A MAN who discovered a 48-year-old bar of Kendal Mint Cake in his loft believes it may be the oldest-surviving bar of the famous confectionery.
Peter Truelove, 68, of Windermere, bought the bar of Robert Wiper’s Original Mint Cake when he and a friend visited Kendal as 21-year-olds in 1964.
The pair were on a ‘boy’s adventure’ which took them from their homes in Kent to John O’Groats, the most northerly point on the Scottish mainland.
“We travelled the distance in an Austin 7 and it took us a week,” said Mr Truelove, of Hill Top. “The car only did 35mph at best and it was blizzard weather – the snow was coming into the car.
“We called at Kendal on the way back and we’d heard about the mint cake, so when we saw some we thought we’d buy a bar.”
Mr Truelove said he was not sure why he had kept the bar in a box in his loft.
“It was on a shelf as a memento of the trip but it’s been in the loft since we moved to Windermere 16 years ago,” he said. The bar is still in reasonable condition although some of the sugar is seeping through the wrapping.
Although the original Wipers recipe is still used, the company was sold to Romneys in 1987.
Managing director John Barron said: “We have been making it all these years and I don’t think we have any that old – it’s impressive.
“It wouldn’t do him any harm to eat it now but I don’t expect it would taste very nice.”
Mr Truelove said what was also interesting to discover was the journal he wrote while travelling, which documented the stop-off in Kendal. He said: “I had to record everything we spent because my friend and I were splitting the cost of the trip. It’s funny now to look back and see that someone offered to sell us a car engine and gear box for £2.50, and that 15 litres of petrol was 60p.
“Unfortunately, the price of the mint cake wasn’t included, although I did write that we’d visited and purchased it.”
TWO thirds of the red kites released in Grizedale Forest last summer have survived the harsh winter.
Wildlife rangers believe that around 20 of the 30 birds released in the Forestry Commission’s three-year re-introduction programme made it through the winter and are still in Cumbria, or nearby counties. Between five and eight of the birds are believed to be living around Grizedale and the Rusland Valley, with another three to five inhabiting the Kirkby Moor area near Ulverston.
Four more Grizedale red kites have been spotted by RSPB experts at feeding stations in Dumfries and Galloway – the furthest known movement is by the bird tagged as number four, which has flown 120km north west into Scotland.
“The birds are doing pretty much exactly as we expected, which is very encouraging,” said Iain Yoxall, Forestry Commission wildlife ranger. “We are more confident that these birds will make it to adults now they have made it through a harsh winter. Sadly we lost a few birds but that is natural and why we have to release the numbers that we did.”
The 30 red kites released from a secret location in Grizedale Forest in August last year had coloured tags on each wing. An orange tag on their left wing shows they are from Grizedale, and blue tags on their right wings indicate that they were released in 2010. Some birds were also fitted with radio transmitters to help with monitoring.
Mr Yoxall, who has been following the birds’ movements around Cumbria, said the help he has received from the public had been invaluable. “I have been radio tracking the birds but sightings from members of the public have been a fantastic help and greatly appreciated. This has been very important because it helps us find the birds and backs up our radio tracking results to give us a more robust picture of their movements. We hope that the public will continue letting us know when and where they make sightings of the red kites.”
This year’s birds will hatch in May and are likely to be released into Grizedale Forest in August. The red kites being introduced into Grizedale are the product of a reintroduction programme that took place in Northamptonshire in the 1980s.
Red kites were almost eradicated from the UK following changes in farming practices and human persecution between the 16th and 19th centuries. But they managed to cling on in Wales, and their numbers recovered slowly thanks to the actions of local conservationists