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New ultra event raises funds for the Lake District

An epic ultra marathon event in the stunning landscape of the Lake District National Park gets underway for the first time this autumn.

The 13 Valleys Ultra takes place between 29 September to 1 October 2023 and sees entrants running and raising funds at the same time.

Organised by the Great Run Company this new event features three ultra distances – 60km, 100km and 180km – and a 20km trail distance, each promising spectacular trail and mountain running over the fells.

What is even better is that 5% of each competitor entry fee will go to The Lake District Foundation helping us to look after this stunning place.

We speak to Race Director Colin Murphy to find out more.

Race Director Colin Murphy

What inspired you to create the 13 Valleys challenge?

Having visited the Lakes since I was a child I had enjoyed many day walks and a few overnighters. However there weren’t any routes similar to the alpine walking holidays I had also enjoyed. The chance to work with Lake District National Park to develop not only an event, but a trail that would be there for years to come was really exciting.

The vision was to give a platform for people of all ages and level of fitness to share the same route and experience, be that as an ultra-runner or as a family holiday – all the while sharing the benefits of tourism with all corners of the Park.

What is your involvement in the event?

As the Event Director for the Great North Swim the challenge was to come up with a world class event, that had a real reason to exist. My role with the 13 valleys ultra is identify a route and a team to safely introduce runners to the trail and ultra running.

How did you get involved in the Great Run company?

I have been at the Great Run Company for 15 years. I was always keen to work in the sports industry and have been lucky enough to manage elite and mass events all over the UK, from athletics in Horse Guards Parade in London, to managing 60,000 finishers at the Great North Run, there is never a dull day.

Why is the Lake District such a great place for this event?

The Lake District has so much to offer, and a lot of visitors don’t really scratch the surface. The unique landscape of each of the valleys, and the cultures and stories each valley holds, provide such exciting opportunities for future visitors.

Tell us about the different levels of events.

The 13 Valleys Ultra is the headline event. Exploring the whole park and offering the most extreme challenge, it is only for the most seasoned ultra athlete. With 180k to run, and over 7000m of ascent it is up there with some of the toughest challenges in the world.

At the other end of the spectrum we have a 20km two Valley Trail. We recognise that to some none trail-runners, this will seem almost as daunting. We want to provide the platform for new runners, or those who haven’t been confident to start their off-road journey, to feel confident in taking on their first trail challenge. This fully waymarked and supported event will share some of the same trail as the 13 Valleys event and give a flavour of what running in this landscape is all about.

Picture by Steve Ashworth

We then have two further Ultra distances – the 100km ‘7 Valleys Ultra’ and 60km ‘5 Valleys Ultra’ are there for anyone who is up for a challenge!

The 5 valleys is an ideal first ultra, being fully waymarked, GPS tracked and supported through well stocked feed stations. The 7 Valleys is for those who are a bit more experienced, and want to test themselves in some of the most beautiful terrain imaginable.

The step up will require not only increased fitness but also navigation skills, as the first 40km will be self navigated, before they join the waymarked 5 valleys route to the finish.

Why is it important to raise funds for The Lake District Foundation?

We benefit enormously from the landscape in the Lake District National Park – be that the breaking a sweat during a day on the fells, or soothing the soul admiring the view across one of the lakes.

It’s easy to think that such a perfect landscape takes care of itself, when the reality is very different. Donating part of the entry to The Lake District Foundation not only gives the charity much needed funds to help its mission to maintain that landscape, but it also reminds us all of the very real impact we have on the environment around us.

As we encourage people to explore all 13 Valleys, we want them to remember to respect the landscape, and help to leave it as they find it to allow many more people to benefit in the future.

What is it like to launch an event like this for the first time?

Exciting, and daunting, in equal measure. The scale of the route means that logistics are complicated, with medical and contingency planning not a small task. However the thought that this event will come to life, and give birth to a legacy trail is incredibly motivating. We can’t wait to share it with everyone.

Enter the 13 Valleys Ultra

5% of each competitor entry goes towards The Lake District Foundation.

Find out more and enter the 13 Valleys Ultra here:

13 Valleys Ultra | An epic event in the Lake District National Park

Challenging yourself this year? Raise funds for the Lake District

Limbering up for a challenge in the Lake District in 2023?

Why not give a little back and raise funds for the mountains you’re striding on?

When you sign up to one of the challenges below you have the option to raise funds for the Lake District Foundation.

How fantastic would it feel to take on our elements while helping the Lake District environment at the same time?

We are delighted to be a partner with T2Events on this August’s Windermere One Way Swim.

This is the 10th anniversary of one of the greatest & toughest open water swimming events.

People can make a donation to the Lake District Foundation when they enter: www.windermereoneway.co.uk

If you’d rather remain on dry land there are a series of events you can take part in across the Lake District or farther afield.

You may have a different challenge in mind? A goal to run or walk around a certain stretch of the Lake District? It would be fantastic if you could raise funds for those very surroundings.

