In most Cumbrian villages you can find individuals renowned for their personality and talent.
Bassenthwaite is no exception and it is with sadness that the village records the passing of one whose unique character and achievements made a lasting impression on those who knew him.
Iain Allinson passed away, aged 73, in Keswick Hospital on Friday after a short struggle with cancer.
He leaves behind his sister Ann, son Dan, daughter Julie and grandchildren Sophie, Samuel and Scarlett.
Iain was, as Cumbrians put it, an offcomer, originally from Wallasey. He settled in Basingstoke while his children grew up and for years visited the Lakes in his love of fell tops and rock climbs.
Eventually, as he reluctantly gave up his climbing exploits in the Alps and husky-racing in Canada, it made sense to have a permanent base, so in 2010 he bought a holiday lodge at High Close in Bassenthwaite.
Over the next 10 years, he spent more and more time in the village and was a familiar figure at the Sun Inn where he always had a story to tell and at local events where he displayed his intricately ornamented walking sticks and animal carvings.
These though were the minor signs of his talent.
At various times, he made long-bows by authentic methods of laminating hard and soft woods for strength and flexibility. His most spectacular achievement was constructing a Saxon coracle which he launched on Bassenthwaite Lake on New Year’s Day 2018, dressed for the part in an outfit made from animal skins.
Iain’s enthusiasms endeared him to many and sometimes, knowingly, touched on controversial matters.
He supported re-wilding parts of Cumbria, justifying the introduction of the lynx as an animal that predated the over-populating wild deer, not sheep, and he looked with approval on the introduction of beavers, eagles and wolves elsewhere.
He was an enthusiastic, if not accomplished folk musician, and would join in various events with his collection of harmonicas.
For someone who left school early, and without formal qualifications, he was remarkably knowledgeable in a range of subjects, particularly Anglo-Saxon history.
This resulted in his making of a splendidly ornate replica of a Saxon sword for a friend’s birthday.
His interest in local geology led him to predict that a local beck may have traces of gold in it, so for weeks Iain could be seen in prospector mode, using a complex trap with layers of filters to trap minute fragments of the precious substance.
He will be sorely missed by family, locals and many friends who are regular visitors to the village. Funeral arrangements to be announced.