The Inn Collection Group joined with the people of Ambleside to celebrate traditional Lakeland sports last Thursday, as the annual Ambleside Sports took place on the outskirts of the town.
Held on the last Thursday in July, the sports are a tradition that date back to the late-19th century and uphold traditions that date back even further, as Rydal Park is given over to a packed schedule of events.
Disciplines including grass track cycling, fells and guides races and hound trails are all contested throughout the day, with one of the main challenges being the Rydal round, a gruelling nine-mile test of endurance and stamina that sees competitors head up into the Fairfield Horseshoe.
An equally important feature of the Sports is the uniquely Lakeland spectacle of Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling, which sees competitions across various weigh categories, including in 2023 the World Championship contest in the 13st weight class for men.
Taking place over three “falls” matches see the competitors attempt to unbalance their opponent or make them lose their hold using methods such as lifting throws known as “hipes”, twisting throws such as “buttocks” and trip.
It is a sport that has a unique look with a traditional costume part of the rule set, which has changed little since the sport was originally established.
With four sites in the town, The Ambleside Inn, The Temperance Inn, The Wateredge Inn and soon to reopen, The Waterhead Inn, The Inn Collection Group have been keen supporters of the Sports in recent years and continued that support in 2023.
Joining more than 50 local businesses in getting behind the celebration of local traditions, sponsorship was provided to the 400m and 800m handicap races, whilst a host of prizes were donated to be given away as part of the on the day raffle.
Giving out more than £6,000 in prize money over the day and grants and bursaries to young athletes over the course of a year, the prizes given allow the Sports to raise vital funds that keep the traditional games alive and thriving.
President Jak Hirst said: “This is a major community event and everyone associated with the sports is a volunteer. As well as building all the track, erecting seating, fencing and marquees, on the day extra help is needed manning the gates, car parking duties, selling raffle tickets and many other tasks.
“Local businesses provide massive support by sponsoring the events and donating amazing raffle prizes. Of course, the local community, as well as visitors to the area, provide their support by coming and having a great day out.
“After all the hard work it was a delight to hear so many comments like ‘what a fabulous day out we have had’.”
The 2024 edition of Ambleside Sports will take place on Thursday, July 25