Today hill walker Richard Duckworth sets off on a 12 day mission from Scotland to Sussex – walking all the projects featured in the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million appeal. What’s driving his passion for the cause?
No one can accuse BMC member Richard Duckworth of being indifferent when it comes to the upkeep of Britain’s hills and mountains.
Already a top supporter of the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million appeal, the BMC-led fundraising push to tackle erosion in wild, mountainous and beautiful landscapes across the United Kingdom, today he is pulled on his boots and set out to walk a total of 120 miles and climb the equivalent height of Everest for the campaign.
In what has been dubbed the ‘Dirty Dozen’ challenge, over the course of 12 days he will take in every one of the 13 projects which will eventually be funded by the appeal. His challenge kicked off today with a climb of Whernside in the Yorkshire Dales, joined by a group of 10 friends, supporters and representatives from the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
As well as physical effort of walking the routes, Richard faces the additional effort of travelling between the geographically disparate projects, which are spread across 11 National Parks ranging from the Cairngorms to Dartmoor; from Snowdonia to the South Downs.
We spoke to Richard to find out more about why he has taken on this challenge, what drives his passion for the hills, and why he is so passionate about supporting Mend Our Mountains.
How did you first hear about Mend Our Mountains?
I was involved with the first campaign a couple of years ago. I helped out by donating towards the repairs to the Swinetail path on Ingleborough, and also had a day with the Yorkshire Three Peaks ranger carrying out these path repairs. The guy did it pretty much single-handedly and did a fantastic job.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well I’m a busy guy, always on the go. I run my own company, have two young kids, am training to become a Mountain Leader and am always planning the next family adventure or my next trip out into the mountains. There aren’t enough days in the week!
Why do you love getting out in the hills?
I started about ten years ago across the Lancashire moors. This then extended to the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District and, more recently, the mountains of Lakeland and Snowdonia. It sounds cheesy but a day trip out is a journey: you don’t know who you’re going to meet or what you’re going to see. The main reason, though, is the great sense of achievement at the end of each full day on the hills… and the pint after.
Can you describe the fundraising challenge you’re undertaking for MOM?
I’m walking each of the 13 primary project paths featured in the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million campaign. These are across 11 national parks and I’ll be doing it over 12 consecutive days (hence the ‘Dirty Dozen’ joke) this September. It’s around 120 miles of walking with a combined ascent approximately equal to that of Everest.
Is there a park with a particular connection for you?
The Lake District is a stunning environment and my playground for the last couple of years, but the Yorkshire Dales is my pick. The stunning valleys, rolling hills and great pubs make it a fantastic location.
What are you hoping to achieve by doing this challenge?
I’d like to raise awareness with everyone who values the hills, mountains and landscapes of Britain that the condition of paths up our most popular hills and bridleways are getting worse. I think most people don’t even consider path repair or think that a secret team of path fairies do all the work. I think if more people knew about the work that actually goes into these projects then they would donate. Everyone can do their bit but, in particular, organisers of the big fundraising events such as National Three Peaks could do more. 100,000 visitors a year go up Scafell Pike each year from Wasdale. Imagine if each one put just £1 in towards path repairs?
DONATE: Give to Mend Our Mountains on Richard's JustGiving page, or see below to get involved with our crowdfunding push.
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