Poet Felix Dennis comes to the Low Wood Hotel

Felix_dennis_head[1] Critically acclaimed poet Felix Dennis is bringing his Did I Mention The Free Wine? Tour to The Low Wood Hotel on Tuesday 19th October 2010 at 7pm.

The evening will include poetry performed by Dennis, with free fine French wines and canapés served throughout the evening.  

In just eight years, Felix Dennis has established himself as one of the most popular and critically acclaimed poets of recent times, entertaining thousands of poetry-lovers on both sides of the Atlantic. Dennis’s poetry has also featured on radio programmes, in the national press, and been the subject of two major television documentaries, as well as receiving critical acclaim from Tom Wolfe, Christopher Rush, Stephen Fry and Sir Paul McCartney, to name but a few.

Felix will be reading a selection of poems from his hugely popular collections, Homeless in My Heart, A Glass Half Full, Lone Wolf, Nursery Rhymes for Modern Times and Island of Dreams, all of which were sell-out books of original poetry. He will also be introducing his new collection, Tales From The Woods, in an exclusive preview ahead of the book’s launch in October.

Tickets prices: £10 pre-booked online or £12 on the door, £5 concessions.

To book online go to http://www.didimentionthefreewine.com/

Staff Photography Competition: Results

Recently English Lakes Hotels ran a Staff Photography competition to raise money for Open Arms International. Throughout a two week period we receive over 125 high quality entries from staff and mange to raise a total of £305.80 towards the company target of £45,000 by the end of the year.

Chris Lord and Karen Martin from Lord Martin Photography kindly judged the competition and donated the winning photograph as a canvas along with Champagne and Chocolates donated by English Lakes Hotels. Chris Lord said “it was a pleasure to be invited to judge the ELH photographic competition. With
such high standards and several close contenders, choosing an outright winner
was a challenge.  We are pleased to contribute towards the Open Arms
International Charity by donating a canvas reproduction of the winning image,
which was chosen based upon its creativity, colour, texture and form.”

The winner and runners up photos are displayed below and all entries can be seen here.

Winner

Rydal Cave – Russell Lewington

Chris Lord selected this photograph from a selection of over 125 entries because it shows the creative ability to see a picture which many people would overlook or pass-by. The image has interesting colours and textures which together with the chosen placement of the reflection line near the bottom of the frame gives a beautiful abstract effect. Also, by filling the frame with a continuous pattern adds a sense of enquiry about the scale of the picture and the actual size of the rock.

 
Lake District Rock Face - Enlgish Lakes Hotels

Rydal Cave is a disused slate mine set in the mountains over looking Rydal water in the Lake District. Russell captured this photograph from within the mouth of the cave. Without a tripod he used a stay hand and rocks on the ground to take the shot while setting a high shutter speed to capture the reflection of the rock face in the water.

Runners Up

Sheep – Martin Pospisil

The image gives a good sense of depth through the use of narrow depth of field throwing the background out of focus. Definition is also added by the sun backlighting the sheep’s wool. Careful exposure control has been used to prevent the face and body of the sheep becoming a silhouette whilst shooting into the sun.

Lake District Sheep - Enlglish Lakes Hotels
This photo was taken in February on the meadow just above Low Wood. Martin said "he was sitting waiting for the sheep to come closer, but it was the closest distance I could get. Then it went in a fast pace toward me with an angry look and I realised it was the right time to get out before it would charge me. Not sure if sheep can attack you but it wasn't worthy of trying!".

Orrest Head – Ayako Suzuki

The people and the bench add interest to what would otherwise be a standard “postcard” type shot and adds a sense of enquiry as to why a bench should be out there in what otherwise seems a desolate landscape; why are the people there and how did they get there and what are they sitting thinking about? Composition is good with the people and bench well placed so you can see what they are looking at in the distance.

Orrest Head - English Lakes Hotels
Sent in on behalf of Ayako by Colin Fox this photograph was taken at Orrest Head above the town of Windermere is considered by many to be the best viewpoint over Lake Windermere. At 784 feet, some excellent views over the surrounding area can be had from its summit.

Morning at Lanty’s Tarn – Paul Ray

Good composition with foreground hills balanced both sides and triangular shapes leading the viewer into the centre of the picture and towards the distant hills. Pleasing mixture of saturated foreground colour offsetting the chill of the snow covered distant hills.

