THOUSANDS of walkers every year climb Whernside, the highest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks. All that pounding has resulted in the most popular of descents becoming badly eroded. Thanks to a fundraising campaign, donated gritstone has been airlifted into place, ready for repair work to start.

THE repair of a badly worn footpath on a popular descent of Whernside - the highest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks - is underway.

The money raised through the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million appeal has meant gritstone has been airlifted into place by a helicopter.

The £46,000 needed to repair the heavily damaged Bruntscar path on the steep flanks of Whernside has been successfully raised after members of the public, businesses and charities responded brilliantly to the Mend Our Mountains appeal and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s ‘Pitch in for Whernside’ campaign, which ran in tandem with Mend Our Mountains.

After a year of fundraising, it is the first project of 13 across the UK supported by Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million to hit its target, a landmark which has been followed rapidly by the start of practical work.

Since its launch in March last year, the Mend Our Mountains (MOM): Make One Million appeal has raised around £620,000 over the course of a year packed with events, individual efforts and big pledges of support.

The work on Whernside is a demonstration of how the money will be spent.

Around 130 tonnes of high quality Greywacke gritstone, donated by Ingleton Quarry owner, Hanson, was airlifted on to Whernside and will be used by contractors to rebuild the stone pitching on the 200 metre section of heavily eroded path over the next three to four weeks.

The previous stone pitching, which had become loose and haphazard, has been removed.

The resulting path will provide a more firm route underfoot for the around 60,000 walkers a year, many of who will be completing the 24 mile Yorkshire Three Peaks, one of the UK’s popular walking challenges.

It will also help to heal the aesthetically and ecologically damaging scarring along the route.

Kate Hilditch, the national park's area manager, said: “We are really grateful to all those who have made donations, large or small, to ensure we can repair the Bruntscar path on Whernside.

"We hope the work will improve the experience of all the walkers tackling Whernside and the Three Peaks while at the same time, protecting the immediate environment."

She added: “Once the Bruntscar path is repaired, the ongoing maintenance of the Three Peaks footpath network will continue, so if anyone would like to help support that work, please do."

Carey Davies, the BMC’s hill walking officer and lead for the Mend Our Mountains campaign, said: “It is great to see that the pounds people generously gave to Whernside are now turning into paths. This was always the end goal of the appeal – making a tangible difference by supporting work on the ground.

“People can help us make the same thing happen for other places by donating through the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million appeal website to other projects such as Scafell Pike, Cader Idris and Dartmoor’s Nun’s Cross Path.

“Every project that this appeal helps sends a loud and clear message to decision makers that as outdoors enthusiasts we are prepared to support the hills and mountains, and we expect them to do the same.”

Maintaining the paths in the area of the Yorkshire Three Peaks costs an average of £28 per metre, paid for by donations.

To help towards ongoing maintenance of the Three Peaks route, visit: ”