Although the technical hurdles in establishing an APRS gateway in the North Lake District have more or less been overcome, the final stumbling block has proved to be licensing issues. A comment received in a forum a few days ago prompted me eventually to research the matter. It seems that in order to permit unattended operation of an Internet connected station I would have to apply for a Notice of Variation to obtain a GB7 call. To be granted this I would have to specify a minimum of three licensed operators who would be able to access and close down the station within 30 minutes.
I don't know even one licensed operator who could fulfil that requirement for me! It isn't entirely true that, like Tony Hancock in the famous sketch, I have friends all over the world but none in this country. But there is no other radio amateur in the town where I live at all! There is one who lives in a village a few miles away that I have encountered on the air a couple of times, but that's all. Besides which, giving the keys to the house to three or more strangers is not something I or my wife would wish to entertain. So the North Lakes IGate is dead in the water as an idea. A receive-only gateway presumably wouldn't be a problem. But without the ability to support two-way text messaging the whole project loses its appeal.
What is really needed in an area like this is a gateway on a mountain-top site covering a wide area, managed by a repeater group with the resources to meet the licensing requirements. But there does not seem to be enough interest in APRS for this to happen.
A new 2m voice repeater has recently opened across the water in Scotland, GB3LA, which is a strong signal here. This supplements the two other 2m repeaters accessible from here, GB3AS and GB3DG. Neither of those were heavily used. In fact you can leave a receiver scanning for hours and hear nothing except the occasional periodic identification. So why we needed yet another 2m voice repeater I have no idea.
If it had been an APRS gateway instead then it could have provided coverage over a wide, sparsely populated area popular with hikers for whom APRS could be a useful, not to mention safety-enhancing service.