October is a splendid time in the Lake District. It is when Autumn really takes hold and we are treated to a last colourful display from the national park’s forests before winter sets in. The end of October coincides with school half term holidays, and this year we expect many families will want to take a staycation in the UK, so if you are planning a trip around this time, it’s best to book accommodation as soon as possible.

Of course, Covid-19 still weighs heavily on our minds and there is always the possibility that further restrictions will be enforced, so if you are planning a visit, make sure you check any terms and conditions for any bookings that you make. At the time of writing this article, Cumbria was not under local lockdown restrictions, but that can easily change at any point.

This month there is the option to book onto a number of events, but, as you are probably aware, there are no guarantees in the new normal and so please do bear in mind that some events may be cancelled with little notice.

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Outdoor Activities

Striding Edge by Torchlight

Striding Edge by Torchlight is an extremely popular event

There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing. Summer may have bid us farewell, but in the new normal we need to take advantage of waterproof clothing and spend more time outdoors, improving our fitness and mental well-being. Here we have identified a number of organisations offering socially distanced activities that can be booked into whilst adhering to Covid-19 restrictions, as well as some organised outdoor events.

 

Ghyll Scrambling and Canyoning with Crags Adventures

Crags Adventures are a small, family run outdoor activity provider who specialise in ghyll scrambling and canyoning. They generally operate in Langdale and Eskdale, and they can also offer abseiling and mountain scrambles. They are available throughout October to take small groups / households (aged 10 and above) on an extreme adventure, following all Covid-19 guidelines. Prices start from £40, visit cragsadventures.com for more information.

Outdoor Adventures with Keswick Adventures

Keswick Adventures are one of the larger activity companies in the area and offer a wide range of activities that will get you exploring the great outdoors in a whole new way. The team have taken careful steps to ensure they follow Covid-19 guidance and are available during October for small group bookings. Activities include kayaking and canoeing on Derwent Water, ghyll scrambling, canyoning and more. Prices start at around £40 per person. Find out more at keswickadventures.co.uk/outdoor-activities.

Lake District Activities

Lake District Activities are offering group challenges for groups of up to six people (though they are also permitted to host larger groups if you are all from the same household / support bubble). Operating primarily in the Langdale, Coniston, and Keswick area, this company offer full and half day adventure experiences with a combination of different activities including gorge scrambling, canyoning, rock climbing, and abseiling. Prices start from £38. Find out more at lakedistrictactivities.co.uk.

The Coast to Coast Packhorse Running Challenge

For running enthusiasts, 2020 has been a difficult year with almost all races cancelled, but this event has been designed to work with Covid restrictions. Combining running with a staycation, the cost of this event includes accommodation and meals. You can choose to do the full route, from St Bees on the Cumbrian coast to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire, or you could opt to just do either the Cumbrian part of the route, or just the Yorkshire part (we all know which one is the best!).

Each day, you will run a section of the route, varying in distance from 12 miles to 24 miles, spending each night in the provided accommodation. There is support on the route, a training guide, post run activities, a massage service, and a medal and t-shirt for each participant. Prices start from £495 and the event begins on Friday 9th October, taking ten days in total. Find out more at c2cpackhorse.co.uk/product/c2c-running-festival.

October Events at Whinlatter, Near Keswick

There are numerous events taking place at Whinlatter Forest this month that will get you moving and active, as well as aid your mental wellbeing:

  • Dark Skies Forest Walk Covering around 3-4 miles of forest trails, this event will include some wonderful stargazing opportunities when you will be assisted to find various constellations and other celestial objects. Booking is essential as places are limited. If you are planning on taking part with younger children there will be the option to return to the visitor centre after two-miles. Warm clothing and torches will be required. Tickets start from £8 and there are two dates available – 2nd October and 30th October.
  • Fundraising Headtorch Trail Run – Raising money for the Calvert Trust, this event will take you on trails through the forest and is ideal for those who want to try night time trail running with the benefit of a guide. If you can run 5K, then this event should be achievable. £10, Saturday 3rd October.
  • Whinlatter Woosh – Aimed at women who are new to mountain biking, this event will take you along the blue mountain biking route at Whinlatter, going at the pace of the slowest member of the party. Booking is essential, as is your own mountain bike and helmet, but the event itself is free. 4th October.
  • Shinrin-Yoku – Explore the Japanese art of forest bathing with a series of mindfulness and sensory activities that finish with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The practice is said to reduce stress and boost creativity. Booking is essential and it costs £30 per person, taking place on 18th October.
  • Walking For Health – A gentle guided walk for those who are least active. This free event has limited spaces so booking is still essential. 21st October.
  • Halloween Spooky Skies Walk – A spooky edition of the dark skies walk, with a night time walk through the forest. 31st October, booking essential. Prices from £8.

