The BMC’s link to parliament, Greg Mulholland MP, has tackled the ‘alternative’ Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge to promote hill walking and help raise money for a local Mountain Rescue team.
Defying the stereotype of sedate politicians, Leeds North-West MP Greg walked 22 miles, bagged three summits and climbed a greater total ascent than Ben Nevis (1450 metres / 4,757 feet) as part of his partnership with the BMC.
The walk was also designed to promote the life-saving work of the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association (UWFRA), who devised the Wharfedale Three Peaks challenge and will be running it as their annual fundraising event on June 28. Team member Joe Parsons joined Greg along with representatives from the BMC and Carnegie Great Outdoors in Leeds.
Greg said: "It was great to try out the UWFRA Wharfedale Three Peaks Challenge route, in advance of the inaugural event on 28th June.
“As the BMC’s Parliamentary Sports Fellow it’s a pleasure to promote getting out and enjoying the wonderful countryside we have in England, and particularly my home county of Yorkshire. The hills and mountains are open to everyone and offer endless possibilities for enjoyment and adventure.”
The route of 22 mile / 35 kilometre walk circled the high moors above one of the most spectacular sections of the route of the Tour de France’s Yorkshire leg. In July the cyclists will speed through the walk’s start point of Kettlewell in July as well as the White Lion Inn in Cray, where Greg and the other walkers made a halfway ‘pitstop’.
Setting off on the 22 mile challenge, looking down the length of Upper Wharfedale
UFWRA needs £40,000 each year to keep going. Greg encouraged walkers to get their entry forms in for the June 28 event, saying: "It was a challenging but very satisfying walk with great views and I can certainly recommend it. Kettlewell is a lovely place to start and finish and having the White Lion at Cray half way provides a welcome pitstop!
"Everyone who takes part on June 28 will be providing much needed funds for the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association. All who enjoy this wonderful part of the Yorkshire Dales rely on the service they provide. So get your entry forms in and look forward to a great day's walking and supporting a wonderful, hard-working team of volunteers who provide the area's mountain rescue 365 days a year and save people's lives.
"It was very enlightening hearing exactly what the UWFRA team do and how they deal with call outs. I don't think people realise that despite being one of the emergency services, they are all volunteers who come from a wide area, including in Lower Wharfedale in the north of my constituency, and are on call permanently."
The group descending into Langstrothdale
As the BMC’s link to Westminster through Sport England’s Parliamentary Sports Fellowship scheme, Greg works to promote and champion mountaineering in the world of politics.
Carey Davies, the BMC’s Hill Walking Development Officer, said: “It’s great to be working with Greg to highlight how the hills and mountains can be fun, amazing places we can all enjoy. This was a great example of a perfect hill walk: beautiful views, adventure, challenge, a stop in a quaint country pub and only 45 minutes of rain!
“The Wharfedale Three Peaks is a wonderful alternative to the more famous Yorkshire Three Peaks - Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. The ‘established’ challenge events are taking their toll on the fragile mountain environment and we want to encourage people to explore new places and possibilities.”
(L - R) Greg Mulholland, Joe Parsons of UWFRA and John Rocks of Carnegie Great Outdoors on Birk's Fell, the first peak of the challenge
UWFRA team member and event organiser Jacqui Todd said: “With just over 10 weeks to go before our first Upper Wharfedale Three Peaks Challenge Event, we are delighted that Greg Mulholland chose this as part of his Sport England Parliamentary Fellowship.
“Our inaugural event takes place on June 28 –please come along and support our day. As well as the 22 mile Three Peaks route completed by Greg, there are a choice of two other easier routes – a 13.5 Two Peaks route including Buckden Pike and Great Whernside, and a 4.5 mile family and community route, the Starbotton Circular Walk. Everyone will receive a certificate of completion and a hot meal as well as an event souvenir. So help us to make it a great day by joining us on the day. It’s great value at £10 per individual entry and £12 for a family of four if you apply by the end of May.”
You can download a welcome pack and application form for the Wharfedale Three Peaks from the UWFRA website.
BMC hill walking officer Carey Davies with Greg on Great Whernside, final peak of the challenge