• Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

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New venue sparks nostalgia for hotel owner’s water speed records

Family members of a Lake District hotel group are recalling the daring water borne deeds of their great uncle and founding owner.

With the opening of Windermere Jetty on 23 March, English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues are celebrating the world water speed records of Norman Buckley MBE.

The great uncle of the group’s managing director Simon Berry, Mr Buckley purchased Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa in 1952 but is better known for securing no fewer than four world water speed records on Lake Windermere in the 1950s.

Mr Buckley launched several speed attempts from the lake shore in his own designed and built boats.  One of his record breaking speed boats, Miss Windermere IV, is currently kept at Windermere Jetty.  His first two world water speed records were achieved in Miss Windermere II and III, and he went on to secure two more on the lake in Miss Windermere IV and V.

In video footage from 1956, Donald Campbell is seen shaking hands with Mr Buckley as he departs in an attempt at the one hour world waterspeed record.  The record was held by German speedster Charles von Mayenburg who had covered over 64 miles in 60 minutes.

Mr Buckley, then a 48-year-old solicitor from Manchester, drove his boat at an average speed of over 79mph during his hour on the course.

English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues Managing Director Simon Berry says: “It’s a fantastic story to recall.  The record attempt was filmed by Donald Campbell, with great uncle Norman’s Jaguar engined boat Miss Windermere III running smoothly.

“Despite the wake of a passing leisure craft, he managed to cover 79.66 miles in the hour time trial, smashing the record by over 15 miles.  It’s amazing to consider that he achieved the feat in a boat he himself designed.”

Liz Moss, chief operating officer at Lakeland Arts and Windermere Jetty adds:  “There are so many great reasons for people to visit Windermere Jetty, and it’s historic ‘life on the lake’ stories like the feats of Mr Buckley in the 1950s and his links to Low Wood Bay.  They all help to fire the imagination of our visitors to the new museum.”

To find out more about Mr Buckley’s water speed feats, visit https://englishlakes.co.uk/about-english-lakes/history/

Mr Buckley was also the official timekeeper present at Donald Campbell’s fatal attempt to raise his own world water speed record in Bluebird on Coniston Water in 1967.  He was awarded the MBE for his endeavours in 1972 and passed away in 1974.

To find out more about English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues, visit englishlakes.co.uk