A former National Park Authority apprentice with roots in Ingleton has become the new Yorkshire Three Peaks Ranger.
Ian Colledge, 25, has the job of maintaining paths on Ingleborough, Pen-y-ghent and Whernside.
On a misty Friday morning last week he was clearing the cross drains on the main descent off Whernside.
Tens of thousands of people walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks every year, often raising money for charity. The Three Peaks Ranger post is funded from public donations and was created in 2009.
Ian Colledge said: “A large portion of the work is looking after the path surfaces. Being upland paths they take a lot more maintenance than lowland paths, and they are very well used here. Clearing out cross drains by scooping out loose material is an important task because the drains are there to stop the surface washing away.
“I’d probably have to say Ingleborough is my favourite of the three peaks and that’s mainly because I’ve got family that live in Ingleton. Growing up I spent a lot of time going up Ingleborough and it was the first of the three peaks that I did – I was six or seven when I first went up it. Without Ingleborough and all the time I’ve spent on it, I would never have had that interest in the outdoors and I would never have had the thought to do this kind of work in the first place.
“I grew up somewhere quite suburban, so when I came up here it was a totally different world. I didn’t live anywhere so big. It was the sense of adventure I got here that I didn’t get anywhere else. It was a natural fit for me to get a job looking after the footpaths, so other people can enjoy them.”
Member Champion for Recreation Management at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Nick Cotton, said: “The current good condition of the Three Peaks route, and its popularity, are arguably the greatest achievement to date of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and its partners. In the 80s, the paths in many places were impossible to use, such was the scale of the erosion and bogginess. Having a dedicated Three Peaks Ranger is essential to keep up the maintenance of the route and I wish Ian all the best in his new role. There could hardly be a more impressive landscape in the world to work in than the Yorkshire Three Peaks.”
Ian College said: “The thinking behind the social media accounts is that they raise awareness of how much time goes into looking after the route. They are also a good platform to raise awareness of the Three Peaks Code of Conduct, including taking away litter and respecting the local community. A couple of weeks ago we found four house bricks on Pen-y-ghent. Someone must have put them in a friend’s backpack for a joke. Tissues and banana skins are everywhere at the moment, and beer bottles. It would help if people took their litter home with them.”