PRESS RELEASE: Fun on the Fells

For Immediate Release
Monday 6 March 2017


On Saturday 11 March, the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry, Kendal opens a new exhibition Fun on the Fells. The exhibition traces the story of walking and climbing with a focus on the Lake District. From early aristocratic climbers and working-class ramblers to the designation of the National Park. The show features collections from the museum and objects and artefacts on loan from the Fell and Rock Climbing Club.

Exhibition curator Rachel Roberts commented:
“Walking and climbing are enjoyed by millions across the UK, especially in the Lake District which has some of the most beautiful fells and rock faces in the country. But we often forget that these pastimes, and our right to do them, came from daring pioneers and political movements who weren’t afraid to push boundaries and challenge the status quo. This exhibition tells their story from early rock climbers, working class rambler’s clubs, and mass trespasses to the millions of modern day tourists who flock to the area.”

Though the origins of the sport are unknown, people were climbing in the Alps in the late 1700s and in the Lake District since John Atkinson scaled Pillar Rock, Ennerdale, in 1826. By the 1880s, the sport had grown in popularity and in 1906 the Fell and Rock Climbing Club was formed at the Sun Inn at Coniston.

The right to roam has also been an important issue since the 1700s and this exhibition charts the story of our right to walk in the Lake District and across the nation. The Kinder Trespass of 1932 was the culmination of many years of frustration and disagreements. Although many walkers did not agree with this form of direct action it paved the way for the millions of miles of footpaths and access land that give us all access to the countryside today.

The Fell and Rock Climbing Club has kindly loaned a number of artefacts and objects to the exhibition including an intriguing case from the top of pillar rock where Victorian climbers would leave their calling card to mark their achievement. The Northwest Film Archive has contributed a rather personal and touching photo diary of one climber’s trips along with engaging footage of both early climbers and ramblers. These appear alongside dozens of other objects from boots and ropes to guide books and maps.

Today, with over 16 million visitors each year, more people than ever explore the footpaths and rock faces of the Lake District and this exhibition is a ‘must’ for anyone who enjoys this exhilarating past time. 
Fun on the Fells opens on Saturday 11 March and runs until Saturday 28 October 2017. The Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry is open Monday – Saturday from 10.30am – 5pm and entry for adults costs £5.50 while ‘Friends’, Under 16s and full time students are free. For more information on the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry visit
For further information or images, please contact Sam Bunting on 07866 492 891 or at

Notes to the Editor
• Rachel Roberts is available for interview either by phone or in person. To arrange a suitable time, please contact Sam Bunting on 07866 492 891 or at
• A selection of images is available to accompany this story here:

  • Martin Armitage on the classic Oxford and Cambridge Direct, Grey Crag (V Diff)
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