Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Fen Skating

I can't skate. It's something I've always wanted to be able to do, but having only ever had access to temporary Christmas rinks which are always massively crowded and expensive, I've never learnt. But this year, with the help from some friends who work at the "North Pole", Cambridge's temporary ice rink on Parker's Piece, I plan to at least learn to go and stop. The main driver for this is that I want to be able to enjoy one of the Fen's historic traditions: Fen skating. It has been popular in the area since the 19th century, and it sounds wonderful.

In the harsh winters we've recently had, areas of the Fen wetlands have been wet and cold enough to freeze over again, creating natural ice rinks. One of the most popular locations is at Welney, and there's another fen which is often skatable near Whittlesey. The Fenland Skating Centre allows people to hire skates for free at Welney, and keeps a website where the conditions at the various sites are updated daily during the winter. Maybe this winter we will make it out there and have a go!

Images from

There are some lovely videos on Youtube about skating in the Fens.

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1 comment:

  1. I don't know if you have seen it, but there is a good section on fen skating in the museum at St Ives.