Why not check out these treks and undertake one on your own – or with a team of friends or work colleagues:

Lake District 5 Peaks Challenge: Trek challenge to UK (charitychallenge.com)

Lake District Triple Challenge: Trek challenge to UK (charitychallenge.com)

National Three Peaks Challenge: Trek challenge to UK (charitychallenge.com)

Hotels lend support to Windermere Big Give

With your support we were delighted to raise more than £23000 for community projects that look after Windermere.

Before Christmas we asked for your backing with our week-long Big Give fundraiser.

A total of £23865 was raised and will go towards community projects that contribute to the health of England’s largest lake.

We received dozens of individual online donations and several Lake District businesses gave substantial donations including Burn How Garden House Hotel, Langdale, and Cedar Manor.

Money was raised through visitor giving – with hotel guests making a small donation to look after the Lake District.

Caroline and Jonathan Kaye from Cedar Manor, said: “It’s fantastic to giving something back to the community that we live and work in. It’s important for us to get the message over to guests about conservation and protection of the landscape and share information about the Foundation and its work.”

A spokesperson for Langdale said: “Langdale and all our guests are proud to continue to support the Lake District Foundation. Operating in the Lake District brings with it a responsibility to look after the environment and special landscape that is so important to our visitors and our communities.”

The Lake District Foundation is a member of the Love Windermere Partnership which was launched in summer 2022 with the aim of improving water quality.

The money raised during the Big Give will help deliver a range of activities to increase awareness and knowledge of phosphate pollution, work with local residents, businesses, lake users and visitors to tackle the issue – for example providing education around septic tank use – in order to improve the health of the lake and its habitats.

Donations doubled to help Windermere

Windermere is England’s largest lake – a much loved and iconic feature of the Lake District.

The Lake District Foundation wants to launch community projects that all contribute to the health of the lake and improve water quality.

From noon on Tuesday 29 November to noon Tuesday 6 December we are taking part in the week-long national Big Give Christmas Challenge.

All donations you make over the next seven days will be doubled.

Donate: here

Sarah Swindley, Chief Executive, Lake District Foundation, said: “We know there are some concerns around the health of the lake – particularly around water quality.

“Our project will deliver a range of community activities with the aim of improving water quality in Windermere, with a particular focus on reducing phosphate levels in the lake.

“What’s really exciting is that all donations this week will be doubled in the Big Give Christmas Challenge.”

The Lake District Foundation will deliver a range of activities to increase awareness and knowledge of phosphate pollution, work with local residents, businesses, lake users and visitors to tackle the issue – for example providing education around septic tank use – in order to improve the health of the lake and its habitats.

There are some great projects getting planned to work to improve water quality as part of the Love Windermere Partnership which was launched in summer 2022.

Red Tarn Beck 21900 – Now Sponsored

Red Tarn Beck 21900 – Red Tarn Beck Bridge. – The bridge is on the popular route up helvellyn. The great views from the bridge are amazing.
To replace this bridge we are looking for sponsorship of £3,200. The item Number – 21900 please use this to sponsor this amazing bridge fill in the form on the right.

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“Coniston combines tranquility and beauty to encourage quiet reflection”

A walking route around Coniston pays tribute to victims and survivors of child abuse.

Messages of hope have been inscribed on plaques on benches and signposts at Monk Coniston.

The route, at the north end of the lake, is one of dozens of locations across England and Wales chosen as part of a legacy project.

In October 2022 the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published 19 reports covering a wide range of institutions.

These reports will shape recommendations to better protect children in the future.

IICSA’s legacy project pays tribute to all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and ensure their voices continue to be heard.

Across England and Wales more than 150 memorial benches now bear messages of hope from victims and survivors.

People who use the Monk Coniston Miles Without Stiles route will come across the messages on more than a dozen benches and signposts along the 3.5km route.

We spoke to the IICSA Legacy Project Team to find out more…

Tell us about this IICSA Legacy project.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse designed its legacy project in consultation with victims and survivors, many of whom said they would like there to be a physical tribute for people to visit. Rather than confine this to a monument in one or two major cities, memorial benches and plaques have been placed across England and Wales. This reflects the widespread engagement with the Inquiry by victims and survivors from all areas of both countries.

Why are you are doing this?

Child sexual abuse has been hidden and its terrible consequences buried, for too long.

The legacy project pays tribute to all victims and survivors and hopes to drive cultural change and ensure the vital public conversation around child sexual abuse continues beyond the lifetime of the Inquiry.

The messages on the plaques are the words of different individuals who engaged with the Inquiry, and will ensure the voices of victims and survivors continue to be heard, so that children may be better protected in the future.

You have put plaques of hope on benches across the UK – why is Coniston one of the routes chosen?

There are more than 150 benches and plaques across England and Wales. To make the project accessible to as many people as possible, we wanted to achieve a good geographical spread over both countries, in a mix of scenic rural locations and busier urban areas.

