The Shard on London's South Bank

The Shard on London's South Bank

Tourist bosses in the Lake District are bigging up one of their prime attractions, saying it makes London’s tallest building seem like small fry.

The boast came after London Mayor Boris Johnson officially opened the viewing platform at The Shard on the capital’s South Bank.

But Cumbria Tourism said the building pales into insignificance compared to the grandeur of the national park.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: “So Boris Johnson had a bit of a do and officially opened the viewing platform at London’s Shard skyscraper, western Europe’s loftiest building, standing at 310m (10,16ft) tall.

“Are you thinking the height sounds awe-inspiring and perhaps a little scarily impressive, especially with the building’s 40-mile view?

“Well we in the Lake District really can’t see what all the blooming fuss is about; I mean that’s titchy.

“You want a proper view? Get yourself along to our one of our finest tourist attractions.

“The one we have in mind has been about for a mere 495 million years and boasts a viewing platform offering not just 40-mile views but views over the five kingdoms.

“Our Lake District wonder is found at twice the height of The Shard and no less than nine times taller than Big Ben.

Cumbria Tourism's take on the relative merits of the two attractions

Cumbria Tourism's take on the relative merits of the two attractions

“Our top tourist attraction is Honister and its Via Ferrata Xtreme perched atop Fleetwith Pike – a mere 2,162ft or 648m from the valley floor.

“But that’s not all; Xtreme boasts a host of other astounding firsts: Europe’s longest Burma Bridge at over 100m in length, suspended over 2,000ft above the valley floor, and if that’s not enough it also boasts Europe’s highest climbing cargo net at over 2,096ft off the ground.

“Honister’s Via Ferrata Xtreme is simply awe inspiring.”

The tourist body said anyone wanting a proper view should forget The Shard and get themselves up Fleetwith Pike via the Honister via ferrata, a series of fixed ropes and rungs more often found in continental Europe.

The attraction has not been without controversy. The late Mark Weir set up the via ferrata but following his death in a helicopter crash near the site, the Honister Slate Mine company he set up was fined and told to pay costs totalling £28,000 after an unlawful extension to the via ferrata damaged a site of special scientific interest.

The company has also twice had its application to build a zip-wire more than 1km long at the site turned down.

Cumbrian resident and elder statesman of mountaineering Sir Chris Bonington abseiled down The Shard last year to raise cash for charity.

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