[F]ell dog Max and his young sidekick Paddy have become Facebook and internet celebrities as they have been promoting the fantastic experience of walking in the Lake District. Now owner Kerry Irving is bringing the pair of springer spaniels from their home in Keswick to take part in The Great Ambleside Dog Walk, just one of the attractions of the town’s second Festival of the Fells, which takes place from Thursday 21 September to Sunday 24 September.
The walk aims to raise money for the charity Freedom Wizard, which helps wheelchair users enjoy the great outdoors. It will also mark the official launch of the Ambleside Dog Friendly Scheme, which will encourage local businesses to show they are dog-friendly by putting an eye-catching sticker in their windows.
Freedom Wizard will be staging wheelchair test drives at the festival, which this year is bigger and better than ever with extras speakers and more events than the inaugural event in 2016.
The line-up of speakers comprises: mountaineers Alan Hinkes and Simon Yates, film-maker Terry Abraham, environmental photographer Ashley Cooper, The Wainwrights in Colour author Andy Beck, polar explorer Craig Mathieson, Fellranger author Mark Richards, mines expert Mark Hatton, fell warden Sarah Anderson and legendary fellrunner Wendy Dodds.
Activities on offer include guided walks, guided wild swims, ghyll scrambling, abseiling, Nordic walking and electric biking. There will be a Trail Race, craft fair, an open-air food market, a free ‘Worn Wear’ walking gear repair session, mountain cinema and much more, including a repeat of last year’s popular Duck Race and, for three days of the festival, the charity walking marathon Triple Spine Lakeland Challenge will criss-cross the area.
The Festival is organised by Ambleside Together whose notable ‘Love Ambleside’ campaign was launched last year. Top holiday cottage company Heart of the Lakes has joined forces with Ambleside Together as headline sponsor for this year’s festival. Heart of the Lakes has more than 150 properties in and around Ambleside on its list of over 300 holiday cottages in the national park.
There will also be a comedy night and two free town-centre concerts featuring Room Full of Mirrors, Scrogan’s Run, The Mojo Band and Phil Saunders & Friend.
For festival details go to www.festivalofthefells.uk