A local performer and the authors of a walking guide to Cumbria’s corpse roads are collaborating on some spooky stories that will be unveiled at Muncaster Castle’s popular Halloween week.
Alan Cleaver and Lesley Park researched the routes and histories of ancient paths that were used to take coffins to consecrated burial grounds around the county. The intriguingly titled Corpse Roads of Cumbria is also a walking guide, interspersed with fascinating accounts of forgotten customs surrounding local deaths and funerals.
Performer Steve Wharton is well known around the county for his shows of Cumbrian material. He recently released a CD of Lake District Songs & Poems with launch concerts scheduled for later in the year. In the meantime, he is busy preparing two storytelling shows for his second year at Muncaster, which will use Alan and Lesley’s book as inspiration.
“We have a wealth of stories in Cumbria, sometimes it can be hard to choose what to include. One story that didn’t make it into last year’s show is about a coffin that was lost near Burnmoor Tarn. When I saw that Alan and Lesley had written about the same incident I realised that our research paths had crossed, then I approached them basing some of my stories on their book. I thought if people who see the shows enjoy the stories, then they might like to visit the places where they happened and the book will help them to do so.”
Without spoiling any surprises, Steve will use elements of the book alongside some unpublished material for his Spookulele Radio Show and Graveyard Tales tour. The Spookulele Radio Show invites audiences to play sound effects and songs on ukuleles as Steve’s radio presenter regails them with spooky tales, whilst the final performance of each day is a tour of the graveyard at St Michael’s Church at Muncaster with local tales of dread and horror.
Halloween events at Muncaster Castle take place from Tuesday 23rd to Sunday 28th October. More information can be found at www.muncaster.co.uk/halloween-week
The Corpse Roads of Cumbria and Lakes District Songs & Poems are both available from the Muncaster Castle gift shop.