News from Roy Henderson for May 2014

  • Mountain Festival

    15:23 24 May 2014
    By Roy Henderson

    It’s great to be able to report that all the hard work preparing for last weekend’s Keswick Mountain Festival paid dividends.  Huge numbers of people visited and took part in the many activities that were on offer. 

    The superb site of the Festival village was Crow Park on the shore of Derwentwater. The Trust’s stand just inside the entrance to the village was ideal and we had lots of children visiting and participating in ...

    ... making mud pies,

    building dens 

    and climbing trees. 

    These are from the 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾  listIt also meant that we had lots of opportunities to talk to people about the work that the Trust carries out in the mountains and valleys. 

    All the staff and volunteers from the Trust enjoyed the event and it seemed to be the same for the visitors.  During the day there was a really good atmosphere around the field and you couldn’t wish for a better setting for the evening music events.  Even the weather behaved well!

    Daisy here:

    The aerial ropeway made a scary noise when people were sliding down it.  I didn’t like it at all.  But the field was great.  Loads of people to say ‘Hello’ to – great fun.

    I’m going on my first proper training day to be a search dog this weekend.  I’m so excited.
  • A festival of the outdoors.

    10:13 15 May 2014
    By Roy Henderson

    It’s been a busy time this last week as we finalise preparations for the Trust’s part in the Keswick Mountain Festival.  This takes place from May 16th to May 18th and there will be lots to do for all age groups.  The best place to start a Festival visit is at the Festival Village on Crow Park opposite Theatre by the Lake.  Entry to the Village is free between 10 am and 6 pm and you will be able to find the Trust easily because we are just inside the main entrance. 

    I spent 3 days recently outside the Trust shop distributing 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4scrapbooks and pointing people in the right direction for a trail we had set out. You could also build a den, explore inside a tree, hunt for bugs, go bare-foot walking, skim a stone, create wild art and climb a tree. It seems from the huge number of conversations I had that many people are planning to join in with some of what is on offer at the Festival.  It was a Bank Holiday weekend and very busy and I have to admit that I was shattered after my days outside the shop.

    I’ve also been working with volunteers to set out seven more Geocaches on the summits surrounding Borrowdale.  There were already some in place but we wanted to fill in the gaps so that people can enjoy a complete sky-line route around the valley peaks.  This will be a hard challenge for the fit and active.

    For family groups with a variety of ages, fitness and interests, there will also be plenty to do.  On Crow Park you will be able to take part in some more of the 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4 activities.  We've chosen to do building a den, making mud pies, navigation with a map and compass, and climbing a tree.   There are lots more things on the list and, although the Trust does lead some activities at events like the Festival, you can just check the list and go off yourselves at any time to enjoy them.  You can find the list here.  Just print it and away you go.

    It would be nice to meet blog readers if you are coming so be sure to introduce yourselves.

    Daisy here,

    Roy was stood outside a shop for hours and hours and I was on my lead.  I hated it.  It was boring.  People stroked me and said, “Hello” but I couldn’t run around.

  • An army of volunteers.

    22:54 08 May 2014
    By Roy Henderson

    It’s hard to believe that a year has gone by since I last worked with a group of Yorkshire volunteers but they returned for their annual visit last weekend.  They have been volunteering for the National Trust for many years and spend an annual weekend with me.  It’s always nice to meet up with them again and they always complete a lot of hard work.

    We began the weekend working at Braithwaite with a group of volunteers from the village.  Some time ago I made a site visit with Jamie, the Trust’s archaeologist, and he noted the damage that was being done by trees and vegetation to the remains of an old mill dam.  This is an important part of the history of the village when it had a carding and woollen mill followed by a pencil mill in the 19th century.  The village is actually much older and there has been settlement there at least since the 10th century when the Norsemen arrived.


    There had also been consultation with village residents with a decision to retain a mixed age and heights of vegetation as well as diversity of species so that there would be a wide variety of habitats.

    The combination of the two groups of volunteers made a sizeable working party so we set to and made terrific progress towards protecting what remains and indeed in revealing its presence.  We also cleared part of the old mill race.  There must be many people who have walked past or over them without even realising that they are there.

    On Sunday I had just the Yorkshire contingent working with me.  We went up Cat Ghyll next to Great Wood.  In places where the vegetation is predominantly gorse, it had overgrown the footpath.  This is a pitched stone path that we built a good few years ago and the encroaching gorse was beginning to make it difficult to use.  So, we got to work and chopped it back to clear the path.  There’s plenty of gorse left!

    Whilst we were there, we popped up to the top of Falcon Crag to enjoy the view when we had our lunch. 

    It was a very good day with all the volunteers doing their usual fantastic work.  I could not possibly do that much work in a weekend.  It can’t be said too often that the Trust’s thousands of volunteers are at the heart of everything that we do. A big ‘Thank you’ to every one of them.

    Hi, Daisy here.

    I’ve met more friends. It’s great.  Loads of people came.  We worked in the ditches and the mud and played.  It was great.  And the next day we went up a big mountain and that was great.

News from Roy Henderson

Photo of Roy Henderson

I’m the National Trust ranger for Borrowdale and Newlands in the North Lakes, UK. I volunteered for the Trust when I came on the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme aged 13. I started by building a new fence on Friars Crag to tackle an erosion problem and making paths more accessible for people with limited mobility. I enjoyed it so much that I continued to volunteer until I left school and was lucky enough to get a job with the National Trust. After working for the Trust for 29 years, I still love the job.