3 Inspirational Northern Women – 1 Very Cool Festival.

3 Inspirational Northern Women – 1 Very Cool Festival.
February 20, 2022

Eden Escape Festival. 27/28/29 May 2022. Mains Farm, Kirkoswald, Penrith, Cumbria.

Something very special is headed for the captivating landscape of Cumbria this May. On the banks of the river Eden, in countryside nestled perfectly between Lakeland fells and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the second ‘Eden Escape Festival’ will touch down on the weekend of 27, 28 and 29 May.

Three quite amazing young women – each with remarkable stories – are the brains (and brawn) behind what promises to be one of 2022’s ‘must do’ family-friendly festivals. They’re suggesting we ‘Get away from it all and spend time getting outdoors, getting active, enjoying great food and time together – for a weekend full of Adventure’. Could there be a better way to spend a late-May weekend? I don’t think so.

Wiz Lees is a fitness instructor and personal trainer who was once a billboard poster model for the ‘This Girl Can’ movement. With her friends, yoga teacher Leigh-Ann Newburn, and swimming enthusiast Ali Phillips, She thinks it’s abundantly clear why it’s so important to get outside and be more adventurous. In our first catch-up with the trio, as we observe them create a magical festival in the heart of the North, Wizz explains why.

“Adventure: we all need it in our lives. And more than ever at the moment, when our horizons have been narrowed and we have all been too enclosed by pandemic regulations and restrictions.

But adventure doesn’t have to be the once-in-a-lifetime experience that costs a fortune, involves spending air miles as well as money, and is over and forgotten too soon. Adventure means making changes on a small scale, so that life can be lived adventurously. We need to push our boundaries to make our own worlds look bigger again, and in doing that we can have experiences that will genuinely change the way that we live.

I recognised that when I went from being a totally-inactive size 22, to a billboard poster girl for the This Girl Can movement, and now I bring my own life experience to my work as a fitness instructor and personal trainer. We all know the benefits that come with exercise, especially when it comes to mental health. In today’s work-obsessed world, more people are finding it difficult to manage stress – and live in constant worry about something or the other.

This was at the heart of our decision to set up the first Eden Escape Festival, which was held on the banks of the river at Mains Farm, Kirkoswald, in the summer of 2019. Now that people can have holidays and make plans again, we are reviving it. We want to show that in the relaxed atmosphere of a weekend under canvas in a beautiful setting, you can explore your own adventurous nature, try new things, and realise that health and fitness can be made a permanent part of your life.

My journey and real passion for fitness began when I realised it wasn’t just great for my body but my mind too. I’m now a qualified personal trainer and fitness instructor, and I will be there with other enthusiasts at the festival helping people to see what’s possible.

There will be yoga sessions, running for beginners or the more experienced, a chance to try supervised open water swimming in the river, all in a relaxed and beautiful environment. People have lost their spark; everyone’s been so anxious. We want to show that you can have an adventure without doing something extreme, like going off to climb Kilimanjaro. We want to give you a taster of some of the awesome things that are available to you, right on your doorstep.

Ours offers everything you might expect of a summer festival: a beautifully located campsite, camping pods and bunk barns as well as pitches for visitors’ own tents, great locally-sourced food, music, and a marketplace. So along with the emphasis on fitness and fun, we are showing the very best of the staycation experience, and we’re supporting the local economy too.

It’s a genuinely family-friendly event, and offers the chance for parents and children to do activities together, or separately, in a safe environment. In some families there may be one parent who is massively keen on a particular activity, and has to leave the others behind in search of their thrills. Here there’s a chance for the less adventurous partners to be part of the adventure, to do some things together, or just sit back and chill and enjoy the music and the films.

It’s an example of sustainable tourism, encouraging families to experience a simpler way of life for a short time, using food sourced locally and – a significant issue in the Lake District – enticing people away from the over-crowded honey-pot tourists villages of Bowness and Ambleside to the quieter but equally beautiful Eden Valley.

Making an adventure can be something you can do without having to travel far. This is beautiful countryside, with the chance to have mini-adventures, learn something new – or just chill out for the whole weekend.

We think we’ve found the perfect spot for a weekend escape at Mains Farm. It’s a family-run, quiet touring park, on the banks of the Eden river, well away from main roads, yet within easy reach of the Lake District, Hadrian’s Wall and the Scottish Borders. As well as camping pitches for the festival, there are camping pods and tipis available for those who book early, and a bunkhouse based in a converted barn.  There’s plenty of toilets and showers, and family bathrooms which can be booked privately. And for those who don’t want to escape entirely from “civilisation”, the site is within easy walking distance of the pretty village of Kirkoswald which has a shop, post office and two pubs.

The festival will stage music events, and films from Kendal Mountain Festival, in the big barn. There’ll be a market area in the former milking parlour where locally-made crafts, clothes, toiletries, candles and much more will be on sale. There’ll be plenty of good food available, with lots of vegetarian and vegan choices, but also chicken and chips and pizza! We know what families want when they go away for a weekend, and we know we have to cater for everyone.”

Info and booking: https://www.edenescapefest.co.uk/