Friday 1 August 2014

#CountryKids at Ambleside Sports

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

For the first time since moving up here 4 years ago we made it to Ambleside Sports. The event has been running since 1887 and since 1947 have been held on the last Thursday of July in the same field (except during the Foot and Mouth outbreak):

Ambleside Sports

We arrived not long after the gates opened at 10 to avoid queuing for the car park. Then we had 1.5 hours of wandering around the stalls etc before the Cumbria Thunderdrummers entertained us with Taiko drumming before the official opening ceremony:

Ambleside Sports Thunderdrummers

The first sports event was the Rydal Round which is a 9 mile race up the fells and takes a minimum of 1 hour 17 minutes. There was a full complement of 125 runners setting off:

Ambleside Sports Rydal round start

After a long pause the announcer told us that the runners were nearing the top of the fell (see first photo for how high this was!):

Ambleside Sports Rydal round approaching fell top

Meanwhile in the arena various track and cycling events were under the eagle eye of the official starter:

Ambleside Sports official starter

We spent most of the day at the end of the arena where the Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling was taking place. My children both signed up for the classes they were eligible for. Before the wrestling started the traditional costumes were judged:

Ambleside Sports traditional Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling costumes

There was so much going on at once it was hard to know where to look. This was the start of the Under 12s guide race:

Ambleside Sports under 12s guides race

Their route was a lot less steep than the Rydal round:

Ambleside Sports

There was a bit of a mix up in the under 12s wrestling and my daughter ended up in the ring against the wrong opponent. Unfortunately for her this meant she went out in round 1 as he was more experienced:

Ambleside Sports wrestling

My son made his debut and was called against the tallest and oldest competitor in the under 12s. Basically all she had to do was straighten up and he was off the ground and an easy fall:

Ambleside Sports wrestling

A few elderly spectators were muttering about how unfair draws like his was but its the only way to make it fair really. Its such a range of ages, sizes and abilities there is no other way of doing it.

We were very close to the main slip area for the hounds. A drag trail was created and off they went all keen to track down their quarry:

Ambleside Sports hound trail

There were plenty of cycling events around the track Apparently the bikes have no brakes or gears they just pedal furiously and hurtle around the grass:

Ambleside Sports cycling

For the primary aged children there was a separate track where they had running and sack races. My daughter managed to squeeze in one sprint:

Ambleside Sports girls' sprint

Back in the ring she was in the girls' under 14 wrestling competition. This time she was lucky in the draw and got the second youngest contestant in round 1:

Ambleside Sports wresting

This meant she made it to the second round where she put up good resistance to the slightly older and more experienced opponent. She managed for quite some time to not get grounded despite being in positions like this one:

Ambleside Sports wrestling

As there had only been 6 entrants into the competition she was delighted to be awarded 3rd place and win £10:

Meanwhile the longer track races were hotly contested in front of our position:

Ambleside Sports track race

My son hadn't been put off by his debut and eagerly went into the under 8 stone boys competition. His opponent this time was only a little bit older but had the experience to raise him off the ground:

Ambleside Sports wrestling

Both children now looking forward to their next chance of wrestling at the Lakeland Sheepdog Trials in Ings next week!

There were 5 hours of sports altogether so there was always something happening. The handicap system meant that all sorts of ages and genders were in the same event but the starting position was adjusted:

Ambleside Sports track race

For the children there were other activities going on around the site. Some of these cost a bit extra such as this football shootout:

Ambleside Sports

Other things were free including circus skills:

Ambleside Sports

The last big event was the senior fell race and there were some impressive sprint finishes into the arena:

We will save the last Thursday in July next year for another fabulous day of sports and fun.


  1. What a wonderful day. Love the setting and great that your children participated.

  2. So wonderful and well done to your kids! #countrykids

  3. We love PYO. Ours has just closed for the season. Missed out on the raspberries, but we did get more than our fair share of strawberries. :) #CountryKids

  4. Coombe Mill (Fiona)2 August 2014 at 11:09

    Such a great activity to do with the children! The raspberries and redcurrants look delicious - I hope you enjoyed your crumble. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

  5. Coombe Mill (Fiona)2 August 2014 at 13:39

    What a fantastic day and tradition that's stood the test of time! Well done to your children for being so sporting and taking part in the wrestling and having come 3rd too - great. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

  6. This sounds and looks like such a fantastic day out, and what great fun experiences for the kids too. Well done to them for doing so well, especially your daughter coming in 3rd, you must be dead proud! :) X

  7. I was only saying last night that we should go to a PYO farm near hubby's work at lunchtime this year as we had a great time last year. Some great pictures. #Countrykids

  8. Sounds like an amazing day out and tradition. Really inspiring the youngest to get fit (I imagine that hill is very hard to run up!) and to be rewarded with money must be fantastic. #countykids

  9. its great they are encouraged from an early age!

  10. I prefer roads wouldn't catch me going up the fell!

  11. we will lose this one next year due to housing estate being built on edge of it..

  12. Such wonderful photographs and a lovely time shared. Reminds me of the blueberry picking days we enjoyed in NZ's late summer.


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