British Stone Skimming Championships make a splash in Bishop’s Castle - in pictures
More than 1,100 stones, 600 people, 170 competitors – and three records magnificently broken.
The British Stone Skimming Championships in Bishop’s Castle saw competitors leave no stone unturned in their quest for glory.
People of all ages took to the banks of Walcot Hall Lakes on Sunday to test their skimming talents.
Three of the national competition’s previous records were broken, and there was even an appearance from the Guinness World Record holder for the longest throw, Dougie Isaacs.
Organiser Heather Ashton said competitors had enjoyed a fun atmosphere on a day of sunshine.
She said: “The main buzz of the day for us really was the fact that the chap who holds the Guinness World Record came along for the first time – Scotsman Dougie Isaacs, who has a record of 121.8m.
“We thought it was magical that he had shown up at our competition. He was a lovely man. He promptly took the lead on the day with 104 metres.
“However, Alex Lewis, our previous record holder actually threw 111 metres on Sunday so beat Isaac on the day – as well as his own previous record. That was quite special. Alex is from Scotland as well.
"A Shropshire lad, Garry Bailey from Shrewsbury, came third with 81 metres which was great.”
It was also a winning day for the under 12s competitions, as Sam Smith, 11, from Sedgley broke the existing record for the boys with a 47-metre throw.
However, the girls also shone as 11-year-old Cari Jones, from Machynlleth, broke the girls under 12s record with a 44-metre skim.
Heather said: “The Guinness World Record for the adult women’s competition is 52.5 metres so she really wasn’t far off for an 11 year-old. It was the first time Cari had ever taken part in any kind of stone skimming competition.
“It was a really great day for the girls as we don’t normally get as many girls taking part as we do boys and it was great to see.
“We don’t always want to harp on about the big winners, because the day is just as much about the person who can’t even make the stone bounce three times than it is about the record breakers. It’s about everybody having a go – we want to make everybody feel welcome.”
On the day, they have competitors as young as two years old trying their luck at stone skimming. People taking part can have unlimited attempts at throwing, with the stones being supplied by the competition.
Heather explained that every year they hand-pick about 1,500 stones for use in the competition.
She said: “We get our stones from Clive Richards’ Mid Wales Stones. He donates them free of charge. We try to pick different sizes.
“There is no perfect stone – we just try to get any stones that look like they would be good ‘skimmers’. They have all got to be British stones and all natural.
“They can’t have been tampered with. In past years, we’ve had people paint the bottoms of stones to try and make them more streamlined, but we check people’s stones if they bring their own. We are a British competition so they must be British stones.”
The day isn’t just about stone skimming. Other games include table top curling, how many stones can you hold in one hand, stone balancing and pebble golf.
Heather said: “They all make the day more fun for people who don’t want to take part in the bigger competitions but still want to enjoy a fun family day out.”
“I think a lot of people get into the sport because, like me, if they are by water and see a stone they can’t help but have a go chucking it in.”
“People just take it up when they are younger and on holidays, and then they realise there are competitions and think it’s something different to take part in.”