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Inward House, Claife Station, March 2011

National Trust

High Wray Basecamp Yearbook


Welcome to High Wray Basecamp’s 2011 yearbook. High Wray is a residential volunteer centre, nestled in the woods above Windermere lake, near Ambleside. We work all year round with volunteers from all walks of life and aim to help people feel they’ve contributed something towards a beautiful place, learnt some new skills and had some fun doing it! We believe that there’s no such thing as a ‘typical volunteer’ and this yearbook aims to show the variety of people it’s been our privilege to work with in the last year. Everyone volunteers for different reasons but they’re all united by the brilliant work they’ve done and the invaluable contribution they’ve made to the National Trust by giving up their time to work with us. With a very impressive 1500 volunteer days, 2011 was a record year for us but it’s about more than just the numbers here: each of these days was contributed by a person and we couldn’t do it without each and every one of them. So We like to say a big thank you to everyone involved we look forward to seeing many of you again in 2012! Search under ‘High Wray Basecamp and Bunkhouse NT’ and ‘like’ our site!

There’s not enough room to fit everything into this yearbook so why not keep up with what’s happening at High Wray by checking our Facebook page? We post regular stories and pictures there about the different groups we work with, places we’ve been and wildlife we’ve seen as well as those odd little events that just can’t be categorised!

Glenburn college worked in the woodlands near Belmount house in Hawkshead towards their John Muir award.

Some of the groups who come to High Wray gain recognition of their experiences and their contribution towards the conservation of wild places through the John Muir award. The award can help those who participate to gain a better understanding and appreciation of how their time with us is more than just working - and how their contribution fits into the bigger picture. A famous quote from John Muir sums it up: ‘When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe’.


Many of our volunteers come form urban backgrounds and are gaining their first experience of visiting the countryside when they come to High Wray. Imagine being used to just bricks and mortar and seeing sights like these for the first time - both pictures were taken on Basecamp work days!

Partnerships - some examples At High Wray we aim to build long term partnerships with the organisations that we work with. By doing this we gain a better understanding of what they want to get out of working with us and they make the most of their visits here. We think that the fact many of our groups come back year on year is a testament to the success of this approach and we’re always trying to build and improve on these relationships. Cumbria Mind A national mental health charity; we’ve been working with Mind since the ‘Out There’ project in 2009. As part of this and with the support of Fix the Fells, the Barrow branch started monthly visits to Basecamp to take part in conservation work. When ‘Out There’ ended we got together with them and the National Trust ranger from Sandscale Haws to continue the work days, with participants also coming for an overnight stay in the summer. We’ve a new programme of visits in place for 2012 and it’s planned that the South Lakes branch of Mind, from Kendal, will also be joining us on the same dates. Littledale Hall Therapeutic Community (LHTC) Littledale Hall is a therapeutic community providing services to people over 18 whose lives have been adversely affected by their substance misuse. Littledale Hall offers a safe, supportive environment within which people can address emotional, psychological, and social issues linked to their substance misuse. Andy Nardonne, a support worker at Littledale said “We’re about helping people with drug and alcohol problems move back into communities drug and alcohol free. It’s about putting back because we all take so much in one way or another. It’s really important.” We’ve been working with Littledale Hall for many years now and always look forward to their visits as they get so much out of their time working with us. As well as residentials, they also visit us for individual days once a month. Kendal College Students from the college on the Level 3 Diploma in Sport (Outdoor Adventure) course have been coming once a month to learn about practical conservation work. Last year the first and second years came on the same day but in 2012 while the first years will continue the monthly visits the second years will spend one day a week for eight weeks in a row working with our property’s upland footpath team. This will help them gain a deeper understanding and sense of ownership of the work. Course tutor Steve Randles said, “It’s helped them understand the importance of the environment and how outdoor adventure can impact on the local environment within the Lake District. While out on practical sessions students are now more aware of the impact they have and often comment on the environmental damage and how they can minimise this thanks to the work they have been doing with the National Trust.” Inward House Projects Founded in 1978 in Lancaster to provide residential rehabilitation for people recovering from drug problems. Inward House has developed to become one of the major voluntary sector drug service providers in the North West and have now merged with TTP, another large rehab provider. Similarly to LHTC they give us some of our most rewarding weeks work all year. Sian, a support worker said, “There’s no computers, no distractions and they’ve really come together as a community. The benefits of coming here is massive and I think it’s a big part of their treatment programme. You’re seeing a side to them that you wouldn’t normally see in a town and I’m hoping they can take a little bit of Basecamp back with them”. Fairbridge, Tyne & Wear and West Midlands Working out of 15 inner city centres in the UK, Fairbridge is a national charity supporting young people aged 13-25 to develop the confidence, motivation and skills they need to turn their lives around. They’re now part of the Prince’s Trust. Colin Jeffrey, Fairbridge staff member said, “We’re working with the National Trust as part of a work based skills programme to help our young people understand what it is to have a job, the benefits, what’s tough about having a job and to get them thinking about where they want to move on to and what they want to do with their lives”. In 2011 both the Tyne and Wear branch and the West Midlands branch came to Basecamp in the same week and worked together, with West Midlands camping overnight in the woods. The ‘Rochdale Dukes’ A new partnership, this group of young people from the Rochdale area came for their first week this year working towards their Duke of Edinburgh gold award. The group did some fantastic work and have already booked their slot in for 2012, where a lot of the weeks activities will be planned out by the young people themselves. Group leader Fida Hussein said, “The focus of the project was to introduce inner city youths from Rochdale, with different cultural backgrounds to work together and to learn about the importance of the work carried out by the National Trust. It’s an opportunity for young people to develop their self esteem, confidence, team work and communication skills.”


