Blencathra – An Emotional Ownership

Lancaster House General Manager and keen fell walker, Tim Bell, tells us why this mountain is deserving of a special place in his heart.

Growing up in the North Cumbrian town of Penrith, the view directly west from my home was the distinctive and unique shape of “Saddleback”, or better known as “Blencathra”. It rises majestically and powerfully on its own from the gently undulating, low-lying moors which separate Keswick and the market town where I spent the first 18 years of my life. Continue reading “Blencathra – An Emotional Ownership”

Raf’s Autumn Lake District Nature Frame

Whilst not at work in his role as Low Wood Bay Maintenance Engineer, our very own nature photographer, Rafael Garea-Balado, has been out and about capturing the beautiful Lake District landscapes which can be enjoyed by our guests. 

Morning mist over Grasmere
Morning mist over Grasmere

Autumn is here and the Lake District National Park is my favourite place in England to be at this time of year. There’s nothing better than wrapping up warm and heading out to see the landscape change colour, the foliage is ablaze from greens to gorgeous golds, russet reds and everything in-between. Leaves carpet the wood land pathways whilst weird and wonderful fungal sculptures of all shapes and sizes emerge in the forests. Continue reading “Raf’s Autumn Lake District Nature Frame”

Seen Send: the Next Generation of Art inspired by the Lake District

Low Wood Wonder inspired by @cumbrianblondie
Low Wood Wonder inspired by @cumbrianblondie

We love the Lake District and we are always on the lookout for new photography from our guests and visitors to the national park to share and inspire. Artist, J.A.C has taken the search for local photography one step further and is inviting walkers and photographers to share the images they capture.

By using the hashtag #seensend on twitter users can send their images to J.A.C. who will select three that inspire him the most. He will send the winner a copy of the art they have influenced free of charge.

SeenSend rewards people who share wonderful places via social media with art. Continue reading “Seen Send: the Next Generation of Art inspired by the Lake District”

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder!

My very first attempt at watercolours under the guidance of Dawn.

It was with a sense of excitement and, I confess, trepidation that I arrived at Waterhead for a weekend of Lake District Watercolour Painting, one in a series of events hosted by English Lakes. Signing up for something like this can feel a little like putting your creative neck on the line!

Testing the water over our champagne and canapé reception on the Friday evening, I tentatively threw out a line about having not ever really done anything like this before. I was pleasantly surprised, and not a little relieved, to discover that we were all novices, and all nervous about our impending foray into the world of paint, colour, tone, perspectives and vanishing points.  Having established our common fragility, we relaxed and enjoy a sumptuous three-course dinner whilst Dawn Pretty, our artist in residence, outlined what the weekend might hold, promising us that we would all have a work of art to hang on our wall by the end of the weekend. Continue reading “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder!”

English Lakes puts the Lake District on the map

Kris with Google map showing National Park
Kris with Google map showing National Park

English Lakes has helped to literally put the National Park on the map and hopes tourism to the area will be boosted as a result.

Frustrated at not seeing the Lake District appear, like other national parks, on Google Maps, we contacted Tele Atlas, the company that provides the mapping for Google.

Kris Littlewood, of the marketing department, contacted Tele Atlas at the end of November, asking why the Lake District did not appear in green on the Google Map of the UK like other national parks, such as the Yorkshire Dales or the Peak District.

Tele Atlas acknowledged there was a problem and told us they would work with Google to fix the issue.

Within two weeks, on Friday, December 9, the Lake District had appeared on Google Maps in green, showing the true location and extent of England’s largest national park, which is celebrating its 60th birthday this year.

Colin Fox, marketing manager, said: “It seemed strange to us that England’s largest national park, and one of its most popular, did not appear on Google Maps, which must by now be one of the most used maps in the world.

“People who are not familiar with the area may have previously found it difficult to find the Lake District, to see how big an area the park boundary covers, and also to distinguish between which places are inside the Lakes and which are outside the park.

“We are happy that Google have finally put the Lake District on their map and hope that this will result in people being able to find out about this wonderful area more easily, and more informed visitors coming to the area.”

It is not known why the Lake District had not previously appeared on Google Maps.

Wildzone launches with a ‘Wear Red for Wildlife Week’

1263.Wear-red-for-wildlife-_2800_copyright-Jane-Hunt_2900_ Wildzone, a dynamic group of Cumbrian private sector businesses including English Lakes and public sector wildlife charities, trusts and organisations, formed to put responsible Cumbrian wildlife and nature experiences firmly on the British tourism map, has launched with a 22-day-long promotion ‘Wear Red For Wildlife’ promotion.

