A SOUTH Lakeland choir has become the first in United Kingdom to sing on the top of a famous Alpine mountain.

Members of Lakeland Voices, led by David Burbidge from Sedbergh, have been singing on the Lake District mountains for a quarter of a century, but decided to take their songs further afield to celebrate their relationship with Slovenia.

"Triglav has an iconic status in Slovenia where many people say you are not a true Slovene until you have been to the top," said Mr Burbidge. "Next year we are celebrating 15 years of town twinning between Sedbergh and Zrece, in Slovenia, so we thought we would start the festivities with some songs from the summit of Triglav at 2,864 metres."

The choir is the only choir in England to sing these Slovenian songs, many of which they sang from the summit including the traditional folk song Triglav moj dom ("Oh Triglav my home, how beautiful you are,") the mountain song Planinska ("Let's go the mountains where the sun is shining, and where we can be without worries,") and the national anthem Zdravljica ("Long live all nations who long for that bright day when over earth's habitation no war, no strife, shall hold its sway.")

"There were about 100 people on the summit and many of them joined in with the singing as our songs are well known by most Slovenians," said Mr Burbidge. "Singing ranks alongside mountain sports as the most popular leisure activities in Slovenia so combining the two works very well."

The choir spent four days on Triglav, with choir practices and informal concerts in the mountain huts where they stayed, and on rests on the way up and down.

They took climbing gear with them and made use of the via ferrata for the final ascent.

The twinning of Sedbergh with Zrece came as a result of a television programme. The production company invited four towns from Austria, Cyprus, France and Slovenia to participate in the selection process to become a twin for Sedbergh.