Britain’s mountaineering history saved

Famous items - such as Sir Chris Bonington’s mountaineering kit - are saved from a dusty end, thanks to a donation from the British Mountaineering Council (BMC)

The Mountain Heritage Trust officially opened its new premises at the stunning Blencathra Field Studies Centre on Friday 24 March.

The Mountain Heritage Trust, established in 2000, aims to document Britain’s vibrant climbing and mountaineering history and encourages access to its own collections, provides curatorial support, sources artefacts for new exhibitions and sets up gallery exhibitions. The current collection includes many items from famous mountaineers such as Sir Chris Bonington.

The BMC contributes £30,000 per year to the running of the Mountain Heritage Trust and, through a legacy donation, was very pleased to be able to contribute a further £25,000 to help its move from Penrith to Blencathra.

The Blencathra Centre will now be the main location for their collection of mountaineering history items in the UK. Sharing the site with the Field Studies Council, it will offer exciting new opportunities to bring mountain heritage alive to young people who visit the centre.

With such prestigious new premises and stunning scenery, supporters of the Mountain Heritage Trust were roused to wish their luck on the move, with eloquent speeches heard from famous British mountaineer Doug Scott CBE, professor Tim Burt president of the Field Studies Council, Tim Foster head of Blencathra Centre, Nick Colton deputy CEO of the BMC, and Jeff Ford chair of the Mountain Heritage Trust, while Cumbrian poet Phil Houghton read a specially-commissioned poem for the opening.

Rehan Siddiqui, president of the BMC, 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.”

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.”

Tim Foster, head of Blencathra Field Studies Centre, says:“The most natural place in Britain to locate the MHT collections are with us on the slopes of the much loved Blencathra. Many of the students taking part in activities here will be able to look at the items, which they were not able to do when it was in Penrith. We are delighted to have them with us.”

Jeff Ford, chair of the Mountain Heritage Trust Trustees, says: “It is a relief to be able to put such a valuable set of items into wonderful new premises at Blencathra. This will mean that many more people will be able to access the documents, photos, films and objects. We hope to see many people visiting the collection in the future.”