Veggie Victory at The Wild Boar!

1175184_648547675155344_1695589003_nLaura Ticehurst, Receptionist at The Wild Boar found herself donning wellies and taking to the Inn’s new and freshly dug vegetable patch earlier this year. A novice gardener, Laura shares her successes, failures and one or two tips for getting rid of those pesky slugs …

At the beginning of spring 2013 I knew nothing about gardening and had no particular desire to know anything about it either……..that was until it was suggested that as a Green Champion it would be great if I could become involved and “help out” with the vegetable patch at The Wild Boar. Little did I know that the word “help” would be interpreted as “be solely responsible for”.  So being thrown head first into the world of home grown vegetables has made for an interesting year with many successes and one or two failures. I’ve learnt what to do and what not to do and have also created and refined my own gardening tips!

At the start of spring I eagerly planted peas, carrots, beetroot, different varieties of lettuce and rocket, courgettes, French beans, shallots, red onions, spring onions and radishes as well as sweet potatoes and marrows. The radishes were first to grow and after I had completed the back breaking work of thinning them out once they had grown into seedlings; they soon grew to be big juicy tasty accompaniments to the salads chef put on the specials menu. This success though was met by a failure with the beetroot crop. After I had thinned the beetroot out they didn’t take too kindly to the extremely hot weather we had over the summer and therefore didn’t grow much bigger than the size of a marble. The rocket was growing by the bucketful and we had so much that chef dreaded my daily visits to the kitchen with the days harvest so the staff ended up taking some of it home too!

Slug
Slug (Photo credit: Marj Joly)

My biggest battle this year though has been with the gardeners arch nemesis; The Common Garden Slug! Not wanting to use the toxic slug pellets in the garden for fear a poor dog might eat one I was left with nothing but the more alternative methods of deterring these pesky creatures. I used tubs of beer in the hope the slugs would be happily distracted as well as wool on the soil which they are supposed to dislike crawling across. My dear mother also shared one of her old wives tips with me, which was to put slices of cucumber on a tray of aluminium foil and dot these about the vegetable patch. Surprisingly I think it worked as they weren’t too much trouble after this. Although it may also have been the combined effort of all my strange slug repelling methods including mixing used coffee granules in amongst the soil and strips of copper along the bottom of plants which is supposed to give off an electrical charge when the slugs crawl across it!

My biggest success of the year; of which I am quite proud has to be my Marrows. I have tenderly cared for them through out the year, feeding them according to a strict timescale, watering them at a particular time of day, on certain days of the week and gently placing straw under the growing marrows to stop them rotting upon contact with the soil. (This is no easy feat, the leaves and stalks of marrows are covered in thick sharp thistles which cut and scratch you) My dedication was rewarded with a plentiful bounty of the biggest marrows I have ever seen. For several weeks I would have a generous harvest of marrows to provide the kitchen with and chef created several delightful dishes from them which featured on our daily specials.

Overall I would say this years crop has been a success and we hope to be a bit more adventurous with what we grow next year as well as planting vegetables that are ready at different times of year so that the kitchen are not overwhelmed with vegetables. I’m also determined to continue my marrow success and grow one bigger and better than this year’s 90 lb marrow winner at the Hawkshead Show. Green Fingers Crossed!

World Toilet Day – helping to flush away poverty!

It seems appropriate that on World Toilet Day, Howard from our Maintenance Department is hanging photographs of 16 toilets from around the globe in our ladies and gents toilets within the English Lakes family of hotels.

Tim, Dan and Howard hanging the new toilet twinning certificates at Low Wood Bay
Tim, Dan and Howard hanging the new toilet twinning certificates at Low Wood Bay

Continue reading “World Toilet Day – helping to flush away poverty!”

Ten Facts About Windermere and The Lake District

1. What’s in a Name?

The name ‘Windermere’ is made up of two words, ‘mere’ the Old English word for a body of water and the old Norse name ‘Vinandr’. We do not know who this character Vinandr was, but presumably somebody with a rather large ego who looked out over the lake one day and decided it belonged to him. Guests at Low Wood Bay and Waterhead can readily enjoy Vinandr’s view in a more civilized way over a nice glass of Chardonnay!

