Gateway to the lakes…

Browsing the glossy sales brochure for the soon-to-be Strawberry Grange, I was fascinated to read that Cockermouth is ‘often described as the gateway to the Lake District’. It’s not an expression I’ve ever heard and nor had a straw poll of friends who’ve lived here all their lives. Surely you have to drive through or past most…

Weddings and water

‘Customers!’ The simple, heartfelt greeting from one very excited bar man, as the first of our friends to check in to the Trout Hotel for our Big Day, strode into his bar. His first of the day. In fact, the first two guests to check in to the hotel at all since 6 December 2015. Now here they…

Kidnapped

When it comes to stag dos, the under-25s are swearing off the alcohol in favour of ‘dry’ activities such as climbing, coasteering or generally risking life and limb over their livers. Or so said The Telegraph in June. Chilli Sauce, Britain’s largest stag celebrations company, has apparently reported a mere 30% of bookings involve alcohol –…

There but for fortune

It was thanks to the climbing gremlin we’d headed for Wales at the weekend. He and three other Cockermouth ‘rescue rock-rats’ had arranged to swap ideas with members of the Ogwen team on the Sunday. Would have been rude of me not to take the opportunity to visit too. Strange how the threads of life connect, often in the…

Flood rescue

Talking about floods… it was two weeks into December before dastardly Des had quite done knocking seven bells out of Cumbria and, very soon after that, evil siblings Eva and Frank took up the bludgeon, and headed for York. (As an aside, is it just me, or were these storms ever as bad before we started giving them human identities?) Somewhere along the…

Cockermouth floods

Christchurch, Cockermouth, on a sticky Monday evening, and tensions are definitely running high. Not unlike the gravel. His own pre-presentation, warm-up man, Andy Brown – from the Environment Agency – tells a great tale about his father being a man of the church. Growing up, Andy recalls, his father would stand pretty much where he stands now, facing the…