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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Facelift for shelter on summit of Lake District peak

A mountain shelter which has provided sanctuary for climbers and walkers over the past 60 years has been given a facelift.

Helvellyn shelter photo
The repair team

The refuge on the top of Helvellyn was built by the first Lake District volunteers in 1954 as a haven for those tackling the 3,117ft mountain in bad weather and plummeting temperatures.

National Park volunteers decided to carry out the refurbishment as part of celebrations to mark the diamond jubilee of the organisation.

Tom Hrynkow, Lake District National Park field ranger, said: “The country’s third highest mountain is a magnet for walkers and the 25ft cross-shaped stone shelter has been a much-used focal point and bolthole.

“Taking in a panorama of awe-inspiring views, it is perfectly positioned to offer protection from conditions that can change rapidly at these heights.

“Our fell top assessors this winter recorded temperatures plummeting to minus 21 degrees and metre-deep snowdrifts on Helvellyn.

“Even on days when conditions in the valleys are benign, it can be a very different story on the tops. It’s impossible to know just how many people have been shielded from terrible weather, picnicked or bivvied overnight in the old stone structure.

“Those volunteers 60 years-ago certainly had foresight and skills.

“Bearing in mind the hammering it gets, there wasn’t too much to do to get it back into peak condition – hopefully it’s good now until 2074!”

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