English: Lake Windermere,Lake District
Windermere, Lake District (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Fluffy grey sheep

Another inheritance from our Viking forefathers are the grey sheep that you will see dotted around the fells. These are the now native Cumbrian Herdwick sheep prized for their robust health and their ability to live solely on forage. The wool quality has unique qualities relating to durability – thick bristle type fibres forming a protective barrier layer in blizzards. They have been known to survive under a blanket of snow for three days while eating their own wool! Continue reading “Ten Facts About Windermere and The Lake District”

Visitor Giving is Win, Win, Win!

Bluebells at Barbooth Lot
Bluebells at Barbooth Lot

Research has shown that visitors to the Lake District want to contribute to the beautiful environment that keeps them coming back time after time.

“Tourists in the 21st century are likely to base their choices in travel and tourism on environmental protection and social responsibility” British Tourism Framework Review.

We love where we live and work. Our family of hotels are all located in beautiful corners of Lancashire and Cumbria, with either stunning Lake views, ancient woodland, the Trough of Bowland on the doorstep and on Morecambe Bay an area of outstanding natural beauty. Continue reading “Visitor Giving is Win, Win, Win!”

Energy Four Ewe – The fun of April 1st

Ben and Tim Berry with Shirley the Sheep
Ben and Tim Berry with Shirley the Sheep

As a family company we really enjoy being in business. It also gives us a long term view to invest in the future and build a sustainable business. Unfortunately Shirley the Sheep is not an investment we are making; it was a light hearted April Fools joke and I hope we got ewe!

Although we aren’t making investments in Eco Sheep we are investing in new Green Technologies for Low Wood Bay and our other fantastic venues. The biomass boiler at The Wild Boar is keeping the inn toasty warm whilst reducing our carbon footprint, so much so we are looking at a further two biomass boilers across the group.  Continue reading “Energy Four Ewe – The fun of April 1st”

Energy Four Ewe – The future of Wind Farms in sensitive locations

 [ About This Video ]

Hundreds of wind harnessing “sheep” set to secure the green energy solution for Lake District National Park

This innovative solution to energy production has been invented by an Uncle and Nephew team, Tim and Ben Berry, both of Windermere.  Continue reading “Energy Four Ewe – The future of Wind Farms in sensitive locations”

Buying Local: Best for our Community and Environment

Waterhead - Green Business Award Winners
Waterhead – Green Business Award Winners

When thinking about ‘going green’, many people automatically think all this involves is turning off lights and taps and walking rather than driving.  However working closely with Green Tourism over the last few years has revealed so many different ways of being green, and making small changes that can make a huge difference.

The area I have found to be the most interesting and rewarding is the concept of ‘buying local’.  We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful and resourceful areas of the country and even the world.

How does buying local help you go green, you may ask?  Well being green can manifest itself in many different ways, and the things that are taken into consideration in this instance are;

  • The more local the less transportation needed for delivery, reducing our carbon footprint
  • Supporting the local economy and smaller family farms
  • The produce reaches us being as fresh as possible, being better for the guest’s health as it has lost little of its nutritional value
  •  Buying local means our guests are eating foods that are in season
Local Art at Waterhead
Artwork in our lounge from local artist Julie-Ann Scott

Buying locally means you can create relationships with local businesses, and actually see where your food is coming from, and can even order bespoke products for your individual hotel or even individual guests. The lake district not only offers fantastic quality meat, fruit and vegetables, dairy, beers, sauces and chutneys, breads and cheeses, but also offers an impressive array of locally produced arts and crafts, including well-known artists, photographers and poets.

Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread
Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread

Here at the Waterhead we try and make the most of all the wonderful produce we have on our doorstep, as we believe one of the main reasons people come to visit this part of the world is to sample everything it has to offer.  Guests with a sweet tooth will love local favourite Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread, which features in all our bedrooms, and Kendal Jacksmith’s flapjacks which are served with hot drinks in the bar.  Our lounge also doubles as an art gallery featuring paintings from local artist Julie-Ann Scott, which guests can admire while enjoying a glass of own brew of local Haweswater Gold lager, or Hawkeshead beer.

Local produce on Waterhead's hyper-local menu
Local produce on Waterhead’s hyper-local menu

Our current ‘hyper-local’ dinner menu is inspired by the history of the lake district and the 18th century spice trade coming through Whitehaven which created the modern-day local favourites, which we have re-created using local produce wherever possible. Our wonderful location in the heart of the Lake District really does make buying local a pleasure.

Author

Guest post written by Lindsay Price, Deputy General Manager at Waterhead.