Tributes have poured in for a brilliant journalist and keen mountaineer with a wicked sense of humour.

Tony Greenbank, a freelance journalist at Newsquest Cumbria, previously Cumbrian Newspapers, has died at the age of 86.

Mr Greenbank was originally from Yorkshire, but spent many years in Cumbria, living in Ambleside and latterly in Keswick.

As a journalist he wrote for The Mail in Barrow, Cumbria Life and was known for his popular Bar Spy column in the News & Star, as well as covering sporting events in the county.

Mr Greenbank also wrote the Country Diary for The Guardian.

He was described as a brilliant raconteur and a versatile writer always looking for a story by his former colleagues.

A keen climber, he was a close friend of mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington.

Mr Greenbank also spent time in the United States and worked as a Outward Bound instructor.

He leaves four children, Mark, Hannah, Heather and Rebecca.

Hannah said: “He was a unique person, he was one of a kind and a very quirky man.

“He had a wicked sense of humour and would always encourage our love of reading. He was always there for me.”

Mark said: “He would spend a lot of time with me and we would ride bikes, he would teach me about maintaining bikes and how to use a cricket bat or play bowls.

“He was very sporty and he used to take me climbing.”

Mark recalled a day when the family had gone to Bingley for a kayaking trip.

One the way back, the car stopped at a traffic light and the canoe flew over the roof.

He said: "It was just so funny. He always supported me in everything I did."

Heather remember her father for his adventurous spirit.

"When I was really young, he used to say to me: 'Do you want to go on an adventure?'.

"We used to go in the car at night and he would take me to a field looking at caves.

"I always found it very exciting, that was what he did, I loved that he wanted to do those things with his little girl."

She also recalled his love of photography, which she is also a passion of hers.

Rebecca said: "I really love how he showed me the Lake District mountains, the walks and all the things I loved doing.

"He showed me how to love the place, he was a great teacher.

"He had a wicked sense of humour and he was very sharp and switched on."

Mr Greenbank will be missed by his grandchildren Harry, Billy, Ishbelle and Josh.

His close friend Andy Hyslop enjoyed many climbing trips in the Lakes with Mr Greenbank and the pair spent many Christmas days going climbing.

He said: “He was larger than life, a real character."

Andy said Mr Greenbank has spent time in New York and London, frequenting exclusive clubs and mingling with artists and high profile personalities.

"He would get in because of his personality."

Andy recalled a time when Mr Greenbank wanted to fly in a fighter jet over the Lake District.

"He got in touch with the RAF and convinced them to take him, but he realised soon what a big mistake he made - he was terrified and the G-force was unbelievable."

Sir Chris said: “Climbing was his first love. He always had a wonderful enthusiasm, he was just fun to be around and he was a very thoughtful man.”

Keith Sutton, former editor at The Mail and the News & Star, said: “He was very close to the people who read his stuff. He was the absolute opposite of people who write for Twitter, who haven’t got a clue who’s reading it.

“He was very knowledgeable.

“He had an entertaining way of writing and it was spotted by The Guardian.”

Times & Star Journalist John Walsh said: “He loved his football and I’m pleased to say he gained a lot of pleasure in watching Workington Reds, particularly enjoying his visits to Borough Park and the craic in the bar afterwards.”

Former journalist Nick Turner said Mr Greenbank could turn his hand at any story.

"He was extremely popular in the newsroom and he had a lot of time for other journalists.

"He could turn his hand at anything, but everyone remembered him for Bar Spy - we used to joke he went to Cumbria's worst pubs so we didn't have to.

"He loved talking to people and then he would come back with all these interesting stories."

Mr Turner recalled that when Mr Greenbank had hip surgery, he decided not to have general anaesthetic so he could watch the operation and write about it.

"We would always seize an opportunity for a good story."

Photographer and friend Phil Rigby said: "He was a great bloke and he always had a generous spirit, he was always on the lookout for stories.

"He was just a really funny guy, with some really funny stories to tell, I'll miss him."