LAKE District cruise operator Ullswater Steamers is boosting its green credentials by helping to safeguard the future of baby salmon.

The tour company is now only operating between Howtown and Glenridding, on Ullswater, as it begins work to repair Pooley Bridge Pier, damaged in the floods of last November.

The firm, owned by Kendal's Lake District Estates, would normally fix the pier in the autumn, but it has brought its work forward for the benefit of Atlantic salmon which live in the lake.

Disturbance to the lake bed in November would harm the salmon population migrating back into Ullswater to lay eggs on the river gravels.

The firm hopes to finish its repair work by mid-October before the fish return.

Salmon eggs lay on the gravel until early spring, when they hatch and the juveniles make their first appearance.

Atlantic salmon migrate to the sea to mature, living up to four years in the salt water before returning to spawn in their native streams.

Most return to the river of their birth and, for many, this will be the Eden, which has one of the largest populations in northern England.

“We aim to run our business in a responsible manner and in a way that protects the landscape and environment,” said Ullswater Steamers chief executive Jim Walker.

“We recognise that by nurturing the landscape we accrue business, as the stunning scenery and wildlife contribute greatly to making our business such a success.”

During the repair work, steamers will donate money raised through the Howtown to Glenridding visitor pay-back scheme to the Eden Rivers Trust.

This scheme operates on the basis of a 10p donation from each passenger fare on sailings on the route.

Ullswater ‘Steamers’ has consulted with the Eden Rivers Trust about the timing of its work and will be helping the public understand more about the ecology of the lake by having a storyboard at the pier.