Tag Archives: Rydal Mount

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

TV series takes the train to Wordsworth country

Rydal Mount near Ambleside, the home of William Wordsworth, will be seen in a new series on BBC Four to be broadcast on October 13.

wisteria

Railways: The Making of a Nation is a new weekly six-part documentary series exploring Britain’s rail network and The Age of Leisure episode will examine the poet’s campaign to halt the development of the branch line to Windermere.

His great great great great grandson Christopher Wordsworth will be seen at the house, still owned by the Wordsworth family, discussing the poet’s objections.

William Wordsworth believed that bringing in “uncultured travellers” would destroy the beauty they had come to enjoy. Wordsworth’s campaign failed, and the line opened in 1847, but one of the great ironies surrounding the great poet was that whilst he was against tourism, he himself would become one of the Lake’s greatest tourist attractions.

christopher in the daffs

Christopher Wordsworth at Rydal Mount

The programme looks at the idea of excursions to distant places which became popular from the 1840s onwards. The ultimate experience was often to head to the hills and sample clean air, far away from the industrial grime and pollution, and working class northerners now had access to the beautiful Lake District.

Historian Liz McIvor explores how Britain’s expanding rail network was the spark to a social revolution, starting in the 1800s and through to modern times.

Liz says: “A fast system of transportation shaped many areas of our industrial nation – from what we eat to where we live, work and play. The railways generated economic activity but they also changed the nature of business itself. They even changed attitudes to time and how we set our clocks. Our railways reflected deep class divisions, but they also brought people together and helped forge a new sense of national identity.

train-presenter

“Before the railways most people lived local lives and had little, if any, interaction with people from other regions with different accents and cultures. With an expanding network people became to mix and learned to co-exist with their fellow countrymen and women.

“This series tells the story of how the railways changed the way we live – giving us a modern, industrial, suburban, consumer nation. This is a social, cultural and economic history of the railways.”

Peter Elkington, the curator at Rydal Mount, said that Wordsworth was, in reality, very welcoming to tourists. “He might have objected to the railway, but he really enjoyed chatting to people who walked by the house, and often showed them round the gardens.”

Wordsworth lived at Rydal Mount, now one of the most famous literary homes in Britain, for most of his life after moving from Grasmere. He wrote and revised much of his poetry there, and the Prelude was published from there, along with the definitive version of the world’s most famous poem, Daffodils. The house and gardens are open to the public daily.

You can watch the full programme on Thursday 13th October on BBC Four at 8pm and later on BBC iPlayer.

William Wordsworth’s garden takes first prize

helen and trophy

The gardens of one of Britain’s most iconic literary houses have won another award.

Rydal Mount, the home of William Wordsworth for most of his life, scooped the first prize in the visitor attractions and historic houses category.

The prize, a trophy donated by Windermere Lake Cruises, was awarded by Ambleside Horticultural and Craft Society and Lakes Parish Council in the annual “parish in bloom” competition.

The extensive gardens are being restored according to plans made by Wordsworth when he lived at Rydal Mount, near Ambleside. The trophy was collected by head gardener Helen Green.

Curator Peter Elkington, who has been overseeing the garden project said: “Helen is a treasure and we are thrilled to receive this award. The gardens are loved by visitors from all over the world, and they were featured in a major Chinese travel magazine earlier this year.

“Wordsworth used to say that he would have been a landscape gardener had he not been successful as a poet. We think he would be very pleased with our efforts today at Rydal Mount.”

 

Photo: Head gardener Helen Green and the trophy

Wordsworth – and Downton Abbey: visitors from Down Under find the connection

christopher in the daffsfiona  downton pic

What’s the connection between William Wordsworth’s Lake District home at Rydal Mount, and Highclere Castle, the location of the popular TV series Downton Abbey?

The answer was revealed to an enthralled group of visitors from New Zealand who arrived at Rydal after visiting Highclere as part of a “Downton Abbey” tour of Britain.

