Walkers light up Striding Edge during the 5 November event. Photo: Carmen Norman

Walkers light up Striding Edge during the 5 November event. Photo: Carmen Norman

A group of intrepid walkers took to a notorious Lake District ridge by night to raise cash for mountain rescue.

Scores of people lit up the sky on Striding Edge during the Bonfire Night event, which brought in more than £1,500 for Cumbria’s volunteer rescuers.

The Striding Edge by Torchlight event was the brainchild of Lakeland Mountain Guides directors Matt Le Voi and John Brooks, who faced criticism for taking members of the public over the grade-one scrambling route on England’s third-highest mountain Helvellyn.

A number of people have died and others have been injured in falls from the ridge.

But the event passed off without incident, with 42 people traversing the edge, accompanied by Mountain Leaders and rescue team members.

Mr Le Voi said: “On the lead up to the event, there were sceptics who felt this event was foolhardy, but we have once again proved that with appropriate planning and measures in place, even a night traverse of Striding Edge can be enjoyed safely by so many people.”

Participants tackle Striding Edge by night. Photo: Nick Landells/Lakeland Photo Walks

Participants tackle Striding Edge by night. Photo: Nick Landells/Lakeland Photo Walks

Organisers said anyone taking part in the event had to have experience on similar scrambling routes. Walkers who joined the traverse paid £50 to participate. They gathered at Glenridding before heading out for the fells on Saturday.

Mr Le Voi said: “Unfortunately, due to icy conditions that occurred just the night before, we had to make a decision in the interest of group safety to not fully complete our desired route.

“Not sticking to a rigid plan is all part of mountaineering, and tough decisions such as this one quite often have to be made, regardless of internal or external pressures. Saying this, I cannot thank the attendees enough for not only joining us on what was yet another incredible night event with a sensational atmosphere, but for donating so generously and enabling us to gift such a great sum of money to a vital association.

“Myself and John owe a lot of thanks to the mountain leaders and mountain rescue members from Patterdale, Cockermouth and Wasdale teams for their assistance which ultimately enabled the success of this event.

“The thanks are also extended to Nick Landells of Lakeland Photo Walks and Carmen Norman of Carmen Norman Photography who came to photograph the event.”

Richard Warren, chairman of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, who joined the event said: “The 12 Lake District teams with over 450 unpaid team members are extremely grateful for the support of this hardy group of scramblers who have risen to the challenge, taking the opportunity to experience Striding Edge in darkness to raise funds towards saving lives.

“Safety for this night time adventure was of course paramount with mountain leaders brought in, giving up their bonfire night with their families to make the event a success.

Happy participants in the event. Photo: Lakeland Mountain Guides

Happy participants in the event. Photo: Lakeland Mountain Guides

“Hats off to Matt Le Voi and John Brooks for organising this second night time experience in support of mountain rescue.”

Mr Le Voi said the success of the event has prompted them to repeat the Striding Edge by Torchlight on 14 October 2017. Lakeland Mountain Guides will also restage a Festival of Light in April next year, following a night ascent of Cat Bells in 2015 which raised more than £12,000 for Community Action Nepal following the earthquakes in the Himalayan country.

He added that night walking, particularly on scrambling routes, can be demanding.

Pictures of the event taken by professional photographers can be bought online, with half the profits going to the umbrella body for Cumbria’s mountain rescuers.

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