Lake District: Helicopter lifts stone for Scafell Pike repairs

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Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
As visitor numbers to Scafell Pike increase "human-related erosion is spiralling out of control"

Hundreds of bags of stone are being hoisted up England's highest mountain during a repair project.

About 250,000 walkers climb Scafell Pike every year and as a result its paths are being rapidly eroded, which is affecting wildlife and habitats.

Repairs to the footpath up from Wasdale Head, in the Lake District, are being carried out by charity Fix the Fells.

Most of the work will be carried out by rangers and volunteers using materials found on the mountain where possible.

It is due to take six months to complete and will see stonework replaced, paths defined and drains installed to prevent further erosion, and protect environmentally-sensitive upland grassland habitats.

For repairs to one stretch of path, a 360-degree excavator is needed, which will be flown on to the 3,209ft-high (978m) mountain in pieces and reassembled by specialist contractors.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Machinery will be reassembled on Scafell Pike by specialists

Fix the Fells programme manager Joanne Backshall said it was "wonderful" so many people were enjoying the mountain and its surrounding peaks.

But she said: "With so many people using this route up Scafell Pike, human-related erosion is spiralling out of control and having a devastating effect on wildlife and habitats.

"The work we are doing to maintain and repair eroded footpaths on Scafell Pike is critically necessary to protect this iconic mountain, its environmentally sensitive habitats and this world-renowned scenic landscape, so that people can continue to enjoy this classic ascent and the natural beauty of the Lakes for years to come."

The National Trust is also urging visitors to help prevent further erosion by staying on the paths.

With social distancing still being followed, walkers are encouraged to step to the side of the path to let others pass, to help stop paths widening and surrounding grassland from being worn down.

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