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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Welsh 70-year-old stone skimmer regains English title in Cumbria

SOME competitors saw their stones soar into the distance while others watched in despair as they quite literally flopped at the All England Stone Skimming Championships held in Cumbria at the weekend.

Hundreds gathered at Fell Foot Park on the shores of Windermere on Saturday to take part in one of the most prestigious stone skimming competitions held in Britain.

About 200 Cumbrians and visitors tried their hand at the sport at the South Cumbria Rivers Trust-organised event.

First-time competitors were pitched against expert skimmers in the open competition, enjoying mixed results.

The contest required participants to throw a stone as far as possible. However, the rules state a stone must skim across the water at least three times within a designated lane. Judges lined the shore to mark how far each stone glided before sinking.

A throw of 70 metres was enough to earn Welshman Ron Long his fourth All England title in the men’s competition, beating last year’s champion Kevin Waltham.

Seventy-year-old Mr Long said he was determined to reclaim his title. He said: “I was narrowly beaten last year so I had to come back to re-establish my title.

“It is a friendly competition but a number of serious competitors turn up every year.

“Between the top skimmers, there’s always good humour. It is one of the few sports where there’s little partisanship or envy. I would have been happy if someone unknown turned up and won. It’s a sport for all the ages.”

Families travelled to the Cumbria beauty spot to try out the sport, with some children proving to have a hidden talent.

The fun event, which also included tree climbing and a barbecue, was put on to raise money for conservation work.

The results:

Men
• 1st Ron Long - 70m
• 2nd Kevin Waltham - 69m
• 3rd Andrew Home - 57m

Women
• 1st Barbara Maher - 34m
• 2nd Hayley Banks - 24m
• 3rd Barbara Waltham - 18m

Aged 11 to 16
• 1st (shared) Ben Nakhle-Edwards and Cian Menzies - 58m
• 3rd Mike Athersmith - 56m

Under 11s
• 1st (shared) Oliver Andrew and Jacob Ward-Haslebow - 28m
• 3rd Caleb Harniess 24m (79ft)

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