As one of the best-known places in the hugely popular Lake District, Coniston combines tranquility and beauty to encourage quiet reflection, as well as high footfall.

What do you hope people will get from reading the plaques?

We hope that more open and honest conversations about the difficult topic of child sexual abuse will continue, as this will help to keep children safer.

We also want acknowledgement for victims and survivors and the impacts they live with as a result of their experiences of abuse. Along with the personal messages from them, the address and a QR code for the legacy website appear on the plaques.

The website legacy.iicsa.org.uk will remain after the Inquiry has concluded, to provide information about its work and details of support services for victims and survivors.

It also includes a bench locator tool which will allow people to find their nearest bench or plaque.

Who can use Monk Coniston route?

Everyone! It is classed as a Miles Without Styles route which means it is accessible to people who use wheelchairs. It is family friendly for prams, buggies. People don’t have to take the whole route – they can just do sections if they want.

Where is it exactly? 

Starting from Monk Coniston Car Park the route takes in views of the lake and of the fells including Coniston Old Man. Coniston is home to lots of cafes, restaurants and pubs.

Address: Monk Coniston Car Park, Postcode: LA21 8AH. Grid reference: SD 316978
W3W: ///spectacle.turns.watch

There are toilets at Monk Coniston Car Park.

More information: Miles Without Stiles 16: Monk Coniston : Lake District National Park

Japanese students focus on sustainability

Students from Japan visited the Lake District looking at sustainability in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Lake District Foundation partnered with Hidden Lakeland to arrange the ten-day study programme.

Nine undergraduate students on the University of Tokyo’s Global Education for Innovation and Leadership programme stayed in Ambleside and Kendal to gain better understanding of the opportunities and difficulties presented by sustainable tourism in the Lake District National Park.

The students stayed in the heart of the Lake District at the University of Cumbria’s Ambleside campus. Most of the learning was delivered outdoors with a mix of sessions indoors.

This included presentations from representatives of Cumbria Tourism, the Lake District National Park Authority and World Heritage UK.

The group enjoyed walk-and-talk tours and got across the Lake District including Ambleside to Dove Cottage via Rydal Hall and the Coffin Trail.

They enjoyed a workshop hosted by Wordsworth, Grasmere, looking at William Wordsworth’s legacy for the Lakes as a place to visit.

They also met with Sarah Swindley, Chief Executive of the Lake District Foundation, received an insight into woodlands management by Cumbria Woodlands and met farmers working the land.

Tracey Gannon from Hidden Lakeland said: “It was a packed ten days with content, mostly outdoors, delivered by many people who have a passion for the Lake District and its future. Feedback from the students suggests that they found the experience very valuable.”

One student said: “It was very useful to hear from lecturers from different perspectives how things are seen and in what sense sustainability is important, depending on one’s position and principles. In addition, by actually visiting farms and climbing mountains, I was able to experience first-hand the beauty of the landscape and think about the importance of protecting it as my own personal matter.”

Funding available for tree and hedge schemes in Cumbria

The Lake District Foundation is inviting organisations to apply for funding to plant new hedges and trees.

The move comes during National Hedgerow Week (October 10-17th 2022).

Up to £2500 is available through the Real Hedge Fund for groups who wish to reinstate native hedgerows or restore existing ones. The Foundation is asking for applications of up to 100 metres of planting.

This is the third round of funding and dozens of applicants have already benefitted and have been busy planting.

The Real Hedge Fund aims to highlight the importance of hedgerows and trees in the environment and their role within the cultural and natural heritage of the Lake District.

More than 1000 meters of hedgerow has already been planted. The Real Hedge Fund is only open to SMEs businesses, small charities and community groups operating in Cumbria.

Hedgerows are unsung biodiversity heroes, as well as connecting habitats, protecting against pollution and helping fight climate change, they provide a home for 80% of our woodland birds, hedgehogs, most species of bat, the great crested newt, dormice and butterflies.

People can apply to the Real Hedge Fund here.

The closing date for applications has been extended to 5pm Wednesday 23 November 2022.

People can support the Lake District Foundation’s ongoing campaign to support hedgerows and new tree planting here.

The Lake District Foundation launched the Real Hedge Fund in June 2020 in partnership with Ullswater Catchment Management CIC, The Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust and Eden Rivers Trust.

NOW SPONSORED Side House 9158

Side House 9158 – Side House Bridge Langdale next to the Cumbria Way is a link to Sticklebarn and Dungeon Ghyll. Great location in Langdale.
To replace this bridge we are looking for sponsorship of £1,500. The item Number – 9158 please use this to sponsor this amazing bridge fill in the form on the right.

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Stake Pass 8494 – Now Sponsored

Stake Pass 8494 – Stake Pass- bridge is at the base of the climb up to Stake Pass one of the ancient routes of the Lake District
To replace this bridge we are looking for sponsorship of £2,700. The item Number – 8494 please use this to sponsor this amazing bridge fill in the form on the right.

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