Lake District Accidents – and Reactions!

by David Murray on 5 March 2012

in Cumbria

As I was looking through some recent news stories this afternoon three stood out to me. They were all about accidents, but more than that, they were about how people responded to the accidents.

Sadly, Another Lake District Mountain Death

In the first case, sadly, the young man who fell when out on Scafell Pike with a friend was dead when found by the Wasdale Mountain Rescue team. So sad for his family and friends. What also struck me though was that the coroner, having confirmed that this was a genuine accident saying, “This was nobody’s fault; the pair were properly equipped”, went on to congratulate the National Trust and the National Park Authority for their speedy reaction. To quote the report:

The tragedy resulted in footpath repair work being undertaken at Piers Gill by landowners,the National Trust.
News & Star, 5th March 2012.

Even though the footpath was not actually blamed for the accident the organisations concerned quickly set about working to help make sure that in future it should be easier for people to keep to the proper path even in difficult conditions. That is good news, even though from a sad story.

From a Slip on the Ice to a Business Launch

My second story involves a much less serious fall. A young lady falls on the ice in Staveley. Not an uncommon event, probably. But what is uncommon is the outcome. From her mishap she generates a business idea. Now Tiffany Solender is selling her own brand of “micro-crampons”, Pogu spikes for walkers and fell-runners. (Click here for the Pogu web site)

[Tiffany] spent a year working on designs and testing them in the Lake District [then had her product shipped] from China to be retailed online from the business’s base in Staveley Mill Yard. The stainless steel devices fit on to trainers and walking boots and, according to Mrs Solender and husband Neil, 35, allows people to run on ice.
Westmorland Gazette, 1st March 2012.

To me this sounds like the kind of initiative that the country needs in these difficult times, spotting a need and building a business to meet it. I hope she succeeds.

A Fall from the Cumbrian Skies … and now a 10km Run

Finally, not a walking accident but one from the air and almost catastrophic. Indeed for many people James Poole’s October 2010 paraglider crash in the Lake District, even though not fatal, could have been the end of an active life. But not for him. Battling against “horrific injuries”, his courage and determination have been exemplary.

“Despite having a metal plate in his neck and suffering from double vision, he has been on a personal crusade to get fighting fit again and his girlfriend, Victoria Beaney, has been his tower of strength. … And later this month he will be entering his first race since his nightmare ordeal – a 10km run under the skies where he diced with death.”
Sunday Sun, 4th March 2012.

We wish James and Victoria all the best for their forthcoming marriage. Stories like this are good, inspiring to read. So much media reporting today, when things go wrong, seems to promote a culture of blame and revenge. It is always encouraging to hear and read of positive responses. Accidents happen, and once they’ve happened they can’t be “unhappened”, so the big question is, How do we respond?


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