 miles. The longest walk was 18.5 miles. “We had wind and rain in our faces all day but still had a smile on our faces,” said Laura.

Joined on different days by members of the family, especially son Daniel, Vernon and Laura tackled routes around Ambleside, over Loughrigg, Wansfell, and Alcock Tarn, as well as a walk around Derwentwater, and Kathryn’s favourite, at Arnside and Silverdale.

Vernon with Laura and Daniel at Troutbeck

“We had a mixture of weather over the 10 days but two days in particular were very wet,” said Laura. “The longest walk we did was on one of these wet days where my brother Daniel joined us, and we walked from Ambleside to Hawkshead then onto Esthwaite water back to Ambleside.

“Our favourites were the last day with Daniel, which was from Ambleside over Jenkins Crag up to Troutbeck then over Wansfell back to Ambleside via Rydal (13.5 miles); and round Rydal up to the caves, round Grasmere, up to Alcock tarn, then back to Ambleside via the coffin route, which was also 13.5 miles.”

Vernon and Laura at Grasmere

Vernon and Laura are thrilled with the amount raised so far, and hope to carry on collecting more money for the hospice. “Thank you again for all the donations for such an amazing cause close to our hearts. The treatment mum had from the hospice, and support for us as a family, was second to none.

“We have had the best 10 days doing the walks. It has been a big focus for us.”

 You can donate via  or give cash/cheques to Vernon Rigg.


parkrun: why we need it more than ever

A personal appeal by the author of How parkrun changed our lives.

As we edge closer to the re-start of parkrun, those with fears and anxieties or the privilege of good health might, please, consider that parkrun is much more than a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.

For some it was their ONLY social contact of the week. Imagine that? Imagine how they are feeling now, 15 months down the line? For some, those with work and family responsibilities, it was the ONLY opportunity for time to do something for themselves. For some it was the ONLY way to be motivated to take exercise in a safe and familiar environment. For some it was the ONLY respite from grief, from depression, from anxiety. For some it was the perfect way to spend time together as a family, exercising together.

For all these people, every day of delay is further torture. We are way beyond the simplistic question, why can’t they just go and run anyway?  We know that parkrun is much more than just about running.

And for the GPs, and not JUST those in the 1500 parkrun practices, who were prescribing parkrun for a range of physical and mental health conditions, the immediate return of parkrun is crucial. Would they tell a patient, sorry your medication is still not going to be available, after 15 months..?

The outdoor environment is safe. It’s as safe now as it’s ever going to be. It has been safe all the way through this pandemic. Many scientists have now proved and explained that outdoor transmission of the covid virus is negligible. But there’s a more serious pandemic building up among those falling ill, becoming overweight, unable to deal with diabetes , in danger of heart disease.

Some say, we should wait a few more weeks until it’s safer to mix with others. By all means, don’t put yourselves under strain of anxiety if you are feeling those fears. This is a voluntary experience. You don’t HAVE to run, or marshal, or scan barcodes, until you’re ready; return when you feel comfortable.But please, think about those for whom such involvement is imperative, as soon as possible.

There are landowners with their own codes of operating, who talk about the safety of ALL their visitors, at “peak” times. ALL their visitors, parkrunners or not, are safer in an outdoor environment. The scientific evidence applies to everyone. And “peak” times are not really 9am on a Saturday morning. At many parks, the runners have gone, all trace of the event disappeared, before most of the visitors start to arrive.  In holiday areas, it’s acknowledged that Saturday morning is a quieter time, being the traditional “handover” day as families arrive and depart.

What they, what we all, need to consider is what’s best for others, not just best for ourselves. What does another few weeks matter, you might ask? For many people it matters a great deal. To borrow from Bill Shankly, parkrun isn’t a matter of life and death. It’s much more important than that.

Eileen Jones is the author of How parkrun changed our lives

Ambleside Sports cancelled for second year

Ambleside Sports will not go ahead this summer due to uncertainty around the lifting of Covid restrictions.

The biggest and oldest of the traditional Lakeland sporting events, the Ambleside Sports is usually held on the last Thursday of July and attracts crowds of thousands. It was cancelled last year because of the pandemic.

The organising committee had hoped to stage an event of some sort this summer, but they have decided with deep regret to abandon this year’s plans and put all their efforts into making the 2022 event the biggest and best ever.

“It is with really heavy hearts that we reached this decision,” said president Mr Jak Hirst. “We are all bitterly disappointed, and we know that our competitors in the many arenas, and our trading partners, will be disappointed too. But there is still too much uncertainty about what the summer holds, and it is a burden too great for a group of volunteers.”

The committee made their decision after considering many health and safety issues, including any continuing requirement for social distancing which might be announced, the enormous task of tracking and tracing many thousands of potential visitors, and the need for many extra volunteers to keep people moving safely through the gates and around the showfield.

They also learned that nearly all the local shows, all of them smaller and potentially more manageable than Ambleside, due to be held before the end of July, had already been called off.

“It is a question of reality outweighing the heartstrings,” said committee member Robin Dean. “We desperately wanted to put on an event to raise spirits and allow people to have some fun after the awfulness of the pandemic, but it’s just too soon for us to be sure that we could stage a perfectly safe event which was also enjoyable.”

The organising team are now hoping that new volunteers will step forward to join the committee and plan for next year’s event. The Sports includes wrestling, track cycling, hound trailing, track running and fell-running, and always features a very popular children’s sports competition.