Monthly Archives: February 2022

Fell-running writer Steve to appear at Lakes festival

The writer who has chronicled British fell running over the years will be a guest speaker at a Cumbrian festival this summer.

Steve Chilton will appear on the Inspiration Stage at the Eden Escape festival in the northern Lake District.

Steve Chilton

Steve is the author of a number of books including It’s a Hill,Get Over it;  All or Nothing at All (the life of fell-runner Bill Bland); and Running Hard, the story of the rivalry between running champions John Wild and Kenny Stuart. He’s currently working on a book about women runners. Steve is an experienced public speaker, with spots at the Keswick Festival, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival and Buxton Adventure Festival.

A committed runner and qualified athletics coach with considerable experience of fell running and a marathon personal best of 2-34-53, Steve is a long-time member of the Fell Runners Association and has run in many of the classic fell races, as well as mountain marathons, and has completed the Cuillin Traverse. He worked for many years at Middlesex University where he was a Cartographer and a Lead Academic Developer. Steve’s work has been published extensively, particularly in his roles as Chair of the Society of Cartographers and Chair of the ICA Commission in Neocartography.

Tom Williams

He will join other inspirational speakers at the festival at Mains Farm near Kirkoswald. They are Tom Williams, the global chief operating officer at parkrun, and Ross Brannigan, the Scottish adventurer whose first book first book Running Adventures Scotland will be published soon.

Ross Brannigan

Eden Escape is an unusual event which combines camping, music and good food with lots of fitness activities and adventures for all ages. There will be running and swimming sessions, yoga and Zumba dancing, massage therapies, and lots of children’s activities, along with a series of films from the Kendal Mountain Festival.

Wiz Lees, one of the organisers, said: “It’s great news that Steve Chilton is joining our line-up of inspiring speakers. Our festival is all about being happy, healthy and fit in the great outdoors, and having adventures great and small. We’re looking forward to hearing about the amazing characters he has met on the fells.”

Eden Escape festival will be staged at Mains Farm from May 27-29. Full details, and booking forms, can be found here:


Adventurer Ross heads to Lakes festival

The Scottish runner, writer and environmentalist with a passion for adventures in wild places, Ross Brannigan is heading to a festival in the Lakes this spring.

Ross will be one of the inspirational speakers at the Eden Escape Festival at the end of May.

Ross Brannigan

Eden Escape is an unusual event which combines camping, music and good food with lots of fitness activities and adventures for all ages. There will be running and swimming sessions, yoga and Zumba dancing, massage therapies, and lots of children’s activities.

And along with a series of films from the Kendal Mountain Festival, top names from the outdoors world will be on the Inspiration stage. Ross headlines with Tom Williams, the global chief operating office from parkrun UK.

Tom Williams

Also in May, Ross’s first book Running Adventures Scotland will be published, which features 25 inspiring running routes through some of Scotland’s awe-inspiring landscapes. From thrilling ridge lines and high summits to wandering trails through beautiful glens, the book is designed to be the adventure runner’s companion to exploring the best Scotland has to offer. Running Adventures Scotland will be released by Vertebrate Publishing in time for the festival.

One of the organisers, Wiz Lees, said: “We are thrilled that Ross has accepted our invitation to come and speak at the festival. We are very keen to show that adventures can be enjoyed without having to trek half way across the world, and while our own festival adventures will be at a local level, it will be wonderful to hear all about Ross’s exploits north of the border.”

Eden Escape festival will be staged at Mains Farm from May 27-29. Full details, and booking forms, can be found here:

Zumba and yoga meet 80s music at festival

The Cumbrian festival with fitness at its heart has signed up a leading Zumba teacher for the weekend.

Eden Escape Festival will feature sessions led by Kelly McClelland of the Eden Dance School and Live Yoga Life.  Kelly will be offering Zumba suitable for all ages and Kundalini Yoga, a style of yoga that focuses on mantras, repetitive movements, breath and music.

Kelly McClelland

The festival, on the last weekend in May, will be held on the banks of the River Eden at Mains Farm near Kirkoswald. There will be a range of classes and sessions offered, including trail running, river swimming, and massage therapies. There will also be a programme of inspirational speakers, led by parkrun Global Operating Officer Tom Williams.

The Zumba and Yoga sessions are part of the festival’s ethos of health, fitness and adventure, as well as having a chilled camping experience with great music and food in a beautiful setting.

Keeping visitors dancing on the Saturday night will be 80s tribute band Under Neon who will headline in the big barn.

Under Neon

One of the organisers, Wiz Lees, said: “Visitors to our first festival will remember Kelly as the most enthusiastic teacher going. If Zumba may be a new experience for you, there’s no one better to help you get moving and having fun.”

Kelly says: “I absolutely love teaching Zumba classes. The reason is simple: every class feels like a party! We take the ‘work’ out of workout, by mixing low-intensity and high-intensity moves for an interval-style, calorie-burning dance fitness party. Once the Latin and World rhythms take over, you’ll see why Zumba Fitness classes are often called exercise in disguise.”

