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Saturday, 29 November 2014

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Race is on to resolve Cumbria Three Peaks parking challenge

Every year it’s estimated that more than 30,000 people take part in the Three Peaks challenge, with many choosing to climb Scafell Pike from the unspoiled Wasdale valley here in western Cumbria.

How the people who live and work in the valley cope with the equivalent of welcoming at least 1000-times their own tiny population has been the focus of the Wasdale Visitor Management Partnership’s new Three Peaks guidelines, which focus on encouraging those taking part in a Three Peaks challenge event to park safely and climb the peak responsibly.

Planning ahead is the key for organisers and participants, says Sarah Medcalf, Visitor Management Officer: “The Three Peaks is a high-profile challenge, both for those taking part and for the people who live and work in this beautiful valley. We want everyone to enjoy the experience, so we’re asking organisers and participants to think ahead about parking, toilets and not adding to the erosion on the Pike.

“We’ve worked with local residents, the Lake District National Park and colleagues from Ben Nevis and Snowdon to ensure the Three Peaks can continue as a unique experience, but also one that locals don’t dread.’

To help manage the impacts that Three Peaks challenge events have on both the community and the natural environment, 2014 will introduce:

Increased capacity and dedicated minibus bays in Lake Head car park to prevent informal parking on the single track road

24-hour parking at Lake Head, away from the village green, roadside verges and laybys

Participants being asked to contribute directly through donations and parking fees to footpath maintenance and conservation work on Scafell Pike

Temporary toilets and catering for visitors

Scafell Pike route information

National Trust staff aiming to talk directly to organisers and participants before, during and after the Three Peaks ‘season’

In the past, local residents have suffered from the irresponsible behaviour of some participants, including:

Parking in people’s drives or lanes and blocking them in from going to work, or even looking after their families or livestock

Knocking on people’s doors and waking them up in the middle of the night to ask for directions to Scafell Pike

Using the village green and farmers’ fields as a toilet

Excessive noise when arriving at night

Leaving litter behind

By working with organisers, participants and the local community, the visitor management partnership’s aim is that the new Three Peaks Guidelines and increased communication with participants will help to make this year’s season a success for everyone.

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