Thursday, 29 April 2010

Go west

Launching The Lake District Messenger and my work providing public relations support and media training now takes me beyond the beautiful boundary of the Eden Valley, across Cumbria.

And it is amazing how dramatic the changes in landscape – and weather some days are in this county. As I drive along the A66 to West Cumbria I feel honoured that I can do this for my living.

Taking to business people in West Cumbria you see a true determination to keep on going. This is an area which has felt the economic ebbs and flows not just for decades but centuries.

The Lake District was one of the first industrial areas of the world. It’s mining for slate as well as coal, and its involvement in the export industry – including been a main exporter of slaves as well as importer of spices and coffee, made it a very wealthy area.

Today the docks don’t see big cargo ships leaving, but there is action here. I was surprised by how much was going on at Workington docks as I went to attend a meeting with a client.

And as one industry declines another expands – and engineers are using their skills to meet the needs of a new business. West Cumbria has many specialists in mechanical engineering. Where their customers of the past have been the steelmakers, today and tomorrow it will be the nuclear industry.

With the backdrop of the lakes it is a place that has been cut off by geography over the generations, but maybe West Cumbria, with its wind turbines and nuclear industry is set to be the new power house of the UK in the 21st century?

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