All England Stone Skimming Championships at Fell Foot
One of the quirkiest championships in English sport takes place on Lake Windermere on Saturday August 17, when the All England Open Stone Skimming Championships make a splash on England’s biggest lake.
The beauty of the All England Stone Skimming championships is that absolutely anyone can enter. There are separate competitions for men, women, under 11s and 11-16 years, as well as a team competition ideal for families, groups of friends, or colleagues.
This popular event at Fell Foot is the country’s official championship, so the winners’ names enter the official record books. You can literally leave the office on a Friday and return as an English sporting champion on a Monday!
The rules: make sure your stone skims across the water at least three times, keeping within a lane. Each entrant receives three stones to skim. After that, it's all about the distance...
Elite skimmers return to Fell Foot year after year to record impressive distances, but even the greatest stone skimmers can have an off day. We've seen this plenty of times in the past, with complete unknowns arriving and upsetting the apple cart, by being crowned All England Open Stone Skimming Champion.
Entry for each adult stone skimmer is £3, with proceeds going to South Cumbria Rivers Trust, which runs the championships to raise money for vital conservation work in and around the rivers of the South Lakes.
Overseeing the contest, as usual, will be Julius Barratt, a trustee of the South Cumbria Rivers Trust. He will be approaching this year’s competition with a fresh pair of eyes, having been asked to officiate at the first ever Guinness World Record distance-based stone skim, as a Deputy Chief Steward. The GWR attempt took place in Wales and the very first record was set by Dougie Isaacs, who skimmed a distance of 107.4 metres – one far beyond anything seen on Windermere thus far.
Julius Barratt says: “Cometh the stone skimming, cometh the man. Something happens when people get a stone in their hand and see an expanse of water ahead of them and it is a truly addictive pastime, as well as sport.
“The great thing about the championships is that literally anyone can win and we’re holding out for a new hero this year. Although there are a set of contestants who take it quite seriously, there are hidden stars in our midst – men and women who learned to skim as kids and are really very good at it. We also see some exceptionally good children, who have learned the art of skimming from their parents, which is a wonderful thing to see. Stone skimming is very much about the family and it is a charming thing to do with the kids, whilst unwinding by the sea, by a river, or especially on a calm and even lake. Anyone who has a go will soon find why it is a pastime rooted in the hearts of very many people.”
The All England Open Stone Skimming Championships will run from 11am to 5pm on Saturday August 17 at the National Trust Fell Foot, at the foot of Windermere near Newby Bridge. Contestants can turn up and register on the day, so get practising your skimming and see if you can take home a prize.