FOUR decades of waterskiing at Northern Europe's biggest man-made lake are being celebrated this year.

Kielder Waterski Wakeboard Club, based at Kielder Water and Forest Park, began in 1983.

Kielder Water, which is surrounded by the largest working forest in Europe, was first opened by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on May 26 1982 after the £167m Kielder Project was completed.

Hexham Courant: Kielder Water Kielder Water (Image: Supplied)

The Kielder Project involved building a dam and reservoir of water to support a growing population and developing industries in Teeside and Tyneside.

The construction of the lake saw the loss of several farms, a village home to 95 people, a railway line and a school. Before the lake was created, all the houses and buildings were flattened and materials removed.

Paul Smith, chairman of Kielder Waterski Club, said Northumbrian Water is the main contributor to employment in the area which is keen for the club to use the lake.

Hexham Courant: Kielder Waterski Wakeboard's clubhouseKielder Waterski Wakeboard's clubhouse (Image: Supplied)

"It's not just a lake standing empty, it's being used regularly by hundreds of people," Mr Smith said.

"Over the years, we've had some notable members of the club. One was seven or eight years old and he was in the national waterskiing competitions. His brother who was about three years older was also in the competitions. That enabled them to go on to bigger things."

The national competitions are organised by the British Waterski Federation, which occasionally provides grants based on the club's achievements.

Hexham Courant: The club is based at Kielder Water and Forest ParkThe club is based at Kielder Water and Forest Park (Image: Supplied)

Mr Smith was on the club's first committee in 1983 before he moved to London for work.

"When I moved back to the northern area, I rejoined and I think there are probably four different people in that same group, who have all gone back to the club."

Mr Smith said the club has had a lot of new members this year but it is always open for new recruits.

"You need younger blood coming in at the other end, you need people to keep it going. We've always had a lot of new people keen to ski at Kielder. It has always taken up the shortfall when people leave," Mr Smith said.

The public is invited to the Kielder Water Ski Just Add Water & Ski event on September 2 and 3.

The club is open to enquiries. For more information on the event, contact Mr Smith on 07860813888.