It is satisfactory to know that the most beautiful part of Borrowdale is now in the hands of the National Trust, and until that body is dissolved by Act of Parliament (for nothing else can dissolve it) it will remain safe for the enjoyment of the people, unharmed by the speculating builder and free from the restrictions which land preserved for sporting rights must necessarily involve. (p. 208)….

And how did this beauty spot of Borrowdale become a national possession?  The story is as follows:—Just before the Barrow Estate came unexpectedly into the market, the question of the right of free navigation on Derwentwater had been raised, and the National Trust, as riparian owners of Brandlehow, had been in communication with the Lords of the Manors on the subject.  It was seen to be a most important thing that this question of a right-of-way for boats on the lake should be settled once for all. (p. 229)  

As soon, therefore, as it was known that that part of the Barrow Estate which was in the market contained valuable water rights as being part of the freehold of Borrowdale held under the Great Deed, it was thought that great efforts should be made to secure it for the National Trust, and this the more because friends of the National Trust had already secured the adjacent woodland of Manesty, and it was seen that if this Barrow land with its picturesque bays and promontories at the southern end of the lake could be obtained, it would virtually give right of way to the public as far as the river on the east, and by arrangement with an adjacent landowner, a right of way from the shore to the Borrowdale road beyond the Manesty farm. (pp. 229-230)

At the same time it was seen that the Barrow Estate which was for sale contained Grange Fell, the Borrowdale birches, the Bowder Stone, and all the land east of the river between Grange Bridge and the Rosthwaite meadows.  The heart, in fact, of the most beautiful part of Borrowdale. (p. 230)

The matter was brought to the notice of the National Trust, but having just appealed for a very large sum of money to obtain Gowbarrow, it was impossible for them to ask for subscriptions for a new possession in the English Lake District.  The only possibility of obtaining it lay in the chance of some private individuals purchasing it and holding it for five years, with an option for the National Trust.  Two local gentlemen, members of the National Trust Council, knowing the importance of the purchase to the nation, and that it was the chance of a life-time to obtain it, determined to advance the money and give the National Trust this option. (pp. 230-231)

They therefore approached the vendors and asked if they would sell the south shore of the lake, and the adjacent rough ground and the land in Borrowdale, comprising the Grange Fell and the Bowder Stone, the latter being an estate of 310 acres of freehold, together with the Bowder Stone, the adjacent cottage, 46 shares in the Wheyfoot Quarry, and a mile of the foreshore and bank of the River Derwent. (p. 231)

The vendors were unable to meet them.  They said that they were willing to sell only on condition that an adjacent farm, of which this estate was part, the farm of Riggside, Grange, should also be purchased.  These gentlemen had neither any wish to become land-owners nor were they anxious to find the larger sum for this purchase.  But they had no option in the matter, and they therefore determined to effect the purchase of the whole estate.  The matter was eventually settled by telegram, and how near a thing it was may be seen from the fact that they learned afterwards that within half an hour of the purchase others were willing to make higher offers for the same properties. (p. 231)

The question then arose as to what should happen in case the National Trust failed to secure it at the end of five years.  It was decided by these gentlemen that the property must be divided.  It chanced that the rentals from the farm and the rentals from the fell in Borrowdale were almost equal; but an independent valuer was called in who fixed the prices of each property according to its rental, and these figures were laid before the National Trust. (p. 232)

Inasmuch as the purchasers had had to borrow money to effect the purchase, or to sell out stock at a reduction, the National Trust were willing to guarantee interest at four per cent. on the money expended for such part as they should purchase at these fixed prices, and the purchasers of the property were willing to agree that all rental received during the five years from those parts of the property purchased should be returned to the National Trust in order to enable them to pay this four per cent. (p. 232)

On these terms the National Trust eventually became purchasers of all they desired and all that suited their purpose, at a proportional price of the original purchase money; the farm itself to remain in the hands of one or other of the original purchasers. (p. 232)

It is interesting to note that, notwithstanding the bona-fides of the purchasers, rumour at once put it about that they had purchased a farm in Borrowdale at a comparatively small sum and sold all the worthless parts of it at an exorbitant sum to the National Trust.  It is not very encouraging to public endeavour, but the story is worth telling, if only, in spite of any such discouragement and disparagement, it will lead others who believe in the mission of the National Trust, when a beauty-spot falls into the market, to consult the National Trust as to whether, if a purchase is made, the Trust will at some future time make efforts to take it over, at the price paid, for the public good. (p. 233)

(By Fell and Dale at the English Lakes, pp. 208-233)