Well it feels and looks like October, and with the morning's thunder and lightening, it was with a bit of trepidation as to what the day may bring that we welcomed a group from the Cumberland Building Society, and one of our own new staff Becca, at Mazonwath. They were all there to learn the ancient art of dry stone walling. 

Becca was in day eight of her new job with our expanded fundraising team. The Cumberland staff all worked in the audit team in the HQ office in Carlisle. We drafted in extra trainers to help out and set to work to see if we could inspire others to love this special rural skill.

The Cumberland Building Society team were still smiling come lunchtime 

The team from The Cumberland were a delight to work with. Some groups/individuals can be hard work, others can be a joy. It’s hard to pin point why, sometimes people have a natural ability to wall and get the jigsaw and puzzle element to it. Sometimes people just gel well together, and just want to get stuck in and learn what they can. 

The Cumberland team got stuck in straight away and by lunch time had grasped all the key elements of wall building. By home time we had metres of wall built and still smiling faces. So a big thanks to all those who joined us, you can come again!

Chloe Main, the Internal Audit Manager at The Cumberland, gave us some feedback on the day: "It was my first day dry stone walling, and staff and experienced volunteers were so welcoming and encouraging. I really enjoyed working together as a team to build the wall and finding stone that was a good fit. I found it very therapeutic. It was hard work, I slept for 10 hours after getting home that night, but at the end of the day when we could see the progress that had been made, I felt a real sense of achievement. Now whenever I’m out walking, I find myself looking at the walls and thinking about how well they have been made and how old they might be."

All that hard work means that, with a bit of luck, at the next workparty or two we can finish the wall and move on to a change of scene.

We asked Becca our new Philanthropy Lead, who'll be looking after major donors and corporates as part of our fundraising team, to give us her thoughts on the day:

“As a new member of the Friends of the Lake District team, I’m lucky to have joined a workparty in my second week. It’s been a true hands-on introduction to the work we do. A chance to meet not only our Land Manager, Jan, but also some of our regular volunteers, and the lovely team from The Cumberland.

"Escaping the office and spending the day dry stone walling at Mazonwath has been a really rewarding experience for me. I’ve explored the eastern reaches of Cumbria – a beautiful, remote stretch of rolling landscape and vast skies – and learnt new skills with friendly, expert guidance.

"We sat in the hayfield for a well-earned tea-break, sharing stories, listening for birds, and just taking it all in. Knowing that there’s a small patch of wall that I’ve helped to build that will (hopefully!) stand for many years to come has left me with a real sense of achievement. Tiring in the best way and a fantastic day all round!”

We are into the holiday season over the next few weeks. Our next event is pollinator training on Monday 15th July at High Borrowdale. We can still squeeze a few more in so if you want to come, you can. https://www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/Event/bees-wasps-and-pollinator-id-training