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Barrow Bells - GALLERY 8 - Photographs from the Branch Open Days in early May 2013

This gallery presents a selection of photographs from the Furness & South Lakeland Branch LACR Open Days held on 4th and 6th of May 2013.

Additionally there are links to the original Open Days Webpage; Open Days Schedule document, and a more extensive gallery/slideshow hosted on Flickr photo sharing site

The following images are reduced, with larger (1500x1200) copies of the originals available (by clicking on photo) on Flickr.
The non-watermarked originals (4000x3000) are available on request (see contact details) for non-commercial use under the creative commons CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 licence - see CreativeCommons3.0
Exemptions or alternative license terms can be arranged by agreement with the copyright holder.



Jump here for a shorter gallery of photos

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Selection of photos from the full gallery Click on photograph to open larger image on Flickr in a new tab.

The Open Days narrative written by Andy Pollock (organiser of the open days event) and appears between photographs.

Saturday 4th May - MORNING

The open days took a great deal more preparation than the previous Branch Open Day held on Mon 26th May 1997!

When the day arrived, I turned up at St Martin’s, Bowness-on-Windermere with just 8 confirmed bookings, and hoping that enough people had seen local or national notices (print/online), or heard about the event on local radio. Unfortunately the main advert was delayed by a week in the comic (Ringing World), and was published just the day before the open days began (with sincere apologies from the Ringing World)

The open weekend ran smoothly from start to finish. It nearly began badly, when I found Bowness churchyard gate locked! Fortunately, Mike’s timely arrival rescued me from my predicament, and allowed me to set up stall in time!

Over the next half an hour I was pleased to meet ringers who had come from as far as Maidstone in Kent (over 300 miles away) and sold another 20 passes which settled my nerves. I was slightly puzzled by a few ringers who purchased day or weekend passes, but then declined to ‘grab’ Bowness bells while they were there. I can only assume they didn't want to miss any time at Ambleside with its 32½ hundredweight tenor.

And so began the great adventure. I was on a personal mission to visit every tower, thank everyone for helping out, and take photographs that Keith might use in the branch newsletter. I hoped I might even get a ring at a few towers.

There was a great sense of teamwork and a positive buzz/vive at every tower from the fabulous volunteers, and touring visitors alike; all enhanced by the warm spring sunshine that I had ordered!

Signs of spring in St Martin's churchyard
Roger Fellows and Mike Fletcher
In charge of ringing at
St Martin, Bowness-on-Windermere
L-R: Dave Salisbury, Ian Swan, Peter Gardner,
Hilary Atkinson, John Thorley
in the ringing room at Ambleside

The sound of Ambleside bells recorded at the open day (apologies for abrupt end)

Some well struck ringing could be heard at Ambleside, and the bells sound fabulous as always. It was a pity for one ringer (from near Bradford) that he arrived just after the final ring. It transpired that he was using an early timetable that he had printed before Brathay and Ambleside had swapped to accommodate Ambleside choir practice!

St Mary's Parish Church, Ambleside with 4th heaviest ring of 8 bells in UK.
Holy Trinity church at Brathay

Brathay had been transformed since my last visit over a decade ago (to my shame!) with car park, landscaping, and similarly excellent improvements to the tower and bells.

017_Brathay  018_Brathay
Clive Sutton with great support from
John Gunner (photo1) & Paul Adkins(photo2)
at Holy Trinity church, Brathay.
View of Harrison Stickle on route from Brathay to Chapel Stile

The dramatic Langdale valley and Harrisons Stickle was as inspiring as ever on the way to Chapel Stile, and I grabbed a rope to make up the numbers at the end of the session, and was pleased to see one of the younger visitors make a good attempt at plain hunting.

Holy Trinity church at Langdale (Chapel Stile)
Graham and Kay Stirrup amongst daffodils in Langdale churchyard.

On to Hawkshead where the ringing overran into the lunch break by a few minutes to give the local band a chance to plain hunt on 4.

St Michael's church on the hill in Hawkshead
John Gunner, Edward Dixon, Clive Sutton and Mike Maxwell at Hawkshead.

Saturday 4th May - AFTERNOON

Time was pressing, and even with a relatively clear road, I arrived late at Millom. I arrived with 45 minutes of the lunchtime remaining. Jonny brilliantly leapt in to the fray and made sandwiches while I served tea/coffee cakes along with Jonny’s legendary pies. The lunch went well and made quite a healthy sum.

St George's church, Millom
Tom Metcalfe at
St Cuthbert's, Kirkby-in-Furness (Beckside)

The afternoon seemed to flash by as the open day explored Furness towers. Tom Metcalfe showed off Kirkby bells which were very popular - several comments overheard about how sweetly they rang (and it was a pity they couldn't take them home!).

Ringers had to double back to Broughton, where Paul had managed to finish his postal round just in time to be ringing master at the branch's only 12 bell tower. A recording of 8 of the 12 bells ringing is available below:

Phoebe and Paul Thompson outside
St Mary Magdalene, Broughton-in-Furness
Hugh Pettifer, Ian Taylor, and Margaret Taylor at St Mary, Ulverston

A broken crown staple in the tenor at Ulverston threatened to reduce them to a ring of 5 for the open day! They were not to be denied - Whitechapel fixed and returned it just in time for Ian and Hugh to fit it the day before the Open day. Like many other towers, a host of people had pulled together to handle tickets, and provide refreshments and ringing support!

Great Urswick has just 4 bells but this did not discourage many visitors. Visitors and locals will be pleased to know that Tom Metcalfe is working toward augmenting them to a ring of 6 bells in the near future. They should have great potential as a ring of 6 bells.