To find out more, visit forestryengland.uk/whinlatter-forest/venue/events-whinlatter.

Striding Edge by Torchlight

This open event by Lakeland Mountain Guides is being held to raise money for mountain rescue teams and will involve a night time traverse of Striding Edge ridge, as well as a summit of Helvellyn. Participants must have previous experience of scrambling on terrain similar to that of Striding Edge and booking is essential. The event takes place on 17th October and costs £50 per person. To find out more visit lakelandmountainguides.co.uk.

Craft Courses & Workshops

Courses at the Cowshed Creative

October Courses at the Cowshed Creative

Unleash your creativity with one of these workshops or courses, all held with social distancing measures in place.

 

Art Workshops at Brockhole, Near Windermere

Brockhole are hosting a series of art workshops over the autumn and winter months, and these sessions are ideal for beginners, introducing new skills and techniques. All materials are provided for the workshops, and there is the option to include an afternoon tea at the Gaddum Restaurant as part of your booking. This month’s workshops are:

  • Discover Linocut Printmaking – Create your own lino block for printmaking – 6th and 9th October.
  • Glass Mosaic – Use pieces of glass to create a piece of mosaic art – 7th October.
  • Autumn Felt Wreaths – Create a pretty autumnal themed wreath using felt and wire – 3rd and 8th October.
  • Fabric Wall Hanging – Use fabric painting, printmaking, and stitch to create a fabric wall hanging that will look fabulous in your home. 2nd October.
  • Print, Paint, Collage – Explore various techniques to create a mixed media piece. 1st October.

There are various measures in place to protect people from coronavirus, and it’s worth taking note of these before you book. For more information and online booking, visit brockhole.co.uk/events/art-workshops.

Workshops at Cowshed Creative, Near Staveley

Cowshed Creative is a creative arts workshop housed in a restored two storey barn on farmland near Staveley. It is an ideal venue for social distancing, with plenty of space for the workshops and plenty of ventilation. This month, there are a variety of courses available:

  • Abstract Landscape – Explore drawing and painting without worrying about whether or not your image resembles something. Abstract art gives a lot of freedom as you will discover on this course. 1st October, £70 including lunch.
  • Raku Pottery – This is a two-day course where you will create a number of clay pots and will also have the opportunity to use an outdoor kiln. 3rd & 10th October, £140 including lunch on both days.
  • Drawing Rural Animals in Mixed Media – Develop basic drawing skills to create your own portraits of animals, with an opportunity to observe and drawn animals resident on the farm. 4th October, £70 including lunch.
  • Texturing Silver / Setting Stones – Create an item of silver jewellery using traditional techniques and tools. 11th October, £70 including lunch.
  • Needle Felt an Animal Inspired by Illustrations – For this workshop you may have a favourite illustrated character that you can use for your inspiration, and you will produce a delightful needle felt animal. No previous experience is required. 16th October, £68 including lunch.
  • Stylish Tote Bags – Create a beautiful lined bag with a professional finish. 24th October, £68 including lunch.
  • Willow Platter – Create a traditional willow platter that can be used for various purposes, including displaying fruit. Using shorter sticks than other willow projects, it’s an ideal course for beginners. 30th October, £70 including lunch.

For more information, and to book your place, visit farmpods.co.uk/cowshed-creative.

Quirky Workshops at Greystoke Craft Barn

The team at the Greystoke Craft barn have taken numerous steps to ensure that their programme of quirky workshops can continue in the new normal. This month there is a wonderful range of courses to choose from:

  • Discovering Pen and Wash 1st October, £68
  • Needle Felt a Herdwick Doorstop 2nd October, £75
  • Felt Art & Hand Stitch 4th October, £68
  • Mosaics: ‘Two Hearts Are Better Than One' – 6th October, £75
  • Introduction to Fused Glass – 7th October, £82
  • Willow Sculptures: Hares, Sheep, Hens & Cockerels or Deer – 8th October, £78
  • Paint Print Stitch - Botanics – 9th October, £75
  • Blacksmith for a Day Two Sculptural Garden Flowers - 10th October, £115
  • Intro to Silver Clay Jewellery - Inspired by Nature 10th October, £82

To book your place, visit quirkyworkshops.co.uk/quirky-workshops-cumbria.