The Wildzone’s ‘Wear Red for Wildlife’ initiative (running from October 8 to 30) draws inspiration from some of Cumbria’s most iconic creatures, the endangered red squirrel and red deer, but also focuses on birds such as red-breasted merganser and red kite, the red leaves of autumn, red flora and red sunsets over Morecambe Bay.

To celebrate the forthcoming promotion, Wildzone members gathered at Storrs Hall to dress a tree, demonstrating the engagement with nature that is Wildzone’s ethos.  This builds on the belief that the best way to protect nature is to encourage people to engage with it in a responsible, yet exciting and interactive manner, to celebrate its many facets.

During ‘Wear Red for Wildlife’, the public is encouraged to wear red and go wild, taking part in a variety of interesting, fun, educational events and volunteering activities highlighted at

By wearing red, they can access special deals from various Wildzone members. Arriving at Lakes Aquarium wearing red between October 8 and 21, gives adults a £2 admissions discount if referring to Wildzone.  At the Leighton Moss café, a 10% discount can be had from October 8-30 if doing the same.  Those wearing a red top will get a 20% reduction on a meal at The Wild Boar Inn, near Bowness, plus a complimentary trail map, to help exploration of the inn’s wild woods.

The thrilling range of wildlife, to be found in Cumbrian coastal habitats stretching from Morecambe Bay to Silloth, in and around its lakes, on wild peaks and fells, in wonderfully wild rivers and tarns, wild forests and woodlands and on its limestone pavements and marshes, is all showcased at the new Wildzone website.

The website fosters an engagement with nature and wildlife by inviting nature watchers to upload details of their sightings, upload photographs of wildlife and take part in a variety of exciting events and opportunities to volunteer for action in the wild.

Current members of the Wildzone on the public sector side are Cumbria Wildlife Trust, the National Trust, RSPB, the Forestry Commission, Northern Red Squirrels, the Lake District National Park, the Western Lake District Tourism Partnership, South Copeland tourism, Nurture Lakeland, Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Private sector partners are Ullswater ‘Steamers’, English Lakes Hotels, the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, Woodclose Park, Hill of Oaks and Waterfoot caravan parks, Lakes Aquarium, The Wordsworth Trust and The World of Beatrix Potter.

A competition at has a prize of a wild weekend at The Wild Boar Inn, near Bowness.  This 4* inn has wild woods to explore, as well as a smokehouse, which can put the taste of the wild on the plate.  The winner will bag a two-night stay, as well as an Ullswater ‘Steamers’ cruise and Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway trip.

Speaking on behalf of the Wildzone, Rachel Bell of Ullswater ‘Steamers’ says: “The Wildzone is unique, because it has brought public and private sector together, to work as partners.  We are all committed to showcasing the best that Cumbria has to offer in terms of wildlife and nature experiences and will be taking our offer out to the wildlife tourist in an exciting and creative manner.

“Whilst we have our founder members and our initial Wear Red for Wildlife promotion, we want other private sector businesses to come on board, so we can grow the group and enrich the wildlife tourism product offered.  We are also open to sponsorship offers, from the right sponsor, so we can increase marketing activity behind the Wildzone and make a tangible difference to wildlife tourism in Cumbria”.

Kilimanjaro conquest for Lancaster House manager

Tim Bell Lancaster House manager has just returned home after conquering the world’s largest freestanding mountain, raising over £3,200 for a local children’s charity in the process.

Tim Bell, General Manager of Lancaster House summited all 19,340ft of Africa’s famous Kilimanjaro on 21st September after a gruelling final day involving almost 21 hours of walking.

Tim, along with fellow Lancaster House staff member Nichola-Jayne Harrison as well as Tim’s paramedic sister Amanda Singleton, made the ascent in aid of North West charity Children Today.

Children Today is a North West based charity that raises funds to provide specialised life changing equipment for severely disabled children in the local area.

The ascent of Kilimanjaro is a gruelling physical challenge, with many people failing to reach the summit due to altitude sickness. Temperatures can range from 30c at the base to as low as –25c at the summit, and the team had to battle through a blizzard before finally reaching the summit.

Eight of the thirteen strong team who set off managed to complete the ascent, raising a total of over £15,000 between them. The five who didn’t reach the summit due to the effects of altitude sickness had to agonisingly turn back only a few hundred feet from the top.

Staff from Lancaster House have been supporting Children Today with a range of fundraising events already this year, from washing cars to walking on hot coals.

Tim Bell, manager of Lancaster House says:

“No amount of training in the Lake District fells can prepare you for the effects of the altitude, and at its worst it feels like your brain’s in a vice. It affects people differently regardless of physical fitness.
“The climb was physically and mentally exhausting but the trek was a truly life changing experience.”

Donations can still be made at Tim Bell’s and Nichola Harrison’s Just Giving pages or by sending a cheque made payable to Children Today to Lancaster House directly.