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Arts

Spooky tales on the Old Tracks

Steve Wharton is a storyteller and musician for the English Lake District World Heritage Site

Troublemaking elves, ghosts and fairies will feature in Sustrans’ spooky storytelling event along the old Tracks of the Ironmasters next week, as well as a self-guided treasure hunt.

Storyteller Steve Wharton will bring his mystical tales of the fairy kingdom to the tracks, which are now part of the popular Sea to Sea (C2C) cycle and walking route and the National Cycle Network. The 16 miles path runs between Whitehaven to Rowrah and Workington to Seaton, Siddick and Broughton Moor, and is known locally as Tracks of the Ironmasters, because the route once formed a railway which hauled iron ore to local mines. The path is now part of a Sustrans project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to restore the natural, social and industrial heritage of the area.

Steve will hold storytelling sessions on 23 October and 27 October at secret locations along the path between Moor Row and Rowrah, and Parkside to Frizington. From 21 October there will be clues hung in the trees along the track which spell out a word and are part of a riddle in the story. Steve is also releasing a series of YouTube videos to help people find the clues and the storytelling sessions.

Nikki Wingfield, Sustrans Project Manager for Tracks of the Ironmasters said: “We’re very excited to be hosting Steve’s storytelling sessions on the Tracks. Steve has been written some spooky tales drawing on our fascinating iron ore history so prepare to meet an underworld of fairies, elves and ghosts lurking just beneath your local walking and cycle path. There’s also a self-guided treasure hunt along the path during half term and YouTube videos which are part of the story, so please come along and help solve the riddle, everyone is welcome.”

Steve Wharton said: “This is an exciting project as it combines local heritage with easily available technology to allow as many families as possible to take part. Being both a specialist in Cumbrian heritage and a regular user of the cyclepath, I’m hoping that people will be able to see the area in a new light, engage with the route’s history and have a bit of fun in the lead up to Halloween.”

This section of the C2C is known as the Tracks of the Ironmasters as it was once a railway linked to former iron ore mines at Knockmurton and Kelton and ironworks at Workington, Cleator and Distington. The path is owned and managed by Sustrans as part of the National Cycle Network. It includes a number of historic bridges and remnants of the path’s past, such as a rock crusher and railway signal. The route is also a haven for nature as well as people, with rare wildlife such as red squirrels, the small blue butterfly, and bat colonies on some bridges.

The C2C path is an hour’s walk or 30 mins bike ride up from Cleator Moor and 15 minutes walk from Frizington. For those coming from further afield there is parking available at the old goods yard at Rowrah, then just a 20 minute walk or 10 minute bike ride back down the line.

The 140 mile C2C runs from Whitehaven to Sunderland attracts over 15,000 people on foot or by bicycle each year and is part of Sustrans’ National Cycle Network

The treasure hunt and videos will be available from 21 October with clues for the locations of the storytelling sessions, which are in the afternoon on 23 and 27 October, at secret locations on the old track between Moor Row and Rowrah, and Parkside to Frizington. For more information contact Nikki Wingfield on T: 07825 655160, find us on Facebook at Tracks of the Ironmasters or look up: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/projects/tracks-ironmasters-historic-route

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