Halloween Activities

Muncaster Castle Halloween 2020

Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, and just to add to 2020’s feeling of unsettledness, it also coincides with a full moon. Trick or treating is probably off the menu, but some attractions have worked hard to ensure that Halloween fun is still available in a social distanced manner.

 

Halloween at Brockhole, Near Windermere

It’s great to see that this popular event will return this month, with ghouls and ghosts taking over the Brockhole Visitor Centre grounds. There is a total of 13 (eek) activities available, including a pumpkin trail, story telling sessions, and even a wacky science show, as well as zombie archery and a witch themed art workshop. There are some changes this year that mean that parents must purchase a full ticket to accompany any children, in order to control numbers, and you will need to book timeslots for the activities. However, as most of the activities take place outdoors, it’s sure to be a fun, yet safe way to celebrate Halloween.

The event runs from 21st October until 31st October and tickets range between £12 and £27. To find out more, visit brockhole.co.uk/events/brockhole-halloween-experience.

Bad Wolf? - Carlisle

Cosmic Studios, in association with Carlisle City Council, are putting on this socially distanced immersive theatre piece that explores the myths around the story of the Big Bad Wolf. Book a six person ticket and enter the Assembly Room at the Carlisle Old Town Hall that will be transformed into a fairy tale woodland, where a number of well known characters will give their thoughts on Mr Wolf, whilst the protagonist himself will attempt to give his side of the story.

The show is suitable for anyone aged three and above and various measures have been taken place to ensure the experience is Covid secure. Slots are available every half hour from Thursday 29th – Saturday 31st October. Tickets are available at eventbrite.co.uk.

Pumpkin Picking at Walby Farm Park

Walby Farm Park has reopened with new measures in place to keep you and your family safe, including the requirement to book timed entry slots for your visit. This month, the Farm Park is bringing back its usual pumpkin picking extravaganza to celebrate Halloween. Visitors will be able to grab a wheelbarrow and pick their own pumpkin, before carving a pattern onto it in the dedicated carving area.

It is essential that you book your tickets in advance and you will need to select time slots for using the indoor play areas. The event is available 15 to 16 October & 19 to 23 October for toddlers and pre-schoolers at a slightly discounted rate, and open to all 17 to 18 October & 24 to 31 October. Prices start from £10.95. Find out more at walbyfarmpark.co.uk/event/pumpkin-picking-2020.

Halloween at Muncaster Castle

Muncaster Castle is said to be one of Britain’s most haunted castles, so it is the perfect place to visit at Halloween. The castle puts on a wonderful event each Halloween and this year is no different, though there are some changes as a result of Covid-19, including the requirement to pre-book entry and timed tickets for the live show and owl display.

The gardens will take on a spooky theme with trails to explore and there will be other activities including workshops in plague medicines, drumming, and lantern making. Food stalls will be set up and there will be fire shows in the evenings. Tickets start from £6.75 for children and £13.50 for adults with additional charges for the live show and the castle tour. The event runs from Saturday 24th – Saturday 31st October inclusive. Find out more at muncaster.co.uk/halloween2020.

Other Activities

Penrith Winter Droving 2020

A round up of other, unique activities that are taking place in the Lake District this month.

 

Penrith Winter Droving

The Penrith Winter Droving is a wonderful annual event that harks back to the times when cattle were walked through the town on their way to various markets. It marks the start of the winter season and usually sees the town residents turn out in mass for a colourful masked parade by torchlight.

Alas, that cannot happen this year, but the organisers are keen for something to happen in its place. This year, during half term, there will be colourful projections at St Andrew’s Churchyard, and visitors will need to book time slots in advance to see them (these slots will be available soon). Secondly, shops and other businesses will be transformed into a sort of public art gallery, with the public producing the art.

The organisers are asking people to create masks and costumes, dress up in them and take pictures of themselves to be displayed across the town. The idea is to celebrate the festivals of the past, and to remind people that there will be better times ahead. Find out more at edenarts.co.uk/projects/winter-droving-2020.

Where’s Wally? Spooky Museums - Keswick Museum

Keswick Museum has reopened with extra hygiene and social distancing measures in place. This month they are taking part in a national event by Walker Books to celebrate the release of the latest Where’s Wally book, Spooky Spotlight Search.

Visit the museum to see if you can spot Wally hidden amongst the collections and follow the clues to find a secret spooky message. There’s also an opportunity for children to enter a drawing competition to try and win a bag of Where’s Wally goodies. The event runs from 9th October until 1st October. For more information, visit keswickmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/event/wheres-wally-spooky-museums.