The Duchess of Cambridge experiencing the ‘Swallows and Amazons’ life style in Cymbria

The Duchess of Cambridge cooking on a campfire in Cumbria
The Duchess of Cambridge cooking on a campfire in Cumbria

The Duchess of Cambridge showed she was fully prepared when she braved the snowy weather to visit a Scout camp in the Lake District today.” (22nd March 2013)

“Her Royal Highness, who is a volunteer in the Scout Association, joined fellow adult volunteers as they trained to work with Beaver and Cub Scouts at the Great Tower Scout Camp near Newby Bridge in Cumbria.

She used her training to help look after a group of Cub Scouts from Cumbria and Manchester taking part in a pack holiday event at the 250-acre activity centre close to Lake Windermere.

As part of their programme, the Cub Scouts will get a chance to try outdoor cooking, fire-lighting and tree-climbing under the guidance of The Duchess and the other volunteers.”

To read more, visit

According to Claudia Joseph’s biography of Kate ‘Princess in Waiting’, the Duchess is distantly related both to Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome. The link is explained by the Daily Mail here

My mother, Daphne Neville wearing a Donny Osmond hat in 1973 on location for SWALLOWS & AMAZONS
My mother, Daphne Neville wearing a Donny Osmond hat in 1973 on location in the Lake District  filming Richard Pilbrow’s movie  SWALLOWS & AMAZONS

The Duchess is obviously fond of Donny Osmond hats. My mother wore one on location in the Lake District whilst filming SWALLOWS & AMAZONS  (1974) . She can be seen here teaching Lesley Bennett, who played Peggy Blackett, to shoot with a bow and arrow for the scene on Wild Cat Island when the Amazons attack the Swallows who are occupying their camp.

Claude Whatham in Mum's hat with Brenda Bruce
Claude Whatham in Mum’s hat with Brenda Bruce

Our Director, Claude Whatham took a shine to it and would put it on to amuse us, although in this instance he was wearing it for warmth, probably like the Duchess on Friday. Click on the photo above to see me wearing the original purple velvet, 1973 winter season designer version, bought in Carnaby Street. I wear it all the time. It is very useful in this weather.

Peter Walker has found more photos of the Duchess in Cumbria in the Westmorland Gazette ~ she was visiting a scout camp next door to Low Ludderburn where Arthur Ransome wrote ‘Swallows and Amazons’ about a mile above Blakeholme, the island on Windermere he originally envisaged as Wild Cat Island.

Is the Duchess a ‘Swallows and Amazons’ fan?

Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

16 thoughts on “The Duchess of Cambridge experiencing the ‘Swallows and Amazons’ life style in Cymbria”

  1. Thank you Peter!
    The story is on the front page of the Telegraph ~ but we managed to get there first. I sent my Facebook link to the Westmorland they know the Duchess is vaguely related to both Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome?

    1. … and that Low Ludderburn, where the Ransome’s lived, is the next property up the road from the Great Tower Scout Camp!
      Low Ludderburn barn, Cartmel Fell

        1. Great Tower is just over a mile north of Blakeholme but the island would be obscured by the hillside of Moor How. The road junction to the Scout Camp is directly opposite Silver Holme, Ransome’s Cormorant Island, but that too is usually obscured by trees.
          This recent photo I took from Gummers How looking north gives you the lie of the land :
          Windermere from Gummers How

  2. Great Tower is a fabulous place for a scout camp. It’s good that the Duchess was helping to raise the profile a such activities in these days of computer games, etc.

          1. You are planting seeds of an idea in my mind. Should I start thinking of drafting some more requests, perhaps!

              1. That’s a very good point. It would be good if the two things could be combined perhaps, in some way. It needs some careful thought.

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