Saturday, 28 November 2015

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Cumbrians have fun in sun with temperatures set to soar again

The summer sunshine is set to sizzle on until at least the weekend with forecasters predicting temperatures in Cumbria could reach 26C today..

As the Met Office forecasts that the mercury will continue to rise, Bitts Park in Carlisle has become a Mecca for families seeking a low-cost option for keeping children entertained at the start of the six-week school holidays.

Meanwhile, production at one of the county’s best-loved ice cream parlours is up 50 per cent as the heatwave continues.

Emma Hogarth, of Valley Drive in Carlisle, was among those flocking to the city’s Bitts Park with family and friends yesterday.

Groups planted picnic blankets on the grass and children were wearing swimming costumes to make the most of the park’s popular water jets.

Emma, who was with her seven-year-old daughter Lily, said: “There’s two or three of us down here with the kids. It’s fabulous when it is like this and the water’s on. We’re so lucky to have something like this on our doorstep here in Carlisle.”

And at the Hartley’s Ice Cream base in Egremont, Mark Richardson says he and his staff are making some 1,500 litres a day.

The produce heads for Hartley’s retail outlets in west Cumbria and stocks up its fleet of ice cream vans. It is also dispatched to restaurants and other trade customers across the county.

“You don’t have to be a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out that we’re going to be busy,” Mr Richardson said. “We don’t want just two or three days of it though, another six or eight weeks would be fantastic.

“We manage to continue to work up the amounts here, there’s me and the man that helps me. We usually make 900-1,000 litres but when we’re having a good run with the weather like now we’re making 1,500-1,600 litres a day. We start at six in the morning right through to five in the afternoon.”

One of Hartley’s busiest spots is its outlet at St Bees beach, near Whitehaven.

Humans aren’t the only ones finding ways to cool down.

Terry Bowes, director of Wetheriggs Animal Rescue and Conservation Centre near Penrith, said: “We’ve got a family of racoons and to help them we make them big frozen lollipops with fruit.

“They love them. They’re like giant ice pops for them. We’ve also got some macaws and we often hose them down with the hosepipe in this weather.”

Terry is also expecting the centre’s youngest resident – a baby racoon – to make its first public appearance. He said: “The racoon we’re expecting could make its first appearance during the hot spell because it’ll be stifling in the box it is in.

“We have to wait and see, but we’re hoping it will happen soon. It’s about four weeks old so we know to expect it soon. It’s the fourth lot of babies we’ve had from Bandit and Sadie.”

How hot is it where you are? Got any tips on how to stay cool as the county swelters? Send your sunshine photos to and we'll create a photo gallery

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