King Pocky's Derwent Water Regatta

The sun sparkles as it hits the water, and although the canoe wobbles a bit as you get in, an instructor’s on hand reassuring you and giving you all the tips you need to stay dry. A family pootles past in some floating bath tubs, and some whooping from across the water tells you your friends have got the hang of the catamaran. The ducks look worried.

The best thing about King Pocky’s Derwent Water Regatta is that it’s all about joining in and having fun, getting out on the water and having a go at something you never thought you’d try.

With low-cost ‘starter sessions’ in many different kind of boats and craft, all with qualified instructors, it’s a great opportunity to discover the watersport you never knew you loved.

Stop Press! Swallows and Amazons are joining Derwent Water regatta

The sailing boats 'Swallow' and 'Amazon' will be coming to the regatta on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July, promoting the new film which was filmed at Derwent Water last summer, and which is coming to cinemas across the UK from 19 August.

Even more exciting, come in your finest pirate fancy dress on Saturday 9 July and you could win tickets to the film's premier for your family by entering the Swallows and Amazons Best Dressed Pirate Competition.

Swallows and Amazons join the Derwent Water Regatta in 2016
Poster for the film

Ending the weekend on a thrilling high, adventurers can cheer on their favourite team, including one featuring the film’s producer Nick Barton, in the Swallows and Amazons Boat Race – a race using the real boats; ‘Swallow’ and ‘Amazon’, that are featured in the film

Swallows and Amazons images © Secret Harbour Films / British Broadcasting Corporation / British Film Institute 2016

Two days of getting out on the water

On Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July 2016, hundreds of people will be taking part in low-cost watersport and activity sessions as part of the regatta, so bring your beach shoes and a spare pair of socks and join in!

All water activity sessions are provided by local outdoor providers and will include canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, sailing dinghies, a catamaran and bath tubs. There will also be dragon-boat races to raise funds for the National Trust.

All activities are run by qualified instructors
Canoe instructor prepares group on lakeshore

How to book a taster session

Click here to download the PDF sheet for instructions on how to book a taster session - there are only limited places so book early to avoid disappointment! 

Things to do on dry land

The regatta takes place at Crow Park, just beside Keswick's Theatre by the Lake, and there are spectator sports for those who’d rather keep their feet dry. There's a free family activity zone with miniature raft-making, stone skimming, catch a water minibeast, wild art and Jemima Puddleduck's water play to mark Beatrix Potter's 150th birthday. There are free sports and games to play including badminton, volleyball, frisbee golf and strider-bike races.

 
Enjoy entertainment while you watch the boats on the water
Sing Owt choir singing at Derwent Water Regatta, Keswick

 
There’s also a traditional fairground, live music and drama from local community choirs and youth groups, a craft fair and living history demonstrations where children can become a 'powder monkey' in King George III's navy, and have a go at loading and firing a mock ship's gun.
 

In partnership with Cotswold Outdoor

The event is run in partnership with Cotswold Outdoor who are providing goody bags to visitors who complete their treasure map challenge

Cotswold Outdoor
Cotswold Outdoor logo

Parade of Sail and Best Dressed Boat and Crew competition

If you want to bring your own boat and join in the fun, then dress yourselves and your boat in fancy dress and join the parade of sail. Cotswold Outdoor are providing fantastic prizes for the winning crew who wow the judges with their costumes and their boat. To join the Parade of Sail, click here to download the instructions.

An event with historic roots

The first regatta on Derwent Water was held in 1781 by Joseph Pocklington, the wealthy and eccentric man who'd been living on Derwent Island.

His advertisement in The Cumberland Pacquet promised a rowing race round all four islands, with a prize of seven guineas (over £1,000 today), a sweepstake for swimming horses.

The highlight was an armed fleet, commanded by 'Admiral' Peter Crosthwaite and complete with swivel guns and gunpowder but no shot, attacking 'King Pocky' Pocklington’s island where 'a stout resistance is expected to be made’.

Once the smoke had cleared, the invasion was followed by a ‘genteel cold collation’ for a lucky few guests invited to the island, fireworks and a grand ball at the assembly room at the Lodore hotel.

Pocklington's regattas were all about people pitching in to create a dramatic, and slightly chaotic, spectacle - it's that spirit of mayhem and madness that's inspired our re-incarnation of the event, so comme along and join in the fun.