A helicopter has been drafted in to help repair footpaths along the famous Pennine Way.
Saddleworth-based Pennine Helicopters supplied a Bell LongRanger to lift 60 tonnes of stone flags from a pick-up point close to the Carriage House pub at Manchester Road, Marsden, and ferry them to workmen out on the Black Moss section of the long distance footpath.
The two-day operation – which began on Wednesday – was delayed on Thursday by low cloud which meant the helicopter could not fly. After returning briefly to its base, pilot Capt Chris Ruddy was able to complete the assignment during the afternoon.
The contract, carried out for Kirklees Council and Marsden Moor Estate, involved 130 trips – with each load weighing about 465kg. Work laying the flags is being carried out by contractors from Oldham-based Aitch Conservation Ltd using stone supplied by Rochdale firm Metcalfe Reclamation Ltd.
It is the third year Pennine Helicopters has worked in conjunction with the council and Marsden Moor Estate.
The firm, which has been in business 25 years, works for the National Trust and National Parks as well as local authorities and utility companies on aerial operations such as flying air conditioning units and fencing materials into inaccessible areas and water to fight moorland blazes. It also runs pleasure flights.