Parish Boundary Walk 27th August 2016, a memorable day

What a fantastic day we had with 305 walkers taking part in this unique and important traditional local event that takes place every 21 years. After 8 months of planning, 6 meetings, 3 fundraising events and whole lot in between, the day finally arrived. The weather, just as the day itself, simply got better as it went on. As the cars arrived Henry Bell, George Bainbridge and Alan Mattinson organised the parking in the field, courtesy of Mike Hodgson. Registration opened at 08.30 and all ran smoothly thanks to Karen Atkinson, Mary Pattinson and the other registration ladies. An hour later, after being welcomed by myself, the walkers were set off in the traditional manner by Kathleen and Margaret Ashbridge, complete with union jacks and the ringing of the bell. Leading the walk, carrying the trusty but well worn red flag, was Alistair Macfadzean, followed by all and sundry with ages ranging from 4 to 85. Walkers quickly found their own pace and were clearly enjoying the ‘crack’. As far as possible the 21 mile route follows the line of the Caldbeck Parish Boundary. Around the hour mark we were touching the marker stone in the wall that separates the Uldale and Caldbeck Commons before heading to the first checkpoint at the bottom of Charlton Gill. Here Richard Hellon and Colin Smithson made sure that none of us had wondered off the beaten track but also provided a welcome point to have a breather and more conversation. Bob Scott, and further up the fell, David Whitson were both on hand with their quads should a few strays need rounding up. They provided welcome reassurance, as did our first aiders from Caldbeck Surgery.
Onwards and upwards to Great Sca Fell with men perspiring and ladies ‘glowing’, as they reached the summit. Here many walkers rested and ate their lunch. One or two aches and pains were verbalised, as walkers got up and headed towards Knott. Just below the summit we reached the second check point manned by Mike Simpson. Here we took in some wonderful views, clearly seeing Thirlmere and beyond. Knees were put to the test descending the steep Wiley Gill and at the bottom a few more stopped for a bit of sustenance. Before long we took a left where Wiley Gill meets the River Caldew and followed the river down the Mosedale Valley before reaching terra-firma in the form of the tarmac at Swineside, where some even took a swim before heading down the valley to Mosedale. Reaching the third checkpoint at the Friends Meeting House in Mosedale, Susan Monkhouse checked us off her list, while walkers stopped for a break and refreshment. Antoinette Ward, Audrey Johnston and Co. made us feel most welcome and ensured we were well looked after. Walkers who were doing the shorter route, were picked up by Bim Tyson and Alan Mattinson in the minibuses and taken back to Caldbeck Parish Hall. They made several journeys, all for free – how fortunate we are to have such community mindedness.
The next 7 miles back to Caldbeck followed the road through Haltcliffe and to Hesket Newmarket. Some walkers topped up fluid levels at the Old Crown before walking the last mile along Hesket Lonning and on to Caldbeck, with the odd walker finding themselves drawn into the Oddfelllows.
Finally reaching the Parish Hall we were checked in by Karen Atkinson, Mary Pattinson and Claire Little, where everybody received a commemorative badge, designed by 11 year old Maddie Tyson. Second time walkers also received a bronze certificate. We then had the opportunity to browse the fantastic display depicting the history of the Boundary Walk, done by Kathleen Davie, with photographs by John Price on behalf of the History Society. Then into the hall itself where there were three rows of tables running the length of the room, occupied by hungry walkers who were treated to an excellent ‘tattie pot’ or cottage pie. Over 35 people had made food beforehand and we are grateful for their contribution, all well coordinated by Carol Slinger and her group of helpers. A bar was also available, courtesy of Caldbeck Cricket Club, for those who felt their achievements deserved something a little stronger. It was a fantastic atmosphere, the hall was buzzing, everybody still had smiles on their faces.
At 7.00pm Kathleen and Margaret Ashbridge presented silver certificates to third time walkers and gold ones to the two fourth time walkers, Arnold Savage and Ian Todhunter along with an engraved paperweight. A remarkable achievement, considering both had not been in the best of health over the last 12 months. They then presented awards and commemorative mugs to the following:- Full walk – Youngest Boy Joshua Little, Youngest Girl Ella Horne, Oldest Man David Ward, Oldest Woman Susan Beale, :- Short walk – Youngest Boy Jonty Razetti, Youngest Girl Eliza Hudson, Oldest Man Anthony Vaux, Oldest Woman Mary Blood.
There are numerous people who made the walk happen and it’s not possible to mention everybody, so thank you to everyone who was involved in any way. However, I feel it would be remiss of me not to highlight our hard working 2016 Boundary Walk Committee, which comprised Richard Hellon, Mike Simpson, Carol Slinger, Pat Shaw, Alistair Macfadzean, Bob Whitson, Susan Armstrong, Angela Glendinning, Tim Cartmell, Tony Bolton, Mary Pattinson, Karen Atkinson and Norman Atkinson. I think you’ll all agree they organised a successful, safe, fun, inclusive community event, in keeping with tradition but fit for current times.
See you in 2037.
Norman Atkinson (Chairman, Caldbeck Parish Council)