in Fell Running
What has been proposed so far?
A four wire Zip Wire installation running the entire length of the Lower Glenridding valley, above Glenridding Village.
It has been suggested/proposed by Mike Turner, head of Tree Top Treks (TTT), that 1 mile long zip wire consisting of up to 4 wires/tracks to run the entire valley, taking thrill seeking revellers from the LDNPA car park in Glenridding by mini bus/land train, up the Greenside Bridleway to a location which has not yet been confirmed at the head of the valley, to be dropped off, kitted up & sent at up to speeds of 60mph whooping back down the valley.
The land owners, at the head of the valley are the LDNPA & have given their permission of sorts for TTT to investigate further & put a planning application in to the park authorities planners for this installation to be given full consideration. A farmers field is required at the foot of the valley to make this work & as far as we can ascertain, he has given consent so far, but has commented he doesn't think it will happen anyway.
So whats so bad about this?
Maybe some folk think its a great idea & in principle, if the area was different it might well suit it, but given that Glenridding & the surrounding fells are of outstanding beauty, we really think it is pretty obvious that the area is not the correct place for a thrill seeking theme park ride like this.
The LDNPA were set up many years ago in order to protect the environment we know as the Lake District. They are only in place to service this need, by looking after the district in a sustainable manner to protect its natural beauty, cultural heritage and a way of live that has survived for many generations, namely farming & the tourist.
Whilst we understand the need for the LDNPA to bring money into the district, especially since the coalition government has cut funding to the national body by up to 34% as of this year, with more cuts due for the future, we do not think a zip wire installation is in keeping with the area, its natural beauty, cultural heritage, way of life or indeed the local community as a whole.
As a National Park we are now on a world stage, showcasing our district to those who might like to come & visit, spending some time & hopefully money in order to support the local economy, enjoy the surroundings & hopefully interact in some way.
We're not really quite sure how a zip wire will add to anything in the Ullswater valley, or any Lakeland Valley for that matter. A few years ago a zip wire was proposed at Honister, dropping off the side of Fleetwith Pike. At that time we ran a business called the Outdoor Warehouse in Windermere, one of the busiest villages (connected with Bowness-on-Windermere) in the area. We were at the time opposed to the idea & glad it was stopped by the LDNPA planners, with the help of an anti group. The area was and still is used for mining & whilst wires & cables were installed across the valley in the mining boom time, in our humble opinion, it is still not the place for a zip wire.
So you may ask, after the planning application for that installation was knocked back, why a zip wire proposal is being drafted for the Glenridding Valley?
It seems there might be more to the Glenridding Zip Wire proposal that meets the eye initially. Because the LDNPA own the land that the start point has been proposed that the Zip Wire will set off from, it will directly benefit from the installation. This puts the LDNPA at a conflict within its own organisation.
Whilst we understand the need for the LDNPA to make an income now, due to government cuts, we also question their integrity & the actual need for this organisations existence, or at least size.
The LDNPA acquired the Glenridding valley back in the 1960's, for very little, as far as we understand it, it was sort of gifted to them. The now have a direct responsibility to look after the head of the valley, which is inherently unstable, due to the old taking damns left from the Greenside mining era. We therefore understand the authorities need to keep these tailing damns in good condition, considering the Helvellyn YHA (owned by the LDNPA), Striding Edge Hostel, Arnold Lodge, Bury Jubilee Lodge & our house, Bell Cottage, including the greenside bridleway, are all sitting right underneath this time bomb. (You might ask why we bought this house!! - because of the area, which is of outstanding natural beauty!!)
LDNPA earnings in Glenridding:
The LDNPA own several sights in Glenridding, which are the Helvellyn YHA and the Car park including the visitor centre/tourist information in Glenridding itself. From what we understand, the YHA does not earn them huge revenue, however, the Car Park does, totalling £110k per year, for the last 3 years. From what we understand, only £7000 of this money has been drafted back into the local area.
The Ullswater valley is its own USP (unique selling point). It is host to some of the most reliable winter climbing conditions in the Lakes, has massive amounts of trails suitable for running, walking, hiking. The area is perfect for wild camping, sailing, canoeing & kayaking. There are plenty of bridleway's for horse riding & mountain biking & it even has its own ski lift high on the fells, established back in the 1930's by the Lake District Ski Club. People visit the area already & numbers are high, supporting the 3rd largest tourist attraction in the Lakes, namely the Ullswater steamers. So you might ask why a company, from outside of the area, is angling to have a 4 wire, zip wire installation put into this area of obvious outstanding beauty.
We hold little respect for the companies involved right now & having spoken personally to the head of both organisations are a little aghast at their hellbent desire to ruin this beautiful valley for their own financial gain, especially TTT.
Mike Turner sat in our house, Bell Cottage, back in June & explained in his cock sure way, why he thought Glenridding was the place for his company to put the Zip Wire Installation in, advising us it was an ugly valley, due to the mining & that he didn't want to make any enemies, but after all this was business & zip wires were a fad that would come and go, so it would probably only ruin our lives for 10 years or so. Not that bad really hey!! Thanks for your arrogance Mike.
Richard Leafe and myself have skied the Greenside loop together back in the 2009/2010 winter, with a mutual friend, and was the 2nd to advise me of this scheme, sometime during the start of the summer. He advised me he was softening the blow of an idea that was being banded around, to have zip wires running down the Glenridding Valley, by a company called TTT & that Mike, the head man, would like to have a meeting with us. We 1st heard about the idea back in Oct-ish 2013, from another mutual friend who knew we were trying to buy Bell Cottage & Richard had approached them to see what they thought I/we might think of a Zip Wire running down the valley, as he felt it was integral that we were 'on-board' with the scheme. I wonder why? Of course we disbanded the idea, imagining the LDNPA would never entertain it & hopefully, if it ever gets to the planning application stage, the planners will see fit to stop it there.
How can you help us?
If your reading this & you don't like this crazy idea, then please help us by signing the online petition. We love the Glenridding Valley & its surrounding fells and valley's & can think of nothing worse that this mad & noisy installation wrecking the natural beauty & peacefulness.
To sign the petition click here
To read more in-depth information on this mad scheme, click here to a one stop website, put together by a local man who really cares.
I really don't want to rubbish anybody on this blog & understand by putting Mike & Richard in the firing line, I may well have, but to be honest, if Richard & Mike really cared about the district & the locals who are living in it, they would think again & start investigating an area which could properly support a zip wire installation, should they see fit, that a theme park ride as such, is what the Lakes really needs, like sitting it in one of the cash crop woodlands that are present here, not in an area of OBVIOUS outstanding natural beauty & one of the busiest entrances to the Helvellyn Massif. Especially as a vast majority of the locals in the village DO NOT want this to happen.
Nicola, my partner in crime, has taken the plunge, jacked her job, for the thrill of a better & less conforming life! Well done Nicola. She's recently been on a Nordic Walking Instructors course & will be holding regular classes soon. Today we snuck out the back door for some Nordic Walking action to Red Tarn, Helvellyn.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland have sent us this press release, we feel its very important that runners understand the difference between heading out on the trails during winter & heading into the mountains, so we're publishing it & we'll be backing it up with our own article about how to prepare yourself for running in the mountains during winter!