The news last week that Ullswater Droving is back for a second year was met with delight from residents and visitors to the Ullswater valley alike. Set to take place on Friday 26 October, the weekend nearest the old festival of Samhain, which marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year –musicians, street performers, a giant wolf lantern and locals wearing masks and carrying flaming torches join the herd at the Ullswater Droving for a unique Halloween celebration steeped in tradition.
As the great day fast approaches, local businesses both large and small are keen to support this event and hope to see it become part of the annual calendar. With the scheduled closure of the temporary bridge in Autumn 2019, comes a stark reminder of the dark days and months that followed in the wake of Storm Desmond when the valley was literally cleaved in two as Pooley Bridge fell.
Keen to show the valley is now (and will remain!) open for business, no less than ten local businesses have sponsored the event organised by Eden Arts helping to boost funding from both Eden District Council, Barton Parish Council and the Lake District National Park. 1863 Bar Bistro Rooms, Another Place, Chestnut House, Granny Dowbekin’s, Hillcroft Park, The Crown, The Sun Inn Ullswater Steamers and Waterside House Campsitehave joined forces and literally put their money where their mouths are to help make this event happen. Some of them will also be offering further support in the form of food and drink ‘pop-ups’ on the Melodrome Stage field.
Mark Vause, owner of 1863 Bar Bistro Rooms and Ullswater Droving sponsor commented:
“We’re all so pleased that 2018 will see another Ullswater Droving. We’re very grateful to all our funders and sponsors – Eden Arts and Eden District Council in particular – for this fantastic opportunity. We very much hope that this will be the first in a series of events we are planning to stage over the next 18 months that will help raise the profile of Pooley Bridge as ‘open for business’ in the lead up to and during the bridge closure in 2019/20.”
5.10pm: Mr Wilson’s Second Liners (think New Orleans meets 90s club classics) depart from Aira Force Jettyon Ullswater Steamers – why not join them on them on the boat?
5.30pm: Visitors gather at the steamer jetty to take up their flaming torches (please sign up in advance) and welcome the musicians
6.00pm: Steamer arrives. Mr Wilson’s Second Liners lead the torch light procession through Pooley Bridge to the field behind the Sun Inn. This year the band will be accompanied by The Wolf animal lantern which was sponsored by Ullswater Steamers in 2017.
6.30pm: Procession arrives at field behind Sun Inn for the lighting of the bonfire.
Hot Dogs, burgers and mulled wine courtesy of The Sun Inn, popular award-winning bistro 1863 will be offering tastings, soup and prosecco or if it’s gin you’re after, Chestnut House will be on hand to help. Further afield both Granny Dowbekin’s and Tree Tops will be open late.
6.40pm: Mr Wilson’s Second Liners take to the stage
7.40pm: Dopesickfly continue the music on the Melodrome Stage
8.45pm: The party continues around the village’s pubs, restaurants and cafes
Can you help?
In order to make this event a success – we need you!
Wood for the bonfire– we need plenty of wood for our huge bonfire – if you can help, please drop it down into the field behind The Sun by 8pm, Wednesday 24 October
Building the Bonfire – all hands on deck to build the bonfire at 3pm on Thursday 25 October – just email firstname.lastname@example.org and turn up ready for the
Carry a Torch – join the procession as a flaming torch-bearer. You must be over 16 – please register online by visiting www.winterdroving.uk