A GRAND TRADITION: The first Saturday in July marks the traditional Ambleside Rushbearing Procession, a pageant dating back to the 19th century when the old rushes, used to keep the floor of the church warm during the cold winter months, were discarded and new ones brought in. This year’s procession was hit by a heavy shower soon after leaving the school on Vicarage Road, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of those participating or the hundreds of spectators that lined the route: Vicarage Road, Compston Road, Bridge Street, Smithy Brow, North Road, Market Cross, Market Place, Church Street, Rothay Road and back to St Mary’s Church.
The Burneside Brass Band provided the music on the route, including for the Rushbearing Hymn sung at Market Place, , and back at the church the bearings were displayed and a short service followed. After this, all the children who walked in the procession were given a slice of gingerbread and refreshments.
The afternoon was rounded off with sports on the school field, plus a fell race up and down Todd Crag on nearby Loughrigg Fell. Twenty-one children took part in the race and the winner clocked in at just over 14 minutes.
THE BEARINGS: These are made using field rushes found in any damp place – of which there are many around the town! Moss and flowers are added to the bearings to make them more substantial, a number in the shape of harps and crosses.
Some of the bearings in St Mary’s Church before the start of the procession
A colourful line-up outside the church
Moving the bearings was heavy work!
Rushbearing organiser Judith Shingler plucks on the harp that led the procession
Burneside Brass Band limbers up before the procession
Music for the Ambleside Rushbearing Hymn
Get those fingers moving!
. . . and these!
St Mary’s Church spire reflected on brass
Flower power: Ambleside residents Jason Allonby and Andrew Peake
Ambleside resident Ron Charles: “I bought the hat, my wife decorated it”
Getting ready for the start
Not long now. . .
Nearly ready . . .
A quick photoshoot at the head of the procession. Luke Todd carried the harp
Police community support officer Laura Jackson
Off we go! MC (with the megaphone) was Barry Porter
Along Vicarage Road
Spectators waiting at the junction with Compston Road
The rain gets heavier as the procession moves up Compston Road
The Bridge House offers a great viewpoint as the procession moves along Bridge Street
Rain on the parade
Past the Bridge House
By now it was lashing it down
Heading back into the centre of town down North Road
Here comes the band
Watch where you are going!
Bold colours brighten up a dull day
Now that’s a good viewpoint!
A short pause near the post office while traffic is stopped
Moving past the Salutation
Turning into Market Place, and the rain gets even heavier
Fantastic scene as the procession moves down the hill
The music plays
And the hymn is sung
The scene on Market Place
Back on the march, about to turn into Church Street (rain on the lens!), then past the Royal Oak pub on the corner . . .
A pause at the foot of Church Street
The procession moving down Church Street
Turning into Rothay Road, past White Platts recreation ground
Approaching St Mary’s Church
The head of the procession moves into the churchyard
The last of the procession heads to the church