An event which sees walkers trip the light fantastic on fells around Keswick as they raise thousands of pounds for charity has been cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.
The organisers of the Lakeland Festival of Light said it was with “great sadness” just five weeks before the popular mountain spectacular is to take place that COVID-19 restrictions have not been relaxed enough to justify a mass gathering event.
Matt Le Voi, director of Lakeland Mountain Guides which organises the annual festival, said: “As it stands we do not have any sensible way of controlling numbers and we would risk a huge amount of bad press if it all got out of hand.”
This year’s event has also been the target of “scammers” who are continually creating bogus Facebook pages and postings pretending to be the festival. Lakeland Mountain Guides are asking people not to interact with these pages and to report them to Facebook.
Matt said: “I fear that any changes I make to the 2020 festival to limit numbers, such as a ticketing system, will only be exploited by these scammers and I do not want to see this happen. I hope that by taking the festival off grid we will fall out of focus.”
He is urging anyone who might be interested in subsequent events organised by Lakeland Mountain Guides to subscribe to its monthly newsletter to ensure they receive future updates — the page is www.lakelandmountainguides.co.uk/the-lakeland-festival-of-light
Matt added: “It is with great sadness we have been forced to cancel this year’s event, but we will be back in 2021 hopefully bigger and better to help raise money for the Lake District Search and Rescue Dogs.”
The first event — Striding Edge by Torchlight on Blencathra — was held in 2015 as a platform to raise funds for charities.
Since then, in excess of £65,000 has been raised, with more than 3,600 people lighting up the fells.
Participants climb up the spine of fells at night and spark up their torches to create a spectacular light show, captured by photographers from viewpoints around the site.
Over the years, more and more people have become involved in the spectacle, culminating in a record 2,000 people joining the 2019 event which was held on Catbells and raised more than £16,000 for the Lake District Mountain Rescue Association.