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" Loweswater Farmers at 70 "


Date & start time: Monday 5th March 2012.

Location : The Kirkstile Inn Loweswater , Cumbria, Uk ( NY 141 209 )

Places visited : The Kirkstile Inn, the bar and dining room.

With : 27 other members and guests at the Loweswater Discussion Group.

Weather : Who cares . . . we're indoors !


In Loweswater there are regular meetings during the winter months of the Loweswater Discussion Group, known locally as the " Loweswater Farmers ".

The Group is the oldest established Cumbrian village group of its type as it started in 1942, seventy years ago this year.

The initial topics of discussion were related to the "Dig for Victory" campaign and subsequently how to develop and improve farming in the area.

Nowadays topics still concentrate on farming matters but have broadened slightly to reflect the more diverse nature of the group.

Members chat over a beer or two on alternate Monday evenings at the Kirkstile, and invite speakers on a wide range of subjects to talk at their meetings.

Tonight is the last meeting of the Winter 2011 / 2012 season.

Throughout this time the Group has met at the Kirkstile Inn here in Loweswater.

We must start here with a note of appreciation to the landlords and owners of the Kirkstile

who have encouraged and hosted the Group over all of those seventy years . . . without you it would have been a different story.

Tonight meeting was at the Kirkstile again . . .
. . . as we celebrated the 70th anniversary.

A quick photo call for tonight's members and guests.

John, Brian, Jonty, Sam, Nick.

At the long table . . .

Richard, James, Barry, Ken, Anthony, Todd, Mark, William.

John, Bob, Keith, John, Richard, Alec, Richard.

Who have I not mentioned so far . . . yes . . . Alan and Ian here on the left.

Tim and Chris raise a glass.

Discussions start on an informal basis between Chris, Michael and John.

Tim is busy sorting through ideas for questions for the formal session later.

The Office Table with myself in red, the only one not on the earlier photo.

John and Alec chat before the meal starts.

It turns out that Alec was the only non-farmer at Group meetings when they celebrated their 50th anniversary here, twenty years ago.

Today with the rationalisation of farms and with more non-farmers living in the valley, the percentage is more like 50/50. However, everyone agreed that this moving with the times has kept the Group alive and kept "discussions" fresh and informative.

Guests have been kept on their toes as questions and opinion from the floor could reflect so many different points of view.

- - - o o o - - -

Two meetings a year are accompanied by a delightful Kirkstile Inn meal.

The Christmas meeting is one and this end of season Discussion Group meeting is the other.

- - - o o o - - -

Tonight's dessert is sticky toffee pudding . . .
. . . one member is particularly delighted !
Tim, our chairman, says a few words about the Group . . .
. . . and Richard and Michael do-the-honours with the cake.
Culinary expertise by Marion Vickers . . .
. . . so good she deserves a prize at the next Loweswater Show !

- - - o o o - - -

Time for a photo for the archive . . .


Back Row: Barry Wright (dark jacket), Kenny Bell, Anthony Bell, Brian Wilson, Jonty Benn, James Burrough, Ian Moore, Mark Clarke, Todd Reid, Nick Addiman, William Vickers, Alan Clarke, Chris Harris, Richard Vickers, Keith McNeil, John Hayton.

2nd Row : (seated) Michael Thompson, Alec Bond, Tim Heslop, John Sedgewick, Sam Rawling, Bob Salkeld, Richard Sands, John McFarlane, Roger Coles, Roger Hiley.

Front Row : Richard Rawling, John Vickers.


- - - o o o - - -

Time for a quick refreshment break . . .
. . . before Tim introduces tonight's panel members.

A Question Time special followed where those questions we saw earlier were "discussed".

The panelists tonight were John Sedgewick (Cockermouth Vet) Sam Rawling (Farmer) and Bob Salkeld (Farmer - retired)

- - - o o o - - -

Click here to read the local Cockermouth Times and Star report from Friday 9th March.

- - - o o o - - -

William Vickers holds a small collection of photos from earlier days of the Group, which he brought along on the night.

