After a night of torrential rain it was a pleasant surprise that the weather for the 166th annual Grasmere Sports and Show was dry and fine.
Proceedings were given a rousing start by the Adamson Brass Band, always a crowd pleaser.
Young runners first and there were plenty of entrants for the sprint and fell races.
Meanwhile the crowds were being entertained by Andy Jester who was keeping everyone amazed by a bit of nifty fire balancing and eating.
Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling is always an important part of Grasmere Sports and this year the 11 stone World championships were held in Grasmere. I spotted competitors from Scotland who call their style “backhold”. There were also competitors from Brittany France recognisable by the word Gouren on their tops.
Icelandic wrestlers also took part. Their style is called Glima. Glima was the most widespread sport in the Viking age, and was practiced by both men and women. Glima was so important to Viking society that their god Thor was also the Viking god of wrestling.
Time for a cup of tea or coffee, thirsty work this Sports watching!
A new addition this year was Thelma the Tiny Tearoom, while old friends were also doing good business at the Coffee Bug. Too much choice.
Elsewhere on the field our very own Taffy Thomas the Storyteller was keeping everyone entertained.
Further along the field the hounds were going through their paces.
Hound trailing is a very popular event. More information can be found here. http://www.houndtrailing.org.uk
Animals of another type were also attracting attention. Herdwick and other breeds of sheep were shown and discussed.
It’s always good to see children taking part in the good old classic egg and spoon, Sack race and three legged race.
and parents like to get involved too. Balancing a bean bag was very popular with parent and child teams.
Of course the main feature at Grasmere are the Guides Races. An amazing feat as runners head up and down the fell side. This year there was a bonus £500 to run for, for both men or ladies beating the current records. No records broken this year so the money rolls over again to next year.
I really don’t think there is a finer sight than all the runners streaming up the fell side.
It was an exciting race to the finish!
Well done Sam Tosh, Simon Bailey and Rob Hope.
The ladies weren’t far behind.
Sharon Taylor, Steph Curtis and Ruby Sykes ran a brilliant race.
I noticed one of our oldest residents Mary watching the race. Wonder what she thought of the two tigers next to her? Mind you there have been reports of a large black cat like animal at Penny Rock so watch out!
While the race was on I had been keeping an eye on a special bunch of runners. I had met them earlier as they prepared to race for the Rosemere Cancer charity http://www.rosemere.org.uk
Fresh and raring to go, they still had a smile on their faces right at the end!
A friend of mine Alison comes up from York especially to help at Grasmere Sports. She took this great photo of the Guides race flag the night before.
So it will be the 167th Grasmere Sports Next year to look forward to. We do however have another sporting event passing through the village this Monday. The Tour of Britain is cycling through Grasmere this Monday. Can’t wait as several Olympians will be taking part. Just got to decide where to watch it.
Doesn’t time fly past. Another year another Rushbearing Ceremony in Grasmere.
I have written about the history of Grasmere Rushbearing many times in this blog, but it never fails to be one of my favourite days in the village.
After a weather forecast that wasn’t looking good at all, the procession took place with dry weather. I was actually at work but dashed down the hill to view the procession and take some photos. I always have a dilemma about where to stand but my good friend Taffy the Grasmere Storyteller took the decision out of my hands when he offered a cup of tea in the Storytellers Garden to enjoy while watching.
A great Lake District tradition begins.
And here comes the band.
Villagers young and old(er) took part.
Even our local thespian Doctor takes part. Still can’t forget his performance as Toad of Toad Hall in Grasmere Players production a few years ago.
As always the highlight of the parade are the Rushbearing Maidens.
Through the village they process until they reach Moss Parrock in the centre of the village for the Rushbearing hymn. Back through the village again to the Church.
Alex who was holding the cross at the start of the parade had been baking scones all day at National Trust Allan Bank and literally ran down the hill to take part. He looks amazingly relaxed! By now these bearings feel heavier and heavier!.
The Rev’d Cameron Butland leads the way back to church for the Rushbearing service. A little bird tells me this may be his last Grasmere Rushbearing Parade.
So another Rushbearing Parade escaped the rain! See you in 2016.
A good friend who I met through the wonders of Twitter @Loftylion9 was watching the parade with me. She took the beautiful shot below and gave me permission to use it.
Below is a link to the history of Rushbearing that I previously wrote on this blog.
There is an old Grasmere saying “It always rains on sports day” and quite often it does, however this year was different. I always draw back the curtain on Sports day morning with trepidation to see what the weather is like. This year I was greeted with early morning sunshine, and the promise of a beautiful day.
Visitors had arrived from Scotland, they had visited the Sports before but never seen it on a sunny day. We set off early as we wanted to see the Sea King Helicopter arriving on the field. These are the helicopters you see in the Lake District helping the Mountain Rescue teams.
It flew over the sports field and circled several times before coming in to land.
It stayed on the field for quite some time and people enjoyed getting up close to it. Later in the day it did a simulated rescue with Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team.
