On Sunday 12 January 2020 a small crowd of people gathered on Crow Park, Keswick in a simple ceremony to light a beacon to mark the 125th birthday of the National Trust.
The beacon was one of 14 beacons lit across the country, from Chapel Carn Brea in Cornwall to Roseberry Topping in North Yorkshire, to mark the anniversary.
Keswick is a significant place in the story of the founding of the National Trust, as Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, who was the vicar at Keswick’s Crosthwaite Church, was one of the three founders of the charity.
Roy Henderson, area ranger for Borrowdale and Newlands, organised the beacon.
“We had no fanfares or fireworks, nothing fancy. We simply wanted to come together for a moment of quiet reflection as darkness fell, to honour the vision of the people who founded the National Trust,” said Roy.
“I hope local hero Hardwicke Rawnsley, one of our founders, would have been pleased” Roy continued, “He was a bit of a fan of beacons – he organised a beacon on the summit of Skiddaw for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee, so I like to think he’d have approved of our way of celebrating this anniversary.”
“It was lovely to see the beacon lit” said Jessie, who works for the National Trust at the Keswick office “the people who founded the National Trust knew that contact with the natural world, and with our heritage, was really important for people living in an increasingly industrial and urban society with all the pressures that brings. That’s still true today. It was lovely to get together celebrate how important these places are in our lives.”
The National Trust was founded on 12th January 1895 by local Keswick hero Canon Rawnsley, social housing campaigner Octavia Hill, and lawyer Robert Hunter because they believed that everyone needed access to beautiful places.
To mark the 125th anniversary, Keswick Mountain Festival have announced the first ever charity tickets for the popular ‘Fjallraven Three Peaks’ hiking challenge that takes place on 15,16 and 17 May as part of the festival. The hiking challenge takes in Cat Bells, Walla Crag and Latrigg, and people are being encouraged to fundraise £125 to contribute towards the conservation work of looking after the mountain river Derwent, Derwent Water and the mountain landscape surrounding Keswick.
“Keswick Mountain Festival is all about celebrating and enjoying the mountains around Keswick, and the landscape is really loved by all the people who come to take part”, said Nicola Meadley, Festival Director, “and this is a great way that people can give back to the Lake District while taking part in a fantastic experience.”
People can find out more about the charity places on the Keswick Mountain Festival website. https://www.keswickmountainfestival.co.uk/event/fjallraven-3-peaks-challenge-nt/