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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Who likes castles?

Who likes free days out at castles? We couldn't resisit this one. On saturday Brough Castle will be hosting a Roman Day. There will be a Roman re-enactment, story tellers, ancient craft demonstrations, archery, a visit from Lady Anne Clifford, fancy dress competition, falconry demonstration, medieval themed market, with local food producers, and medieval crafts and activities.
This is an event for all of the family, with a hog roast on site and a free bus service from the nearby town of Kirkby Stephen on a Classic Coach – parking is also available at the castle. Maybe see you there...

Love Parks Week 24th July - 1st August

The organisers of Love Parks Week say it is the perfect excuse to get outdoors and enjoy the summer, with hundreds of events taking place in the UK’s parks and green spaces. The campaign is designed to celebrate and support our parks, so why not visit your local park during the week to show what it means to you?

In Carlisle the programme kicked off on Saturday with Homebase, the people who famously transformed Carlisle Railway Station, working their magic again, this time creating a park on English Street, complete with turf, benches, flowers and giant jenga. It made for a welcome oasis for the weary shoppers who were making the most of it with picnics and games when we went to take a look.

A full list of events can be found at but in Carlisle the highlights include:-

'Into the Woods' at Talkin Tarn
28/07/2010 - 28/07/2010
Talkin Tarn Country Park
Flicks at Bitts
01/08/2010 - 01/08/2010
Bitts Park
Jazz Picnic in the Cathedral grounds
27/07/2010 - 27/07/2010
Carlisle Cathedral grounds
Nature in Bitts Park
27/07/2010 - 27/07/2010
Bitts Park
'On Yer Bike' in Bitts Park
28/07/2010 - 28/07/2010
Bitts Park Playing Fields, Dacre Road
Poetry Picnic in the Cathedral Grounds
29/07/2010 - 29/07/2010
Carlisle Cathedral grounds
Storytime in Tullie House Garden
28/07/2010 - 28/07/2010
Tullie House Museum
Tai Chi in Portland Square
30/07/2010 - 30/07/2010
Portland Square

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The scarecrows that bring the flocks in....

photos from

If you wander down to Langwathby next weekend you might be in for a suprise. At first glance the wedding in the church looks normal, and the builders sitting in the sunshine nothing unusual. But look a little closer and things begin to look stranger, are those pirates on the village green? And why are Dennis the Menace, Scooby Doo and Wallace and Gromit here, and more importantly, not moving?! It's all part of the annual Langwathby Scarecrow Festival, scheduled to take place this year on the 10th and 11th July. The festival has been running since 2004 and brings in thousands of visitors to the village. Last year there were over 150 scarecrows on display, with the winner, voted for by the public, being Raymond Wilson, with Band on the Run. His super cool scarecrow band came complete with flashing lights and beating drumsticks! This year, as well as the famous scarecrow trail, there will also be a farmers market, bouncy castle, and children's rides. Refreshments are to be served at the village hall, where all proceeds from the festival go, and include a bbq on Sunday. Let's keep our fingers crossed for sunshine!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Meetings with remarkable trees - part one

One of the great perks of being a librarian is getting to look at lots of lovely books. This isn't always so thrilling when you're an agricultural librarian like me - the joys of Mechanised Vegetable Production and Field Drainage Methods can be limited. But every now and then a gem falls into my hands that completely captures my imagination. And so it was last week when I came across Ancient Interesting and Unusual Trees of Cumbria written by Amy Bradshaw. It's a very small book lisiting 15 trees of interest in the county. I've got to be honest and say to the untrained eye some are slightly less interesting than others. But some are absolutely fascinating. We went to look at Number 13 -The Giant Tree today, chosen purely for its Enid Blyton-esque pleasing name.

The Giant Tree is a Silver Fir which was planted at the Armboth estate on the far shores of Thirlmere in 1821. Amy tells us that in 1994 it was 43 metres tall (141ft), and we're betting that it's lots biggger now. The walk to the tree was lovely, perfect for small people as it's only about a mile round trip. Park at the Thirlmere Armboth car park then follow the yellow spots for the Giant Tree through a very deep dark wood, with fairie steps, tumbling waterfalls and lots of trip trap bridges. The tree itself is huge, it's impossible to get a sense of scale in the photos. We lay on the ground and imagined how long it would take a squirrel to hop to the top!

On the way back down from the tree there is a ring of seven beech trees called the Cockpit where the sport of cockfighting used to take place before it was banned in 1835. Amy suggests that this flat, shadey spot would make a nice place for a summer picnic, but we thought that picnicking on the site of former brutality might feel a wee bit creepy. And speaking of which if anyone likes to be scared witless whilst in a deep dark wood you could tell them all about the ghostly goings on at Armboth House.

The house which has laid beneath the waters of Thirlmere, since October 1894, when the reservoir was completed, was claimed to he the most haunted house in Cumberland. Legend has it that two centuries ago the daughter of the family of the house was about to get married on Halloween, but in the midst of the preparations a stranger rushed into the house to tell the family that the bride had been pushed violently into the water and drowned. No one knew who had murdered the girl, but the bridegroom was suspected for some time. Afterwards on Halloweens strange happenings occurred. Bells would ring, furniture would move across the floor without human assistance, plates would crash to the floor, lights would appear and disappear, and even a strange ghostly form of a dog was seen swimming in the water. People say that even now on Halloween wedding bells can be heard tolling under the water. Yikes, get me out of the forest!