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.

On Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 July 2018, 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 what we like to call Cumbria's quirkiest regatta.

All water activity sessions are provided by local outdoor providers and will include canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, sailing dinghies, a catamaran and a Viking longboat.

Qualified instructors provide all the kit and knowledge you need
people listen to a qualified instructor
Qualified instructors provide all the kit and knowledge you need
How to book a watersport taster session

Our friends at PlattyPlus, Derwent Water Marina and Calvert Trust are taking bookings direct for the water activities they're providing.

For more information on the water activities available please download this PDF

What you can 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 fun things to do to spend time together outdoors finding out more about nature. There are free sports and games to play including badminton, volleyball, frisbee golf and strider-bike races.

Plenty of free activities on the field for all ages
small child racing balance bike
Plenty of free activities on the field for all ages

There’s also a 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.

It's not a stand-around-politely-clapping kind of thing
Costumed re-enactor bends away from firing cannon
It's not a stand-around-politely-clapping kind of thing

Bar and BBQ from our friends at Sticklebarn

The lovely people from the National Trust pub in Langdale, Sticklebarn, are opening a bar from 12 noon - 7pm on Saturday and 12 noon - 4pm on Sunday, as well as a BBQ throughout the weekend, lighting the campfire and providing live acoustic music.

Watch the evening light turn the lake to gold while you relax after the day's excitement.

Every penny spent in the bar helps us in #lookingafterthelakes!
pop up bar in a yurt with real ales
Every penny spent in the bar helps us in #lookingafterthelakes!
Try open water swimming and trail running

The sporting fun doesn't stop at the lake's edge - thanks to our friends at High Terrain, you can compete in the 5k, 13k and 21k Borrowdale Trail Runs, and the Scafell Pike Mountain Marathon as part of the regatta.  Visit their website to find out more.

Epic Swims in Derwent Water

And if messing about on the water isn't enough fun, you can put your swimming skills to the test our friends at Epic Swim. There are the traditional swim distances of 1mile and 3.8km, and also if you've never tried open water swimming before, there's a 500m race where you can (literally) test the water and see if open water swimming is for you. Visit their website to register

" It's the freedom of open water swimming that I love. You can lie on your back in the middle of the lake and you're surrounded by mountains. You can't get that in a pool."
- Jo McWilliams, Epic Events
Try out open water swimming at Derwent Water Regatta
a swimmer in wetsuit waves to the crowd, other swimmers in background
Try out open water swimming at Derwent Water Regatta

 

 

An event with historic roots
The regatta's quirkiness dates right back to 1781
a volunteer in 18th century clothing
The regatta's quirkiness dates right back to 1781

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, and running races with a prize of new clothes for the winner.

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.

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