When news happens, text KENEWS and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Warning signs call after two deaths at Jack's Rake in Lake District
A CALL has been made for 'discreet' signs to be put up at a Lake District landmark where two walkers plunged to their deaths within days of each other.
Susannah Cox, 37, of Lancaster, died after falling from Jack’s Rake, a rocky scramble across Pavey Ark, in Great Langdale – less than a week after Howard Gladwyn, of Ilkley, took a tumble from the exposed rock face.
Mrs Cox’s husband, John, who was walking with her, said although he had researched the walk, he was not aware of the sudden scramble along the route. It was here he began feeling uncomfortable and grew worried for the safety of his wife.
“There were some climbers about a quarter-of-a-mile away,” said Mr Cox.
“I keep thinking I should have called them over to help. They would have helped her down. But it’s easy to say that with hindsight.
“I definitely think signs should be placed at the bottom of the walk.
"If it could help someone else in the future, then 100 per cent there should be signs there.”
Mrs Cox, originally from Hornby, worked for Lancaster City Council in the revenues department.
"If there could be some kind of rail for people to hold if they lose their balance, that would really help,” said Mr Cox.
“I can’t change what happened, but if I could help someone else then that would bring some good out of this horrendous experience.”
Mr Gladwyn’s widow, Jane, said she would support ‘anything that would help save lives’.
“A sign that warns people before going up, would help people to think twice about a walk,” said Mrs Gladwyn.
“Anything to stop people going through what we are.”
Chris Tomlin, park management team leader for the Lake District National Park, said: “It’s a fine balance to strike between putting up warning signs to alert climbers, walkers, and swimmers to potential dangers while, at the same time, trying to preserve the uncluttered wild landscape people want to experience when they come to the Lake District.
“We believe we have that balance just about right, but tragedies like these always encourage us to look again at specific locations.”
Malcolm Petyt, vice-chairman of the Ramblers’ Association, said ‘small discreet signs’ would be acceptable.
“Our general view is the countryside shouldn’t be too cluttered with notices and that people should be responsible for their own safety, and take sensible precautions," he said.
“Having said that, if there is a place that is particularly dangerous, discreet, small signs are not something anybody could object to.”
Leader of Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team, Nick Owen, said the proximity of the two accidents was ‘pure coincidence’ and no signs were needed.
Mr Owen, who assisted in both rescues, said they happened at different spots on Jack’s Rake during different weather conditions.
“It’s just one of those things, you might not get called out to an area for ages, then suddenly you get called out three times in one week,” said Mr Owen.
“I don’t think there’s any need for warning signs in any places in the Lake District.
"People need to be aware of the terrain and feel comfortable, but people should prepare for that.”
Wainwright Society member Derek Cockell said he would not support signs being placed around the Lake District.
“Putting up signs to warn people would be the wrong approach," he said.
"People ought to be encouraged to take responsibility for their own safety and be prepared to change their way in the light of what lies ahead.”