Golden Goat

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In cold March weather, the anniversary herd of Mountain Goats passes through Kirkstone Pass. JONATHAN WELCH









Jonathan Welch took a trip back in time to mark the 50th anniversary of The Mountain Goat’s first journey through the Lake District

It was a Friday. A Good Friday, in fact. That wet Friday back in 1972 turned out to be good in more ways than one for a small minibus operator in the Lake District. The company that grew to become The Mountain Goat ran it’s first trip on 31 March that year, starting it out on a journey that would see it grow and expand way beyond what founder Chris Taylor could have imagined.

On Thursday 31 March 2022, The Mountain Goat held a special event to mark its 50th anniversary, taking assembled guests on a trip through the Kirkstone Pass to Glenridding, recreating the very first trip in 1972. After a reception aboard fellow local tourism business Windermere Lake Cruises’ newest vessel, the trip through Kirkstone Pass took guests to a waiting boat on Ullswater, belonging to another partner, Ullswater ‘Steamers’, where toasts were made, accompanied by cake and champagne. A full year long programme of events is also planned to mark its half century years of guiding tourists around the area’s most spectacular scenery.

Initially called The Lake District Minibus Company, the company was launched to operate services to link communities left isolated by cuts in local bus routes. Recently returned from Australia, Chris, along with William Hudson, applied to operate the service five times a day between Bowness and Glenridding from Easter to the end of October. The services linked in with the departure times of the Ullswater steamer, creating an integrated ‘Boat ‘n’ Goat’ service. The plan was to extend services, and during the same year services linking Hawkshead, Grizedale, and Lakeside appeared. However besides serving local needs it soon became apparent to Chris that there was a market to be tapped carrying tourists around the area.

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