Thirlmere zip wires for thrill seekers, not adventurers
Sir, The controversy over the proposed zip wires across Thirlmere is now considered national news, featuring on Sunday in The Observer. I am surprised that anyone could even contemplate such a vandalous scheme in, of all places, the Lake District national park.
The Lake District likes to style itself the adventure capital of the UK. Adventurers require skill and physical fitness as well as experience gained over many years that enables them to cope with the variety of challenges as they move over the land, often in a difficult or challenging environment.
The golden rule for adventurers is take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.
Riding a zip wire when one has been bussed to the start, strapped to the wire and moved by gravity across the void before being returned in another vehicle safely to one’s car meets none of these criteria.
Such a zip wire is merely the province of the thrill seeker and not a very exacting or exciting thrill at that. It certainly does not require skill, fitness or experience.
It is an activity that belongs in a theme park or in a disused and remote quarry, as I believe happens in Wales. To pollute the Lakeland landscape with the paraphernalia of zip wiring is simply wrong.
Will visitors to the Thirlmere area really want their peace and solitude destroyed by the inevitable whooping and screaming that seems to accompany this type of activity?
How will the wildlife, that many come to see, be affected by the increased numbers of cars and vehicles? Will the next project involve a railway to the top of Skiddaw or possibly a chair lift up Helvellyn? Perhaps Windermere could be illuminated at night, as one recent visitor requested.
The Lake District is famed for its natural beauty, its agricultural traditions and its Romantic history. It has enough genuine opportunities to occupy the most ardent adventurers for a lifetime of exploration. A zip wire is merely a gimmick which adds nothing and detracts hugely from the very essence of the Lakeland experience. It belongs elsewhere. Yours etc,
SHAUN M. SILSON