Reaching southwards from the central mountain core of the Lake District down to the sea, the Windermere valley is a vast and varied landscape, featuring, as its glorious centrepiece, England’s longest and largest natural lake.
Formed in a glacial trough, running north-south after the ice retreated around 12,000 years ago, the famous lake measures 18 kilometres in length, derives its name from a blend of the Old Norse place-name ‘Vinandr’ and an Old English word ‘mere’ meaning lake. It contains 18 islands in total, many of them heavily wooded, and its outflow, the River Leven, eventually winds its way out into Morecambe Bay. Although simply named Windermere, many people refer to it as Lake Windermere, so as to not get it confused with the village of the same name.
In the 20th century, Windermere was the focus of a number of writers. Arthur Ransome wrote his classic ‘Swallows and Amazons’ at Low Ludderburn. In 1930, a 23 year-old Alfred Wainwright did his first Lakeland walk at Orrest Head above Windermere and started his lifelong love affair with the region, writing and illustrating his best-selling guides. John Cunliffe, a Kendal schoolteacher, created his ‘Postman Pat’ books around a fictional Lakeland valley, based on Longsleddale.
Conservation is a vital part of Windermere’s history, with the first environmental protest targeted against the building of the railway from Kendal. The conservation movement also prevented the construction of reservoirs and an airplane factory in the valley and halted the railway line extension further into the Lake District.
Windermere is still one of the Lake District’s most popular valleys for visitors and a thriving community of farming and industry.
Our accommodation for this weekend is at the Brathay Trust. The impressive Brathay Hall is set in 360 acres of mature woodland and rolling pasture, at the head of Windermere. Visitors to the stunning estate will experience the wonderful views that have inspired artists and poets alike for centuries. Wordsworth, Coleridge and Constable have all been notable visitors to the Hall and its impressive gardens. Brathay is located just a 15 minute walk from Ambleside, with its great selection of shops, restaurants and traditional pubs.
Arriving Friday evening at Oxenholme train station between 4:30pm and 6:00pm we’ll transport you to Ambleside. If you want to make your own way, we’ll meet you at the Brathay Trust at around 7:00pm. We’ll have a buffet dinner at 7:00pm while we do introductions, and explain in more detail the timetable for the weekend. We have a variety of accommodation options including single, double or twin.
The running on both days is preceded and followed by Pilates sessions, run by Kerry Robinson of Calm & Control Pilates. These sessions will be designed specifically for runners so that you are best prepared for the day’s running ahead and to help with your recovery afterwards.
Our Saturday run will take us through delightfully mixed terrain which will include lakeside paths, open hillside and typical South Lakeland woodland. You will cover just less than 20km, but will have plenty of time to stop and admire the surroundings, find out about he local area and take some stunning photographs.
On Sunday, you have a choice of two runs, depending upon how you feel; the longer run will be approximately 14 km and the shorter run will be approximately 10km.
To complement the running, we are also offering a couple of optional extras for Saturday afternoon/evening. You will be able to enjoy a couple of hours of Stand Up Paddle Boarding with our friends from Lakesup, which is available at £35 per person for 2 hours. Alternatively, if this sounds a little energetic, you could indulge in an Ayurvedic head and shoulders massage, which will cost £10. Both of these activities will need to be pre-booked and will not be available to book during the weekend. You are, of course free to wander around the Trust’s grounds or stroll down to the lake for a paddle (or even a swim if you are feeling adventurous).
To book this weekend, please follow the link to SiEntries
The cost is £350 paid in three instalments- £100 on booking, then £100, then £150