Furness Branch Striking Competition 2014

Name of walk Furness Branch Striking Competition 2014
Date of walk 2014-08-15

On Friday night the Dalton St. Mary’s bell ringers headed for Holy Trinity Church at Brathay, near Ambleside, to take part in the annual Furness Branch Six Bell Striking Competition.


Holy Trinity Church, Brathay, was built in 1836 and is a Grade 2 listed building. The hilltop site for the church was recommended by William Wordsworth who, when describing it in a letter in 1836, said "there is no situation out of the Alps, nor among them, more beautiful than that where this building is placed". He probably thought it would be a great place for a 'Bell Striking Competition' too! The church is in the middle of nowhere we can be a noisy as we like! Because of the rugged and limited area at the top of the hill the church had to be orientated north/south instead of east/west.


The ringers were entertained in the newly restored Sunday School, which has great facilities, just at the bottom of the hill.


We were drawn to ring third, but some of the two Kendal teams were late arriving, so we were up first. Entry to the ringing room is via a long ladder through a trap door.


Clive the timekeeper was the only other person allowed in the ringing room apart from the team. Each team were allowed 5 minutes to get used to the bells and to have a quick practice of the start of their ringing method. Then each team has to ring at least 120 changes. Clive used Owen's camera to take a photo of each team before they rang. The two judges, from out of the area, sat in a car outside the church, oblivious to which team were ringing. They also recorded each team to give them better judging accuracy.


Our Dalton St. Mary's Team. In bell order: Carl Hallows on the treble, Rachel Hallows, Andy Pollock (A late replacement for Andy Painter, who had unfortunately broken his arm just days before. As well as being Barrow's Tower Captain, Andy Pollock, is also a regular service and practice ringer at Dalton too.), Jacqueline Preston, Owen Osmotherley, and me on the tenor. We rang a touch of Grandsire Doubles, with Owen as the conductor.


Kendal 1


Kendal 2


Kendal 3.......oopps, I mean Milnthorpe.


Bowness 1


Bowness 2


Our Dalton team post ringing, extremely relieved at having got it over with, and without any major cock-ups! We discovered at the end that we had the second fastest ringing speed. Which was amusing because Dalton, St Mary's ringers are renowned for their very s-l-o-w ringing. Just don't tell Stan, our Tower Captain, who was away on holiday, as he would have kittens at this revelation!


Now that we had completed our ringing we could relax and enjoy the food and drink on offer. Anne and Keith had done an excellent job.


Anne and Keith in the kitchen. Now that is what I call a window!


While other teams were ringing in the church the rest of us tackled the quiz.



At the end of the evening the judges gave their pronouncements and a gentle critique of each team. Kendal 1 won, but then their team contains both Hilary the Branch Master, and Kevin, the Branch Training Officer, so the result was not unexpected! They both rang in three different teams, now that's being a bit too keen to win! We even had to double check the photos to see that they hadn't infiltrated our team too! Dalton St. Mary's came a respectable third, after Milnthorpe, (aka Kendal 3), which meant we actually beat Kendal 2, containing the Branch Master and the Training Officer! Go Dalton! We nearly won the quiz! But got 58 to Kendal's (boo-hiss) 60.....so close!


Owen took a timed group photo at the end, some ringers had had to leave early so are missing.

We had an excellent evening, in a wonderful setting for a summer’s evening, with very good company, and some great banter. Thanks to Anne and Keith Hackney for their organisational skills, and thanks to Owen Osmotherley for allowing me to use some of his photos.