The helicopter lifts a load of stone on to the flanks of Whernside. Photo: Andy Kay/YDNPA

The helicopter lifts a load of stone on to the flanks of Whernside. Photo: Andy Kay/YDNPA

A helicopter has been used to airlift stone on to the flanks of Yorkshire’s highest mountain to repair a popular footpath.

The materials will be used to upgrade part of the route between the summit of Whernside and Bruntscar, which is used by about 60,000 walkers each year, including those tackling the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge.

The £46,000 needed for the work came from the British Mountaineering Council’s Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million appeal and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Pitch in for Whernside campaign.

About 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 200m 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 firmer route underfoot for walkers ascending and descending 736m (2,415ft) Whernside, the highest of the Three Peaks and the loftiest fell in Yorkshire. It will also help to heal the aesthetically and ecologically damaging scarring along the route.

Members of the public, businesses and charities have all chipped in to help the appeal.

Kate Hilditch, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority 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 whilst protecting the immediate environment too.”

The Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge involves summiting Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, walking between the three mountains in a 39km (24-mile) route.

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