Lanty’s Tarn - English Lakes Hotels

Paul took this on his introduction to Fell Walking. “Stefan at Low Wood told me it was only a small hill, we were out for about 7 hours walking!”

“The photo was taken at mid morning on 24th January 2010, at Lanty's Tarn on the foot path leading to 'Hole in Wall'. Looking at the photo you can see St.Sundays Crag on the left, moving right – Dolly Wagon Pike, wind was blowing East to West. The temperature was 2 degrees dropping to -4/5 on Helvellyn.”

Low Wood Jetty – Stephen Slater

A popular shot, but in this case done with especially good composition. The photographer has clearly gone to some effort to ensure a level horizon and to get the pier and canon geometrically in the centre of the picture.  The snow and slightly misty lake add emphasis to the wooden pillars highlighting the two lead-in lines guiding the viewer to the canon as the point of interest.

The Low Wood Jetty - English Lakes Hotels
Stephen took this photo late morning while staying at
the Low Wood Hotel. "When I saw the frost, and the mist over the lake I
knew it would make a good photo as it was so beautiful. I'm not a photographer by
any means but I always try to get my target right in the centre of the shot and
as level as possible, ie the horizon etc, and I think this helped with the
perspective of the jetty".

The Midland – Tammy Wilkinson

Although this photograph is not strictly “Lake District” it was chosen because of a good composition, using the wall and path as lead-lines to guide the viewer into the picture and to add perspective. It is an interesting arrangement of geometric lines with the curves of the wall flowing into the curvature of the building. The parallel lines of the steps also mimic the parallel lines of the balconies.

The Midland Hotel - English Lakes Hotels

Tammy took this photograph from the stone pier behind the Midland on quite a blustery day in May. “My husband and I were there on a day out to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. I had been talking shots of the boats and the lifeboat centre when I turned around and took a quick shot of the hotel. When I got home I noticed how all the clouds were swirling in above the hotel”.


About the Judges

Lord Martin Photography is Chris Lord and Karen Martin who specialize in Wedding and Lifestyle Portrait photography for the discerning client. Based in Cumbria, their style is to capture stunning images of people incorporating the Lakeland landscapes. For further information visit their web site and blog at http://www.lordmartin.com

Charity 3 Peaks Challenge: I don’t care what the weatherman says…

English Lakes Hotels Charity 3 Peaks Challenge 



3peaksThe fith in a series of guest blog posts from Tim Bell (General Manager of Lancaster House Hotel) and his team as they prepare for the ultimate British Mountain Challenge – Ben Nevis, Sca Fell Pike & Snowdon in 24 hours in aid of English Lakes Hotels sponsored charities Open Arms International and the Primrose House Trust. Follow the teams progress here and on Facebook. Sponsor the team via the JustGiving Open Arms International page, with a JustGiving Primrose House Trust page soon to follow.

I have a theory, and whether there's an ounce of truth in it or
not, I'm going to share it with you.

The weather – that most
commonly used of subjects guaranteed to break the ice in any potentially awkward
silence when, let's face it, you've got naff all else to say, and the only thing
you have in common with the people in your immediate vicinity is that you've
all got heads
. (Well, you might have something on the tip of your tongue
worth sharing, but exposing your inner-most thoughts has got me in to a lot of
trouble in the past, particularly with traffic wardens and
vegetarians, so let's stick to moaning about the
rain….again!)

I've never really been bothered about whether or not we
should be expecting south-westerly prevailing winds, or there's a 40% chance of
isolated showers. As long as the air was breathable and I wasn't going to be
savagely attacked by a malnourished (and very lost) polar bear as I left the
house, I was happy to step out in most conditions. However, ever since I decided
that trundling up a mountain was no longer "an insane waste of oxygen",
and that the climatic conditions at 3300ft can genuinely mean the difference
between life and death, I now pay much closer attention to those forecasts as a
means of deciding where, and indeed if I am going to venture out in to
the fells that day.

Invariably, one found oneself looking to the
oracle of truth, the BBC for the low down. All I
wanted to know really was what temperature should I expect (i.e. will the brass
monkey's be singing "Soprano" come nightfall) and is it likely to precipitate in
some shape or form?

It wasn't until about my tenth solo walk that it
finally hit home. Rob McElwee (the one whose tie never matches his
suit) and all the other disciples of the "Fish" (that's Michael by the
way) are talking complete and utter pigswill! Never, ever have they been right
about the Lake District weather that day! "You can expect a dry and pleasant
afternoon all round
" they said – I got soaked and mild hypothermia!
"Temperatures should be pretty mild for the time of year" – I got
frostbite and considered joining the Ranulph Fiennes school of DIY
surgery
by sawing off my own fingers off to prevent the spread of
gangrene!

