Ivver Sen By Keith Richardson
The title is a direct reference to the many years that hill farming has existed in the Lake District since the early Norse settlers. Ivver Sen the book is about the people who have lived and worked the land over the years and those who cling on to their fell farming heritage to this day. The book tells the amazing story through Keith Richardson’s words and Keith Bowen’s pastel drawings.
The book tells the fascinating stories of real Lakeland people and their lives and times, including brother and sister Johnny and Betty Richardson who spent an idyllic childhood at Watendlath in the early 1930’s. It also goes on to tell the dramatic story of Blencathra huntsman Johnny who was captured at Tobruk in 1941 and escaped from German Prisoner of war camps in Italy to be pursued relentlessly by the Nazis across the Apennine mountain range. After being recaptured twice he eventually made good his escape with the help of an Italian family who gave him shelter and whom he revisited 40 years after the war.
Other characters featured in the book include the legendary fell runner and farmer Joss Naylor, Jean and Derrick Wilson, Dennis Monkhouse, Ronnie Cape, Barry Todhunter, Jonny Birkett, Skelt Robinson, Glenn Tubman, Victor Brownlee, Tommy Graves, Geordie Hutton and many others.
Every chapter tells a different story and provides a moving informative, entertaining and, at times, humorous account of the farming way of life in Lakeland. It is rich in nostalgia but also voices opinions on hill farming today.
In addition to Keith Bowen’s superb pastel drawings there are also evocative, previously unpolished, images from the past set against the brilliant modern day photography by Val Corbett of the timeless fells, lakes and rivers that provide the backcloth for the stories of a very special breed of people; a people who are fast disappearing from the land on which they have lived and worked down the centuries.
Ivver Sen is a Cumbrian dialect for ever since.