Previously in this blog I have written about the history of Grasmere Sports, and also about the different sporting events, but there is another part to the day. It is a family event with fun for everyone. This was obvious by the amount of competitors in the children’s races. Maybe we were watching the Fell Runners of the future.
And you can’t have a good sports day without the old favourites like the sack race.
Meanwhile , the four legged members of the family were having their own event.
On another part of the field there was Juggling fun. Think the parents were enjoying it as much as the children!.
But for me the highlight of the day was the tug of war. After various bouts it was decided to have a Vegetarians versus meat eaters event. The Vegetarians won!
Around the field, more entertainment in the form of Grasmere’s own storyteller Taffy Thomas, a Herdy Knitalong, stalls from Made in Cumbria, featuring among others the very talented Lake District photographer Nina Claridge. There was also an interesting Tea Company based in the Lake District called New Leaf Tea Tasters. As anyone who knows me knows, I love tea, but I bought something i’d never seen before. A China green tea called Tiger Leaping Flower Burst. Look away now anyone who knows me as you may be getting it for Christmas. You put the tea ball in boiling water and …..
As the name says, it turns into a flower. Tastes good too. Time for a last look around the stalls before concentrating on the events.
We liked this little display by The Arthur Ransome Society. Good to see the Wordsworth Trust and Windermere Reflections there too.
Meanwhile up on the fellside LAMRT and the Sea king helicopter were in action again.
One of the most popular events is the Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling.
However my favourite has to be the senior guide race.
To see the runners stream up Butter Crags really is one of the most amazing sights.
The atmosphere in the sports field is unbelievable.
It is a real feat of athleticism and has to be seen to be believed.
And first over the line for the 9th time in a row …… Rob Jebb.
The race between second and third place was incredible and all credit should go to both Simon Bailey and Sam Tosh. Fantastic stuff1
And let’s not forget the Ladies.
So let’s let the Adamson Band play us out after a fantastic day at Grasmere Sports and show.
Time to get your diaries out. Grasmere Sports and Show Sunday 24th August 2014. See you there!.
When leaflets started circulating around the village at the beginning of this year, with the bold banner “unseen for 200 years” I wrote my first blog about the phenomena that is Allan Bank. At that stage it was still very much an experiment. Who knew what would happen. An empty building, on a hill, just outside Grasmere. An unusual National Trust property to say the least!.
So let’s see what has been happening over the year.
This is what the building looked like at the beginning of the year. Run down and unloved. Various paint samples of colours previously used daubed on the outside.
Looking rather good now that enough money has been raised to paint the outside.
People were asked what they thought should happen to Allan Bank. A lot of people seemed to like it as it is. A space to chill out, dream and relax.
It looks as though it isn’t just the visitors who have been having fun either. Looks like the volunteers have been enjoying things too.
Perfect venue for a few events. Having to walk to the house doesn’t seem to have been a problem. This was a book launch for Taffy Thomas.
Totally brilliant for a Skywatch, very little light pollution. This event was a sellout but I hear may become a regular event.
And then there was Halloween at Allan Bank. Lots of Pumpkin carving going on, every one a different face. Even the Victorian viewing tunnel was decorated in a spooky fashion!
And some famous folk found their way up the hill to Allan Bank too. Here are Sherrie Hewson and Amanda Barrie painting the stunning scene of Grasmere from the grounds of Allan Bank.
Then the season moved on, it became colder, and Allan Bank was a great place to shelter from the elements. Handy radiators to dry cold and wet clothing on. I understand that an eco friendly biomass fuel boiler is due to be installed over the winter, saving money and keeping everyone toasty warm.
And even better, just when it started getting really chilly, Allan Bank started selling soup.
The house was due to close for the winter on the 4th of November, however everyone seemed to be having so much fun it is staying open until 23rd December.
And while you might think the best views from the house would be in the Summer, to be honest when the weather is more seasonal, the views can be even more atmospheric.
The house is now decorated for Christmas. It has been a new chapter in the life of Allan Bank.
You know how I said the leaflets said “Unseen for 200 years” ?. Well considering you have to walk to the house, in theory it’s an “empty” house, and it wasn’t even in the National Trust Handbook, can you believe over 27,000 people have made it up the hill to Allan Bank ?. Quite amazing, and many repeat visitors too.
So just over a week to go before Allan Bank closes for the Winter. But don’t panic. Visiting Grasmere in 2013 ?. Allan Bank opens March 18th. Come along and see what is new.
Previous post can be found at “Allan Bank Grasmere. Unseen for 200 years” on this blog.
The new season always brings a few changes to Grasmere. Shops open and shut, people come and go. This year however we have a welcome addition to the Village.
As Grasmere is a busy tourist area, the recent loss of our Tourist Information Centre was of great concern to traders and locals alike. With nowhere to welcome our visitors and provide local information it didn’t give a very good impression to visitors from all over the world.
National Trust had previously had a shop at Church Stile Grasmere which had closed some years ago and had more recently been occupied by Taffy Thomas Storyteller Laureate. Taffy no longer needed the whole building (his Storytellers Garden is still located here) so the good folk from National Trust decided to not only open a shop again, but to also include a much needed information Centre.
