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WATCH: Claife Viewing Station re-opens to visitors

One of the earliest tourist attractions in the Lake District has been restored and re-opened to the public.

The "Claife Viewing Station" on the western shore of Windermere has been attracting people since as far back as the 1770s when it was recommended in a guidebook of the time.

It allowed those early tourists to get a good view of the lake and the mountains, at a time when just a glimpse of the landscape was considered thrilling!

Tim Backshall has been to look around it.

Court hears from Eteson: 'I looked around and I could just see them both there'

Kelly Webster and her daughter Lauren Thornton Credit: ITV Border

The moment a gas fitter found his partner and her daughter dead on their boat in the Lake District after succumbing to the effects of carbon monoxide, has been described in court.

Matthew Eteson, 42, is on trial after pleading not guilty to the manslaughter of Kelly Webster, 36, and her daughter Lauren Thornton, 10, by gross negligence.

Jurors were told that Eteson had fabricated an exhaust system for the petrol-driven portable generator used to power the mains appliances on the boat, moored on Lake Windermere, Cumbria.

The two were found in their bedrooms on the second-hand Bayliner 285 motor cruiser Arniston, after the outdoor generator was taken below deck despite carbon monoxide sensors being disabled.

Eteson, who had fallen asleep, said he woke feeling "something was not right" before stumbling down the stairs of boat.

In a statement read to Preston Crown Court he said:

I looked around and I could just see them both there"

– Matthew Eteson

Preston Crown Court heard that the family had been at a 50th birthday party in March 2013, before returning to their boat.

The following morning Eteson said he had felt sick and went to buy the family lunch from the chip shop before returning.

He said that Kelly had told him "I'm freezing" and the fan heater was put on at half power.

The court was told that Eteson, of Appleton Road, Hale, Cheshire, had fabricated the exhaust system with a silencer because it was "noisy" for fellow neighbours and had fitted it into the engine compartment.

Jurors were told that the generator was running as they ate their lunch before Eteson fell asleep at the table below deck.

Speaking about the generator during a police interview under caution he said:

It didn't sound like it was over-revving. I didn't know how long that was on for."

– Matthew Eteson
Matthew Eteson's boat Credit: ITV Border

But jurors heard that when he awoke he "couldn't move" and initially believed he was having reoccurring problems with his heart.

He made his way onto the deck and said he proceeded to bang and shout for help but believed that Kelly and her daughter had gone shopping.

He said he could not remember if he turned the generator off then or later.

In the police statement he said:

I just knew there was something not right with me that's when I decided there was no-one about, I didn't know if they had gone shopping.

I couldn't properly move my fingers. I remember getting up there and thinking 'what's wrong with me'."

– Matthew Eteson

He said upon finding their bodies he tried looking for his phone before dialling 999. As the evidence was read a member of the public ran out of the courtroom sobbing.

Eteson too began to cry before being comforted by his father who has been allowed to sit beside him during proceedings.

The court was told that the carbon monoxide alarms on the boat had never been tested. During his voluntary interview in April 2013 he said he had been aware of the dangers of fumes.

He added that he had sought advice from mechanical friends and said the construction "wasn't something I took lightly".

The court was told that he had taken the generator off the boat to make moderations to it by fitting it with a silencer. He fitted the system the day before the deaths.

The case continues.


Making room for a view

Ullswater after the clear up Credit: Gordon Lightburn

The iconic views of Ullswater’s western shore are open to residents and visitors once more, thanks to a project to clear scrub and manage trees that were increasingly obscuring the view.

Local residents identified the views along the lake shore were becoming increasingly covered by trees, with residents and visitors unable to fully appreciate the beauty of the lake.

This led to the launch of Felling for Views – a project led by the Lake District National Park and Eden Rivers Trust as part of the Ullswater Valley Plan.

Ullswater before the clear up project Credit: Gordon Lightburn

Since August volunteers have undertaken work including tree thinning, scrub clearance and control.

It is hoped it will also help improve safety along the A592 and have a positive effect on the lake shore.

Projects ranger for Lake District National Park, Dylan Jackman, said:

This has been a real success story for Valley Planning. We listened to the community and put Felling for Views into action, creating some stunning vistas from the northern section of the lake that are already benefitting visitors and residents.

It’s a great start and we plan to continue working with others to reveal further view across the lake.”

– Dylan Jackman

Man denies manslaughter over Lake District boat fumes deaths

Kelly Webster and her daughter Lauren Thornton Credit: ITV Border

A court has heard that a registered gas fitter, who brought an outdoor generator below the deck of his boat despite knowing that carbon monoxide sensors were disabled, awoke to find his partner and her 10-year-old daughter dead.

