Saturday, October 28, 2023

Winter Droving 2023

Penrith, Cumbria. Saturday 28-October-2023.

Winter Droving was one of the reasons we ended up living in Penrith. This is our seventh however we nearly missed it this year because it was our 30th wedding anniversary on the following Monday. Our celebration plan was interrailing for seniors: an extended railway trip from southern Italy back to the UK. The logistical challenge was where to spend our actual anniversary. 

Early plans included at night at the opera at La Scala in Milan, possibly the traditional romantic destination of Paris for a weekend, or ending up in London for a Michelin starred meal. However we realised that many class restaurants close on a Monday and we would struggle to find somewhere for a nice meal wherever we were. Another consideration was the challenge of having to cart posh clothes, shoes, etc. around Europe for three weeks. So we decided to come back for Winter Droving and had the inspiration to hire a private chef for a meal at home and a chance to drink some class wine from our cellar.

We invited my best man and wife, Pete and Amanda, plus Mary's sister and brother-in-law, Sandra and George, to stay for a long weekend to enjoy the festivities. Mary's Matron of Honour and husband were invited but unfortunately not able to make it.

Eden Arts are the brains behind this event and once again have done a great job. The event was up to it's usual standard. 

Mary, Sandra and I did Penrith parkrun at 9:00 then back for a shower and out into the streets where we wandered around looking at the various stalls, a mixture of arts, crafts and edibles. There were lots of street entertainers to keep us amused.

Drum Nation were excellent - Brazilian rhythms with African beats. We stayed and watched them for some time.

Stilt walker by the Musgrave monument.

Lunch was street food. Lots to choose from but unfortunately one of our favourites, the Jamaican stall, was not there this year. I went to Hallsford farm produce whose wares I have eaten in previous years. A generous helping of lamb merguez in a bun with chilly jam. Delicious!

After lunch it was a case of wandering from stage to stage having a bit of a listen to various bands.

The Drovers Cup is always on our watch list, the highlight is the egg throwing competition but the tug of war was fun as well.

As usual there is a giant lantern parade in the evening; parade participants getting ready.

The streets were so packed we could not get out of the pub so we watched the parade from the comfort of Fell Bar.

Fire twirling as it got dark.

We had wisely booked ahead for a meal in Grant's of Castlegate for an excellent post parade supper. We may well have gone back to Fell Bar afterwards for a nightcap but the memory gets a bit hazy.

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