I have written previously about the history of this Grade Two Listed Building, but a quick resume. Earliest recorded occupant was a Richard Harrison who died in 1662. By the 18th Century the building had become Robert Newton’s Inn. This was visited by William Wordsworth and his brother John, along with Coleridge on their Lake District tour of 1797. It was also a welcome meeting place for coffin bearers who had to carry the dead in all weathers from the Parishes of Ambleside and Langdale to the Church in Grasmere. A more recent resident was Robert Hayes (1859-1947) who had a market garden and specialised in varieties of heather. A far cry from the Hayes Garden Centre in Ambleside today!.
The Information Centre includes a comfortable space for people to browse local Information, pick up a bus timetable, and find out information about local events and walks. It is hoped to eventually have the fire going in the winter which would look wonderful. National Trust properties and areas like Aira Force are featured on the walls. Brochures and information about their properties in the area feature too and with places like Sizergh Castle, Beatrix Potter’s Hilltop, Wordsworth’s House at Cockermouth and the wonderful Townend to visit, there should be something for everyone. Staff are able to download local walks, and it’s hoped that at some stage in the future National Trust Rangers will use the space to meet and chat with visitors and tell them a bit about their work in looking after the area.
Connected to the Information Centre is a National Trust Shop, but not just any shop!. Local crafts and producers are featured, including such favourites as Hawkshead Relish, Herdwick Rugs and even little cute Herdwick Sheep.
Walkers haven’t been forgotten either. Books, maps, Handihikes, and local Grasmere walks on waterproof paper (who said it always rains in the Lake District) are available.
One of the most popular purchases in the shop is the new Tubular Fells map, available framed or unframed which features all the Wainwrights in the form of a London tube map. Very clever!.
So why not pop in and say hello next time you are in Grasmere. Keeping ahead of the times they are even on Twitter @NTGrasmereshop so if you can’t manage a visit in person you can still keep up to date with local news.
National Trust Information Centre and Shop, Church Stile, Grasmere. Beside the Gingerbread shop and St Oswald’s Church in the centre of the village.
Situated in Grasmere, across from St.Oswald’s Churchyard is a very special place. In a row of 17th Century cottages is the home of Taffy Thomas MBE.
One of the earliest occupants was a Richard Harrison who died in 1662. By the eighteenth century it had become Robert Newton’s Inn and William Wordsworth, his brother John and Coleridge stayed here for several days during their tour of the Lake District in 1797. Now it is the home of The Northern Centre for Storytelling. Tales in Trust is a resource for storytelling in the North of England.
Taffy has always been a familiar character, in the old days he used to cycle round on his tricycle nowadays he has a wonderful minibus called Betsy II. Always with a story or a riddle to tell, he is one of life’s real characters.
Taffy has given enjoyment to children and adults all over the world with his stories, and was recently given the amazing title of the first ever Laureate for Storytelling. Running for two years from Jan 2010 to Jan 2012 he is now truly a fine ambassador of storytelling. As Laureate he was given several gifts. These were:- 1Kg of dried beans, a simple compass, a packet of love hearts, a clear glass bottle, a tall white candle, a silver lucky charm bracelet, and a whistle. These have to be worked into stories during his time as Laureate. I look forward to hearing them.
Situated next to the centre for storytelling is The Storytellers Garden. Many amazing tales have been told here, and every event always sells out fast. My favourite events are at Halloween and Christmas, both special times in the garden. In the photo you can see a brazier. Taffy used to love listening to Johnny Morris (of Animal Magic fame) who told tales over a brazier as The Hot Chestnut Man in the 1950’s. He was given permission to recreate this and as part of a Festival I used to help organise called Grasmere Festival of Stars, the Hot Chestnut Man was reborn on 26th November 2005. Taffy commissioned a blacksmith to make the brazier and chestnuts roasted while he told his tales.
Taffy has an amazing coat. Called the storytelling coat it is a unique piece of textile art made by Paddy Killer. Point at something on the coat and Taffy will tell you a tale about it. Taffy is also involved in a monthly storytelling club at The Watermill Ings, where you can listen to stories and enjoy a pint.
So the next time you are in Grasmere, look out for this sign. Who knows, Taffy might be in residence and tell you a story.
Update August 2011.
Taffy is now so busy now that he is Storyteller Laureate that he is travelling all over the Country (and further afield) telling his stories. He is now situated at the end of he building at Church Stile beside his Storytellers Garden. The other part of the building is occupied by the National Trust Information Centre.
So far his year Taffy has been busy taking part in events for the Lake District Summer Music Festival, doing story walks around the village and is due to perform at the world famous Grasmere Sports at the end of August. He will also be doing his famous Halloween stories and Christmas events. If visiting Grasmere, it is always worth giving him a phone on 015394 35641 to see if he will be in the village when you visit.
Caught up with Taffy at the Lakes Alive Event in Kendal and he had brought out his “stop me and tell one” cart for a final run.
Taffy was often a familiar sight on the streets of Grasmere with his bike, so it was a pleasure to see him out and about on it again!