The Best of What's On
by Helen Wall
Welcome to spring in Cumbria everyone.
Visitors from further south will be surprised to see our trees in early May still in bud and all the spring flowers a couple of weeks behind. However, the good news is that our blooms last longer in cooler air, so there might be some pleasant surprises in store for those taking part in farm visits or walking events. Native bluebells can be found in ancient woodlands, those in Muncaster Castle grounds can be viewed at reduced price and the website will let visitors know when they are at their best www.muncaster.co.uk Also at Muncaster this month is the Festival of Fools where jesters compete to be declared Fool of Muncaster 2013.
We dare say that sportsmen and women last longer in cooler air too, although spectators may retreat to the pub a bit earlier. There's plenty of opportunity to test the theory in Cumbria this month. Large, organised events are becoming more popular as the camaraderie grows amongst walkers, runners and swimmers. Time to join in with Ulverston Walking Festival - programme can be viewed at www.ulverstonwalkfest.co.uk/walks/ For spectators there's a day a races on May 27th, more information at www.carlisle-races.co.uk. Cartmel has horse racing on Sat 25th, Monday 27th and Wednesday 29th. More information at www.cartmel-racecourse.co.uk
Art, drama and music are having a golden age in London, we note; Cumbria has some wonderful events this month that demonstrate our own renaissance. Do join in and enjoy. Printfest features the work of more than forty national and international artists on 4th and 5th May www.printfest.org.uk The market town of Ulverston hosts this event which co-incides with its unique flag fortnight when shops, businesses and homes express their personalities on impressive silk applique banners that billow in the May breezes.
Hundreds of prints at Printfest 2013
May in Keswick
May in Keswick begins with the musical Kiss me Kate, based on the Shakespeare play The Taming of the Shrew and later in the month a ballet based on A Midsummer Night's Dream - only two performances and sure to sell out fast. Between these productions, Keswick resounds to jazz literally all around the town centre and down to the lake. Theatre by the Lake is central to all this activity and later in the month also stages a five-day mountain festival, the very English farcical comedy See How They Run by Philip King and starts a long of of a play by Nicholas Wright entitled Vincent in Brixton, which speculates what might have happened when Van Gogh had a short stay in Brixton, London, sometime in the 1870s. Details of all the above and booking at www.theatrebythelake.com
An opportunity to join in at Keswick Mountain Festival
Whitehaven's Rosehill Theatre brings international pianist Paul Lewis to St Bees where he will perform Schubert symphonies Nos. 19, 20 and 21 in the Priory, preceded by an optional supper in St Bees School's Elizabethan Foundation dining hall. http://www.rosehilltheatre.co.uk/whats-on/music/paul-lewis-at-st-bees
Keswick features briefly (at 5:30 am) in the annual fundraising jamboree that is the Keswick to Barrow Walk. Most spectators will head for Elterwater to watch walkers streaming down to the village from Red Bank, or for a pub on Dalton-in-Furness' main street, to cheer on the weary as they gear up for the last few miles. The route is to be found at www.keswick2barrow.co.uk Canny folk will avoid driving on any of the roads used that day as they will be brimming over with walkers and support cars. The following day sees the famous Fred Whitton Challenge arduous cycle ride entice riders to tackle Cumbria's mountain passes. Again it's advisable to approach spectator vantage points on foot, avoiding the roads in use www.fredwhittonchallenge.org.uk
We must admit, we haven't tried composted beer, but curiosity will lead us to The Prince of Wales Hotel at Foxfield from 23rd-27th May for their Stout, Porter, Mild and Strong Ale festival. Luckily this pub is served by a branch line (except Sunday) and what's more, for those travelling south, it's possible to see the train tootling round the Duddon Estuary, making the finishing of one's drink and nonchalently sauntering to the station platform as the train draws in, a fine art.
There are many stop-press events, changes, advance ticket alerts, fund-raisers, pub, school and shopping events on our Facebook page, too. "Like" us and you'll love us.