Tag Archives: fell-running

Welcome to the Running Concierge

A new service for city-based runners to have a taste of Lakeland trails is launching in Cumbria.

The Running Concierge is a new concept in the UK, offering busy people with demanding jobs the chance to have a running weekend in the Lakes organised entirely for them.

It’s being led by UK Athletics coach Wayne Singleton who has just hosted his first visitors on a bespoke run-centred visit to the Lakes.

“If you’ve watched running coach and social media star Ben Parkes in action, you’ll know the feeling,” says Wayne. “Ben’s a fit guy with a marathon best time of 2.25 but in one of his videos, he’s racing in the Alps and recognising that as a Londoner he doesn’t have the climbing – or descending – in his legs.

Wayne Singleton

“We know there are runners who long to experience the trails and fells here, but don’t have the time to plan, and don’t know where to start.”

The Running Concierge arranges everything, meeting the train from London Euston or elsewhere to Oxenholme, taking guests to a hotel booked for them, and taking them on guided runs in the South Lakes area, including an ascent of Loughrigg fell.

There’s also the chance to add a cultural dimension to the weekend with a visit to Rydal Mount, home of the poet William Wordsworth. The Concierge recommends restaurants near where the visitors are staying, and can even book tables for dinner, if it’s not provided at their hotel.

The running concierge concept exists elsewhere but on a smaller scale. Hotels in Chicago and Moscow, for example, offer running tours of the city for their guests. And at the Ritz-Carlton, Vienna “guests can enjoy a smooth run throughout the area, with the hotel’s Running Concierge, who is not only a brilliant jogging partner, but also a fantastic guide to the Imperial city, with incredible insight and stories to tell.”

Wayne says: “We’ve taken that idea and developed it into an entire weekend break with trail or fell-running at its heart. We can take runners of all abilities and levels of fitness, and we can tailor route choices and distances to suit our visitors.”

A weekend break might start with a run or walk up Orrest Head on the Friday night; Saturday might be a combined run and sail on one of the steamers on Windermere or Ullswater; and Sunday could be a fell-run taster, followed by cream tea at Rydal Mount. Hotels range from the Burn How at Bowness to b&bs in the Windermere and Ambleside areas. “Our visitors will be in the heart of the Lakes and because we are local experts, not a moment of their weekend will be wasted,” says Wayne.

Richard Askwith, who wrote the best-selling book about his attempts to complete the Bob Graham round, Feet in the Clouds, was based in London throughout his time training for that. He says: “It’s certainly a challenge training for the fells when you’re based in London. But it can be done. I did it for years, and I even got quite good at it for a while. There really aren’t many better ways of motivating yourself than thinking about your next run in the Lake District.”

The Running Concierge with Mathew and Tayler on the summit of Loughrigg

Mathew and Tayler Carver spent three days on their first-ever visit to the Lakes organised by The Running Concierge. The couple, who run a chain of cheese restaurants, the Cheese Bar and the Cheese Barge, and a cheese shop London, stayed in Windermere and were taken on guided trail and fell runs, fell walks, and a swim in the lake with Wayne.

“It was really relaxing to have everything taken care of,” said Mathew. “If you are time-pressured as we are, it’s difficult to make plans about where to go and where to stay.”

Tayler said: “We could have come here on our own but not known where to go and wasted time on such a short visit. It was good to have expert advice and local knowledge, so we’ve learned much more about the Lake District.”

For more details: https://www.runningconcierge.co.uk/

Winding down after their run: Mathew and Tayler visiting Wordsworth’s house at Rydal Mount

A winning haven for guests in Ambleside

An Ambleside guest house has won the coveted Visit England ROSE Award in just the second year under new management.

Haven Cottage was taken over by Allie and Chris Hodgson in spring last year, and they are thrilled to be one of just 100 recipients across the country – and just three in Cumbria.

allie an chris

The ROSE Awards – Recognition of Service Excellence – put the spotlight on those accommodation providers who give visitors the warmest of welcomes.  They recognise the owners, management and employees of establishments that go above and beyond, making customers’ experiences extra special, irrespective of star rating, style or accommodation type.

