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.
STUDENTS from around the globe are making Ambleside their home after enrolling on the University of Cumbria’s first ever international course.
Outdoor enthusiasts from countries including China, Australia and Germany are among the 17 students spending the Autumn term in the Lake District as part of their masters in Transcultural European Outdoor Studies.
The qualification is the first of its kind and is being run by the university, Germany’s University of Marburg and Norway’s School of Sport Sciences.
Course leader Dr. Christopher Loynes said: “Within this time frame, our ambition is to make the course a coveted choice for people interested in pursuing a career in the outdoor field. We also aim to develop tight links with non-European universities and make the course truly global. Eventually, we plan to make the course financially self-sustaining through the charging of student fees.”
The course will be funded by the European Commission for the next five years and once students have left Ambleside in the New Year they will spend their next two terms at the other institutions.
While some of the students area already experienced in outdoor studies, for many this is a new area of knowledge and expertise.
Katerina Pata from Greece, who previously studied to be a pre-school teacher, said:“I couldn’t find a relevant masters course in Greece and applied for courses elsewhere in Europe. I liked this course because I get a chance to go to three different countries and learn various approaches to the subject. My goal is to make the concept of outdoor learning more prominent in my country and create my own outdoor kindergarten.”
However, others come to the course with a lot of experience like Wilson Wai Yin Cheung who is a former president of the mountaineering association of Hong Kong.
The students, who come from 15 countries, will be living in university accommodation in Ambleside and learning the theoretical knowledge and practical qualifications necessary to be successful outdoor industry professionals.
During their first semester they will undertake two week-long hiking expeditions, one in the Scottish Highlands and one in the Lake District and a week-long canoeing trip.