Local firm, LARS Communications Limited, has raised in excess of £1500 for local charities, St. John’s Hospice and Unique Kidz and Co, by taking part in the annual Keswick to Barrow walk.
The forty mile walk, which took place on Saturday 12 May, started for the LARS team at 5.30am just to the south of Keswick, before following a route which takes in Thirlmere, Dunmail Raise, Grasmere, Elterwater, the Langdales, Coniston, Nibthwaite and Lowick. Walkers (and runners) then endure a steep climb up Kirkby Moor before dropping down into Larton, Dalton-in-Furness and finally finishing at the Hawcoat Park Sports Club in Barrow-in-Furness.
The team from LARS, named the LARS Drifters, was made up of Julian Cooper, Donna Tyson, David Barr, Heather Cooper, Emily Barr and Charlotte Mallett. Their combined fund raising efforts have helped to raise over £1500 for the two local charities and Julian was quick to praise the team of walkers; “The team effort has been fantastic and I think I can speak for us all when I say we’ve had a great day – tough but really fulfilling. We’ve walked through some of the most spectacular and challenging locations in Cumbria, and we’ve raised a lot of money for two very worthwhile charities in the process.”
A LARS team comprising Imogen Barr, Sandra Nicholl, Amy Dixon and Rachel Mallett also took part in the Coniston to Barrow walk. The shorter, 21-mile walk was introduced in 2010 and has gone from strength to strength ever since, now attracting over 1000 walkers. The route and timing run in tandem with the K2B from Coniston southwards, so the walkers share the same checkpoints, safety support and stunning Furness scenery as the K2B walkers.
St John’ Hospice has been caring for its community since 1986. Providing free palliative care to patients with life-shortening conditions, its services cover communities across the South Lakes, North Lancashire and parts of North Yorkshire. For more information, please visit: https://www.sjhospice.org.uk/
Unique Kidz and Co was founded in 2009 by two mums, Denise and Jane, and provides a trusted service for disabled children and young adults. The charity provides a place to play, have fun, make friends and be unique. For more information, please visit: http://www.uniquekidzandco.org.uk/
History of the Walk
This year’s Keswick to Barrow Walk was the 52nd time the event has been staged. The first walk took place in 1967, a race between three teams working in Barrow at the time: the crew of the HMS Resolution, the first Royal Naval Polaris Submarine which was under construction at the Barrow Shipyard; the shipyard workers; and the Commercial Department of Vickers. Although the HMS Resolution Crew won the team contest, the first participant to arrive in Barrow was a member of the Shipyard Workers’ team.
The first walk was actually 50 miles in length, a distance which can be attributed to comments made by the late US President, John F Kennedy, who said that “every American should be capable of walking 50 miles in one day”. Furthermore, on hearing of a 1908 Executive Order issued by then US President, Theodore Roosevelt, which required that all Marine Corps Officers be able to walk fifty miles in under twenty hours, JFK replied, asking if US Marines were still fit enough to complete this test.
Today’s walk certainly tests the resolve of those taking part, but the event has proved to be a huge success over the years, and the number of participants has certainly increased. In 1967, there were just eighty-six participants; by 1976 this had grown to 1732 walkers; and nowadays it is common for around 2500 people, from across the UK, to start the K2B. The event has also meant that around £4m has been raise for charity.
But the burning question for the LARS team is – would you do it again? “Never say never”, replied Julian, “It’s a long way and the sense of achievement at the end is fantastic, as is the sense of relief. We can start thinking about 2019 when the legs have stopped aching!”