The Lake District isn't all lakeside rambles, tea shops and poetry. The place teems with original activity just right for boys of all ages. Okay, okay, okay, I know we've all moved on from that 'blue for boys and pink for girls' stuff, but wouldn't you like to curse the cute, disdain the dandy, and engage your inner he-man? Here, Sally reviews the best boys' activities near our Lake District cottages.
1. Keswick Brewery Tour Keswick's old brewery offers tours on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You can see modern and traditional beer-making techniques at work and sample a selection of their excellent ales, including Thirst Run, Thirst Fall and Thirst Rescue (which makes a donation to the local Mountain Rescue team). You can also buy a few bottles to enjoy at your Lake District cottage.
2. Raw War Paintball Perfect for gangs of boys with lots of energy! Your team can besiege the tower and capture the fort at this purpose-built, 120 acre park, with semi-automatic paintball 'guns'. The terrain includes rivers, bridges, towers, forts, villages and old mineworks, with multiple battle scenarios.
3. The Cumbrian Steam Gathering, Cark Airfield, Flookburgh This great show has 1200 different historic vehicles, including steam engines, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, tractors and stationary engines. Learn to drive a traction engine, and kids can take a tractor driving course.There's also a traditional fair and lots of interesting stalls. The highlight of the show is the lawnmower racing, which is, and I quote, 'motor sports at grass roots level'!
4. Bushcraft & Survival Skills at Brockhole near Windermere. Make like Mears with this one-day, family-friendly course for people aged eight and over. Learn basic survival skills, including lighting a fire in the wild, making your own shelter and using ropes.
5. Cockermouth Rock Festival - Do you remember Sham 69? Well, 'CockRock' is the place to be. The streetpunk/classic rock band are the headliners at Cockermouth's answer to Glastonbury. Many other acts include Dodgy, Kid British, The King Blues and a host of local bands, and Jim Rock's daily keep fit sessions will keep you rocking. Tickets sell out quickly. In aid of Cockermouth Mountain Rescue and the air ambulance. If camping isn't for you then find Lake District cottages in Cockermouth or a Lake District cottages in Loweswater to come and join the fun with in a bit of luxury
6. Rough terrain driving at Rookin House Lake District Activity Centre, Troutbeck, near Ullswater Kids and adults can drive quad bikes at Rookin House's 250 acre site. Too tame? Then try out MadTrax circuit racing, the Stalwart amphibious army truck, or the Argo Cat 8-wheeled, skid-steer, all-terrain vehicle. Or you could live out your Bob the Builder fantasies learning to operate a genuine JCB digger! All of this is in the shaddow of some of the most stunning views of the Lake District fells.
7. Cumbrian Classic Car Show, Dalemain, near Ullswater, The Lake District. One of our large local classic car clubs is hosting this giant event at a stately home's country park. See hundred of classic and modified modern cars, owners in period dress, club stands, autojumble, motorsport displays and rides for children. This year's theme is all things Italian, so look out for Ferraris. The host site, Dalemain, is a country house in The Lake District which is open to the public.
8. Via Ferrata Xtreme! Brand new in 2012, this addition to the existing Via Ferrata, now the bravest of you can experience the knife edge thrills of the vertical climbs, ladders on cliff edges and rungs on rock faces. rope brodges known as Burmas bridges are suspended 2,000 feet above the valley floor - dare you manfully stride across to the other side? A brand new 66ft vertical net climbs to the summit of Fleetwith Pike!
Local beer, crazy days out riding, rock bands and paintballing? Watch out, boys; I think the girls'll be muscling in on the action!
Find Lake District cottages and get involved....