Large stones needed to repair some of the Lake District’s most popular paths are being flown into place by helicopter over the next fortnight.
The work is being carried out on behalf of ‘Fix the Fells’, the partnership tasked with improving some of the area’s most worn paths.
The stones have already been gathered in various parts of the Lake District in large bags that are too heavy for people to lift. The helicopter will pick them up and deliver them to paths that are in urgent need of repair, such as the main tourist route up Scafell Pike from Wasdale, one of the most popular paths to the summit of Helvellyn from Ullswater and Catbells near Keswick.
The air drops will allow National Trust repair teams to then move the stones into place, stabilising the paths to prevent erosion and preventing them from becoming scars on the landscape.
The helicopter flights will take place in Borrowdale, Ullswater, Wasdale and Grasmere, weather permitting.
Joanne Backshall, Fix the Fells Programme Manager, says the helicopter lifts will make a huge difference to the repair work.
“It will allow us to move heavy stones to areas that badly need them. Without the helicopter it would be impossible for us to carry out the work that is needed. Our teams of Fix the Fells Rangers, aided by our volunteers, have already hand-filled nearly 800 bags with stone, each bag weighing approximately 950 kg. These will be lifted in to place one by one by a Squirrel helicopter.”
Repairing the paths makes it less likely that soil will be washed off the fells, polluting rivers and lakes. It also stops the paths spreading out any further and becoming very unsightly.