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Saturday, 31 March 2012

National Learn to Play Day

Today is National Learn to Play Day and to celebrate Lakeland Music in Penrith are offering free taster lessons on the 2nd,3rd & 4th of April for piano, guitar, keyboard, violin, saxophone, banjo, flute, trumpet & drums.

Phone 01768 864024 to make the most of this great opportunity, or see their webpage for more details 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Kendal Passion Play

We're one Easter bonnet parade away from the holidays here and very much looking forward to two weeks off school. I have to admit that we are more about the bunnies and chocolate in our house, but if you want to teach your kids about the real meaning of Easter and be part of something rather wonderful you could do a lot worse than head over to Kendal this holiday weekend.

For the first time in 400 years the Easter Passion Play will be performed on the streets of the town, starring local volunteers including the mayor as Jesus. The play starts at 4pm on Good Friday at Kendal Library and continues throughout the town culminating with the Cruxification at the Brewery Arts Centre at about 6pm. On Easter Saturday a fire sculpture display will accompany the scenes following the Resurrection at Kendal Castle.

You can get further information including a map of the route and rehersal updates here

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Aira Force and a host of golden dafodils

Aira Force is one of the Lake District's most visited destinations. As popular today as it was in the Victorian times, it attracts hundreds of visitors each weekend, as can be seen by the fullness of the car park on sunny days!

Don't let this put you off though, it's popular because it's so lovely. The waterfall is spectacular, as are the wonderful trees surrounding it including monkey puzzles and the most enormous sitka spruce ever seen; and the walk up along good paths and steps is highly enjoyable.

It's great as an adventure walk for young tots - you need go no further up than the viewing point this picture was taken from (in 1890!!), or if they are feeling more energetic head up to the bridge and beyond - the rocks along the babbling river higher up make excellent picnic and stick throwing-in spots. It's a great walk for grown up visitors to the lakes too, the pub up at Dockray making a perfect stop off spot for lunch or much needed refreshments!

We make the walk longer by heading off to the right and following a track parallel to Ullswater to the summit of Gowbarrow. A walk mapped and described perfectly in Striding Edge our absolute favourite guide to all things Wainwright
The views along the length of the lake are well worth the extra effort and the walk back beside the waterfall makes a perfect ending.

Which ever way you decide to go, don't miss the fabulous money tree on the way down. We have no idea why there are thousands of pennies hammered into this old log but we do know that they're sure as heck not coming out!

BTW The National Trust own the land around the waterfall and while you don't have to pay to walk there, you do have to pay to park. There are ways to get round this, ie by parking in one of the laybys on the road up to Dockray but actually we reckon that the Trust do a great job and we prefer to start at the bottom.

Will leave you with this wonderful picture of spring daffodils taken gratefully from The shores of Ullswater are where Wordsworth wandered lonely as a cloud, and now is the perfect time of year for seeing hosts of golden daffodils in all their glory.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Do something amazing for free

How about spending a day out learning new skills, making new friends, and doing something wonderfully worthwhile?

This is an opportunity open to all through the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Cumbria's only voluntary organisation devoted solely to the conservation of wildlife and wildplaces. The trust was formed in 1962 and according to their website cares for over 40 nature reserves, campaigns for the protection of endangered habitats and species such as limestone pavements and red squirrels, and works with adults and children to discover the importance of the natural world.

Their excellent website provides details of each of the 40 nature reserves they look after and how to visit them. You can help the Trust by volunteering to help with work such as planting trees, building boardwalks, and scrub clearance. A full list of forthcoming events is available in the What's On section of the website. A quick check for March reveals brash burning at Smardale, tree-cutting at Wreay Woods and coppicing at Grange-over-Sands amongst other events and meetings, many aimed at children. No experience neccessary. Have a look and see what amazing things you could do this week...

Monday, 5 March 2012

Lacy's Caves

Phew we did it! It looked for a moment that week 1 of the 52 week challenge might not happen as we have had a very busy time of it here. Not least due to the fact that there is a new explorer in the house. This is Edward, he is 6 months old and he likes to get out and about too (when he's not busy cuddling and chewing shoes)....

So in honour of Eddie and all the other the doggie adventurers out there, this week's day out is very dog friendly.

Based in the beautiful Eden valley this is a walk to Lacy's Caves near Little Salkeld. The caves were constructed by a Colonel Lacy in 18th century as a folly - some say he used them as a dining room - some say as a cave for his very own specially employed hermit. They consist of 5 spectacular stone chambers directly overlooking the river Eden. The walk to get to them is a very pretty track following the river and old railway sidings where the gypsum works used to be. We followed the walk in this wonderful leaflet produced by the now sadly defunct East Cumbria Countryside Project We didn't do the full loop as it is quite a long walk for little legs, but the walk to the caves and back was just right.