VIDEO: Helicopter lifts 40 tonnes of gritstone to repair Peak District footpath
Usually it's injured hikers needing a ride in an air ambulance off Kinder Scout's badly-eroded footpaths...
But this time a helicopter crew was used to carry more than 40 tonnes of rock up the Peak District’s only mountain to repair a popular walking route before it became too dangerous to use.
It was the only way to get the locally-quarried gritstone to the upper flanks of the 636m-high peak near the start of the Pennine Way and took the helicopter some 66 journeys to and from the nearby village of Edale to complete.
The total cost to fully repair the stretch of damaged footpath below the Ringing Roger rock outcrop is around £17,000 but it is one of the most popular routes to the Kinder Scout plateau.
Fortunately, the money has been raised by supporters of the British Mountaineering Council’s Mend Our Mountains campaign, which was launched in March to fund eight urgent upland repair projects in partnership with national parks.
In fact, close to 400 people donated to the Peak District section of the appeal, more than any of the other seven locations, and Mike Rhodes, access and rights of way manager at the Peak District National Park, said: “It’s quite something that so many people were prepared to donate to something like this and almost all the money came from individuals.
“They may not even walk the route themselves but still want to help us look after the landscape.”
Carey Davies, hill walking development officer for the British Mountaineering Council, added: “Thanks to its part in the famous 1932 mass trespass, Kinder Scout is a hugely symbolic mountain in the movement for free access to open country, a right we take for granted today.
“The challenges of balancing free access with conservation are particularly pronounced in the Peak District, a national park surrounded by 20 million people.
“The number of people who supported this project in our Mend Our Mountains campaign is proof that passion for the Peak District is as strong as ever.
“It also shows that if walkers are prepared to give something back voluntarily to the landscapes they love, then they will.
“As national parks face increasing pressures in carrying out their work, we want to send a message out on behalf of walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts, these are our hills to climb and ours to care for.”