Jet-skiers are being warned they face prosecution and fines after heading to Derwentwater to cool off on Keswick’s hottest ever June day.
The motorised leisure activity is not allowed on the lake but it did not stop a group of men taking part in an evening session on Thursday 25th June near its main landing stages, as shown in these photographs.
A Keswick resident, who took the photos and asked not to be named, said: “I was shocked to see three guys using a jet-ski on the lake, taking in turns and with little or no regard for the safety of others or the welfare of wildlife. I think they had parked on the shore by the landing stages and launched from there. According to other onlookers, there were people water-skiing on the lake a little earlier.”
Temperatures almost hit 30C earlier in the day and with pubs and cafes still closed, many people from all over Cumbria and beyond headed to the open waters of the Lake District to cool off after being under lockdown for three months.
The Keswick Reminder sent the photos of the jet-skiers to the Lake District National Park Authority, whose spokeswoman said: “Water-skiing is not permitted on Derwentwater as per the bye-laws and the speed limit on the water is 10 nautical mph. There is an active multi-agency group currently on patrol throughout the Lake District to manage a variety of anti-social behaviour. Breaking the lake bye-laws can result in a fine or court action.”
The recent return of large numbers of visitors to the Lakes has led to problems, including anti-social behaviour, littering and overnight stays and camping, which are still illegal. The LDNPA confirmed that it had seen repeated incidents of camping, large gatherings and excessive litter in places like Derwentwater around Keswick and North Lakes area.
The situation has forced Cumbria’s local resilience forum, which represents the LDNPA, Cumbria Police and Cumbria County Council among others, to issue a reminder that lockdown restrictions are still in place and that enforcement action will continue to be taken against those breaking the rules. The forum, who also includes the National Trust, Natural England and Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, is carrying out enforcement patrols in branded vehicles targeting illegal overnight stays and anti-social behaviour as well as inconsiderate parking, which can often block access for emergency vehicles.
Assistant chief constable Andy Slattery is chairman of the forum and he said: “We are urging people to follow the rules as they are now and avoid having enforcement action taken against them. Over recent weeks we’ve welcomed increasing numbers of people to the Lake District and overwhelmingly they are following the rules, enjoying our wonderful county safely and respecting local communities.
“The county is of course looking forward to the wider lifting of lockdown restrictions which is so vital to our economy and our communities. But a small minority of people are engaging in anti-social and illegal behaviour that we will not tolerate. Until 4th July you cannot stay overnight and of course extreme littering, inconsiderate and dangerous parking and serious anti-social behaviour will always be unacceptable.”
His views were echoed by Richard Leafe, chief executive of the Lake District National Park Authority, who added: “I’m saddened by the behaviour of some during the past few weeks. Leaving litter, cutting down trees and blocking gates affects real people, including volunteers, who selflessly give their time to help look after this special place.
“So I’m urging people to stop and think before they visit: plan ahead to avoid the busy spots, take all your litter away with you, stick to social distancing and show the respect and love for the Lake District that it deserves – then we can all look forward to enjoying the national park this summer.”
David Hall is north west regional director of the National Farmers’ Union. He said: “It’s entirely understandable that visitors are keen to visit beauty spots such as the Lake District in order to reap the benefits of getting out and enjoying the countryside which our farmers look after and maintain.
“However, the health of those living and working in the countryside also has to be safeguarded to ensure that safe, local, high-standard British food keeps coming, and visitors need to be aware of their role in protecting rural people and their livelihoods.
“We hope people planning to visit the Lake District when the time is right, will follow the very clear guidance, help keep farmers safe, and continue to heed the social distancing guidelines. Follow the countryside code and use the rights of way network responsibly as we all work to overcome this crisis.”
For full details of what is and is not permitted before 4th July visit the GOV.UK guide Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do until 4th July.