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Singers scale National Trust peaks to commemorate ‘the Great Gift’ & WW1

Singers scale National Trust peaks to commemorate ‘the Great Gift’ & WW1

More than 60 singers have sung specially commissioned songs on top of nine of England’s highest peaks, commemorating the gifting of 14 Lake District summits to the National Trust following the First World War.

The event took place over three weekends since May on nine Lakelands fells to commemorate the Great Gift, a legacy once described as “the world’s greatest war memorial”. The singers climbed a total of 25 miles and 3000 metres of ascent to perform specially commissioned songs, including England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike. Great Gable, Green Gable, Brandreth (no performance) and Grey Knotts were scaled in May, Lingmell, Scafell Pike and Broad Crag in June, and Thorneythwaite Fell, Glaramara and Allen Crags in July.

14 summits in the Lake District were gifted to the National Trust in the years after the First World War by the Fell and Rock Climbing Club and private landowners as an act of remembrance.

Scafell Pike was given by Lord Leconfield in 1919 as a memorial to the men of the Lake District who fell in the Great War, and Castle Crag by Dr W H Hamer and his family in memory of his relative, 2nd Lieutenant John Hamer, and the men of Borrowdale. 12 peaks were gifted to the National Trust by the Fell and Rock Climbing Club in 1923 (Lingmell, Broad Crag, Great End, Seathwaite Fell, Allen Crags, Glaramara, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Green Gable, Base Brown, Brandreth and Grey Knott).

The temporary choir, made up of amateur singers from local choirs, is called The Fellowship of Hill, and Wind, and Sunshine: named after the speech made by poet and mountaineer Geoffrey Winthrop Young, which he delivered on top of Great Gable in 1924 as he dedicated the fells to the nation.

Jessie Binns, the National Trust’s Visitor Experience Manager in the Lake District, recruited the choir to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War:

“These mountains were given as memorials for everyone to enjoy, and the National Trust is extremely proud to have cared for them ever since. If everything around you is feeling uncertain and unstable, a connection with the natural world can feel grounding.

“This is part of the reason it is so important for us to safeguard these and other open spaces, so that future generations can continue to reap the benefits in the years to come.”


Main image: The Fellowship Choir led by Musical Director Dave Camlin commemorate the 14 lakeland summits given to the National Trust after the First World War. Credit: North News Pictures

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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