Friday, 1 July 2016

Why we think Ulverston is GREAT!

You may be coming to the Lake District, but don't forget the rest of Cumbria. There are some fantastic places to visit outside the National Park.
Here are our reasons why we think Ulverston is so GREAT!

Cumbria is one of England’s' largest counties but also one of its most rural. It is an area of outstanding beauty and diverse local traditions. 

Many people confuse Cumbria with the Lake District. The national park lies firmly within the county, but Cumbria itself is a staggering 2,613 square miles, with the Lake District national park taking up only(!) 885 square miles of that, not even half. Just because you've crossed the border out of the Lake District into Cumbria, doesn't mean that the beauty stops. In fact, for some, getting 'off the beaten track' is what it's all about when they come to Cumbria.

From the beautiful heather topped moors of the North Pennines to the East of the county, across to the miles of sand and shingle beaches on the West Coast, Cumbria is just stunning. And we've got enough buzzing market towns and picturesque villages to last a lifetime of exploring.  

Which is our favourite? Ulverston is a great example of a proud, buzzing, community focused, friendly Cumbrian town. The fact it is only ten minutes from RDMH HQ is purely a coincidence.

So why do we love Ulverston so much? So many reasons! Here are our top ones...
1) Lots of great cafes! We LOVE a good cafe, and there are so many to choose from...There's The Coach House at Ford Park, The Hot Mango, Poppies, Gillams and Mad Hatters to name only a few. All independent, and all with unbelievably good menu's.

2) Our good friend Dave owns DC cycles there. We like riding bikes and we love proper independent bike shops. Dave's the best at both! Possibly the best non geeky bike geek we've met.

3) It’s got a fake lighthouse, just cos it can! And you can go up it, just look out for the flags on top of Hoad to say it's open.

4) It's got the deepest, widest and straightest canal in the UK. A reminder of the importance the port of Ulverston held to the area in the 17th century, it's just over a mile long, and with a handy pub and a fantastic view of the Leven estuary at the end of it, it's not hard to see why it's so popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists of all ages.  

5) The Lantern Festival. This annual event is how fireworks night should be, except it's in September. It encourages involvement from the local community and with thousands of residents taking part and lining the streets to watch, it is fantastically original and beautiful. The annual event culminates in a lively display of theatrical performance and fireworks in Ford Park, and was organised entirely by the community themselves for the first time in 2008.

6) Ford Park. Ford Park is the towns biggest public green space and regarded as one of the most important areas of the town. So much so that when it was threatened with closure and being sold off to property developers by the local council, the whole town rallied to support the Ford Park Community Group's bid to keep it going. The cafe and kitchen garden are open year round, and as well as being great to visit they provide an important role in the community as the whole project is looked after by hard working volunteers.

7) The residents. This town must be one of the most 'up for it' towns in Cumbria, if not the UK, and in June 2016 over 1100 of them turned out to take part in the world record attempt for the biggest foam pie fight. I think it's fair to say, there aren't many towns where that many people would voluntarily spend their Saturday morning getting totally covered in shaving foam. (I was there. It was epic!)

8) The colour. Because Ulverston is just outside the National Park boundary, it doesn't have to stay within the strict planning regulations of subtle tones on the buildings. The townsfolk have taken that information and run with it! You can find houses of every colour as you walk through town, as well as fantastic street art and the occasional yarn bombed lamp post!

9) Stan Laurel. Ulverston is the birthplace of one half of the much loved comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. Need I say more!

10) The festivals. The many, many festivals. Ulverston calls itself a 'Festival Town' in reference to the many and varied festivals which take place there over the course of the year. 

Other popular festivals include:
  • Flag Festival
  • Dickensian Festival
  • Beer Festival
  • Charter Festival (including the Lantern Festival)
  • International Music Festival
  • Furness Tradition/Retro Rendezvous
  • Comedy Festival
  • Word Market—including 'Pub Scripts'
  • Walking Festival
  • Print Fest
  • Summer Buddhist Festival
  • Ulverston Carnival Parade
  • Summer Music Festival
  • Festival of Fashion
  • The Feast of St George
  • Another Fine Fest is a newest festival, only launched in 2014. A festival of music, comedy, street theatre and art, celebrating Ulverston and the birth of Stan Laurel.
Have I been a little biased in my portrayal of the L'al Town With The Big Heart? Quite possibly. But when you live there, as I have for 13+ years now, you get caught up in the revelry and the community spirit, and the pride of living there. It's a great town.

So if you feel like escaping from the hustle and bustle of the Central Lakes for a day, just head west and follow signs for Ulverston. You won't be disappointed. Except if you come on a Wednesday...Almost everything shuts on a Wednesday!

Feedback so far from 2016

We've had some great feedback so far this year, so here’s a bit of tooting from our own trumpet!

I just wanted to send a quick email to a say massive thank you for the Ghyll Scrambling on Saturday morning.  The staff were exceptional and all the lads said they had an amazing time.  Johan and the team were brilliant, especially with Martin and made sure he was safe at all times.
I think the fact that we managed to get a fully blind man up to the top (and up the waterfall) was a testament to how good your staff were.  Please can you pass this email onto to the instructors as well and thank them for a great day!
I will definitely recommend River Deep Mountain High to anyone who is planning activities in the Lake district in the future!
Thanks again,

Your name: Coleg Menai
Stay Date(s): 14- 17 June 2016
No in Group: 16

Very welcoming giving excellent information for local areas.
Bunk house is set up extremely well, really enjoyed our stay.
thank you.

