THE family of a Lake District entrepreneur is to continue his pioneering work one year on from his tragic death in a helicopter crash.

Honister Slate Mine owner Mark Weir was killed when his aircraft crashed into the fellside in the Borrowdale valley, but after a difficult year his family is determined to push on with plans for a via ferrata at the tourist attraction.

The attraction uses fixed cables, ladders and bridges to make isolated mountain routes more accessible, and was seen as a key development to keep the visitor attraction viable.

Slate mine spokesman Ellis Butcher said: “We are working very closely with Natural England and the Lake District National Park Authority on plans for a via ferrata. It is still in its early stages but we want to create a new tourism experience for visitors.

“We wanted to get the via ferrata sorted because Honister is the last working slate mine in England. The slate industry is on its way down and it is not enough on its own to keep the business going.”

Mr Weir’s ambitious plans to create a 2,000ft zip wire from just below the summit of Fleetwith Pike caused controversy among conservationists, including Friends of the Lake District and the Wainwright Society and were eventually thrown out.

His vision was for the site to help Cumbria become the adventure capital of the UK and Mr Butcher said staff at the mine were determined to see his work through.

He added: “Mark is immeasurably missed at the mine but his wife Jan, brother Joe and mum Celia, as well as all the staff, are trebly determined to carry on what he started.

“We have been amazed by the support of the visiting public, a lot of whom live in the South Lakes, and we want to say thank you to everyone.”

Mr Butcher said it was hoped the via ferrata would be approved and could open in late June.

Mr Weir’s family and mine staff marked the one-year anniversary of his death with a private service on Thursday. An inquest into his death is expected to be held in April.