The National Trust has celebrated the first 50 years of volunteering at High Wray Basecamp in the Lake District; and announced plans for investment, looking forward to the next 50 years.
Nestled on the western shore of Windermere, High Wray was the first Basecamp established by the National Trust and has changed the lives of thousands of people. Volunteers working to support rangers and often staying at the Basecamp, have looked after paths, fells, walls, hedges, houses, farms and wildlife. Learning new skills, facing new challenges and meeting new people, groups of all ages and all abilities have returned time and again to High Wray Basecamp to support the vital conservation work that National Trust rangers manage.
Regular groups include Mind (mental health charity in Barrow); Littledale Hall Therapeutic Community; Prince’s Trust Fairbridge Programme; National Trust working holidays; Kendal College; and West Runton Holidays, who first visited back in 1969 and continue to bring teenagers and young adults from across Europe every year for a 10 day residential.
Long serving team member of West Runton Holidays, Glenn Finch says, “The location and genuine experience is what sets it apart, “High Wray Basecamp provides real, hands on skills and experience. It is educational about conservation but the comradery and outdoor life also make it great fun. Our young people learn about nature and each other, but also about themselves. The real life experience and physical and emotional space gives them room to breathe and truly appreciate nature and the world around them.”
Officially opened on 13 September 1969 by Sir Jack Longland, Basecamp recently invited representatives of the groups and partners, local and international, who have helped keep Basecamp special for fifty years. Including former rangers and local representatives, it was an opportunity for nearly 100 people to share stories of life changing experiences and discuss plans for the future.
Leading the words of thanks, Jeremy Barlow, National Trust Assistant Director of Operations for the North Region, said, “We could not look after this stunning landscape without our volunteers and local partners. Nature is a great teacher and here at Basecamp our team of rangers pass on those skills and knowledge to create a unique experience. An experience to lift spirits, heal the soul and look after nature, which embodies the vision of the National Trust founders. We’re beginning to develop the plan to invest in improvements to these much loved and weathered buildings and modernise them to be even more accessible for more people. We will also invest in renewable energy sources, as we have across the Lake District. Here’s to the next fifty years of this very special place, making a difference to nature and to so many people.”