We know the Lake District plays a special part in so many lives and is not easily forgotten once you've spent time here. Our members live in Cumbria, other parts of the UK and all over the world, all sharing a connection to the fells, villages, lakes and forests that make Cumbria such a special place. If you'd like to share your special memories of the Lake District contact our member officer, [email protected].

We've had a lovely letter this week from Andy Jones, a member who lives in New Zealand, and his partner Barbara Curtis. He writes remembering a childhood in Caldbeck and the Eden valley, and younger days in Mungrisdale:


I've been meaning to write to you from some time since receiving your "Postcards from the Lakes" which I have so much enjoyed.

I have been living in New Zealand for nearly 20 years now but my spiritual home is still very much the Lake District and in particular Mungrisdale and of course Blencathra, 'my mountain'! I was born in Caldbeck back in 1954 where my father was the rector. We then moved to Warcop in the Eden valley when I was 5 but back to the Lake District (to Mungrisdale) when my father retired in 1972. Living there, being part of a vibrant caring community and being able to wander the hills and mountains of the Lake District was such a privilege and delight for all my family. It is such a comfort to my sisters and me that both my parents and our younger sister who died tragically in 1986 aged only 26 are all buried in the beautiful and peaceful setting of Mungrisdale churchyard.

After living and working in West Cumbria for a few years (and exploring the western fells of course) I moved from the Lakes to Bradford with my wife, Barbara, whom I'd met in Cockermouth, and young family in 1985. I frequently returned to walk and climb both alone and later with my youngest son who though also now living in New Zealand still has a great affection for the Lake District. I became ill with ME (chronic fatigue syndrome) in 1997 and can no longer walk far at all. But a couple of months before that started, I had a wonderful sunny, cloudless September weekend on my own.

I walked the Blencathra / Bowscale Fell circuit, via Sharp Edge, on the Friday afternoon, the Helvellyn (via Striding Edge)/ Dollywagon Pike/ St Sunday Crag circuit on the Saturday and the Grisedale Pike/ Grasmoor/Causey Pike circuit on the Sunday, reaching the starting points by bicycle from Mungrisdale, finishing with a quick dash up Carrock from Mosedale before returning to Bradford. A memorable few days.

The Friends of the Lake District has always been part of my life. My father was a life member - I think probably a founding member too - and he touchingly gave me life membership after I became ill for which I am forever grateful. Both my parents, my mother Westmorland born, passed on to me and all three of my sisters a deep love and appreciation of the Lake District. It is good to know the Friends of the Lake District remains a vibrant, important organisation, focused on the protection and guardianship of such a beautiful part of the world. I hope very much that as the restrictions you have all experienced for so long due to the Covid pandemic are lifted, the Lake District will once again be open for you all to roam and enjoy.

Take care of yourselves. My best wishes to you all. Thank you for enabling me to be kept in touch with the Lake District from the other side of the world!

Andy Jones and Barbara Curtis.

Image above: Nelson and the Haven, New Zealand

Below: Maitai valley, Nelson, New Zealand