25 2 17
Greetings from the heart of the Lake District! Ooooo, writing that felt GOOD – it’s been over a year since my chunky digits tapped out that phrase on the ol’keyboard! Apologies to my army of [at least three] readers – have you missed me? No? How rude! Well, I’m back now and this time I mean business. It’s been so very long that I really don’t know where to start… so a quick recap of 2016 it’ll have to be.
The last time I entertained you all with my scintillating combination of witty observation and uncorroborated local hearsay it was in the aftermath of the floods, and oh how I waxed lyrical about the on-going recovery effort. The chief reason for my ginormous blog-sabbatical is that 2016 turned out to be the most productive but time-consuming year of my life, and the aforesaid mentioned recovery effort could not have gone better in my wildest dreams. Teams of volunteers helped us to rebuild footpaths, reconstruct beck walls and replant gardens, whilst the estate staff and our trusted contractors refurbished the bothies, built flood defences and set about not only mending but also improving the estate.
The estate has never looked so good – the bothies look amazing and are enjoying record bookings this year; the caravan CL Site has had a total overhaul and is getting rave reviews; we’ve added freeview satellite TV with over 100 channels to the properties and have had Fibre Broadband installed to bolster the Wi-Fi signal; and the grounds look fab. We are continuing to improve things as I write this, and have recently ducted around the site so that every property can get a more robust hard-wired Wi-Fi signal, as well as getting new sofas for all of the chalets and two of the lodges. Local techno-boffin Martin (from Krypton TV Ltd) is currently adding TV points to every pitch on the caravan site (should be ready by mid March, we hope); and we have added a BBQ area for each bothy to the wonderful walled bothy garden. We’re about to build a fire pit down on the lakeview picnic area too, as well as giving all of the properties, fences and walls a fresh lick of paint in readiness for the impending holiday season.
Whilst all of this is going on our beloved volunteers are hacking and slashing their way through the forest of rhododendron in Waterfall Wood, and as we work our way upstream I have been amazed by the amount of extra light that is being let in as the rhodey vanishes. Here’s some images of our volunteers working their magic:
…and here’s some of the footpath work and beck wall reconstruction that’s gone on…
The local news is that Glenridding is more or less back to normal now. The Glenridding Hotel re-opened in December after a year of closure, sporting a full refurb including the renamed Beckside Bar (the pub formally known as Ratchers Tavern); the Inn on the Lake has a fully refurbed Ramblers Bar and the brand new and rather gorgeous Candleroom (pictured below)…
…. Glenridding Minimarket, run by the renowned Alan ‘Mr Grumpy’ Brown, has reopened and is FAR too posh for the likes of us… Helvellyn Country Kitchen is once again serving delicious food during the day time and on some evenings… even the White Lion which was unaffected by the flood is under new management and is getting good reviews from our guests. The only sign that a flood ever happened is a large pile of rock on Jenkin’s Field (next to the Steamer Pier) which is being carted away as I write this. We are enjoying one of the driest winters on record (the irony after 2015’s effort!) which has allowed the whole dale to come on leaps and bounds, so those of you that were here when the village looked like this…
…won’t recognise the spot! Glenridding, like a phoenix from the ashes, has emerged looking better than ever before! If you don’t believe me you’ll just have to come and see.
I’ll end with the usual shambolic insight into our wildlife. Great news on the squirrel front with a number of reds spotted over the last few weeks, and very few greys.
As if I don’t get enough hassle from our badgers, we have now had reports of an Ullswater Monster on the estate, see the chilling image snapped by Pam and John Henderson below:
Here’s a quick reminder that we are running our second Calendar Competition – this time [predictably] for the 2018 estate calendar. Entries are pouring in – here’s a couple of early contenders from Mike McCreesh and Roy Saddington – thanks chaps! Congrats to the 2017 winners, and thanks to everybody that took part. Entries in by end-October 2017 please – just email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and contact details.
I’ll shut up now! Its been a bit of a random first blog of the new year, I’ll get back to normal next time. In the meantime we still have some gaps for the coming year in our self-catering properties and on the caravan site, please get in touch if you fancy a visit to this amazing slice of Lake District heaven.
Jon (Estate Chuntermeister)