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at Ullswater 'Steamers'



Posted 10th June 2014

Take a special trip on the Ullswater ‘Steamers’ and get up close to one of the most spectacular sailing events in the north!

From national champions to novices, sailors from all over the country will descend on Ullswater next month for the 52nd annual Lord Birkett Cup Trophy Race.


Held to commemorate the ‘Lakes’ Great Advocate’, Lord William Norman Birkett, the event was rated number eight in the top 50 ‘must do’ sailing regattas, and will this year form one of just five national events in the Garmin Summer Series 2014.


Taking place over the weekend of July 5th and 6th, more than 200 sailing boats will battle it out in two races to take home not only the Birkett silver salver but a Garmin VRIB Elite action camera.


And you can experience some of the excitement at close hand on the water with a trip on the Ullswater ‘Steamers’ MV Raven, on Saturday 5th July. There will even be an on-board raffle to win some fantastic prizes!


Group marketing and events manager, Rachel Bell, said: “The event is a fantastic, and the largest of its kind in the north of England. It brings a lot of interest and if you want to see the race as a spectator the best place to be is on an Ullswater Steamer, where you can be at the heart of the action whilst sipping a glass of cava. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon.”


Visitors to Ullswater owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lord Birkett, who was the 1st Baron Birkett of Ulverston, born in the town in 1883.


A devoted Cumbrian, it was his role in the House of Lords which helped saved the stunning Ullswater for future generations, after the Manchester Corporation Waterworks Department promoted a parliamentary bill to turn it into a reservoir.


Knowing that this would have been a disaster for the area, Lord Birkett started a robust campaign to fight the plans and made a heartfelt speech in the House of Lords on February 8th 1962, condemning the bill.


The bill was defeated and as a direct consequence of the intervention, we are still able to enjoy a multitude of activities on what has been called ‘England’s most beautiful lake’.


Sadly Lord Birkett died two days after his speech, and to commemorate him and his success the first Cup Trophy Race was sailed in 1963.


Competitors in the event, which is held by Ullswater Yacht Club, will race down the lake, past the Lord Birkett memorial plaque on Kailpot Crag, round an island at the southern end and back. They do this on Saturday and Sunday, with both races to count.


The Lord Birkett Cup is open to all monohulls with a recognised handicap rating and organisers.


Those taking part are welcome at the club from July 4th and there will be food all weekend, evening entertainment and plenty of rooms for tents and campervans on the ‘Birkett’ field.



-       To join Ullswater ‘Steamer’s and watch the famous race from the upper deck, booking in advance is required. Visit 017684 82229.

-       Ticket price is £20 per adult, which includes a complimentary glass of cava, and £10 per child, with a glass of squash included.

-       The boat departs Pooley Bridge Pier at 12.30pm on Saturday 5th July, to return at 3.30pm.