A LAKE District boat is to join a thousand-strong fleet sailing in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee procession on the Thames this summer.
One of Windermere’s well-worn wooden tourist vessels has been selected by Royal organisers to take part in the event – the largest flotilla in modern times.
More than two million people are expected to watch from the embankments of the Thames as the seven-mile procession steers through London waters.
Cumbria’s own aptly-named participant, The Queen of the Lake, owned by Windermere Lake Cruises, is currently being repainted and refurbished for the spectacular, on Sunday, June 3.
The flotilla will be led by Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the Royal family aboard a barge called The Spirit of Chartwell.
It will sail under 14 bridges, alongside groups of narrow boats, historic vessels including World War Two ships from the Dunkirk beaches and replica Tudor ships.
Managing director of Windermere Lake Cruises Nigel Wilkinson said: “We are delighted Cumbria will be represented at such a high-profile, patriotic event which will inevitably strike a cord with the whole country as we celebrate her Majesty the Queen and her 60-year reign together.
“We hope to be able to involve the wider Cumbria community in this project and to give some younger Cumbrians a day out that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Boat building manager Alex Williamson and operations manager Russell Bowden will lead the team south for the patriotic event.
Windermere skipper Ron Walker will captain the boat on the day itself.
The 15-metre tourist boat, built in 1949, will be hoisted out of the water at Ambleside and driven almost 300 miles by lorry before it is launched on the Thames.
It is a reversal of the ship’s initial northern voyage, 60 years ago, when she was transported to Windermere from the Thames-side town of Molsey, where she was built.
It is not the first time the Queen of the Lake has been given a Royal mark of approval. In March 2010 it carried the Prince of Wales when he visited the Lake District.
ORGANISERS of the Lake District's 11th annual air extravaganza, taking place on July 23 and 24, have revealed their display line-up.
The Windermere Air Festival kicks off on the Saturday with the breathtaking acrobatics of the Breitling Wing Walkers, performing a sequence of manoeuvres and handstands whilst strapped to the top wings of the team's Boeing Stearman biplanes.
First day visitors will also be treated to the RedHawks' air show act with a slow, gentle and graceful four-minute, three-dimensional aerial ballet performed to soothing music by a pair of 42 year-old, wooden, high-efficiency aeroplanes, designed by French musician, artist, ceramicist and sculptor Réné Fournier.
Another Saturday highlight will be the RAF Falcons parachute display team, now in their 50th year.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will grace the skies above Windermere on both days with special flights from the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster Bomber.
The RV8tors will be flying their remarkably fast Vans RV-8's with powerful smoke systems, performing an exciting and memorable display.
Combining close formation aerobatics with speeds up to 230 mph, the display makes large manoeuvres that fill the sky and leave big smoke trails.
Also appearing at the festival will be the RAF Tucano and the RAF Hawk.
Both spectacular in their own right the Hawk display team will demonstrate the professional excellence of the RAF while the Tucano display consists of 21 manoeuvres including an offset barrel roll, stall turn, oblique loop and reverse wingover.
On Sunday, the Twister Duo will create a display of formation barrel loops, rolls and gravity defying zoom climbs.
The highlight of the weekend is set to be the renowned ambassadors of the RAF and everyone’s favourite – The Red Arrows.
Having missed last year's Lakeland air show, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, have been confirmed to headline 2011's festival.
Appearing at the air festival is a welcome return for Squadron Leader Graeme Bagnall.
Graeme, who is Red 10, is the team’s commentator and on the ground safety supervisor.
He was educated at nearby St Bee’s School, in Cumbria.
Mr Bagnall said: “We are really looking forward to displaying at Windermere.
"It’s a stunning location and will definitely be a highlight of the display season for me.
"I can’t wait to meet the crowd when I’m on the ground at the show doing the commentary for the Team.
"You get a real buzz from seeing how the audience reacts to the displays.”
The RAF Red Arrows have been wowing audiences since their first season in 1965, they have flown over 4,000 displays in 52 countries.
Today the Red Arrows are renowned throughout the world,acting as ambassadors for Great Britain when displaying overseas.
They also support UK industry by demonstrating the capabilities of British equipment and expertise.
Lucy Bennett, a director of the air festival, said: "It’s such a coup for us to host the Red Arrows this year.
"They put on such a fantastic display and really add some excitement to the programme.
"The highly acclaimed displays are filled full of twists, turns, drama and excitement - they are definitely not one to be missed."
Attractions on the ground at the Air Base include the military village, battle re-enactments and flying simulator, new kids have-a-go activities plus face painting, circus skills, music and great local food stalls.
The Windermere Air Festival 2011 takes place on Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24. The Air Base is located on the Glebe in Bowness-on-Windermere. For further information, click on the website below.