AN UNKNOWN benefactor has stepped forward to save free guided walks in the Lake District due to be abandoned because they attract "too many middle aged, middle class white people."
In a politically correct move which caused outrage throughout Cumbria and elsewhere, the Lake District National Park Authority announced it was going to disband its force of voluntary guides, who - without fee but with travel expenses paid - lead some 400 walks for inexperienced ramblers.
By saving on these expenses, said park officials, they could attract more Government grants by attracting more disabled visitors and people from ethnic minorities.
However, when the park authority met yesterday, it as revealed that a mystery donor had agreed to pay the £38,000 a year it costs to pay guides' expenses - a tiny fraction of the park's multi-million-pound budget.
The announcement was greeted with a sigh of relief by many owners of small business in the Lake District who - like their colleagues in the neighbouring Yorkshire Dales National Park - derive a large slice of their income from visiting walkers.