Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday. August 19th, Keswick


We had lunch at a pub in Borrowdale today which has been the starting point for a kind of local footrace which has been going on since the 1850's.  It's called "Fell Racing", and you race from a spot in the valley to the top of a mountain and back, with checkpoints along the way.  This particular one has been going on for 40 years, is 17 miles in length, rises to an elevation of 7, 000 feet, and the winning time is usually about two hours, 45 minutes. This is race month, and there were plenty of diners who looked like they were here for outdoor hiking, running, and biking.

We began the day driving out to Workington and Cockermouth to continue our search for Fearon ancestors.  Both villages were the site of either births or deaths of great and great great grandparents, and we were looking for church graveyards.

Looking through graveyards for ancestors is not an exact science.  Just because a relative's entry on a census lists the town name doesn't mean they were buried there.  Sometimes the family takes them back to the birthplace, or the the burial is in the town closest to the children.  And since I really only have a narrow tree of Fearons with the 1800's in Cumbria, there could be cousins buried many decades later in the same cemeteries.  I've found that the oldest graves are usually closest to the church, but that they are also the most weathered and hard to read.

With no luck in the morning, we had begun to consider alternative destinations (ruins).  But then, we stumbled upon the Cockermouth Museum Group, just outside the All-Saints Church.   The Museum staff member, Eric Kass, gave me some helpful information and advice, including that the museum's website had many of the names of graves in several of the area's graveyards.  Also, he advised that a trip to Whitehaven on Monday would yield both the official records of births, deaths, and marriages, but also a collection of old maps which might clarify the census place locations.

With that great guidance, we decided to put off further family research today, and head for the Castlerigg Stone Circle on Rick Steeves' suggested 100-mile driving route southeast of Keswick.  It would take us to the ruin, a surprise view, the only remaining slate mine, and a gorgeous glacier-carved valley.   And I'm proud to say, we did it all on extremely narrow mountain roads without hitting anything.

Here is a link to the photos taken today: Sunday, August 19th, Keswick 

ps.  There was very ironic sighting.  In a small parking pull-off about half-way around the scenic drive, we saw a public notice on a tree.  It indicated that the National Trust (who run the parks) were applying for a permit to convert the "honor boxes" into pay and display machines.

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