They learned that the current Countess of Carnarvon, whose husband’s family home is Highclere, is the sister of Christopher Wordsworth, the great great great great grandson of the poet, and one of the owners of Rydal Mount.

Fiona, wife of Geordie, the eighth earl of Carnarvon, is also author of two books about Downton Abbey and the castle setting for the drama.

“Our visitors from New Zealand had waited a long time to book a tour of Highclere because the TV series has made the castle so popular,” said Rydal Mount curator Peter Elkington.

“When they subsequently came here, they were thrilled to learn of the connection, and to hear that Christopher Wordsworth had been staying here recently.”

Highclere Castle lies to the west of London, not far from Newbury. Its gardens were designed by Capability brown, and there is also a permanent Egyptian exhibition. But it is the Downton location which attracts the most visitors, and they recognise many rooms from the TV drama, as well as exterior shots.

Says the Countess on the Highclere website: “You will see the Drawing Room in which Maggie Smith delivered many a withering comment to some unfortunate relation.”

Fiona is the author of two Downton Abbey background books which take the reader from the beginning of when the fictional  series started through to the end of the second World War.

Christopher and the Wordsworth family are owners of Rydal Mount, the home of William from 1813 until his death in 1850.

Pictured: Fiona, Countess of Carnarvon, at Highclere, and her brother,  Christopher Wordsworth,  in the Lakes

Wordsworth biographer star of literary lunch

lit lunch team photo

Tributes to William Wordsworth, the poet and the man, were paid at a celebration literary lunch in Ambleside.

The curators of Wordsworth’s home at Rydal Mount, Peter and Marian Elkington, hosted the lunch at the Old Stamp House restaurant, the third and final event to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Daffodils.

Chef Ryan Blackburn and his brother Craig, who own the restaurant in the building where Wordsworth worked as a civil servant, the Distributor of Stamps, created a Cumbrian-themed menu for the occasion.

The guest speaker, the eminent historian and biographer Juliet Barker, who has written two books about Wordsworth, spoke of her affection for Rydal Mount: “I get the strong sense that this was the home that was most important to Wordsworth,  that he and his family loved. It is the most wonderful place.”

Her talk focused on the two versions of Daffodils, the longer and definitive one being that published from Rydal Mount in 1815. She said: “I think it is one of the most important and evocative poems Wordsworth ever wrote. It encapsulates Wordsworth’s great idea about what he thought poetry was, ‘the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’ and, like all his work, it was meant to be read aloud.

“It epitomises for me everything that Wordsworth the poet and the man was about.” She countered the critics who have tried to imply that the poem was Dorothy’s work.

“Though he and Dorothy saw the daffodils together, and she recorded the event in her journal, he wrote her out of the account with ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’. Dorothy’s journal was an aide memoire, but he makes the poem his own. She was his eyes and ears but it was not a poem Dorothy could have written. She doesn’t have the depth that Wordsworth brings to the poem.”

There were two lines in the final version, however, that Wordsworth did acknowledge were written by his wife, Mary:

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude

“That was the only time he ever said that someone else wrote any of his lines,” said Ms Barker.

Among the guests at the lunch was the artist Hideyuki Sobue whose new portrait of Wordsworth was unveiled at Rydal Mount earlier this month. Curator Peter Elkington said that he hoped the literary lunch would be the first in a series hosted by Rydal Mount at the Old Stamp House.

Pictured are guests at the lunch, from left to right: Vicky Robinson, Peter Elkington, Juliet Barker, Mary-Anne Elkington, Marian Elkington, James Barker and Mike Robinson

Wordsworth: this is what he REALLY looked like

hiduyeki portrait of ww (2)

A completely new portrait of William Wordsworth is the highlight of a new exhibition at Rydal Mount where the poet lived.

The portrait is one of a series of works by Japanese artist Hideyuki Sobue on the theme of “I wandered”, to mark the 200th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s Daffodils. He based the new portrait on the life mask of Wordsworth, created coincidentally in 1815, the year that Daffodils was published. It forms a diptych – two separate paintings – with a stark picture of a sea of daffodils stretching back to infinity.