Tickets for the festival, and more details, can be found at:

  • Based in the Heart of Cumbria, the Eden Valley, Eden Dance aims to offer high quality dance training to youngsters and grown ups regardless of their rural location, in a variety of styles for fun or as a progressive route to a career in dance.
  • Yoga For Real Life – Kundalini Yoga –  is sometimes called the Mother of all Yogas or the Yoga of awareness. It is a powerful blend of postures, breath work or Pranayama, mantras and meditation that teaches deep relaxation and physical and emotional release, to awaken your inner potential.

parkrun legend Tom Williams to “headline” at Cumbrian festival

A leading figure in the parkrun world, Tom Williams, will be a keynote speaker at the Eden Escape festival in May.

Tom, who is Global Chief Operating Officer at parkrun, will appear at the family-friendly weekend festival in Cumbria which has fitness and adventure at its heart. There’s also camping and music, running and swimming sessions, yoga and adventure films, and children’s activities.

Tom, whose wife Helen presents the Free Weekly Timed parkrun podcast with broadcaster Vassos Alexander, supports more than 2,000 parkrun events across 23 countries. With a BSc in Human Biology, Exercise and Health, and an MSc in Sport and Exercise Science, he spent four years in the academic sport science department at the University of Leeds then started working full time for parkrun in 2011.

Tom and son Aston on parkrun volunteer duty

In 2010 he started the Marathon Talk running podcast, which ran for 600 episodes over 12 years and throughout that time was the most-downloaded UK running podcast. He’s completed 25 marathons (with a PB of 2:49) and seven Ironman triathlons (with a PB of 9:24).

The Eden Escape Festival will be held at Mains Farm, Kirkoswald, on the banks of River Eden in the northern Lake District at the end of May. It’s organised by Wiz Lees and Leigh-Ann Newburn, from Shap, and Keswick-based wild-swimming guru Ali Phillips. Wiz is a personal trainer and fitness instructor, and Leigh Ann teaches yoga, and together they created Fox Red Events to organise the festival, which had a small-scale launch in 2019. After two years hit by the pandemic, they’re planning to offer adventures on a local level and a staycation experience for the whole family. Ali, a well known blogger for Girl About the Lake District, will be bringing her expertise to the river-swimming side of the adventures.

Staged at the farm camp site, the festival promises a real escape from the ordinary, a time to get away from it all, spend time together outdoors, getting active and enjoying great company and great food.

Wiz Lees said: “We are delighted that the inspirational Tom Williams will be joining us. He represents the parkrun ethos, to make the world a healthier and happier place through their free, weekly 5k events. That fits perfectly with our aim here, to offer open-air adventures at a local and sustainable level. We all know the benefits that come with exercise, especially when it comes to mental health. In today’s work-obsessed world, more people are finding it difficult to manage stress, and live in constant worry about something or the other.”

She added: “It’s possible to have a really exciting time, and have mini-adventures, here on the banks of the River Eden, without having to travel too far. We know that Tom will be an informative and entertaining speaker for everyone, even if they haven’t done a parkrun yet.”

More guest speakers will be announced shortly. The festival will stage music events, including a 1980s night on the Saturday featuring tribute band Under Neon, and films from Kendal Mountain Festival. Massage therapies will be available, and there will be a market area in the former milking parlour where locally-made crafts, clothes, toiletries, candles and much more will be on sale. There’ll be plenty of good food available, with lots of vegetarian and vegan choices, but also chicken and chips and pizza. Says Wiz: “We know what families want when they go away for a weekend, and we know it means catering for everyone.”

The festival is on May 27-29. For more information and to book tickets see

  • A number of parkruns can be reached from the festival site including Penrith (20 minutes), Talkin Tarn (25 mins), Carlisle (30 mins), Keswick (45 mins), Whinlatter (50 mins) and Tyne Green (65 mins).

Family friendly show at Theatre by the Lake

Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company bring their brand new family-friendly show, Pinocchio, to Theatre by the Lake for February half term. Following sell-out shows of The Gingerbread Man and The Elves and the Shoemaker, this unswervingly energetic and humorous company returns with their latest production.
 Using the classic elements of this tale – a poor woodcarver, the tell-tale growing nose, the dream of becoming a real boy – S&N add their hallmark hilarity, cleverness, puppetry, music, fantastic staging, outstanding performers and extraordinary physical tricks, in their most ambitious production to date.  Three very funny men seek refuge in a grand but abandoned old house, where they gather around an extraordinary dining table that becomes their playground. Grandfather, Father and Son tell tales of growing up; one of them used to be Pinocchio and it turns out he’s had quite a life!…
“Take a child (by which I mean, anyone from 3 to 103) to a show by Stuff and Nonsense; watch how, within a minute or two their smile begins to widen, their mind starts to expand – then notice their expressions of delight and wonder…Stuff and Nonsense make the world a better place.”Chris Chibnall, Executive Producer, Doctor Who and TV Writer (Broadchurch, Doctor Who, Torchwood)