Sometimes life presents us with experiences or opportunities that remind us of those important things in life that can too easily be overwhelmed by our routines. I had one such experience recently when the Lake District’s mountain rescue teams headed up by Keswick Mountain Rescue Team hosted a number of families through the WellChild, Centrepont and Child Bereavement organisations. This was in response to the involvement of Prince William who is patron of the Mountain Rescue (England & Wales) and is also involved with his brother Harry in these charities. He is keen to see the charities sharing and supporting one another. So the Lakes Rescue Teams stepped in and offered a weekend of activities to children who are being supported by these organisations.
We hosted the children with their families and gave them a number of experiences including a simulated mountain rescue, a four wheel drive trip, a trip on the lake, some abseiling & climbing plus a trip to the summit of Latrigg (a mountain overlooking Keswick and Derwentwater) – things they would not have been able to do without the kind of support that organisations like the rescue teams can give. I was involved with WellChild. We were expecting 6 families but unfortunately two children were not well enough to make the journey. Of the four who came, sadly one has passed away since the trip. The feedback since his return to the Hospice is that he had loved everything he had done over the weekend.
You can read more on the WellChild website here.
What many of us might have taken for granted became hugely significant and reminded us of how fortunate we are – those little, daily irritations became irrelevant. It was a pleasure to spend time with these families.
Later in the week I worked with some of our regular Trust volunteers – this time cutting back bracken along the side of the path on Kinn End. Kinn End is basically soft, friable Skiddaw slate with overlying grass so in places it is particularly vulnerable to erosion. We minimise the problem by switching walkers between two routes at intervals. There are two stretches of path about 20 metres apart and, using bars across the path as shedding gates, we ‘bounce’ the walkers between the two every two years. This is long enough for the vegetation to recover and strengthen before it is subjected to trampling again. This is a very popular route that is part of the Coledale Round and this is the best way we have found to protect it from the permanent damage that could otherwise be caused by such heavy usage.
Another task was a form of archaeological dig I suppose! We were looking for an old septic tank, waste-water manholes and drains in Cockshot Wood. We needed to work out which are still in use. Over many years there has been an accumulation of these in the area. It wasn’t the most glamorous job we have done but my volunteers were undaunted!