So, what on earth is going wrong? Well, I reckon all the
traditional forecast templates have been saved on a memory card and then left on
a bus or something by a work-experience student. Or perhaps it's been poached by
ITV! Either way, since then a selection of 7 pre-determined
summaries must have been hurriedly drawn up by the BBC (enough
to satisfy the Countryfile programme) and are then drawn out of a top
hat…….by an ageing white rabbit called "Flopsy"………who has a
scorching case of "mixi"……..and cataracts!

Proof of this will be
backed up by my fellow 3-peakers who have had on more than one occasion,
justifiable reason to to fire endless sarcastic comments about me and my weather
predictions! "Don't shoot the messenger" would seem an apt headstone statement
should I drop down dead in the next few months!

And to prove my new theory, 3 weeks ago I headed out for a solo
stroll in to the "High Street" range of mountains in NW lakeland. The forecast
was one of doom and gloom, of heavy rain and impending nightmare conditions. The
meteorological equivalent of Armageddon and the book of
Revelations all rolled in to one Hellish pit of precipitation! And do
you know what? It never happened! I had 3 and a half hours of mild conditions,
perfect clarity and no need to dig deep into the rucksack and put on the
waterproofs.

So, dare I put my neck on the line here and say to you all "Whatever
the weatherman says, think the opposite?"
Actually,
no! Don't even go there, because that's just stupid! The
weather up there will put a quick end to your life should you not respect it!
It's the luck of the draw really, so my advice is always go prepared…..for the
absolute worst, because at 3000ft in central Lakeland, there's a good chance
you're likely to get it! Been there, done that, got lost!

Last Sunday
however, my sister joined me for a stroll around the same aforementioned
mountain range, but this time the weather forecast was actually right. "It's
gonna be warm, humid and sticky out there today
". And do you know what? For
the first time, they hit the nail bang on the head! What a glorious advert for
how magnificent our country can be! Blazing sunshine, wonderful views over
England's roof and endless scope for thinking about how lucky we are to live in
such a beautiful part of the world. But at the risk of being shot down by you
all for being a Victor Meldrew, I will say that it was perhaps a little
too warm for slogging up a fell side for 2 hours. I have sweat
ducts in my head that would put the fountains in Trafalgar Square to
shame. It starts somewhere in the scalp, then forms 2 main subsidiary rivers.
The first one follows the traditional route of down the forehead then splits
further again into 3 smaller streams. Two of them provide a salty, stinging acid
solution for each eye, and the other makes its way relentlessly down the nose
and eventually into the mouth whereby I get the pleasant aftertaste of Hair Gel
and Ambre Solaire Factor 25.

The second torrent of perspiration follows a more direct route down
the back of the neck, straight down the spine, and unless I'm wearing a plastic
tutu, straight into the valley of Gluteus Maximus, which then doubles
up as a huge, abrasive sponge. The knock on effect of this will be the complete
erosion of one's skin, from the final vertebrae, due south right round to
the……erm……you get the picture!

Ok, ok, enough about the strange
water features of my body, let's get back to this Mountain challenge then shall
we? Well, as I write, it's literally just a few days before the Big Off. Indeed,
this may be my final blog, who knows? All the preparations have been
made, every little last detail looked into and now all that's required to do is
bring in the funds. So, I'm pleased to report that both justgiving websites are
now up and running at 
for Open Arms International and for Primrose House Trust.

Please drop by and donate whatever you can for these 2 great
charities. And remember, if you do leave us £5 or more, you get the
opportunity to guess how long you think it will actually take us to complete the
challenge in Hrs:Mins:Secs. Remember to leave your guess in the message box and
the person who gets the closest to our actual completion time will win a one night stay for 2 people, inclusive of Dinner in
any English Lakes Hotel
. Tempted? You should be, because you can see
the hotels here
.

The Facebook page is being updated regularly with pictures and more details about the challenge so join us if you can. We'll
also be updating the facebook page on the day with regular posts on where we
are, how we're doing, and more importantly – how we're feeling! We've managed to
secure a handy sized camcorder so expect a video with a difference shortly after
the event!
Well, that's just about it for now. Wish us luck, drop a few quid in if you
can and thanks for supporting us.

