Lake District Figaro Rally 2013

Our base for the weekend of the 7th/8th of September 2013 was the Hydro Hotel which had stunning views over Windermere Lake. Friday evening the car park was bristling with Figs as members turned up excited and ready for the big push! Saturday morning offered up an overcast sky but at least it was dry. The briefing meeting was followed by the group and individual pictures.

Saturday Route – 107 Miles
We pushed off just after ten with a convoy of 28 cars in tow. Making our way down the hill of Windermere you could already sense something special was afoot as people stopped and started pointing and waving! Making our way towards Ambleside (where I took the wrong turning) we then attempted Kirkstone Pass (The Struggle). This legendary road is a magnet for rally clubs and car enthusiasts and our little cars did wonderfully well. At the top it was time for a coffee at the Kirkstone Pass Inn. At 1500ft the Kirkstone Inn is the highest inhabited building in Cumbria and the third highest Inn in England. Fresh and ready we then re-grouped and started the pretty route down the side of Brotherswater Lake on the A592. We arrived at Ullswater which the second largest lake in the Lake District after (Lake Windermere) around 20 minutes later. Our next stop at the Rheged Centre where we met Gwenda Mathews in her Figaro. Refreshed we entered the A66 (which will be the largest road we intend to go on) and head towards Keswick and proceed north on the A591 towards Bassenthwaite Lake. The lake is owned by the National Park Authority, is one of the largest at 4 miles long and 3/4 mile wide, but also one of the shallowest (70 ft). It is the most northerly of the lakes, and has no major settlements on its shores. It’s is often full of sailing boats from Bassenthwaite Sailing Club. From the A66 we now picked up the B5929 towards Thornthwaite Forest which sits 1,043 feet above sea level with views over Bassenthwaite Lake. Lunch at Whinlatter Forest Park was excellent and well worth the wait. It is home to the Lake District Osprey Project which runs from April to September as well as a range of other wonderful wildlife such as red squirrels, woodland birds and deer. After rounding everyone up we then proceeded towards Buttermere the lake by the dairy pastures! The weather now took a turn for the worse as clouds became dark and heavy rain was followed by bright sunshine. After some fantastic roads which wound around lakes and forest we started tom climb towards Honister Pass, rising to 1167 feet in height at the summit, it is one of Cumbria’s highest passes, with a gradient of 1 in 4. Flowing through the pass from the summit where we parked for another photo-shoot. From the heights of Honister Pass we made are way along the B5829 down to Derwent Water and onto Thirlmere Reservoir which is Reservoir and plays a vital role in supplying about 11 per cent of the North West’s water supply – about one glass of water in every nine comes from there! Making our way back to the hotel we took a route through Grasmere (home of the famous poet William Wordsworth). Back to Ambleside and onto our hotel our first day was over and as everyone came back we counted all the cars back in with no one missing in action!

Sunday Route – 88 Miles
Sunday morning the car park was busy as everyone wanted to take advantage of the sunshine so it was decided to go ‘topless’ today! We left to make are way towards the coast and Grange-over-sands the cars snaking their way along Lake Windermere on the A592. This pretty resort with an Edwardian flavour and a mild climate. It is on the shores of Morecambe Bay, and from the 13th Century until the 1850′s, the major route from Lancaster was across the sands. Waving our way through each village until we found the entrance to Holker Hall & Gardens. We had arranged a photo-shot at this stunning house and gardens and were pleased to see the sign Figaro Parking Only! Holker Hall is the home of Lord and Lady Cavendish and is set in exceptionally beautiful countryside with gardens that merge into Parkland framed by the Lakeland Hills. From there we made our way towards the Motor Museum but unfortunately due to traffic lights the convoy got split up. Some made it to the Museum and the other group took a detour through the pine forest and woodland and ended up at the Grizedale Forest for a much needed but to eat. Thankfully after a while the other group found our cars parked in the car park and we were reunited. From Grizedale Forest we make our way towards Hawkshead with its beautiful old buildings, churches, and rich history. Esthwaite Water came into sight which is the largest stocked trout water in Cumbria. Again the group got split up which shows the difficulty of trying to drive in convoy. Making our way to Far Sawrey to catch the ferry there was yet more confusion as we tried to meet up at the same time with the other group so we could hopefully get a ‘Ferry full of Figs’ however we never made it, and heard they had to get on the ferry and could not wait for us but at least the ferry had a good number, just not 100%. We caught our ferry and then made our way to the hotel to conclude a wonderful weekend.

65 Participants and one dog!
Linda & Steve, Mandy & Liz, Frances & Jeremy, Ken & Sandra, Chelsea & Andy, Anthony & Judy (and Oscar), Anne & Dean, Jeanette & John, Angela & Phil, Beverley & Les, Brigitte & Rene, Bob & Lynn, Lindsey & Rachel, Carolyn (Caz), Tina & Kevin, Elma & David, Belinda & Lennett, Susan & Tony, Kevin & Sue, Patricia & Andy, Madeline & Den, Linda & Steve, Chris & Rick, Anne & Heather, Karen & Dave, Jacqueline & Steve, Gwenda, Lauren & Chris, Anthony & Garmelina, Mary & John, Jo & Chris, Alex & Chris and Laura & Tom