Hundreds found illegally camping and partying in Lake District over weekend

Kate Ng
·2-min read
An officer speaks to people illegally camping in the Lake District. Overnight stays are not yet allowed until coronavirus lockdown measures ease further on 4 July: Tony Watson
An officer speaks to people illegally camping in the Lake District. Overnight stays are not yet allowed until coronavirus lockdown measures ease further on 4 July: Tony Watson

Authorities found more than 200 people illegally wild camping, partying and lighting fires on summits in the Lake District over the weekend.

The Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) teamed up with the Eden Police, the National Trust, the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, the South Lakes Police and other authorities to patrol the Lake District and disperse people hoping to spend the night outdoors.

About 20 people were fined for having a party on Catbells on Saturday, one of the most popular hills in the area.

Tony Watson, head of communications for the Lake District National Park, tweeted on Saturday: “Our teams and those of our partners have spoken to over 200 individuals tonight.

“From 20 people partying on Catbells, to people camping with fires on summit cairns, to people who’ve driven miles down paths to camp, to drunken camps by tarns and everything in between.”

No overnight stays or large group gatherings are allowed in the Lake District until 4 July, when coronavirus lockdown measures ease in England.

Yellow storm warnings were issued for most of England on Saturday as last week’s heatwave came to an end, prompting authorities to move campers on as soon as possible.

Mr Watson said in another tweet which showed police speaking to campers near a body of water: “Camping overnight not currently allowed. Setting up your illegal campsite in a reservoir bed before a storm – terrible idea. Fines issued. Campsite packed up.”

The LDNPA also reported damage caused to trees and property by campers, and litter being left behind.

South Lakes Police said of one incident in which a tree was damaged: “Senseless. Just one example of the appalling behaviour our patrols have encountered from visitors to the Lake District in recent weeks.

“The destruction of this beautiful place will not be tolerated. If you can’t abide by the countryside code then please don’t visit.”

Residents in the area have complained about the amount of rubbish left by visitors, ever since lockdown restrictions were relaxed in May and people were allowed to drive as far as they wanted to for exercise.

Last week, one resident posted a photo of a dumped tent weighed down with a suitcase full of rubbish found at Angle Tarn, left behind by campers.

“Next week the campsites and accommodation will reopen in the Lake District,” said the South Lakes Police.

“Please visit responsibly. Camp only on campsites. Respect the environment. Thank you.”

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