Saturday 18th August 2018 ko 14.30
Westmorland League- Division One
KESWICK 2 (Atkinson 32 Hindmarsh 40)
I suspect that in the end this blog will be about places like this. I could document all those grounds from the Premier League to Step 6 and while there are some amazing places amongst those, I’d hit the publish button without ever feeling I’d shared something new. But trips to the Westmorland League are by definition off the beaten track, and after all, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Lake District can you?
If you arrived in Keswick without any research at all you’d assume the town grew up around tourism in Victorian times. The place retains that genteel feel, and the only real clue as to Keswick’s original background is the Keswick Pencil Museum.
The town grew up around the mining of iron and copper ore, then latterly the mining of graphite- the lead in pencils. Now I know the idea of a museum dedicated to the humble pencil doesn’t exactly inspire, but I promise you it’s far more interesting than it appears! It also does have the advantage of being close to Fitz Park.
The park owes much to the Victorian period when much of the shrubbery and walkways were laid out. The park is split in two, with football and cricket played adjacent to each other in Lower Fitz Park. One tip though concerns the car parking, its split in two with one half being owned by the local council and the other by Keswick FC. Since both cost the same, £3 for a day, I know which one I’d prefer to use.
The ground at Lower Fitz Park is a massive surprise. The Westmorland League is the league of the Lake District, it’s off-pyramid, and for the most part my enjoyment of it has been based around it’s people and the scenery. Lower Fitz Park has all of that, but so much more. This is no village sports field, the clubhouse is a bone fide cafe and when there’s no football being played, the cafe serves the various walkers and holidaymakers visiting Keswick. At times I did feel a little out-of-place as I wasn’t wearing Berghaus!
It was an afternoon to enjoy everything Keswick FC had to offer. The food and drink was excellent, the welcome fulsome, and it’s clear they’ll challenge for honours this season. Kirkoswald fought gamely but it was only a mixture of wonderful goalkeeping and some profligate finishing that saved the visitors from a real thumping.
But as ever with a small club doing wonderful things in its community, I won’t remember Keswick FC for just the football. At the end of my afternoon there, Robyn and I departed bound for a speedway meeting in Workington, utterly satisfied with our time here.