Birkett race to be filmed by BBC

Date: Friday 6th July 2018

THE Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy race, Ullswater Yacht Club’s biggest event of the year, will feature in the 30th anniversary edition of the BBC’s Countryfile programme.

The renowned long distance event, which takes place this weekend, is being filmed as part of an Ullswater special for the popular Sunday night show. It will be screened on 22nd July, and the programme celebrates its 30th anniversary two days later.

Yesterday, presenter Steve Brown was at Glenridding trying out one of the sailing centre’s traditional boats and talking to six-time race winner Lester Noble and his crew Mark Simpson, who will be sailing from the club in a 49er to meet up with him. The camera crew will then be at the club today filming the Birkett preparations, the start and the finish.

Lester Noble, who races a high performance two-man Olympic class boat, the 49er, lives near Penrith and won the event a record six times between 2004 and 2010. This year he will be attempting a seventh win with Simpson, who also lives near Penrith.

The award-winning race was established in honour of Lord Norman Birkett who died two days after making a speech in the House of Lords which prevented Ullswater from becoming a reservoir. Every year since then, the club has held the prestigious two-day round-the-island race in his memory.

The event has become a “festival of sailing”, attracting around 1,000 visitors over the weekend and with an entry of 230 boats which race down the lake and back, making a spectacular sight for spectators. The race starts at 1pm today and 11am tomorrow.