Suite 8 balcony & seating

Haven Cottage, which has three double bedrooms and two luxury suites, holds four-star gold accreditation from Visit England. With a reputation for excellent breakfasts, for which they have also received an award, the guest house is currently number one in Ambleside in the Trip Advisor ratings.

Breakfast Special

Visit England Director Patricia Yates said that the ROSE awards recognised outstanding accommodation providers. “It is the human touch that these people provide that make visitors’ experiences memorable, ensuring repeat business and helping the industry thrive. The awards celebrate the teams and owners whose efforts surpass expectations.”

Allie and Chris moved back to the UK after running ski-chalet accommodation in the French Alps, in Morzine and then Samoens, and now run Haven Cottage with the help of housekeeper Cristina Dumitrascu. They make a point of using local suppliers in and around the Ambleside area.  Chris is a member of Ambleside AC and was one of the organisers of the recent British Fell Relay races at Grasmere.

Allie said: “We are delighted to receive this award. It is all the more rewarding because it’s based on visitors’ experiences and confidential nomination. We do go out of our way to ensure guests are having a great stay. What’s the point in having all this knowledge and love for the lakes if we don’t share it with our guests? t’s a lovely surprise to be recognised this way.”

Haven cottage

First woman at the helm of traditional Lakeland sports

 

A new chair has taken the helm of the committee which organises England’s oldest traditional sports event.

Marjorie Blackburn is the first woman to lead Ambleside Sports, now in its 132nd year. Mrs Blackburn takes over from Jak Hirst who is stepping down after 13 years. He will keep an advisory role, and retain responsibility for attracting sponsorship.

Marj and Jak

Mrs Blackburn, who lives in Ambleside, has been a member of the organising committee for 18 years, alongside her husband, Mike, himself a former chairman.  Her professional career includes teaching and training, personnel and business, and she is a keen golfer, walker, and member of a local singing group.

Many tributes were paid to Mr Hirst’s “total dedication” to the Sports and he was described as a great team leader.

Ambleside Sports is run entirely by volunteers who spend months in planning and organising, and then a full week of setting up and taking down the sports field equipment. One of the highlights on the Cumbrian calendar, the event includes fell racing (with a new category for under-9s in the popular Guides race this year), hound trails, track cycling, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling and many stalls and sideshows.

The committee has also given £14,000 in the last five years in sporting scholarships to young people in the area, to help them develop their sporting potential.

Also stepping down from the committee was Tom Harrington MBE, the Cumberland and Westmorland wrestler who won 44 world championships.

This year’s event will be held at Rydal Park on Thursday July 26. Space is still available for anyone wanting to book a trade stall in the “craft” marquee to sell local produce, art, jewellery etc, and these can be booked for £35, including table,  via the website http://amblesidesports.co.uk/

 

 

Great base for runners in the footsteps of legend Joss

tribute to joss picp128

An exhibition about fell-running legend Joss Naylor has opened the eyes of running clubs to a great place to stay in the Lakes.

Runners flocked to the exhibition at the Old School Room tea shop at Rydal Hall near Ambleside, which featured the work of Elizabeth Shorrock .

The Hall’s grounds are familiar to everyone who’s run the Fairfield Horseshoe, but now they learn that the building itself would be an ideal base for races and for training weekends.

Rydal Hall with its 34 acres of gardens and woodland and built by the Le Fleming family is now a Christian conference, holiday and retreat centre. The hall has 30 bedrooms which can be let for conference use or on a daily bed and breakfast basis by holidaymakers – and runners or walkers –  who want a real escape. There’s no TV in the rooms, but no religious expectation either; the team say that the ethos is of hospitality and welcome.

“It’s a wonderful location” was the verdict of a running group from the Midlands who were doing a “recce” of the popular mountain race.

“We knew there was a camp site, and we’ve seen the camping pods, but the Hall itself will be a perfect place to stay when we need a bit more comfort at the end of the day.”

One of the most magnificent buildings in the Lakes, Rydal Hall overlooks the formal Edwardian gardens designed by the garden designer, landscape architect and town planner Thomas Hayton Mawson (1861-1933) in 1911. The Italianate terracing includes herbaceous borders and lawns set against the imposing architecture of the Hall.

More details: http://www.rydalhall.org/stay/stay-rydal-hall/