Sobue used the mask in the archives of the National Portrait Gallery in London as the basis for the new painting, which shows the poet as he would have looked 200 years ago, at the age of 45.

Based in the Lake District, after graduating from Osaka University of Arts in Japan, Sobue was elected as a member of the Lake Artists Society in 2008. His work has been shown at a number of major exhibitions in London and throughout the UK.

Sobue is a great admirer of Wordsworth and developed his distinctive style in completing this, believed to be the first new portrait of the poet for 150 years.

The new exhibition at Rydal Mount, which takes the Daffodils poem and the opening words “I wandered” as its inspiration, will run for three months. The works are spread throughout the house, among permanent displays, including the bedrooms and study. It was launched at a private viewing where the poet Gary
Boswell read some of his own work written in tribute to Wordsworth.

Award-winning poet, journalist, teacher and writer, Boswell said that after a long break with “writers’ block” he started composing poetry again after visiting Rydal Mount and especially the gardens.

The Wordsworth family hopes that the anniversary will rekindle interest in what they call “this wonderful poem”. Rydal Mount curator Peter Elkington told guests of a visiting Zulu poet who had been taught Daffodils at school, “and it inspired her to become a poet, even though she had never seen a daffodil”.

The poet’s great great great great grandson Christopher Wordsworth said of the appeal of Daffodils: “The poem has deceptively simple language which delivers a profound message.”

Christopher added: “The role played by Wordsworth in the conservation of the Lake District and the promotion of its culture cannot be underestimated. Wordsworth resisted the move towards modernisation in England and created masterpieces based on his profound spiritual sense of the beauty of the Lakes.

“This project takes a contemporary view of the significance of the Lake District and its natural and cultural heritage both to those who live and work in Cumbria and those who visit from around the world.”

  • Rydal Mount is still owned by the Wordsworth family and open to visitors daily. http://www.rydalmount.co.uk/opening/
  • William Wordsworth spent the greater part of his life at Rydal Mount, living there for 37 years until his death in 1850.
  • The house is a treasure trove of Wordsworth memorabilia. The gardens are being restored according to plans made by the poet, who was an accomplished garden designer. Below the house is Dora’s Field , which Wordsworth planted with daffodils in memory of his eldest daughter, who died from tuberculosis in 1847.
  • Wordsworth wrote several earlier versions of Daffodils but the version we know today is the final one published in 1815 from Rydal Mount.

Eminent historian to speak at Ambleside literary lunch

Tickets are still available for a celebration literary lunch in Ambleside at the award-winning Old Stamp House restaurant.

The event will mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, one of the world’s most famous poems. It will be based in the building where the poet once worked as a civil servant.

The guest speaker is the eminent historian and literary biographer, Juliet Barker, biographer of the Brontes, who has also published two books about Wordsworth.

The event, on Wednesday April 22 – the day before the anniversary of Wordsworth’s death – has been organised by Peter and Marian Elkington, the curators of Rydal Mount, the house near Ambleside where the poet lived for 37 years, and from where he published the final and definitive version of Daffodils in 1815.

Chef Ryan Blackburn, an admirer of Wordsworth’s work, is creating a Cumbrian-themed three course meal for the occasion. It is hoped that literary lunches hosted by Rydal Mount at the Old Stamp House might become regular events.

Bookings for the lunch, which costs £22.50 for three courses with coffee, should be made directly to the restaurant by calling 015394 32775. Numbers are strictly limited and early booking is advisable.

The Old Stamp House is where Wordsworth worked as the Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland, from 1813, the year that he and his family moved to Rydal Mount, until he started to earn enough money from his writing.

Peter Elkington said: “We are thrilled that Juliet Barker is joining us for this very special celebration. She will talk about Wordsworth’s life and work, and no one is better placed to reveal the elusive private man behind the public image.”

Daffodils has captured the hearts of poetry lovers across the world. It has been recited simultaneously by 150,000 schoolchildren, won an American TV talent show when read by a young contestant, and translated into many languages. A version in Chinese calligraphy written on a six-foot high scroll was presented to Rydal Mount recently by a lecturer at Shandong Jiaotong University in China.

