The octopus found at the summit of Scafell Pike. Photo: Dave Ascough

The octopus found at the summit of Scafell Pike. Photo: Dave Ascough

A team of volunteers cleaning up England’s highest mountain discovered an octopus on its summit.

The litter pick, organised by Mountain Leader Dave Ascough, turned up the usual collection of cans, bottles and wrappers.

But the octopus, found next to Scafell Pike’s trig pillar, surprised the group, drawn from across the North-West of England.

Mr Ascough, whose company runs outdoor training courses, said: “The event was timed to follow one of the busiest days of the year for the Three Peaks Challenge.

Scafell Pike attracts large numbers of charity walkers at this time of year

Scafell Pike attracts large numbers of charity walkers at this time of year

“Discarded energy-gel wrappers, incredible numbers of banana skins and the usual assortment of drinks bottles and cans were collected.

“The most unusual find was a fresh octopus left next to the summit trig point.”

He said his volunteers carried out a clean-up on the mountain last September and there was less rubbish this time.

Mr Ascough said: “We think that is more to do with the timing of this event rather than the message getting through, sadly.

“Of particular concern was the number of glow sticks being left on cairns on the route to the summit.

“It appears that groups are relying on these ’streetlights’ to guide them to and from the summit.

“Glow sticks cannot replace good navigational skills. Furthermore they are a real eyesore if left on the cairns when the daylight returns.

“We would encourage anyone taking part in a night-time ascent of Scafell Pike to seek out good navigational training or to hire a professional guide.

“There are a number of reputable companies offering these services including ourselves.”

The weekends around midsummer are the busiest times for ascents of the mountain, with many groups of charity Three Peaks walkers attempting the route as part of the challenge involving climbing Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike.

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