26 April 2013

What's going on at Wray?

It's been a whole month since Wray Castle opened and a lot of things have happened since then. It might be easier for me to list what hasn't being going on, rather than what has being going on, as the latter is quite a long list! However, I realise that such a list of non-events would not make a very interesting blog so here are a few highlights from the past month.

After the Arctic start to the season, Easter, by comparison, was positively tropical. The sun shone and there was no rain for days, which meant that our planned outside Easter Egg Hunt could go ahead as well as the back up indoor hunt too. We got through several hundred chocolate eggs and only a couple got eaten by staff at the end of the holidays! 

A young visitor with some excellent examples of Easter Crafts.

We welcomed lots and lots of families, many of whom were returning for a second, third or fourth visit. Our Easter Crafts were a great success, as illustrated above by the fantastic Easter Bonnet and pom-pom chic proudly on display.

For smaller children our new foam blocks are proving to be very popular; some visitors definitely showed a preference for demolition rather than building though!

Demolition by head but!
 The recent dry and sunny weather has been great news for walkers and cyclist too, many of whom now make Wray Castle Cafe a stop off point for tea, coffee and most importantly, cake! Last week we welcomed our first ever (I think?) visitors to arrive by horse. The re-surfaced Western Shore Bridleway is not only great for cycling on but is now much easier for horses to use too.

Icelandic Horses Blakkur and Gigja outside Wray Castle.
 These beautiful creatures are Icelandic Horses, a small but strong breed of horse and were ridden to the Castle by Nadine and Phil Butler. It would be lovely to see more horses and riders at Wray Castle; we can provide carrots and polo mints if required!!

Inside the castle work has continued on two different artistic projects. In the dressing up space upstairs, two mural scenes are taking shape; complete with a fire breathing dragon, handsome prince, splendid princess and a unicorn!

One of the murals in the dressing up room.
 The other painting project is being created downstairs in the library. Work started last week on our tromphe l'oeil bookshelves which will help recreate the spirit of the room as well as continuing our activity of allowing visitors to add their favourite book titles to the walls. Work on the tromphe l'oeil is being done in full public view so please come along and ask our artists about their work.

The bookshelves taking shape in the library.

And finally; after all the hard work over Easter, last night we had a well deserved get together for all South Lakes staff and volunteers. The event was held at Claife Station, an eighteenth century viewing station that sits just above Ferry House on the Western Shore of Windermere. The viewing station, unsurprisingly has amazing views across the lake, which originally would have been viewed through different coloured glass in the tall windows situated on the first floor of the station.

Staff and volunteers enjoying the view.
 A project is about to kick off to look into ways of repairing the ruin and making it more accessible for visitors, for more information about the site please see our website. Last night was a great opportunity for our teams to learn more about the site and start thinking about what we could do there. Gazing at the view is most definitely top of the list!

The view looking south from Claife Station.
 The weather may be slightly unpredictable at the moment, but the views from both Wray Castle and Claife Station are certainly worth braving the rain for!