Working Holidays At High Wray we have a long history of running working holidays. This year 14 different groups of people from around the country (and sometimes from other countries) spent a week here working with National Trust staff learning traditional skills as well as finding out just how much effort it takes to keep our countryside looking so beautiful. The Basecamp team worked with 9 of these holidays tackling drystone walling, hedgelaying and upland path work and each one was the usual mix of hard work, varied weather, good humour and, importantly, cakes ...

It’s amazing how much hedge you can lay in a week! Half way! The ‘throughs’ go on ...

Tidying up and putting the finishing touches in.

Our upland path holidays are always popular, see page 5 for more on our work with Fix the Fells.


There’s always plenty of stone to choose from early on ….

Nothing wasted! Making hedging stakes from offcuts.

Fixing the Fells


Fix the Fells is a long term partnership between the National Trust and other organisations with an interest in combating erosion problems in the uplands, including the National Park Authority, Natural England and Friends of the Lake District. This year, four of our Working holidays, a large contingent from West Runton Scripture Union, the South Lakes Conservation Group and Kirklees College all did some brilliant work to help look after our delicate upland environments.

The year always starts with filling helicopter bags with stones.

No tents on Pike o Blisco meant the helicopter bags got a secondary use at lunch break!

It’s a long walk but the campsite’s worth it! Two working holidays spent three nights camping on the fell, working during the day to put new paths through damaged peat bog on Martcrag Moor above the Langdale valley.

Everyone loves rocks after a week with us!

Back once again! West Runton returned to St Raven’s edge for the fourth year.

Kirklees College and SLCG had their first experience of upland path work. And moving rocks …...


Going Local! 2011 has seen us increase our work with local volunteers. The Fix the Fells lengthsmen finished ‘the wall’ mk2 and had an even bigger Christmas bash at Basecamp than last year. Mind in Barrow continued their monthly visits and tried their hands at drystone walling. The South Lakes Conservation Group (SLCG) saw its membership rise throughout the year and contributed an amazing 194 days of quality work. Kendal College moved into their second year of working with us and students from the Ambleside campus of the University of Cumbria started their first. With visits from students from the Lakes School in Windermere and a youth group brought by PCSO Andy Cotton from Penrith Police station, it’s been a great year for working with local people and helping them feel more of a Mind connection with their landscape. Kendal College

SLCG Lakes School

Penrith youth group Fix the Fells lengthsmen


Ambleside University

Reflections on a year’s work The National Trust is one of the key partners in ‘Windermere Reflections’, a program running from 2011-14 which is part of the Windermere Catchment Restoration program. Large parts of the program are related to improving lakeshore access on the western shore which offers fantastic opportunities for an easily accessible experience of a wilder landscape than that surrounding popular Bowness. This is where we came in with our volunteer groups ... The Facts! 171 volunteer days at Wray Bay! 103 volunteer days on Red Nab bridleway! 52 volunteer days at Claife Station!

Inward House and LHTC did a great job of opening up access through Claife Courtyard to the Victorian viewing platform at Claife Station. For their second visit of the year they advanced the lakeshore path at Wray bay - quite a messy job at times!

West Runton were the first group to get to grips with the ‘raised bank’ method to make a flat path across a sloping hillside at Wray Bay.

“I came up here exactly 12 months ago and did some work with the National Trust. I’m a recovering addict and when I came up I was still in rehab myself and I’ve never done work without getting paid and doing something and not getting paid has given me a self esteem boost and self worth. Coming up this time as volunteering staff and actually watching people who are still in recovery, in rehab themselves, this place gives them a chance to sit with themselves, sit with their feelings ‘cos addicts really struggle with that kind of thing so its a really good experience for me to come back again.” Dean, Inward House

“We’ve had such a good time, we’ve made all this path and I think it’s a great achievement because when we’re doing our Gold we walk paths like this and we don’t understand how long it takes to make them” - Ayesha, Rochdale Dukes

The Rochdale Dukes finished off two separate sections at Wray Bay.

