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Sporty Kate Middleton in her element abseiling and mountain biking - best photos

The Duchess met Air Cadets and Holocaust survivors

kate middleton cumbria
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
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kate middleton mountain bike cumbria© Photo: Alamy

The Duchess of Cambridge was in her element on Tuesday as she took part in a number of outdoor activities during a trip to Cumbria.

Kate, who is Honorary Air Commandant of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, began her day by joining a group of Air Cadets for mountain biking.

The Duchess' visit also marked the re-opening of the RAF Air Cadets' Windermere Adventure Training Centre following a £2m refit. The centre will enable hundreds of cadets from across the UK to be able to visit the Lake District each year and take part in a wide variety of activities, allowing them to build their confidence and leadership skills and achieve their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. 

READ: Kate Middleton and Duchess Camilla set for glamorous night out together

WATCH: Kate Middleton in her element as she tries abseiling and mountain biking

kate abseils cumbria© Photo: Alamy

Kate took the plunge as she tried abseiling at Cathedral Quarry in Little Langdale, Cumbria, after having a go at mountain biking with the group. 

Thirteen-year-old Itelouwa Odipe, from Lancaster, spoke to the Duchess as she waited to try abseiling.

He said: "She was about to abseil and I was next in line so she asked me if I wanted to go before her. I was a bit scared so I said no.

"She said if I did she would meet me down there."

The teenager spoke to her again after deciding not to brave the drop.

"She said it was really good and I should try it," he said.

"I think she was very kind. Even though she is a royal highness she still does things normal humans do."

The Duchess asked the teenagers about the activities they took part in and how the pandemic had affected their mental health.

She said of the activities: "It's so great to have these challenges."

MORE: Kate Middleton rocks a heritage print blazer and sun-kissed highlights on royal visit

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kate middleton abseils© Photo: Getty Images

Sporty Kate showed no fear as she tried abseiling.

Fergus Ripley, 16, from Lancaster, said: "It was a fantastic experience to talk to Her Royal Highness. It was great to see her get involved."

MORE: Prince William and Kate celebrate birth of Princess Beatrice's first child

kate middleton abseiling cumbria© Photo: Alamy

Mum-of-three Kate passionately believes that spending time outdoors plays a pivotal role in children and young people's future health and happiness, building foundations that last over a lifetime by encouraging active exploration and the opportunity to form and strengthen positive relationships.  

The Duchess sported a smart casual ensemble for her day outdoors, consisting of a khaki green quilted jacket, black jeans and boots. 

kate middleton mountain biking© Photo: Getty Images

Kate, who is renowned for her love of the outdoors, appeared to be in her element as she tried out the activities on offer, including mountain biking. 

kate middleton windermere adventure training centre© Photo: Getty Images

Kate speaking with Air Cadets at the RAF Air Cadets’ Windermere Adventure Training Centre. 

kate middleton smile© Photo: Getty Images

Kate later swapped her quilted jacket for a checked blazer from one of her favourite brands, Really Wild, and an oatmeal jumper for her next engagement of the day in Cumbria. 

kate middleton boards boat cumbria© Photo: Rex

The Duchess joined a boat trip with two of the 'Windermere Children', a group of 300 child Holocaust survivors who came to stay in the Lake District in 1945 for a period of recuperation following the atrocities they experienced in concentration camps of Nazi Occupied Europe. 

kate middleton boat trip© Photo: Getty Images

It's understood that Kate wanted to be able to meet some of the survivors in person and hear their stories, having  previously learnt about the history of the Windermere Children.  

kate middleton boat trip cumbria© Photo: Getty Images

During the boat trip, the Duchess heard from two survivors about the ways in which their time in the Lakes and the innovative support that they received at the Calgarth Estate, including outdoor recreation, sport and art therapy, which allowed them to be able to begin to heal from the trauma of their childhood experiences.  

In a personal Instagram post after her engagement, Kate wrote: "I wanted to be able to meet some of the survivors Ike and Arek in person to hear their stories; about how they went on to create their own companies, write a book and to this day, still sneak in the odd round of golf.

"It was so powerful to hear how their time in the Lakes enjoying outdoor recreation, sport and art therapy, allowed them to be able to begin to rebuild their lives and eventually, their families here in the UK."

kate middleton lake windermere© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess also stopped off at the Jetty Museum, where she met relatives of survivor, who spoke about how their loved ones' time in Cumbria helped them to go on to build  successful lives in the UK.

Kate also learned about the work of the Lake District Holocaust Project to document and educate the public about the experiences of the Windermere Children.  

In January 2020, the Duchess took moving photographs of Holocaust survivors Stephen Frank and Yvonne Bernstein and their grandchildren in order to mark 75 years since the end of the Holocaust. The images are now on display at the Imperial War Museum as part of the Generations: Portraits of Holocaust Survivors exhibition.

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