Ambleside Traditional Lakeland Sports
The origins of organised sports in Ambleside have variously been traced back to the granting of the market charter and the annual fair. As far back as the 17th and 18th centuries sporting events were held in Low Wood Bay where events included regattas with rowing races as well as cock-fighting and bare fist boxing (both of which would be unacceptable today). There are many early reports relating to wrestling contests, but whether they were linked to larger organised events along with other sports is not clear. The most significant of these was in 1809 when Professor John Wilson (aka Christopher North of Elleray) offered the then huge sum of five guineas and a silver belt to the winner of the Ambleside contest.
The Golden Jubilee year of Queen Victoria’s reign, was the initiative for an organised Sports in Ambleside in 1886. It was so well received that one enthusiastic report stated: “It is a long time since any of this class of sports were held at Ambleside, but having broken the ice, as it were, it is the intention, so I hear, of those gentlemen who took the initiative in the above, to try to make them annual.”
So the era of the annual organised sports had begun