Your name: Mark Barker
Activity Date(s):Friday 3 June
Activity(s): Gorge Walking
No in Group:3

Activity Experience (Pitch, Kit, Content)5 - we had a really great day. Johan was an excellent instructor and helped and encouraged us to ensure that we got the most out of the day. We all had an immense feeling of satisfaction after completing the activity and slept very well that night!!

Hi Emma and Johan,

We just wanted to thank you so much for an absolutely brilliant time yesterday!! The gorge walk was fantastic and we loved it. James and Ellen said it was one of the best days of their lives!

Thanks Johan for being so professional, patient, and kind to the children.

We will definitely recommend you to our friends and family, and we will be back very soon for other activities.

Best wishes
Gillian and Gary

Your name: NICHOLA, David and Jack
Activity Date(s): Tue, Thurs, Fri (30,2,3 June)
Activity(s):Climbing, Amazon and Swallows, full day gorge Esk No in Group: 3

Please give a score out of 5 and comments on the following areas:
Website (Information and Navigation)
5 -very helpful info, easily found and good pics

Booking Process and Information
5- so accommodating when a party member had to cancel at short notice, so raft building turned to incredible gorge walk

Meet and Greet
5- all very professional and friendly

Activity Experience (Pitch, Kit, Content)
5- was told what to bring and also spare kit brought just in case with fantastic hot chocolate!

Overall Value for Money
5- for the time given, patience and instruction it was definitely worth the money

And finally, any other comments
I would highly recommend to anyone looking for adventure and to give themselves a push (sometimes off big rocks)

Your name: Antony
Activity Date(s):30th, 31st May, 2nd June
Activity(s):gorge walking, canoeing, rock climbing No in Group:4

Please give a score out of 5 and comments on the following areas:
Website (Information and Navigation)
4 - decent information - dates of activities a little confusing

Booking Process and Information
5 - all good. Very comprehensive and easy to follow instructions given

Meet and Greet
5 - excellent. All activities with Tom who was on time friendly and informative

Activity Experience (Pitch, Kit, Content) 5 Was happy with all activities and thought that they were pitched correctly for our family group. All kit supplied was good. All in all a very enjoyable experience

Overall Value for Money
3 - I'm tight and cost added up for 3 activities for a family of four. Maybe consider discounts for more than 1 activity? I guess you have priced according to your competitors though.

And finally, any other comments
Special mention for Tom - a really good guy. Excellent manner with both kids and adults alike and definitely enhanced our experience - totally reassured that he knew what he was doing (remind him to email the photo's though!) Will definitely consider using RDMH if come to Lakes again. Thanks

Your name: Kerri
Activity Date(s): 30 may and 2nd June
Activity(s): gorge walking and rock climbing No in Group:4

Please give a score out of 5 and comments on the following areas:
Website (Information and Navigation)
4 - booking form on website did not work. Called instead

Booking Process and Information
4 - detailed information provided. Just what is needed for folks who have never done these activities before

Meet and Greet
5- Tom was on time and friendly.

Activity Experience (Pitch, Kit, Content)
5- All kit was of a good standard and clean. Activities were great; the whole family very much enjoyed both activities

Overall Value for Money
5 - a fair price paid given the kit provided and the expert instruction

And finally, any other comments
5- Tom was very knowledgeable, was great with the kids and was very patient and encouraging. 

Your name: Isabelle
Activity Date(s): 26/05/16
Activity(s): Rock climbing and Kayaking
No in Group: 2

We had a fantastic time rock climbing and kayaking. All the RDMH team were very friendly and helpful. Special thanks to Johan our instructor for such a fantastic day.  

Your name: Stephen
Activity Date(s):23rd and 24th April
Activity(s): Scrambling, climbing, walking abseiling, canoeing and rock jumping
No in Group:10

Such a fantastic stag do, so many great memories. Great fun with top instructors. Would recommend this experience to anyone! 

Your name: Sandy
Activity Date(s):07/04/2016
Activity(s): Archery
No in Group:5

Many Thanks to Johann and Emma... we had an excellent time. The instruction was spot on. Well done Johann for keeping Rhuari ... a 10-yr old boy(!!) interested and "on the case" for the whole session...that is success. He thoroughly enjoyed it.

Your name: Chris
Activity Date(s): 12th March 2016
Activity(s): Raft building and gorge walking No in Group:13

Johan and Steve were brilliant all day. They understood that we were a mixed ability group and really looked after us all. Personally I have a limited ability due to health reasons. Throughout the day and especially gorge walking they both made sure I could go at my own pace and that I was able to carry on. At no point did I feel that I was a burden to them. Being able to complete the walk with my group was a brilliant feeling and I would recommend the team 100%

Your name: Terry
Activity Date(s): 31 March 2016
Activity(s): Rock Climbing @ White Stones No in Group: 3

Please give a score out of 5 and comments on the following areas:
Website (Information and Navigation) 4

Booking Process and Information; 5 Very friendly response to telephone call after a delayed activity due to our family not living nearby.

Meet and Greet:5 Johan was known to our grandchildren so his welcome was warm and helped the children feel confident.

Activity Experience (Pitch, Kit, Content): 5 The afternoon session was an ideal introduction to 'proper' climbing and the family thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

Overall Value for Money: 5 The weather was ideal for the session but this just added extra value to the occasion.
And finally, any other comments:  We would have no hesitation in using River Deep again and would happily recommend them to any of our friends and contacts.