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.”
A LAKE District boat is to join a thousand-strong fleet sailing in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee procession on the Thames this summer.
One of Windermere’s well-worn wooden tourist vessels has been selected by Royal organisers to take part in the event – the largest flotilla in modern times.
More than two million people are expected to watch from the embankments of the Thames as the seven-mile procession steers through London waters.
Cumbria’s own aptly-named participant, The Queen of the Lake, owned by Windermere Lake Cruises, is currently being repainted and refurbished for the spectacular, on Sunday, June 3.
The flotilla will be led by Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the Royal family aboard a barge called The Spirit of Chartwell.
It will sail under 14 bridges, alongside groups of narrow boats, historic vessels including World War Two ships from the Dunkirk beaches and replica Tudor ships.
Managing director of Windermere Lake Cruises Nigel Wilkinson said: “We are delighted Cumbria will be represented at such a high-profile, patriotic event which will inevitably strike a cord with the whole country as we celebrate her Majesty the Queen and her 60-year reign together.
“We hope to be able to involve the wider Cumbria community in this project and to give some younger Cumbrians a day out that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Boat building manager Alex Williamson and operations manager Russell Bowden will lead the team south for the patriotic event.
Windermere skipper Ron Walker will captain the boat on the day itself.
The 15-metre tourist boat, built in 1949, will be hoisted out of the water at Ambleside and driven almost 300 miles by lorry before it is launched on the Thames.
It is a reversal of the ship’s initial northern voyage, 60 years ago, when she was transported to Windermere from the Thames-side town of Molsey, where she was built.
It is not the first time the Queen of the Lake has been given a Royal mark of approval. In March 2010 it carried the Prince of Wales when he visited the Lake District.