Askham Hall Christmas Market? Brilliant! Here’s a taste. Eggsquisite decorative items from caskets to Christmas tree ornaments by Christine Kendall Crafts of The North – all crafted from egg shells, the goose eggs from her own flock at The Spruced Up Goose
By Charles Paxton
All photos by C.Paxton of www.the webcat.biz apologies to those many that I didn’t photograph. Click on the images if you wish to view them larger.
Preparing for Christmas may be on your minds at the moment and Christmas Markets are ideal for getting something local and distinctive! One such is Askham Hall’s Christmas Market, held in the grounds and converted barn at the C13th Hall last Sunday. Askham Hall opened to the public last year offering 13 guest rooms, restaurant and party barn it’s a high class events venue, see Askham Hall’s website for more info. This sort of event is so good you just want it to live on!
This year there was a wider range of high quality local produce available than last, according to organiser Marie-Louisa Raeburn and there was a bigger turnout too, for the 32 local stall holders who were selling Christmas crafts and food and classic antiques. The Café sustained the merry throng with hot food and drinks. It was a cornucopia of produce from local businesses large and small.
From the number of cars it’s estimated that visitors numbered between 1,200 and 1,500. They came in a steady stream rather than a crush and were fortified by drinks and tasty snacks from the Café.
Marie-Louisa Reaburn, organiser said “We are delighted that our second Christmas Market, both outside and in our newly converted barn was such a success. A fantastic range of craft and food stalls, Santa’s grotto, hot food and mulled wine and an excellent turnout made it a fantastic day all round.”
First, let me tell you about the crafts; they ranged from the traditional to the highly contemporary, many highly distinctive: Christmas Wreaths with both aromatic and visual appeal, fragrances, haberdashery, gorgeous decorative eggs that bring Carl Faberge to mind from Christine Kendall Crafts of The North, available as caskets, standalone decorative ornaments and to hang on the Christmas tree.
Candles are essential for Christmas, and the lovely ornamental ones from Sarah McCraig Designs would grace any home. Delightful pressed flower and leaf ornamented wooden boxes by Anne Riddick somehow preserved the natural colours with great vividness. There were also reasonably priced and high quality local art photographs from Rod and Pauline Ireland The Out There People in a variety of sizes to suit your space, and postcard books of Cumbrian prehistoric sites and a Prehistoric Sites Trump card game by Charles and Kimberly Paxton of thewebcat.biz.
There were fine local ceramics from Little Bird Studio, Stuart Broadhurst Ceramics and Gwen Bainbridge Pottery and exquisite jewellery from Fire Frost, Scrappo Worko and Pendragon Crafts. All glittering under the lights and wooden beams of the barn.
More images of the crafts follow.
There was a broad range of good local food and drinks too. The drinks included organic pure pressed Cumbrian Apple Juice from Al and Jane Woodstrover of Beech Tree Farm, Reagill, also Jason Hill’s popular beers from the Eden Brewery at Brougham Hall, and for harder stuff, Bedrock Gin and Standing Stones Vodka from Vince Wilkins’ Spirit of the Lakes. Bet you didn’t know that Cumbria has its own gin and vodka distillery! As always drink responsibly.
High quality foods included tasty chocolates and Fudge, Northern Fells’ reared venison and beef from Deer ‘n Dexter, Free range poultry from Knipey’s Heartwood Poultry (you’ve got to love his hat!), choice baked goods from Country Fare and Nana Day, Bessy Beck’s awesome Smoked Trout and the formidably delicious Winter Tarn Cheese. Even the offering for breakfasts was top-notch with Rachael’s Kitchen Granola and Dalemain Marmalade.
Good condiments are absolutely essential for festive feeding and with Elliot’s Chutneys and Mr.Vikki’s extremely yummy spicy piccalillis at your elbow, those turkey left-overs will be a delight rather than a chore!
After the festive feeding and partying it only remains to make a date in your new diaries for next year’s Askham Christmas Market, it will be Sunday December 7th 2014!
NB. Charles Paxton received no remuneration for writing this article, but he did gain from selling his goods at the market and accrued experience with his new camera.