Tim & the 3-peakers

Directors Abducted in English Lakes Hotels’ Staff Kidnap Plot

UPDATE: Hostages were released from Island via powerboat at 4.45pm on Friday 28th May. After they negotiated £3,500 raised from pledges from company suppliers family and friends. English Lakes Hotels will match that figure to give a grand total of £7,000 to Open Arms International.

Directors Hijack Directors of English Lakes Hotels are to be kidnapped immediately after a board meeting and held for ransom on an island in Windermere.

Bosses at English Lakes Hotels will be snatched after their meeting at the four-star Storrs Hall Hotel during the afternoon of Friday, May 28, by a team of insurgent staff members dressed in black. The directors, who are completely unaware of the plans, will be surrounded by masked abductors and bundled into a waiting boat moored at the hotel’s jetty, and marooned on nearby Ramp Holme island.

The only way the hostages can secure their release is by using mobile phones to convince friends and business contacts to donate money to English Lakes Hotels’ chosen charity – Open Arms International.

In exchange for securing donations the directors will be able to negotiate with their kidnappers for materials which can be used to build a raft. The greater the pledges, the more resources they will receive, increasing their chances of staying dry!

“They would normally enjoy a three-course meal at the end of the board meeting,” said Tina Taylor, manager of English Lakes Hotels’ Plus One staff scheme, and co-ordinator of the abduction plot. “Instead, they will be eating a packed lunch on the island, whilst they negotiate their release.

“They are going to have to negotiate themselves off the island by raising donations for the Open Arms International charity. So £200 may get them the first part of their raft. They will have to negotiate very hard for all the bits of the raft to get back to the mainland. However, if they are successful in raising a massive amount for the charity we may allow them to return in style by speedboat.”

Although Mrs Taylor has every faith in the director’s ability to raise a large amount – she warns that if they do not then they could be stuck on Ramp Holme overnight.

“We are anticipating that they will be able to get off the island before nightfall by getting lots of donations from their contacts – however, we are not guaranteeing it,” she said.

Directors targeted for abduction will be: Simon Berry, Chairman and Managing Director; Tim Berry, Buildings Director; David Neale, Commercial Director and Douglas Dale, Operations Director.

The captives will be allowed to have a colleague on the mainland to negotiate on their behalf – this will be the Finance Director Michael Doyle.

Mrs Taylor, who has been granted approval for the plot by the directors’ wives, said she expected them to react to their kidnapping with good humour.

“I think that they will fully enter into the spirit of the challenge and I’m fully confident that they can raise a lot of money for the charity,” she said.

You can keep up to date with how the English Lakes Hotels’ directors are getting on by following @lakeshotels on Twitter.

Money raised by the kidnap plot will go towards English Lakes Hotel’s target to raise £45,000 for Open Arms International by the end of October this year. The group’s employees have already managed to raise £17,500 for the cause so far.

Open Arms International is a humanitarian organisation dedicated to providing relief to orphans and destitute families in Kenya.

Open Arms International owns a village in Kenya, where they look after 28 children and 3 babies.  The charity has already built a number of orphan homes and wants to build an additional 8 homes, a school, a medical centre, guest homes and a restaurant. 

For more information about out work with Open Arms International visit the Corporate Social Responsibility Section.

Lake District Honoured as Best Outdoor Adventure in the TripAdvisor 2010 Travellers’ Choice Destination Awards


The Lake District was chosen as a best outdoor adventure destination by TripAdvisor® in the 2010 Travellers’ Choice® Destination Awards. The TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Destination Awards the world’s top destinations are honoured, earning their distinction from those who know them best – real travellers.

TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice winners are based on the millions of real reviews and opinions from travellers on TripAdvisor.com™.  The top destinations were determined by a combination of TripAdvisor travellers' favourite places and overall popularity on TripAdvisor.

“Millions of travellers on TripAdvisor have identified the world’s most amazing destinations,” said Christine Petersen, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “From stunningly beautiful locales to spots with outstanding attractions, the 2010 Travellers’ Choice Destination Award winners are truly incredible places that travellers love.”

Earlier this year one of English Lakes Hotels properties The Waterhead
Hotel
; a 4 star town house hotel on the shores of Lake Windermere in the heart of the Lake District, was also was chosen as a Best Hotel  by TripAdvisor® in its 2010 Travellers’ Choice® Awards.

 

TA - Lake District copy