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Saturday 30 August 2014

Stone skimmers compete for title

Published 17/08/2013 | 20:27

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Current world record holder Ron Long competes during the Stone Skimming Championships in Cumbria
A young child dances in puddles during the Stone Skimming Championships in Cumbria
A competitor in action during the Stone Skimming Championships

The national stone skimming championships have taken place in quintessential English summer weather.

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Around 130 hardy souls braved day-long torrential downpours aiming for the glory of the title - and free National Trust membership.

The 2013 All England Open Stone Skimming Championships was organised by South Cumbria Rivers Trust as a fundraising event at Fell Foot Park on National Trust property near Windermere in Cumbria.

This year's event marks the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters raid which saw 617 squadron take to the air in 19 Lancaster Bombers, loaded with the revolutionary bouncing bomb that would ultimately destroy the great dams and damage the industrial heart of Hitler's Germany.

Barnes Wallace only conceived the idea of the Bouncing Bomb in March 1942, based on the 'ducks and drakes' game - another name for stone skimming - that he used to play with his family. It is said he could achieve nine to eleven hops over the water.

Instead of death and destruction in Nazi Germany, today's event saw men, women and children of all ages attempting record distances for their efforts.

Skimmers had to bounce a stone on the water at least three times without it going out of a designated lane, with the winner recording the longest distance.

Husband and wife Kevin and Amanda Waltham, from Newcastle, were crowned champions in the open age section.

Mr Waltham's skim reached 77 metres and Mrs Waltham shared joint top in the women's section with Natalie Chappals, with a skim of 17 metres.

Charmin Menzies showed girls can throw, winning the 11s to 16s section with a skim of 25 metres, and the under 11's crown went to a prodigious skim of 41 metres by George Low - a skimming legend in the making.

The event is part of an effort by the National Trust to reconnect youngsters to nature after research showed children were becoming less engaged with having fun in the great outdoors.

Michelle Jordan from the National Trust said: "Today's event was a triumph of human enthusiasm over bad weather."

Press Association

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