Location: Great Gable, a mountain in the Lake District
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"Upon this mountain summit we are met today to dedicate this space of hills to freedom.”
So said writer and mountaineer Geoffrey Winthrop Young, in a ceremony - a 'service in the clouds' - in 1924.
At the very top of Great Gable, covered in hoarfrost, is a war memorial.
Following the Great War and in memory of the friends they had lost, the Fell and Rock Climbing Club bought twelve peaks and 3,000 acres of Lake District land from private landowners, and donated it to the National Trust. This gift, “for the use and enjoyment of the people of our land for all time”, set in motion the development of the National Parks.
Winthrop spoke: “Upon this rock are set the names of men – our brothers, and our comrades upon these cliffs – who held with us, that there is no freedom of the soil where the spirit of man is in bondage, and who surrendered their part in the fellowship of hill and wind, and sunshine, that the freedom of this land, the freedom of our spirit, should endure."
And that is how this land returned to common use.
Great Gable stands at the head of Wasdale, looking over the tiny, ancient, Viking longship-beamed Church of St Olaf, which remembers too those FRCC members who died in the war with a stained glass window: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my strength."