[ By the way ... If you have any photos or cuttings you would like adding to this collection then please contact us here ]

[ All originals will be returned after scanning.]

This press cutting originate from 1982 . . . it features the late Hilton Hope on the left and Richard Rawling on the right.

[ Richard had a hand in cutting the cake tonight.]

This was the Times and Star cutting from the Group's fiftieth year celebrations.

Seated were Tom Mitchell and John Shields, two founder members of the Group.

Standing were (l to r) : Ian Mitchell, Joe Hope, Bob Orrell (panelist, farmer, author and broadcaster)

Roger Ward (panelist & NFU area secretary), Richard Rawling, David Quail (panelist & NFU delegate),

William Vickers, Tim Heslop and Steele Addison (panelist & Chairman LDSPB)

Can you identify . . . the young William Vickers, Richard Rawling and Tim Heslop.

- - - o o o - - -

STOP PRESS . . . twenty years on . . . this is today's cutting from the Times and Star 9th March 2012.

- - - o o o - - -

Since I have been recording walks and events for our Loweswatercam web site,

I have had the pleasure of being able to take part in three of the Group's summer outings.

The basic requirements for these " days out " seems to be a farm visit, a possibly-farm-related industrial visit,

lunch and dinner plus the odd spot of re-hydration along the way.

- - - o o o - - -

Click on the pictures below to follow three of the recent outings.

22/05/07 . . . Barrow in Furness, Millom Castle Farm, the Tornado Wire Factory.

22/05/08 . . . Nenthead Mines Heritage Centre, Sanders Close Farm, Alston, and The Auctioneer Pub, Carlisle.

22/05/09 Dumfries & Galloway Waste Disposal Site and Askerton Castle Estate Farm.

- - - o o o - - -

After another interesting question and answer session, the evening drew to a close

with a reading of a poem written by one of the farmers's wives, narrated by William Vickers.


The Remote Control

Once a fortnight during winter us woman folk get a rare treat

... the TV Remote!  Our farmer hubbies have their meeting

down the Kirkstile Inn, leaving us to our knitting and gin


Oh Joy as he closes the door . . . and drives down the lane,

we get to watch the Corrie and not hear him complain.

The men in our lives get to discuss ... the old and modern news,

bantering between each other, exchanging views.

70 years the meetings have entertained and challenged their grey matter,

us girls are sure, there'll be plenty of chatter.


It's good you see for the men to get together,

discussing ewes and tips and the horrible weather.

We wives have heard it all before,

that's why we're glad when they walk out the door.


Our evening is spent doing what women do best,

gossiping on the phone, getting it all off our chest.

Watching what he might call "rubbish" from beginning to end,

Ah the TV Remote, our fortnightly friend !


As the night draws in and the men arrive merry and frisky,

it's clear to us they've been on the whiskey

Yes we had a good evening ... and the guest speaker had loads to say,

they've learnt a lot and discussed silage and hay.

As we turn on the kettle on ... our fortnightly friend has gone !

Back to the " Master of the Channel ".... flicking .... we smile.

It was nice to have had control for a while !


Click on the start button

and follow William as he reads

the second half of the poem.


Thanks to Mandy Vickers for the poem

and for permission to reproduce it here.

- - - o o o - - -

After all that, I leave you with this thought about a farmer's best friend . . .

A local farmer was the owner of an unusual companion - a talking sheep dog.

He sent the dog out into the field with the instruction to count the sheep. The dog raced all round the field and returned back to it's master. "I counted forty sheep" he said.

"That's strange" said the farmer, "I only bought thirty eight".

"Oh, that'll be my fault" said the dog . . . "I rounded them up" !!

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with my Canon G10 or 1100D camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . an insight into valley life and world politics.

Go to Top . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

2007 Barrow

2008 Nenthead

2009 Galloway

2012 70th Diner

2012 Air Museum

2014 Carlisle

2015 Bio Power

Go to the Loweswatercam home page

or click on one of the many outings of recent years.