The National Trust was created in 1896, largely through the efforts of Canon Rawnsley, vicar of Crosthwaite near Keswick. In 1902 the Brandlehow estate on the west shore of Derwentwater, 108 acres of pasture and woodland at the foot of Catbells, came on the market. Rawnsley launched an appeal, and enough money was raised – one of the National Trust’s earliest purchases, and the first purchase in this area.
The opening ceremony was performed by HRH Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria, on 6 October 1902, a memorable day for the work of the National Trust in the Lake District. Through the efforts of Rawnsley and the National Trust, much of Borrowdale was preserved from development. After the ceremony, Princess Louise and the three National Trust founders each planted an oak tree. These trees and the commemorative stone may be seen at Grid Ref 249204
It is very difficult to park in this area in the busy season and Keswick Tourism Association is (rightly) urging visitors to use “Boat, Bus or Boots” to access the Catbells area. The Honister Rambler runs from April to November and leaves from Keswick Bus Station, or the Keswick Launch serves 6 landing stages on Derwentwater including Brandlehow and Hawes End throughout the year, with reduced sailing in the winter months.
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