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Rain can't keep Lake District visitors away

A rainy day in Kendal. Credit: ITV News

Tourism bosses say business is booming in the Lake District, despite this year's summer being disturbed by heavy rainfall.

According to Cumbria Tourism the number of visitors to the area in the first five months of 2015 is up by between four and eight percent, compared to the same time last year.

In the first five months of this year we're seeing between four and eight percent increase in visitor numbers, and occupancy in hotels, at caravan sites and self-catering accommodation.

So the weather doesn't seem to be affecting us at all."

– Richard Greenwood, Cumbria Tourism


Australian businessman buys Bladnoch Distillery

Bladnoch Distillery in Galloway is to reopen and restart production after being purchased by Australian businessman, David Prior.

The investment means whisky production will resume at the new firm, Bladnoch Distillery Limited, after being halted six years ago.

Existing staff will continue in their jobs with new jobs being created.

The firm says substantial investment needs to be made to the facilities before production can continue.

“I am delighted to have been able to purchase a Scotch Whisky distillery of such renown as Bladnoch. Scotch Whisky is the world’s foremost spirit drink and I am proud to be part of the Scotch Whisky industry.”

– David Prior, Australian entrepreneur

“It is wonderful to see one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries revived. I’m excited to be on the team which will breathe new life into Bladnoch and provide a stimulus for the local economy.”

– Gavin Hewitt, former chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association

Ex-Olympic skier visits Cumbria

Former Olympic skier Chemmy Alcott has been in the Lake District this week sampling Cumbrian produce.

The 33-year-old, who announced her retirement after competing for Team GB at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, was senior British national champion five times. She is now the brand ambassador for The Lakes Gin which is produced at the Lakes Distillery near Cockermouth. Founder and Managing Director Paul Currie says it's currently the second most visited distillery in the UK.

On a visit to the centre this week, Chemmy watched chefs preparing herdwick lamb and locally caught trout. She told ITV Border she loves coming to Cumbria and is looking forward to skiing here next time.

Racecourse pulls in the crowds

Carlisle Racecourse Credit: ITV Border

Crowds at Carlisle Racecourse have risen by nearly 25 per cent during the first six months of the year.

A total of 19,323 spectators attended fixtures at the city track from February to the end of June (there is no racing at Carlisle in January). That is an increase of 3,711 on the same number of meetings over the same period in 2014.

The biggest single increase was recorded at the Easter Saturday family fun day on April 4 which drew a crowd of 4,636 compared to 3,068 12 months earlier.

Last year's January to June total of 15,612 covered 11 meetings, including one in February which was called off because of bad weather. This year's figures also included one abandonment in February - but crowds were up at eight of the subsequent nine fixtures.

"We're absolutely delighted with the increase in our attendances for the first six months of the year. I'd like to thank everyone who has supported us by coming along to our race meetings so far in 2015. "More and more people are discovering what a great day out it is at the races here at Carlisle. We have superb, modern facilities and the standard of both jumps and flat racing is continuing to rise as we attract increasing numbers of top trainers, owners and jockeys."

– Geraldine McKay, Carlisle Racecourse's general manager


WATCH: Lorry driver shortage

Long hours, unsociable shifts, training costs and a high demand for online goods - all factors which are leading to a growing shortage of lorry drivers both nationally and locally.

In Cumbria and the north east an extra 1,700 hundred drivers are needed. The Road Haulage Association says the situation is deteriorating fast with more and more companies struggling to recruit. Kate Walby reports.

87 jobs lost with closure of Borders textile mill

Robert Noble Mill Credit: ITV Border

A Scottish Borders textile mill is to close with the loss of 87 jobs.

Moorbrook Textiles, the owner of textile brands Replin Fabrics and Robert Noble, has announced that the group’s mill in Peebles is to close.

The company revealed in May that it was seeking a buyer for the mill and had begun a 30-day consultation period with its 87 employees.

Despite some initial interest from potential buyers, no credible offers for the facility have been received and the management team say they have been left with no option but to announce the mill’s closure.

“Over recent weeks we have had discussions with a number of groups interested in purchasing the business but regrettably these have not resulted in any credible offers.

“We are extremely disappointed that, despite significant investment in the mill over the last 10 years, we have been unable to secure a buyer.

“We fully appreciate the impact closure will have on our employees and the local community and our focus in the coming days will be on supporting them at this difficult time.

“In addition, we will continue to work closely with our customers, suppliers and government agencies to do all we can to minimise the impact of closure.

“As part of these discussions we will begin planning for decommissioning of the site itself, as well as consulting with staff on the completion of existing customer orders.”

– Ian Laird, Managing Director of Moorbrook Textiles

A date for final closure of the site is expected to be confirmed shortly.

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