The BMC joined our link to parliament, Greg Mulholland MP, for a walk in the hills and gills of the Yorkshire Dales as part of a popular local walking festival.
BMC hill walking officer Carey Davies and former BMC president and current Access Management Group chair Dave Musgrove joined Greg for an 11 mile, 6.5 hour walk from Bolton Abbey to Burnsall as part of Otley Walking Festival.
Beginning in bright sunshine, the walk exhibited the diversity of the Dales, taking a group of nearly 20 hill walkers up the misleadingly pleasant Valley of Desolation, over the gritstone fortress of Simon's Seat, and through the spectacular limestone gorge of Troller's Gill.
Keen hill walker Greg is the BMC's link to parliament through the Sport England parliamentary sports fellowship scheme, and a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Mountaineering, for which the BMC is the secretary.
Greg, Carey and Dave were also joined by Dave Bunting of Carnegie Great Outdoors, an adventure provider based at Leeds Beckett University.
Greg said: "Otley Walking Festival attracts walkers from across Yorkshire and beyond. That 52 events were organised over nine days shows the huge dedication of the organisers and the volunteers. Well done to them all for yet another successful festival, we're already looking forward to next year's!"
As well as admiring the scenery, flora and fauna, the walk gave BMC representatives a chance to update Greg about the BMC's latest work as well as discuss opportunities to raise the profile of hill walking in parliament.
Carey Davies, BMC hill walking officer, said: "Greg has done some excellent work to promote hill waking through the parliamentary sports fellowship scheme. Walks like this are an opportunity to cement our partnership and discuss ideas. It is also great to support grassroots events like the Otley Walking Festival."
Last year the BMC joined Greg to walk the 'alternative' Three Peaks Challenge of Yorkshire to help raise the profile of the Upper Wharfedale Fell and Rescue Association's annual fundraising event.
Otley Walking Festival began as a one-off event in June 2000 but the success of it has made it a fixture in Otley's annual calendar. It is run entirely by volunteers giving their free time and expertise.
Ruth Blackwell, chair of Otley Walking Festival, said: "Otley Walking Festival 2015 has been a fantastic success. Nine days of great walks, superb weather, good walk leaders, and stunning Wharfedale scenery - enjoyed by record numbers of people coming here from all over the country. All our walk leaders are volunteers and give their time and expertise freely, making this a true comunity event."
The Access and Conservation Trust
The BMC's charity – the BMC Access & Conservation Trust – promotes sustainable access to cliffs, mountains and open countryside by facilitating education and conservation projects across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
By educating climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to enjoy outdoor recreation while minimising their impact on the landscape, conserving the UK’s upland resources, and campaigning for improved access rights, ACT enables future generations to continue to enjoy outdoor activities and the physical, mental and social benefits they bring to individual lives and society in general.
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