THE ORGANISERS of the Keswick to Barrow walk are excited for the return of the event on its traditional date.

This year is the first year since 2019 that the K2B and C2B will be held on its traditional date of the first weekend after the first Bank Holiday in May.

Due to storm damage in the winter caused by Storm Arwen and Storm Franklin the starting line has moved. This year the walk will start at Swirls and will follow a path on the slopes to the East of Thirlmere due to damage on West Thirlmere.

Apart from this change John McIntosh said the event will be ‘business as usual’.

Last year was the first time that the walk took place in September in its 55 year history, except when foot and mouth disease hit and they had to do a smaller event in the Autumn of 2001.

The idea of walking from Keswick to Barrow originated in 1966 as a result of a statement made by the late U.S. President, John F Kennedy, that “every American should be capable of walking 50 miles a day”.

In 1966 the first Royal Naval Polaris Submarine, HMS Resolution, was under construction at the Barrow Shipyard where several American experts were involved with the project. The idea of the walk was conceived, and plans were soon under way to organise it and build relationships between the submarine crew and the Shipyard workers. The initiative was taken by the Installation Manager (Submarines) to formally challenge the Commanding Officer of HMS Resolution to form a team and walk from Keswick to Barrow approximately 50 miles, on April 1, 1967.

Although not originally planned as an annual event, the walk gained popularity with the Furness people and soon became an important part of the calendar.

This first walk was intended to increase the social relations between the Royal Naval crews and the workers in the shipyard. As the walk is still going strong today thanks to the organisational skills of the companies originally involved, it must have been a success. Within just nine years,

the walk had grown from 86 participants in 1967 to 1,732 walkers in 1976, and people from across the UK were taking part.

In 1974, a team from HMS Vulcan travelled over 400 miles from Dounreay in the far north

of Scotland to take part in the walk and have been regulars ever since.

Nowadays it is common for around 2,500 walkers to start the K2B, and charity donations of over £350,000 are made in the autumn after each walk.

From 1967 to 2016, £3.75m has been donated, and more than 2.5 million miles have been walked.

This year around 2,300 to 2,500 people are due to take part but K2B organisers are expected numbers to be lower this year due to the previous event being held six months ago.