The poem was set to music in a song, I wandered lonely as a cloud, recorded by American folk glitter queen Judy Polan in 1996.

The poet’s great great great great grandson Christopher Wordsworth said of the appeal of Daffodils: “The poem has deceptively simple language which delivers a profound message.”

The inspiration for the poem came from a walk Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy took through the woods beyond Gowbarrow at Ullswater and came across a “belt” of wild daffodils blowing in the wind from the lake.

Notes :

  • Rydal Mount is still owned by the Wordsworth family and open to visitors daily, with limited opening hours in winter. http://www.rydalmount.co.uk/opening/
  • The house is a treasure trove of Wordsworth memorabilia. The gardens are being restored according to plans made by the poet. Below the house is Dora’s Field , which Wordsworth planted with daffodils in memory of his eldest daughter, who died from tuberculosis in 1847.
  • Juliet Barker is the author of Wordsworth, A Life (2000) and Wordsworth, A Life in Letters (2002). She lives in Yorkshire, and is a former curator and librarian of the Bronte Parsonage Museum, and author of a number of books about the Brontes.
  • The Old Stamp House was launched last year by Ryan Blackburn, formerly of Holbeck Ghyll and The Cottage in the Wood, and a Cumbrian Chef of the Year winner. He and his brother Craig source local ingredients from top Cumbrian suppliers
  • Wordsworth wrote several earlier versions of Daffodils but the version we know today is this final one published in 1815.

 

Wordsworth returns to the Lakes

CW1

Christopher Wordsworth, pictured, the great great great great grandson of William Wordsworth, is heading to the Lake District at the end of this month to recite the poem published by his ancestor 200 years ago. Christopher will recite Daffodils in the grounds of Rydal Mount, the home of William and his family for most of his life, and from where Daffodils was published. His audience will be the finalists in the Wordsworth Young Poets award who have been invited to a prizegiving ceremony on March 31. Christopher will announce the winner.

Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, is still owned by the Wordsworth family but is open to the public.

Exhibition tribute to Wordsworth’s Daffodils

A major exhibition by a Japanese artist will be staged in the Lake District to mark the 200th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, said to be the world’s most famous poem.

The work of Hideyuki Sobue on the theme of “I wandered” will be shown at Rydal Mount, the house near Ambleside where Wordsworth lived for most of his life, and from where he published the definitive version of the poem that begins with those words.

The exhibition will open on April 11, following a private reception at Rydal Mount, still owned by the poet’s descendants. The poet Gary Boswell will read some of his own work written in tribute to Wordsworth. The exhibition will run for two months.

Hideyuki, who now lives in the Lake District, is a great admirer of Wordsworth’s work. He and Gary Boswell worked together on a collaborative project at Rydal Mount ten years ago, in an attempt “to trace back to the poet’s spirituality and creativity from the perspective of our contemporary society”. The new exhibition takes the Daffodils poem and the opening words “I wandered” as its inspiration.

Hideyuki was born in Japan and brought up in a children’s home for orphans. He studied art at Osaka University and then moved to England and was elected a member of the Lakes Artists Society in 2008. He has had exhibitions in London and throughout the UK.

Award-winning poet, journalist and writer Gary Boswell has held a number of “writer in residences” and was poet in residence for the 2010 World Cup.

Daffodils has captured the hearts of poetry lovers across the world. It has been recited simultaneously by 150,000 schoolchildren, won an American TV talent show when read by a young contestant, and translated into many languages. A version in Chinese calligraphy written on a six-foot high scroll was presented to Rydal Mount recently by a lecturer at Shandong Jiaotong University in China.

The poem was set to music in a song, I wandered lonely as a cloud, recorded by American folk glitter queen Judy Polan in 1996, and performed at Rydal Mount when she visited England.

The Wordsworth family hopes that the anniversary will rekindle interest in what they call “this wonderful poem”.

