Keswick Mountain Festival

The air is filled with the sound of clapping and cheering, you push yourself across the finish line, lungs burning, legs face and arms spattered with Lake District mud, a manic grin on your face, and the quiet satisfaction that every step you’ve taken has helped to care for the landscape that holds a special place in your heart.

Keswick Mountain Festival takes place in June (Thurs 8 to Sun 12 June for 2017) and each year thousands of people flock to compete in the swimming, cycling and running races held in the beautiful Lakeland scenery around Keswick, as well as hundreds of guided walks, rides and talks that take place throughout the weekend.

Because Keswick Mountain Festival has nominated the Natonal Trust as their supported charity, everyone who competes will now also helping to raise funds for vital conservation work that takes place in the same area.

Take part in your favourite sport, in an amazing landscape, and help to care for that landscape as you compete – it’s a win, win, win situation.

How the festival protects fragile habitats

The festival raised over £3,000 for National Trust conservation work in 2016, which contributed towards really important work protecting the iconic Cat Bells from erosion damage by paying for trees and path materials to repair the large erosion scar that marks the flank of the fell facing Derwent Water.

Keswick Mountain Festival's Steve Birkinshaw asks people to help Cat Bells
Runner Steve Birkinshaw with rangers on Cat Bells

The Lake District is known England’s biggest and best adventure playground.  Unbeknownst to some, however, it’s also the only place in the country where some rare alpine plants can survive.

The National Trust rangers work all year round to care for the 20% of the Lake District National Park that we look after – not only keeping it looking unspoiled and natural, but also preserving the unique biodiversity that is found nowhere else in the country.

2017 fundraising

For 2017 money raised by the festival will go towards our campaign to repair erosion damage to footpaths on and around Derwent Water.

Every year thousands of people walk round Derwent Water, but that high footfall can cause erosion damage which, when combined with fierce winter storms, results in sediment getting washed into the lake.

Derwent Water is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because it's one of only two lakes in England with Vendace – a kind of freshwater herring stranded here at the end of the last ice age. They only live in Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite and they are really struggling due to a combination of increased sediment covering up the gravels where they lay eggs, lower levels of oxygen caused by algal blooms that thrive on nitrogen entering the water system from farming and sewage

It's also home to internationally significant macrophytes (water plants that grow from the lake bed) like water plantain, which is threatened by the presense of the invasive alien species New Zealand Pygmyweed.

Derwent Water's wildlife urgently needs our help. The more we can improve paths around the lakeshore to make them more reslient to flood damage, the better off the lake habitat will be. It's not the only thing we're doing – but it an important first step.

Visit our stand to have fun and support our work

But it’s not all about endangered species, it’s also about getting out there and having fun. So at the National Trust stand at Keswick Mountain Festival we’re encouraging families to get their hands dirty by trying some extreme tree climbing – to the height of a three story building – with help and advice from our experienced foresters.

There are also free activities and sports (invasive species archery, anyone?) as part of our 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾ campaign to encourage children to spend more time outdoors in the natural world.

When was the last time you made a mud pie?
Children making mud pies at Keswick Mountain Festival, Cumbria