Staff blog: Making a connection at Kendal

Engagement Officer Helen Mason reflects on a fun and worthwhile weekend at this year's Kendal Mountain Festival

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The theme for 2018's Kendal Mountain Festival was ‘connection’ - apt for a weekend spent chatting with existing Trust members and meeting and sharing our conservation work with people who aren’t yet aware of us. Our presence was significantly lifted this year thanks to one of our generous corporate partners Mountain Equipment - who kindly shared a prominent stand space with us.

It was a great opportunity to tell people about the Trust’s work in the Lake District – managing Glenridding Common and supporting delivery of our John Muir Award across Cumbria.

We ran a prize draw across the weekend, asking people to guess the length of the shortest route, starting from our stand at the festival, ending up at Cape Wrath and connecting all the land that the John Muir Trust manages. Over 400 people entered to try to win a Mountain Equipment Earthrise jacket.

People used pens, handspans and even beer bottles to try and guesstimate the distances on our colourful wild land quality index map. Guesses ranged from <100 miles to >20,000 miles (which would get you most of the way around the world!) but the final answer we calculated was 615 miles. The winning guess was almost spot on, at 614 miles.

KMF - Rod Ireland winning image

As part of the Festival, the Trust also sponsored the ‘Mountain Landscapes’ category of the photography competiton. Winner Rod Ireland's The Long Walk - Cairngorms, Scotland (shown above) and runner-up Steve Jacques' Karst bagging - Yangshuo, Guangxi, China (below) were absolutely stunning – congratulations both! Trust members should keep an eye out for a feature on these two in the Spring 2019 Journal.

KMF - Steve Jaques winning image

We were also able to showcase our new ‘The Wild in Me’ film on the screen outside the Basecamp Village tent. Featuring Sheffield-based poet Helen Mort, the film is a celebration of words and wildness and of the connections between people and wild places. It ties back to our interests in encouraging conservation minded approaches to tourism and visitor management on our sites.

Thanks to everyone who supported on the stand across the weekend. We’re already looking forward to Kendal Mountain Festival 2019!

Find out more about why Mountain Equipment supports the Trust.