Kendal College and Ambleside University, along with SLCG and the Fix the Fells lengthsmen worked to coppice trees and open up views along the Red Nab bridleway.


Extras! With so much going on at High Wray we’re always left with more stories to tell …...

Special award!

Fife Air Cadets get the ‘muddiest job’ award for the week they spent with us improving the very wet path at Oxenfell. The results (above) were well worth the mess though!

Thorncross Young Offenders spent a few days doing rough and tough drystone walling …… but looked a little unsure of themselves when Phil showed them a mouse she’d found living in the wall!

December saw the ‘Basecamp Blitz’ - 11 volunteer leaders came and spent a week giving the Acland block a much needed spruce up. After a flurry of painting, new shelves and shoe racks it now looks like new!

The giant yellow boots donated to us by the fire service proved a big hit with some of the Fairbridge ‘super group’, who helped us pull out spruce regen at Nor Moss. They went on easily enough but proved a little harder to get off again! Toad gallery!


One day my prince will come! We found lots of toads this year hiding in walls and under rocks and it always seemed to be the female members of the volunteer group who were keen to move them to safe new homes …...

Our Heroes! While we work on a partnership basis with lots of different organisations, we’re very aware that we’d never get half as much done as we do if it wasn’t for some very dedicated individuals. Here are some of those that we’d like to say a particularly big thank you to for all the effort they put in to helping us make sure that 2011 was another brilliant year. We’re looking forward to working with all of these inspirational people in 2012! Andy Nardonne, treatment practicioner, Littledale Hall Therapeutic Community. Our main point of contact at Littledale, we’ve been working with Andy for around seven years now. Andy’s enthusiasm for working with us and for the benefits it brings to the residents of the hall knows no bounds. His positive attitude always means that working with him and the groups he brings is an absolute pleasure. Dianne Lang, National Trust working holiday leader. Di is a legend amongst working holiday leaders and since 2008 has been pivotal in helping organise our ‘upland adventure’ working holidays (page 5), sorting out all the food for the week as well being one of the hardest workers. On top of this, she also rounded up other leaders for the ‘Basecamp Blitz’ (page 8) in December. Well organised and always cheerful we know if we have Di along on a working holiday everyone’s going to be very well looked after! Steve Randles, tutor, Kendal College. Steve came to us with the idea for the monthly work days with his students on the Diploma in Sport (outdoor adventure). The students gain an understanding of the work that goes into looking after the countryside and will hopefully pass this message on to the people they work with in the future. It’s largely down to Steve’s original thinking and willingness to try something new that this arrangement has been such a success. Barry Capp and David Brooks, ‘Fix the Fells’ lengthsmen. All of the lengthsmen are our heroes really, with the amount of work and sheer dedication that some of the group put in being quite astonishing. Barry and Dave go the extra mile though, doing countless hours of extra work to organise work parties, keep records up to date, act as spokesmen for the lengthsmen at Fix the Fells meetings and many other tasks outside of the glamorous work on the fells. It’s hard to imagine the lengthsmen scheme being half the success it has been without them.

Fida Hussein, Gold D of E leader. Fida brought his group, the Rochdale Dukes to Basecamp for the first time this year and works to get a real mix of young people involved, including girls from the Asian community who, as he says, don’t normally have much to do with the countryside or working outdoors. A volunteer himself, his leadership is so inspirational that the group are all returning next year and planning on bringing some new faces along with them.


Volunteers contributed 1492 days of work at High Wray Basecamp in 2011. Here’s a breakdown of what they did …..

7% 19%


279 days upland path work 228 days hedge laying 207 days drystone walling


226 days low level path work 81 days Claife Station

15% 103 days coppicing


177 days removing invasive/foreign species


87 days Basecamp tasks 104 days miscellaneous

14% 15% Basecamp staff team 2011

High Wray Basecamp Community Ranger and Seasonal Assistant Ranger roles are funded by Fix the Fells

Jamie Preston

Rob Clarke

Paul Kear

Phillipa Bell

Ranger, Volunteers

Community Ranger

Volunteer Development Manager

Assistant Ranger, seasonal

National Trust High Wray Basecamp High Wray Ambleside Cumbria LA22 0JE Tel 015394 34633

Search under ‘High Wray Basecamp and Bunkhouse NT’ and ‘like’ our site!

Longland Block Registered Charity No 205846 10

Acland Block

High Wray Basecamp volunteer centre's 2011 'Yearbook'  

Situated in the Lake District, in the North West of England, High Wray is the National Trust's most active volunteer centre. This 'Yearbook'...

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