Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Wish you were here!

Storm Desmond was bad and Eva and Frank didn't help much either - they were a disaster that affected most of the county in one way or another, but the scary part is they were only part 1 of a disaster that's still unfolding.  Many of us saw part 2 looming back in December but now it seems our worst fears are being confirmed as this story on the BBC demonstrates, people have lost faith in the county and are either cancelling their hols or not making bookings in the first place.

Tourism is Cumbria's life blood - it's our industry - and, like any other industry, a collapse in bookings could lead to small businesses closing and bigger businesses shedding jobs.  We really need folks to keep visiting but we do understand that the bleak picture painted by the media might have put you off a bit, so, with the support of the Lake District National Park (LDNPA), I'm going to try and answer a few questions and provide links to the latest up to date info.

Can I get there?  Can I get around once I'm there?  Are the bridges safe?

Devil's Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale
Yes you can get here, yes you can get around once you're here and most of the bridges are fine too.

Roads:  Getting here is no problem at all and the main road closure which may affect your visit is the A591 north of Grasmere.  This means that there is no direct route from Grasmere to Keswick but you have 2 options - the first is a stunning diversion through Glenridding where they would be delighted to see you, especially if you take a break for a coffee and have a look around the shops.  The second option is to stay on the M6 to Penrith (also worth a visit, the castle is FAB) and then take the A66 to Keswick. Simple.

As for the bridges - well some of the worst hit towns such as Cockermouth have local delays due to some bridges being out forcing everyone onto the main route - you can still get through but best advice is to avoid travelling during the rush hours.  For the very latest local traffic info take a look at the BBC Cumbria Traffic news page here.

Rail:  There are currently some delays on Virgin Trains due to a bridge being out north of Carlisle (another fantastic city well worth a visit), but these are having minimal impact on trips to Cumbria from the south. If you're travelling down from Scotland to see us it is a bit more of a challenge just now, but they're working hard to fix the problem.  You can check your journey here.

Are the shops open?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES - pretty much all of the shops are open and properly keen and eager to see you. All the towns you saw on the news when they were underwater are open for business and raring to go - Appleby, Keswick, Glenridding, Cockermouth, Kendal, Carlisle are all ready and waiting for you.

Take a look at  #CumbriaisOpen on Twitter or this blog I posted in December for more info.

And what about the hotels, caravan parks etc?

Beautiful Bridge Hotel, Buttermere
Yes - they're mostly open too, though it's best to call or visit their website to double check just in case.  Even places such as the Glenridding Hotel who were flooded out 3 times are pulling out all the stops and hoping to be open by Easter - keep an eye on their Facebook page for up to date info.

But can we get up the fells?

Again, yes you can.  Of course there was some storm damage to the footpaths but nothing that should seriously hamper a trip to the fells - this brilliant rights of way map from LDNPA very clearly shows what's open and what's not and their equally useful general guide to the current conditions should tell you all you need to know - though if you do have any questions just ask.  

Will it rain during my visit?

View from Halls Fell Ridge, Blencathra
Well, you weren't planning to visit Cumbria for the 40C temperatures and guaranteed blue skies now were you?  Any holiday in the UK comes with a risk of rain, but storms like Desmond are thankfully few and far between.  Plus if you're visiting Cumbria we have literally hundreds of outdoors clothing shops ready to kit you out for any conditions - fabulous independent places such as George Fishers (Keswick), Keswick Boot Company (Keswick) and CatsyCam (Glenridding) plus the bigger chains such as Cotswold Outdoor, Blacks and Go Outdoors.

For the very latest weather conditions - plus a daily fell top forecast - take a look at the Lake District Weatherline page here.

Why should I visit?

Because of this...

Great Gable

and this...
Sandy Gap

and this...
Black Combe

and this...
Furness Abbey
and not forgetting this...

Dorothy Farrer's Spring Wood (Nr Staveley)

or indeed this...
Bay Cycleway

Then there are these...

and those...
and of course this...


PLEASE keep coming to visit - all these stunning views will be going to waste if noone is there to see them.

Herdy & Wast Water

What can I do if I live miles away and can't get to Cumbria right now?

Tell your friends about us, share posts on Twitter and FB - follow the FB pages of local Cumbrian businesses and tourist centres and share their photos - keep helping us get the message out there that Cumbria is Open and we can't wait to see you!

There is TONS more info on the LDNPA page here - take a look and come and see us soon.

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