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Our Story

Our story begins back in the 1880s when the Durning-Holts, a wealthy Liverpool shipping family, decided to build themselves a sporting lodge for summers in the Lake District.  The house was passed down the family line, being extended and developed over the years, and we still have the personal diary of one of the children, Barbara Holt, who grew up here at High Borrans. 


The Holt family left during the Depression and the house stood empty until the Somervell family bought the estate in 1935. Sir Arnold was another wealthy businessman, and owner of the famous K Shoes in Kendal. During the Second World War, the family allowed High Borrans to be used to billet evacuee children from the North East, which is where the link with North Tyneside comes from! 

During the post war years, Lady Dorothy Somervell maintained links with the North East and in 1967 sold part of the estate to Tynemouth Borough Council to enable children to continue to benefit from a countryside experience. 

High Borrans has been an outdoor education centre since 1967!

Interesting Fact...Lawrence Durning-Holt, son of the family who built the house, co-founded Outward Bound with Kurt Hahn in 1941! So we're sure he would approve of it being an outdoor centre today.

High Borrans History Book

We have published a book on High Borrans - A History which charts the story of the settlement from it's humble beginnings back in the Iron Age, though to the outdoor centre we all know and love today. 


"The secrets of High Borrans have been guarded for centuries, but underneath the rolling fields, leafy woodlands and ancient stones, tales of class, war, gypsies and romance, as well as evil plots and even the odd ghost have been revealed."

High Borrans - A History is available to purchase via Bob Books Publishing.