Date Posted: 26th November 2014

The bridge at Allonby  Percy Kelly 1970
Allonby looking north Percy Kelly lithograph 1964

It’s a year since the 6 Percy Kelly trails along the west Cumbrian coast were launched. Mainly selling in the Cumbrian  galleries and on line they are proving very popular. Of the 2000 boxes printed there are now just 200 left. So there are potentially 1800 people walking around the coastal towns and villages being guided by Percy’s paintings and drawings although I suspect that some have been purchased simply for the interest in his work – the buyers doing a virtual walk from their armchairs.
However I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from locals and visitors from all over the UK as well as France, Italy America and even New Zealand. Lots of new discoveries have been added as people have explored and chatted to friendly locals. The majority of Trailers made a special journey to do one or more trails while others discovered them (and Percy) while on holiday in Cumbria. A few of them have been given as a surprise gift resulting in a visit (see footnote).* Other people were visiting family and friends in the area or returning for a family occasion.  A visitor from France walked the Parton trail from Whitehaven after a family funeral and found it uplifting particularly sitting on 'PK’s bench' on the cliff top below Bransty looking out to sea.  The feedback has been interesting and helpful. Most people feel that Percy’s paintings and drawings have changed their perception of the area.  
I received an e mail yesterday from Bernadette who had never been to West Cumbria before.  She had picked up books about PK in Grasmere on a previous visit and, like so many of us, became hooked on Kelly. Last weekend she and her husband came over from York where she is doing an access course in Creative Art.  She is happy for me to quote from her e mail.

Just thought I would let you know that we had a fabulous enlightening weekend following the Kelly trails.  They really are a brilliant idea.
On Saturday morning, after a lovely walk along the beach with a delicate pink sunrise we started on the Allonby trail.  I took lots of pics of Glen Cottage and the view to the bridge etc. 
There must be some history in the Reading Rooms, now converted into a private home which we peered into at night.  Our accommodation at Dickinson Place just across the road from there was superb and the owners showed us a PK painting of Maryport Harbour.
After Allonby we went to Whitehaven Harbour which was quite a surprise.  I expected it to be run down but it was beautiful and the weather was great.  I took some lovely photos (a hobby for both of us) and we walked miles!
We popped into the Ship Inn back in Allonby and everyone (ie staff as it was empty otherwise) was so friendly and interested in why we were there.
I was looking forward to Sunday and we set off for Workington and found Percy's house.  I expected it to be a little like the terraced houses in Manchester where my grandparents lived but it was actually bigger and the roads wider.  There was a little craft organisation on Corporation Road and I called in to buy some felt.  There was a lovely decoupage workshop going on and a really busy atmosphere with families working on kitchen chairs etc.  They asked where I came from and after explaining they wanted to look at my trail booklet as they hadn't heard of Percy!  One of the girls called her "Mam" over to have a look and it was interesting to see her eyes light up and she recognised nearly every painting although she said they are not like normal pictures are they?  I thought that it was amazing that she recognised, even the quite abstract ones immediately.
We then drove into Maryport  for lunch, did the trail and the sunset was incredible.
Hope to see you again sometime.  I have attached a couple of pics for you to see.
Bernadette x

*The box of trails makes a good stocking filler at £12. You can buy one (or more!) at Castlegate House, most of the other Cumbrian galleries and at Bookends in Keswick and Carlisle as well as on line.
If you would like us to post one off to someone gift wrapped with a PK card and personal message from you then order it here on and put the recipient’s name, address and your message in the notes (or send the details  to me in a separate e mail