AS work begins to reopen the controversial road closure at Thirlmere to all users, a campaigner has expressed relief at the news but also frustration over its continued prolonged closure. 

Last week, United Utilities announced their project to get the road back open to all users - a plan that may take up to 12 weeks. 

The work will involve specialist contractors working at height to remove storm-damaged trees, loose rocks and material that is currently suspended on the Crag above the road.

The West Road at Thirlmere was closed following severe damage caused by Storm Arwen in November 2021. 

Previous assessments by the landowners United Utilities (UU) evaluated the full face of Rough Crag, determining hazards, necessitating the continuation of the road closure.

Mark Hatton, a campaigner from the Keep Thirlmere Open campaign, said: "So finally 27 months after Storm Arwen, work is just about to start to clear storm debris from the face of Rough Crag and we are told that it could take three months to complete this work.

"Both are extraordinarily long periods of time, during which the public have been prevented from using the quiet, beautiful and entirely accident-free road along the west side of Thirlmere and forced to use the very busy, exceedingly dangerous, accident-prone A591 instead," he said. 

The road will now be temporarily closed during the work to all users. 

The conclusion of the safety programme will see Cumberland Council conducting its own assessment of the road before reopening.

"The sooner the west side of Thirlmere is fully reopened the better.

"Lessons must be learned about how this road was ever allowed to be closed for so long, how public safety was so badly compromised as a result, and why the authorities who are tasked with preserving public rights of way and protecting public safety failed so badly," Mr Hatton said.