The blustery weather could not dampen the spirits of over 70 pupils, teachers, parents and boarders of Windermere School as they disco danced to YMCA on the summit of Orrest Head.
They were taking part in the inaugural event of the charity Another Way (https://www.another-way.org.uk/another-waynwright/), founded by 16-year-old Amy Bray, Cumbria’s very own version of Greta Thunberg. Events on Saturday 31 August ‘Waynwright Day’ (correct spelling!) were held to promote environmental sustainability and healthy living. The aim was for supporters to host activities on the top of all 214 of the Wainwright fells, ranging from yoga, to art or poetry to a pub quiz.
Originally planned for the Wainwright summit of Baystones on Wansfell, the event was moved to Orrest Head so even the youngest children could take part. Windermere School is keen to support this fledgling charity as part of its focus on the environment and education through outdoor learning, where children as young as seven years old have a half day per week of adventurous learning as part of their timetable.
During the walk the children took part in a competitive litter pick, resulting in items ranging from plastic bottles to half a training shoe!
After the disco dance on the summit the participants signed pledges that they would make in their own lives on the ’Another Way’ banner. These ranged from a desire to use less plastic, to using more public transport, to growing more of their own food. Deputy Head, Ellie Vermeulen said, ‘we wanted to host this event to promote the involvement of the younger generation in encouraging change in the way we live our lives – my pledge is I want to use less single use yoghurt pots!’
Overall the charity had over 600 participants on over 140 different Wainwright Fells, including events hosted by supporters such as Friends of the Lake District on Blencathra and local MP Tim Farron ascending Loughrigg. Amy herself summited Helvellyn. Everyone is already planning their events for next year.
It was a day enjoyed by all, and hopefully inspired all those taking part that even a very small personal change like using less plastic or collecting litter can make a very big difference.
The first time my daughter and I visited the school she said to me “that is a happy school no question.” The scholastic achievements of the school are evident and an easy measure for a school to demonstrate. What is hard to quantify is the holistic development of a pupil at which, in my experience, Windermere School excels.
Windermere School is such a unique community to be a part of. Not only is it based in a truly beautiful and inspiring national park, but the environment created by staff and students alike makes for an incredibly supportive, proactive, exciting and international place of learning in which everyone can thrive and be the best they can be.