Summit shelter in peak condition

Published on: 26 Aug 2014

A summit shelter built by the first Lake District volunteers 60 years ago has been given a facelift.

The refuge on 950m Helvellyn has provided sanctuary to countless walkers and climbers in its long history and is now set to continue its high-level role after some anniversary action.

Commemorating six decades of service, the national park's volunteers decided to tackle the refurbishment as part of their diamond jubilee celebrations.

Lake District National Park field ranger, Tom Hrynkow, 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!"

Eight volunteers joined field rangers on the refurbishment, carrying tools in rucksacks – and collecting rubbish on the way back.

Volunteer Derek Tunstall said it had been a job well done, with seating stones replaced and general pointing-up.

He quipped: "I'm pretty sure it won't be repaired again in my lifetime!"

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