The Mountain Heritage Trust has just announced they will be moving to a new base at the Blencathra Centre in early 2017.
Their new home will be a fitting base to work alongside the Field Studies Council at the Blencathra Centre on one of Britain’s iconic mountains. It will offer an excellent opportunity to engage with the young people who visit the centre and help them to enrich their understanding of mountains through the interpretation and exploration of our fabulous heritage collections. Many consider the Lake District to be the birthplace of British climbing, and this collaboration will facilitate the development of a hub for mountain learning and enjoyment.
The Blencathra Centre will include a more accessible office space to welcome visitors and researchers, along with a custom-converted building to house the Trust’s historic collections in a safe and secure environment. This project is being funded by a legacy received via the British Mountaineering Council and a heritage grant from The Mercers’ Company.
Sir Chris Bonington, patron of the Mountain Heritage Trust, says: "I am delighted with the Mountain Heritage Trust’s move to the Blencathra Field Studies Centre. It is the perfect home for the Mountain Heritage Trust, in a wonderful mountain environment."
Rehan Siddiqui, president of the British Mountaineering Council, says: “It’s great news that Mountain Heritage Trust will be joining the Field Studies Council in such an iconic location. The Blencathra Centre will provide crucial opportunities to connect with young people and impress upon them the importance of preserving our mountain environment and rich heritage in mountaineering. This partnership promises a bright future.”
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The Mountain Heritage Trust was founded in 2000 to record and preserve Britain’s rich heritage in the fields of climbing, mountaineering and mountain culture. Second to none in terms of breadth, Britain has a proud legacy in the Alps, the Himalaya and the other great mountain ranges, as well as closer to home on British rock. The Mountain Heritage Trust preserves and encourages access to its own collections, provides curatorial support, sources artefacts for new exhibitions and sets up gallery exhibitions. Among its early successes was the establishment of the National Mountaineering Exhibition at the Rheged Centre near Penrith. More recently the Trust has formed partnerships with the National Trust, and Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. This year has seen the Trust working on a Heritage Lottery Fund project on mountaineer Joe Tasker.
Prof T P Burt, Field Studies Council President, says: "During their courses, students come into contact with our approach to ‘green tourism’. It is a unique experience, enriched through an awareness of the special relationship between people and the environment. This can only be enhanced through our new relationship with the Mountain Heritage Trust."
The Blencathra Centre has a national reputation for fieldwork and was established by the Field Studies Council in 1993. The centre’s main building is a former Sanatorium which was converted into a residential field centre and occupies an inspiring site 300m above sea level on the south facing slope of Blencathra. The remainder of the site utilises the original farm and Sanatorium buildings for teaching, accommodation and ancillary use. These unique buildings provide field courses for schools and universities at all levels as well as a programme of courses for individuals and families. Every year the Centre hosts more than 8000 education visitors from over 300 schools and universities along with learned societies such as the Royal Geographical Society. Our visitors come from all over the UK, and for many it is their first trip to the Lake District.
Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border, says: "I think that the two initiatives sit very well together, and this seems to be an excellent opportunity to combine them in an innovative way, celebrating the inspirational mountain landscapes that both have at the core of their individual activities. In addition, I can foresee the great potential for collaborative work educationally, and I cannot think of a better location in which to preserve the Mountain Heritage Trust's impressive archive."
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