Cumbria Crack

Windermere School Welcomes Leo Houlding and Tim Farron

Leo Houlding

[T]he Elleray Campus at Windermere School recently played host to climber Leo Houlding and South Lakes MP Tim Farron.

Earlier this month, top climber Leo Houlding popped into the school to chat to the pupils about his latest expedition to the Antarctic, a journey Leo has described as “at the edge of impossible”.

With two colleagues, Leo will attempt to cross the continent, as well as undertaking the main challenge of conquering the south face of the Spectre, a prominent rock spire in the Gothic Mountains, something which has never been done before.

Leo and his fellow explorers, Jean Burgun and Mark Sedon, will be dropped off at 88°S, 110°W by a ski equipped Twin Otter aircraft. For the following sixty-nine days the team will be unsupported and self-sufficient. The team plans to reach the Gothic Mountains using kites, similar to those used by kitesurfers, before embarking on twenty days of climbing. All climbs will be made in Alpine style – no fixing rope, no drill and no bolts will be carried.

Following the climb, the team will kite and man-haul their way back to the Union Glacier Camp in the Ellsworth Mountains, before returning from Antarctica in late January, 2018.

Leo spent some time with the pupils, answering an array of questions about the expedition and about his experiences as a climber, but his ultimate message was that nothing happens without motivation. It is important to experience challenges and step out of your comfort zone. While not everyone’s challenge is necessarily climbing a rock face, with hard work, your dreams can become reality.

To keep up with the team’s progress, visit

For one pupil, Leo’s visit had an unexpected outcome. Oscar Johnson was the recipient of the weekly Compass Badge – awarded to pupils for their contribution to school life and for going the extra mile – and was lucky enough to be presented with the badge by Leo.

Mrs Cooke, who organised the visit, expressed her gratitude to Leo, stating, “On behalf of Windermere School, I would like to thank Leo and take this opportunity to wish him luck on the Spectre Expedition. The children have had a wonderful time learning about the expedition and I’m sure many of them have been inspired to take up their own challenges.”

Tim Farron

More recently, South Lakes MP Tim Farron visited Elleray as part of UK Parliament Week, which ran from 13 – 19 November.

The former leader of the Liberal Democrats Party enjoyed lunch with the Inter-House Debating Teams, before being put under the spotlight in a Q and A session, where Mr Farron answered questions on a wide variety of subjects, including robots, Brexit, football and his life in general.

Year 6 pupil, Nuala Sankey, thoroughly enjoyed Mr Farron’s visit, saying; “When he arrived we immediately realised that he was not like the serious politicians making momentous decisions at No.10 – he was friendly and shook everyone’s hand warmly. We could tell this was not going to be an afternoon of awkward exchanges. This was a fantastic experience and left us with a lot to think about.”

After lunch, Mr Farron enjoyed a game of ‘Hunt the Politician’, and with a little guidance, eventually found all of the photos which had been hidden under chairs, behind doors and even on the ceiling.

Mr Farron thanked the pupils for making him feel so welcome; “Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to meet some of my younger constituents. I really enjoyed my time with the children at Elleray and was very impressed with their questions and ideas.”

Mrs Thomas, Head of the Elleray Camp, added; “It is so important for our pupils to be inspired by people from all walks of life, who choose to make a difference and follow their dreams. We are immensely grateful to Mr Farron and Mr Houlding for giving up some of their precious time to light the spark in our young people.”

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More