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 - this year the dates are Friday 8 to Sunday 10 June - 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 National Trust as their supported charity, everyone who competes will now also helps 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
Keswick Mountain Festival's Steve Birkinshaw asks people to help 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

In 2017 money raised by the festival went 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.

Join the fun and support our work

Escape the high adrenaline and the hustle and the bustle of the festival village for a more intimate look at some of the landscape that surrounds Crow Park. Across the weekend our rangers will be leading a number of guided walks, where they will share their love of the countryside and the work that they do to take care of it - visit to book your place.

If you love walking, running, swimming and climbing in the Lakes, support our work by becoming a member. Visit the Keswick Lakeside shop or our stand at the festival village and our friendly staff will be delighted to help.

In 2015 the funds raised paid for vital repairs to the fell wall on Iron Crag
Rangers repair dry stone wall on Iron Crag, Lake District
In 2015 the funds raised paid for vital repairs to the fell wall on Iron Crag