AMBLESIDE RUSH BEARING
Early July in the Lake District, it's the heart of attraction for Ambleside, the preparations are under way for a ceremony which has had it's origins long before tourists were flocking to the area. Rush Bearing is as much a part of the twentieth century life as it was when it first begun four hundred years ago.
The celebrations are centred around the parish of St Mary's Church in Ambleside, which is situated between Grasmere and Kendal. Ambleside was once a small rural community but now is in the middle of a multi million pound industry, tourism.
Every year people travel out to the Lake to collect rushes which are long, thin reeds. It's a tradition that the people should find the longest rushes they can and present them. The rushes can reach up to four or five feet long and are found in the shallow waters near the banks of the Lake. This simple ceremony of bearing rushes and laying them on the floors of the Great Houses has evolved through the years.
These days the Rush Bearing procession has become a celebration itself. The bearings that are carried are symbols of Rush Bearing and are decorated with moss and flowers. The moss is collected from upland walls and the grasses are hand picked from the fields. The grasses are to be plaited around the frames of the symbols. The symbols which are included in the procession are the harp, world, crown and the staves which are very tall rushes. As well as these there are twenty-five other bearings. Before the symbols are colourfully decorated they all start of as wooden frames, some frames take over three hours to prepare. It is said that it never rains on Rush Baring day but unfortunately it almost always does. As soon as the bearings are made the procession begins and locals, young and old, walk around the small town of Ambleside.
Rush Bearing is a celebration that is meant to bring different people together. After the procession the children are given a small lunch and a memorable piece of ginger bread, which is made to a secret recipe. Then the people meet in the church where their bearings are left and the church service takes place.
As well as all this the children look forward to the Rush Bearing Sports which take place in a nearby sports field. There is a wide variety of sports, one of which is the fell run up Loughrigg. Prizes can be won and the day is left memorable and looked forward to for the next year.
By Stephen Parker
back to top of page Rushbearing is a parade in Ambleside every year in early July when people parade bunches of rushes and flower sculptures to commemorate the the way the rushes were used to keep the Ambleside Church services going hundreds of years ago.
At this time the parish church in Ambleside had problems in the services because the floor in the church was just soil and
grass. Eventually the floor would turn to mud and it was hard to have their services in a bath of mud.
No-one in the village knew how to make a good floor structure so one member of the congregation had an idea to try and use rushes to lay down and use as a floor. The congregation went out and collected thousands of rushes from the shores of the lakes in central Cumbria. The rushes made a wonderful floor and kept the mud from spoiling the services.
The people of Ambleside celebrate it every year and they carry bunches of rushes large and small through the streets of Ambleside. The parents and church members make flower structures in shapes such as globes , crosses, shapes of animals and many more.
Now you know why the people of Ambleside celebrate the day of Rushbearing.
By Martin Roche
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Crosthwaite, a small village in the Lake District, is not really a very busy place, but on April 25th this year there were cars lining the road side. This was Crosthwaite's first ever Damson day. It was aimed at boosting demand for the local traditionally grown damsons.
Crosthwaite and Lyth Valley Damson Day
The damson is a small, plum-like fruit which grows in profusion all over the quiet Lyth Valley. On this Damson Day, the locals gave away samples of the fruit to anyone interested enough to ask. On offer were a variety of damson products; Ice cream, Wood craft, wine, paintings and even a damson beer which is brewed at the Masons Arms, Strawberry Bank.
Although the rain poured down on the day (typical Lake District weather?) people were not put off and crowds of interested folks enjoyed coffee and scones with damson jam in Crosthwaite Village Hall and joined in one of the 'damson tours' of the valley.
After such a good turn out of people on a grey day, the locals hope that Damson Day will become an annual event.
by Steve Worsley and Tom Lemmey
back to top of pageEach year a procession is held in my local town, Kendal. It is always held on the second Friday evening in September, at the end of a series of art and entertainment events known as the Kendal Gathering. The procession is called the Torchlight as many of the people in the procession carry lighted torches.
Kendal Torchlight Procession
The procession includes up to 100 organisations who travel around the centre of Kendal in and on decorated lorries and trailers. The circuit on which they parade is normally the main road through the town, but for this one night the town is closed off especially for the Torchlight. Each year the procession has a theme and the participants have to base their decorations around that theme. This year the theme was 'Once upon a child..".
Hundreds of people come from near and far to experience the procession. Some of the exhibitors give away things like sweets, hast and balloons.
There is always a travelling fair in town at the time of the Torchlight and many people like to go on to that when the procession is over. The whole evening provides enjoyable entertainment for all the family, even if, as is often the case, it rains. The atmosphere is always like a big party.
by Nicola Dawson
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Brockhole National Park is located on the east of Lake Windermere, and is a haven for tourists providing cruises on the Lake. It is also an exhibition hall, which hosts many different exhibitions about English heritage and the Lake District and a permanent exhibition about the area's geological, industrial and social histories. The Park also boasts acres of land with beautiful gardens and grounds, containing picnic areas, a shop, small public cinema linked with the exhibitions, a children's play area and walks along the Lake shore.
Brockhole National Park Centre
Brockhole has many things to keep children occupied, including a putting green and a croquet lawn, in the grounds. This enables the many young families that come to visit the area, to leave their children in the capable hands of the Park wardens, while they can go to the Tea Rooms, or look at one of the many exhibitions.
The Parks buildings are closed in Winter, but the grounds remain open. In Summer, a wide range of activities for children are provided, including an annual fair with stalls selling local artists' work, ranging from professional jewellery to excellent and detailed wildlife paintings painted by local artists. The Park is closely related to the Lake District with strong links to the National Park Service which helps maintain the natural beauty and wildlife of the area.
The Park also hosts classic car rallies, charity events and other performances - for example battle reconstructions by History enthusiasts, reconstructing famous battles in English history, the English Civil War for example, which was fought between the Royal family and parliament. Parliament won and England was a Republic for about ten years.
Brockhole is also a centre-point of the area, as it has free admission and supplies brochures and tourist information about Windermere and the surrounding district. The Park is easy to access, as it is located just off a main road that runs through the Lake District, so there is good car access. The docks are visited by the Lake tour boats, so that tourists can enjoy a ride on a scenic cruise from the Luxury Hotels at the bottom of the lake, stop off at the town piers on the way, and then get off at Brockhole and visit the attractions. Tour buses also visit the Park and can use the easy access road.
So the Brockhole National Park Centre is easily accessible, good for families with children, teenagers and the elderly citizens, all of whom are attracted to the Park for various reasons.
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