St Mary's church in Ulverston
Visiting ringers at St Mary, Great Urswick
St Mary, Great Urswick

The 10 bells at St Mary, Dalton-in-Furness were the last of the day that could be rung properly (most of Barrow's bells being out-of-action), and they sounded very fine indeed.

St Mary, Dalton-in-Furness
Carl, Stan and visitors enjoying ringing on 10 bells at St Mary, Dalton-in-Furness.

A handful of visitors even made the trip to Barrow to find out more about the restoration project, and chime the 2nd or tenor and left with comments such as “Fantastic! So interesting, good luck with all the work”, “Doing exactly the right job”, “Thanks for the tour of the bells”, and “Great day, Thank You!”

Brenda Pearce (churchwarden)
with Andy Pollock & sons.

The day was not at an end yet... Andy Pollock and family went along to the Brown Cow in Dalton for an excellent meal, and chatted to the group from Lincolnshire who joined us there for the meal.

The Brown Cow in Dalton-in-Furness

SUNDAY 5th May

Sunday was the day-off in the programme, though there were opportunities for visiting ringers to go and join locals for service ringing.

I am not sure about elsewhere, but I was pleased and grateful that some of the Kendal ringers were able to support a couple of visitors to ring for service at Burton-in-Kendal.
Burton doesn’t even have their own band for practice, and are certainly not accustomed to Sunday service ringing. This was evident when we turned up on Monday morning to be welcomed by churchwardens and other locals enthusiastically talking about how wonderful it was to be called to service by the bells the day before.

Sunday Service Ringing at Dalton-in-Furness
[1] Jacqueline Preston, [2] Rachel Hallows, [3] Stanley Walmsley, [4] Dorothy Stevens,
[5] Rosemary Spencer, [6] Christopher Tinmouth, [7] Owen Osmotherley, [8] Bill Green,
[9] John Bamford, [10] Carl Hallows

Monday 6th May - MORNING

The second half of the open days began in the South Eastern corner of the branch, with Burton-in-Kendal and Milthorpe.

St James' Church, Burton-in-Kendal
St Thomas' Church, Milnthorpe

At Heversham a resident from a local care home ventured in to investigate, and was very appreciative of the bells.

?, Simon Budd, Ian & Margaret Taylor help at Heversham
St Peter's Church, Heversham

On my way to Cartmel, I paid a brief visit to the churchyard in Levens to see 3 steel bells cast by Naylor Vickers, and moved from Milnthorpe in 1912 and hung under a canopy. Cartmel Priory always takes my breath away, and it was good to see Sandie and Dai.

Andy Pollock stands beside the three bells that hang outside St John's church, Levens.
Sandie Mills and Dai Hunt at Cartmel Priory

At Flookburgh, Jaap was amused by the amount of food that I had brought and needing setting up for the ringers lunch. After some frantic work and some sterling assistance from volunteers in the kitchen, a good spread was enjoyed by everyone.

The ringing room at the Priory Church of St Mary, Cartmel
Esther stood outside the tower of St John's church, Flookburgh

During the lunch break, some of the visitors went to see the curiosity that are the 10 tubular bells at Finsthwaite, and Chris Potts proudly showed off the recently refurbished tubular bells, and ably demonstrated the automatic chiming mechanism and playing by keyboard.

St Peter, Finsthwaite 3 chiming bells, and 10 tubular bells in background
Lunchtime visit to St Peter's Church, Finsthwaite

Monday 6th May - AFTERNOON

Crosthwaite was the starting point for the final half-day. Crosthwaite was bathed in sunshine (it had been a distinctly cloudy affair earlier), and many enjoyed a moment sitting in the sunshine on Rodney Sale’s bench after ringing Norwich and other methods

Roger Fellows at St Mary's Crosthwaite
St Mary's Church, Crosthwaite
Entrance to Holy Trinity, Kendal

Kendal sounded great, and some settled striking was enjoyable to listen to. I was also fascinated by the intricate brass and complex movement of the Woodhouse Ringing Machine during Kevin’s excellent demonstration.

Ringing on the back 8 of the 10 Kendal Bells during the Open Day on 6th May 2013

Short video of Woodhouse Ringing Machine
Holy Trinity, Kendal from the riverside

Woodhouse Ringing Machine

The village of Dent is picturesque at any time, but so lovely with birdsong and sunshine. Burton is not the only tower with a damp problem (£250,000 to fix tower, of which £40,000 to be raised locally). Dent restoration has not prevented severe water ingress when rain and wind conspire together, so they have another English Heritage grant to fix it, but still have to raise some money locally

St Andrew's Church, Dent
Ringers at St Andrew's Church, Dent

At Sedbergh I had an opportunity to follow Hilary up into the belfry and see the frame and bells stacked up the tower.

St Andrew's Church, Sedbergh

Sedbergh Belfry

The final tower of the Open Weekend was Kirkby Stephen, where I was grateful to have a chance to ring the last ring (a plain course of Stedman triples).

Susan Sharrocks at St Andrew's Church, Sedbergh
Jo Keogh at the Parish Church, Kirkby Stephen
Daffodil churchyard at the Parish Church, Kirkby Stephen

I considered joining a group of visitors for a grab at Appleby, but when they decided to head straight home, I decided to enjoy a leisurely drive through the middle of the Lake District in the evening sunshine, past Ullswater and over Kirkstone for a final grab at Ambleside's Monday evening practice, before heading past Hawkshead (in case they were still ringing) and home.

Tranquil Ullswater on way home
St Mary's Church, Ambleside from 'the struggle'

THANK YOU to EVERYONE for making this weekend a pleasure. I hope that you all enjoyed the weekend too. It would have been an abject failure without all your help, whether you came to help at your own tower or helped at several

Sunset over Lake District at the end of a very successful weekend that was hard-work to organise, but a lot of fun!