42 year old Matthew Eteson pleaded not guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence after jurors were told that he had fabricated an exhaust system for the portable generator used to power the mains appliances on the boat, moored on Lake Windermere, Cumbria.

His partner Kelly Webster, 36, and her daughter Lauren Thornton were found in their sleeping area on the boat with fatal levels of carbon monoxide in their bodies.

He denies the charge.

Preston Crown Court was told that Eteson, of Appleton Road, Cheshire, who was "an experienced boat owner", had installed the exhaust system with a silencer because it was "noisy".

But the court was told that it had been of "poor design" and the materials he had used were unsuitable causing the system release the gases.

Mr Eteson denies manslaughter Credit: ITV Border

The family had gone to the Lake District for the Easter bank holiday, however on the afternoon of April 1st 2013 Eteson removed the generator from the deck and used it to power a heater in one of the boat's bedrooms.

The court was told that there had been no warning to the build-up of the gas because the carbon monoxide sensors had previously been disabled.

For the prosecution Mr Graham Reeds QC said that the mother and daughter were found dead in the positions in which they had slept. Eteson had been sleeping in a separate compartment further away from the generator but also suffered the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is not alleged that he intended any harm to come to either victim.

Mr Reeds said from Eteson's training as a Gas Safe installer, he was "well aware" of the risks to human life through exposure to carbon monoxide.

He said:

Had they not been disabled they would have alerted the occupants to the build-up of carbon monoxide in the sleeping quarters.

The defendant was well aware of the fact that carbon monoxide sensors fitted to his boat were not working.

Good practice would decide against bringing an outdoor generator indoors."

– Mr Graham Reeds QC

The prosecution said it was their case that Eteson was "criminally responsible" for their deaths.

Mr Reeds added:

It was found that a copper pipe had been crudely attached to the steel exhaust outlet of the generator with self-tapping screw.

Leading from the exhaust outlet to the silencer was a section of copper pipework. This included a joint that had been fashioned using solder which has a relatively low melting point.

It is very poor practice to attach metal to copper or to use solder in joints between copper pipes that will be subjected to very high temperatures."

– Mr Graham Reeds QC

Mr Eteson denies the charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.

The case continues.

Cheetah enclosure in Lake District to be closed

Cheetahs. Credit: Thomas Eisenhuth/DPA/Press Association Images

A cheetah enclosure in Cumbria is to be closed, after the couple who opened it had an appeal to save it turned down.

Daniel and Dee Ashman run Predator Experience, a company in Ayside that offers wildlife experiences.

But there were objections that it was harmful to the character of the Lake District, and they were upheld by the Planning Inspectorate.

They posted the news to their Facebook followers:

I'm sorry to have to inform you all, that our appeal for the cheetah enclosure was not successful. We are of course very disappointed. All our other experiences are available as normal. Daniel and I will make a decision in relation to the next appropriate step.

The inspector upheld the Lake District National Park's opinion that the enclosure was harmful to the character of the landscape. Thank you for your support, it is very much appreciated."

– Predator Experience, on Facebook

Responses to the news on Facebook have been mixed, with some local people offering sympathy, while others have welcomed the closure:

So very sorry to hear this Dee and Daniel. I know how devastated you will be. Keep fighting."

– Comment on Facebook

Good to hear you lost your appeal, you live in Ayside, it's a small village with farm animals, walkers and Dog walkers. If any of these animals got out they would seriously hurt someone or an animal."

– Comment on Facebook

Paraglider pilot dies in Lake District

Mountain rescue teams were called yesterday to help find a missing paraglider in the Buttermere area. Sadly a body was recovered on Fleetwith Pike at 5am.

The paraglider is thought be a 38 year-old man from Milliom in west Cumbria.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

We were supported in this search by many others and we'd particularly like to thank the members of the local paragliding community who played an invaluable role in helping us to narrow down the search area, Keswick Mountain Rescue Team and the crew of Rescue 936, one of the new S-92 helicopters that came up from Caernarfon to assist.

– Cockemrouth Mountain Rescue Team


Deadly disease threatens Lake District trees

Healthy ash trees in the Lake District. Credit: ITV Border

A fungal disease that has devastated ash tree populations in Europe has arrived in Cumbria.

Ash Dieback is estimated to have killed between 60 and 90 percent of Denmark's ash trees.

It blocks water pores in the trees' leaves, causing them to wither, and diamond shaped lesions to form on the bark.

So far, the disease has been spotted at ten sites in the Lake District.

The disease causes leaves to wither. Credit: ITV Border
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