Wednesday, 07 October 2015

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Via Ferrata go-ahead in Lake District is boost for county

Supporters have hailed the go-ahead of a high-level attraction as a boost to the Lake District’s adventure aspirations.

Jan Wilkinson photo
Jan Wilkinson

A campaign continues to make Cumbria the country’s adventure capital and some believe that effort has been boosted by the go-ahead for an extension to the Via Ferrata at Honister Slate Mine at Borrowdale, near Keswick.

Lake District planners this week gave the go-ahead for the attraction, expected to open next month.

Work on creating it is now underway.

Writing on Twitter, Adventure Capital UK said: “Great news”.

Cumbria Tourism and Keswick Tourism has also welcomed the progress.

Replying to comments on Twitter, Honister responded: “It’s a positive move for the county, so lets celebrate then get it up and running for early June.”

They also credited the decision as being “fantastic” for the Lake District.

Cumbria Tourism chairman and broadcaster Eric Robson described the move as “very good news”.

Progress continues to be made at Honister despite the death of its former owner, Mark Weir, who died in a helicopter crash.

It is being spearheaded by his partner, Jan Wilkinson, who also hopes to realise his plans of installing a zip wire at the mine.

The Via Ferrata uses a system of fixed steel ropes, rungs and other protection to allow non-climbers to experience the mountains.

The extension to it – dubbed the Via Ferrata Xtreme – will be operated alongside the existing route, with a number of deviations to and from what is currently there.

Honister ran into trouble last year when its owners were fined nearly £30,000 for illegally fitting an extension to the attraction, which Natural England said had damaged a site of special scientific interest.

The new route has been designed to avoid walkers having to step on vegetation, using high-level bridges, walkways and ladders.

Like all via ferrata routes, a fixed cable keeps walkers where they should be.

Ms Wilkinson said: “I believe we have reached a solution to a difficult problem. We are all caretakers, passionate about the Lake District.”


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