The salmon population in and around beautiful Lake Ullswater, in the Lake District, is being protected thanks to a local cruise company scheduling essential pier repair work at a time that will not disturb laid salmon eggs.
Ullswater ‘Steamers’ stopped sailing from Pooley Bridge, at the top of the lake, on August 31 and will not cruise from there until the pier is repaired in mid-October, but there are cruises running from Glenridding and Howtown Piers.
Although, economically this could be disadvantageous, the company recognised that the Atlantic Salmon population would be migrating back into the lake in the autumn, to lay their eggs, and lake bed disturbance in November would adversely affect the spring hatching.
This decision was made in conjunction with the Eden Rivers Trust and Ullswater ‘Steamers’ is helping the public understand more about the ecology of the lake by having a storyboard positioned at its Pooley Bridge Pier.
The ‘Steamers’ experienced substantial damage to piers at Pooley Bridge and Glenridding Pier House between November 18-20, 2009, when Cumbria experienced its worst storms for over 100 years and a downpour of 372 mm of rain. The lake water level on Ullswater rose 4 metres higher than on average and this, coupled with high winds, destroyed a significant part of the piers.
Although the Pooley Bridge Pier was partially repaired over the winter, the permanent reconstruction work has to be completed. Work will be tackled in September and early October, with the ‘Steamers’ sailing from Howtown and Glenridding only at this time.
During these six-weeks, the company is donating sums raised through its Howtown to Glenridding visitor payback scheme to the Eden Rivers Trust, rather than to Nurture Lakeland, the beneficiary for the rest of the year. This scheme operates on the basis of a 10 pence donation per passenger fare sold on sailings on the Howtown to Glenridding route.
The River Eden, has one of the largest populations of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in northern England, being a large river system flowing over a varied and base-rich geological landscape.
The Atlantic Salmon migrate to the sea to mature, living up to four years in the salt water before returning to spawn in their native freshwater streams. Most return to the river of their birth and, for many, this will be the Eden.
Ullswater ‘Steamers’ was a Highly Commended runner-up in the November 2008 Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards and was a contender in these awards again in 2009. It also has a Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) Silver Grading and is working towards a gold grading.
The ‘Steamers’ assists various wildlife charities through themed cruises focused on wildlife. It helps educate passengers of all ages by providing engaging information about the bio-diversity of the Ullswater area. Through its various means of generating sums for wildlife charities, it also makes a direct monetary contribution to several local environmental projects.
More information about Ullswater ‘Steamers’ can be found at www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk