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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Keswick to Barrow 2012 - Talked into K2B over a few pints

IT was over a few beers that John Stevens first agreed to walk the Keswick to Barrow.

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NO SURRENDER: John Stevens with his medal for completing this year’s walk

That was in 1982, and he’s completed the challenge every year since.

Accordingly he was made a Knight of The Fellowship of the Ancient Order of Barking Dogs at last night’s awards ceremony.

Recalling that portentous day, when his commitment for the next two decades would be decided, John says: “It was when the ale was flowing. In other words, he conned me into it,” referring to his friend and fellow walker, John Falconer, who has walked over 35 times.

Together the two Johns are the Five Star Plodders.

“We generally go out for a short walk after Christmas and then go out once a week from there,” he says.

Highs and lows can be determined by the weather, says John.

“Once we were hit by a thunderstorm, right at the top of Pennington, which was really frightening,” he recalls.

“Several years we’ve had hail.”

“If it’s extreme weather people get chilled through and they can’t carry on.”

Having achieved the phenomenal feat of completing the K2B 20 times, John thinks he might lower his sights next year and do half the distance, the Coniston to Barrow.

But he has been successful in encouraging others to follow in his footsteps and complete the K2B, including his daughters.

“It’s a good atmosphere,” says the 75-year-old, of Dalton.

“It’s very busy at the start and you just want to get on with the walk.

“On the walk you tend to chat to people. You’ve no idea who they are, you just chat because they’re doing the same walk.”

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