Another year comes and goes and with it we have wrapped up our 5th Lakeland Festival of Light. Where to start with this one....WOW!
As the crowd started to build at the Rawnsley Centre we soon surpassed the crowd levels we had last year and it just continued to build! The raffle stall had a constant queue and all the raffle prizes went down amazingly well, so my first thank you goes to everyone who donated the amazing gifts!
Little Chamonix Cafe had non stop cake sales and Bean on the Fells had a queue almost as long as one you'd get on the summit of Snowdon on Easter weekend! Pretty impressive stuff considering there were just two of them serving, and fortunately Fellside Physiotherapy were on hand for the second year in a row to provide some fell side physio for Shelley's coffee serving induced RSI!
As we arrived at Catbells it was clear that quite a few folk had gone direct and so our initial count of people at the start point went out of the window. I'd say there were around 2000 people on Catbells last night.
The morale on the mountain was high and the weather played ball, and soon enough it started to go dark. With the biggest party ever it took some shifting to get the whole mountain lined evenly and my second thank you goes to the participants for being patient and of course willing.
This year we had the added atmosphere of Robert playing the Bagpipes half way up Catbells and I know this was very well received by the people surrounding him.
Once all set Catbells went dark and we stayed that way for about 10 minutes. The tension was building and I could certainly tell the people around me were busting to explode Catbells with a flash of light. After a count down from 10 we lit up and the applause echoed around the Borrowdale Valley.
Our professional photography team, Tom McNally Photography, Mattyy Simpson Photography, Lakeland Photo Walks and Carmen Norman Photography all worked their magic in record time and before we knew it the 'It's a wrap!' shout could go across the radios.
The procession then started to weave it's way down the mountain and with that many people it certainly took a fair while. Everyone was looked after as they descended (and ascended of course) by our excellent team of volunteer marshalls, without which this event would certainly not happen. Everyone bar one person got off of the hill unscathed and that person was quickly responded to and treated by members of our volunteer team who are also members of Keswick Mountain Rescue Team and Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team.
Nichol End Marine were no doubt serving hungry participants into the early hours of Sunday, thank you for that!
It really was great to hear and see the different reasons why people were supporting the event. Some people were returning for more from previous years, many were first timers wanting to be part of the art. Many were supporters
of our beneficiary charity the Lake District Mountain Rescue Searchdogs and some were there celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and even Hen parties! The fact that hundreds if not thousands of other people were surrounding Catbells to spend their evening watching us was also quite humbling.
A final thanks from myself to everyone who helped pull this event together, especially to my friends and family who are so slick at selling raffle tickets and taking donations now! Thanks again to my team of volunteer marshalls, to everyone who donated raffle prizes and of course to everyone who has given money to this amazing cause. We will get a final total up in due course, but for now if you'd like to donate please do so on the following link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lfol19
A link to purchase event photographer pics will appear in due course.
And yes....LFOL 2020 will happen...watch this space!
Matt Le Voi - Company Director