Fleetwith Pike: what is it about this innocent, modest Lakeland peak that makes it a magnet to odd ventures?
First, we had Mark Weir’s tentative British foray into the wired world of the via ferrata. Then, soap opera stars were tumbling down its crags and being whisked away by helicopter. Now, it’s laying claim to the highest outdoor bathroom in the world.
Soap star: Michelle in her bathtub atop Fleetwith Pike
Or, more exactly, the venue for the highest luxury bath. Michelle Blignault, who manages the Yew Tree bar and restaurant in nearby Seatoller, was persuaded to take the plunge – despite temperatures dipping to -5C – in a bathtub lugged to the summit, overlooking Honister Pass and Buttermere.
Cumbria Tourism, the county’s promoters of visits to the Lake District, says this takes the record for the most elevated soaking in suds. Photographer Steve Barber captured Michelle’s feat and the aforementioned Mark Weir, boss of Honister Slate Mine, helped with the arrangements getting the bathtub to the top of the 648m (2,126ft) fell. Michelle was able to sip champagne in the tub with a view.
She said: “I have had warmer baths but it was great fun and I will remember it for the rest of my life. If this photo makes people realise that as well as the outdoors you can have a luxury experience in a place like the Lake District, then great.”
Behind the strange goings-on is a serious purpose.
One of the Wilderness Refined posters
Cumbria Tourism is launching a campaign to convince visitors that Lakeland has both rugged beauty and some less demanding attractions. The Wilderness Refined series of posters, which will grace billboards on main routes into Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, is designed to sing the praises of Cumbria’s accommodation as well as its outdoor delights.
Sheona Southern, marketing director, for Cumbria Tourism, said: “As well as retaining our extremely loyal visitors, we want to attract new visitors by opening their eyes to the two sides of the Lake District and Cumbria.
“Yes, we do have an unrivalled natural environment with stunning scenery and an abundance of outdoor activities to choose from. However we also have a top quality, contemporary, modern style, which runs through our accommodation and cultural attractions to our food and drink and festivals.”
The Northwest Regional Development Agency has stumped up part of the cash for the project.