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 happens in May (Thurs 19- Sun 21 May for 2016) 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 of the new ‘payback’ scheme launched by the National Trust in 2015, every competitor is 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 £4,000 for National Trust conservation work in 2015, which helped to fund really important work protecting fragile upland heath habitats by paying for repairs to a wall along Iron Crag, a remote but nationally important heather habitat above Ennerdale, just 12 miles from Keswick as the crow flies.

Essential conservation work paid for by funds raised at Keswick Mountain Festival
Rangers repairing wall on Iron Crag, Ennerdale

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 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.

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.

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

There’s also free den building, mud pie making and wild art activities as part of our 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾ campaign to encourage children to spend more time in the natural world.

Free guided bicycle rides on offroad routes to Force Crag Mine – an atmospheric mine processing building at the foot of a waterfall crag – and free sporting activities like badminton, volleyball and the wonderfully eccentric ‘Frisbee Golf’ are just some of the other activities on offer from our stand.

Cyclists in high vis jackets at Keswick Mountain Festival