Annual Lakeland Festival of Light takes place

It's the sixth Lakeland Festival of Light, Credit: ITV News

Hundreds of people have headed up Catbells in the dark to light it up with head torch. It's the now annual Lakeland Festival of Light and has become the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Lake District's Search and Mountain Rescue Dogs.

It is organised by Lakeland Mountain Guides. Their Director says he thought of the idea a night expedition on Blencathra about seven years ago.

He told ITV Border: "We were coming down and seeing all the headtorches kind of zig-zagging their way down the mountain and we left that event with a rubbish mobile phone shot and I just thought wouldn't it be amazing to stage an event where you put lots of people on a mountain and capture that movement?"

But the idea didn't come to fruition until the earthquake in Nepal in 2015. Matt decided it would make a good fundraiser.

He thought about 150 people would turn up but 500 arrived and they raised about £11,000. For the last two years it's been raising funds for the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs. It's not just about the money raised.

The picture taken is widely shared on social media and raises the profile of the charities the event supports.It's now the sixth Lakeland Festival of Light, after covid stopped the 2020 and 2021 events.

The 2019 event was the biggest turnout with 2,000 people. This year the weather wasn't onside. It was cold and wet but around 600 people still braved the conditions for a good cause.

There were around 100 dogs as well, many of whom were Mountain Rescue search dogs. They came out to support the volunteers no walker wants to need.

One lady came up from near Preston because she knows all too well how scary it is when you need help on the mountain.

Amanda Fulton-Russell told ITV Border: "Based in Norfolk where there are no hills, we decided we'd come up to the Lake District and we'd do some fell walking.

"However we got to the top and the fog and the snow came down and the terrain was getting more and more difficult until somebody realised that we hadn't come back and the helicopter went up and found us on Sharp Edge.

"The relief was immense and especially when we realised actually where we were we were in a lot more danger than we'd realised."

Another lady brought a bottle of champagne with her to celebrate her 60th Birthday. Pam Goulding, from Leyland, has a friend in the search dog team in Lancashire.

She said: "They're the difference between life and death for some people so why wouldn't I want to come and spend my birthday to support them."Despite the rain there were no casualties and the organisers went back up the fell in the morning to make sure there was no mess left on the mountain.

The money is still being counted but thousands of pounds has been raised for the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs.

One year the total hit £16,000.

Chair of the Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs team Robert Grange said: "We need these funds in order to be able to train the search dogs.

"It costs a lot of money and especially nowadays even just in fuel costs and things like that trying to get people around the county so we can do the training."