The poet’s great great great great grandson Christopher Wordsworth said of the appeal of Daffodils: “The poem has deceptively simple language which delivers a profound message.”

Meanwhile, schoolchildren across Cumbria have been writing poems of their own on the theme “I wandered” and their efforts will be judged by the Wordsworth family. The annual Wordsworth Young Poet award will be made at the end of March.

The inspiration for the poem came from a walk Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy took through the woods beyond Gowbarrow at Ullswater and came across a “belt” of wild daffodils blowing in the wind from the lake.

Rydal Mount is still owned by the Wordsworth family and open to visitors daily, with limited opening hours in winter. http://www.rydalmount.co.uk/opening/

The house is a treasure trove of Wordsworth memorabilia. The gardens are being restored according to plans made by the poet. Below the house is Dora’s Field , which Wordsworth planted with daffodils in memory of his eldest daughter, who died from tuberculosis in 1847.

Wordsworth wrote several earlier versions of Daffodils but the version we know today is this final one published in 1815.

Literary lunch at the Old Stamp House to mark Wordsworth anniversary

A literary lunch is to be held in Ambleside to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, one of the world’s most famous poems.

The celebration will be at the award-winning Old Stamp House restaurant, which is based in the building where the poet once worked as a civil servant.

The guest speaker is the eminent historian and literary biographer, Juliet Barker, who has published two books about Wordsworth.

The event, on Wednesday April 22 – the day before the anniversary of Wordsworth’s death – has been organised by Peter and Marian Elkington, the curators of Rydal Mount, the house near Ambleside where the poet lived for 37 years, and from where he published the final and definitive version of Daffodils in 1815.

Chef Ryan Blackburn, an admirer of Wordsworth’s work, is creating a Cumbrian-themed three course meal for the occasion. It is hoped that literary lunches hosted by Rydal Mount at the Old Stamp House might become regular events.

Bookings for the lunch, which costs £22.50 for three courses with coffee, should be made directly to the restaurant by calling 015394 32775. Numbers are strictly limited and early booking is advisable.

The Old Stamp House is where Wordsworth worked as the Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland, from 1813, the year that he and his family moved to Rydal Mount, until he started to earn enough money from his writing.

Peter Elkington said: “We are thrilled that Juliet Barker is joining us for this very special celebration. She will talk about Wordsworth’s life and work, and no one is better placed to reveal the elusive private man behind the public image.”

Daffodils has captured the hearts of poetry lovers across the world. It has been recited simultaneously by 150,000 schoolchildren, won an American TV talent show when read by a young contestant, and translated into many languages. A version in Chinese calligraphy written on a six-foot high scroll was presented to Rydal Mount recently by a lecturer at Shandong Jiaotong University in China.

The poem was set to music in a song, I wandered lonely as a cloud, recorded by American folk glitter queen Judy Polan in 1996.

The poet’s great great great great grandson Christopher Wordsworth said of the appeal of Daffodils: “The poem has deceptively simple language which delivers a profound message.”

The inspiration for the poem came from a walk Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy took through the woods beyond Gowbarrow at Ullswater and came across a “belt” of wild daffodils blowing in the wind from the lake.

Rydal Mount is still owned by the Wordsworth family and open to visitors daily. The house is a treasure trove of Wordsworth memorabilia. The gardens are being restored according to plans made by the poet. Below the house is Dora’s Field , which Wordsworth planted with daffodils in memory of his eldest daughter, who died from tuberculosis in 1847.

Juliet Barker is the author of Wordsworth, A Life (2000) and Wordsworth, A Life in Letters (2002). She lives in Yorkshire, and is a former curator and librarian of the Bronte Parsonage Museum, and author of a number of books about the Brontes.

The Old Stamp House was launched last year by Ryan Blackburn, formerly of Holbeck Ghyll and The Cottage in the Wood, and a Cumbrian Chef of the Year winner. He and his brother Craig source local ingredients from top Cumbrian suppliers.

  • Wordsworth wrote several earlier versions of Daffodils but the version we know today is this final one published in 1815.

http://www.rydalmount.co.uk/opening/