River Eden ‘Source to Sea’ Charity Walk:
Please click here to read about the walk in an article I wrote for the FT
On 1st September Simon Johnson, Director of Eden Rivers Trust, and I embarked upon a fund-raising walk along the entire length of the River Eden. The 80+ mile walk, lasting four days was to raise funds for Eden Rivers Trust’s conservation and education projects. A dawn start saw in day one on the 1st September at Mallerstang, the source of the Eden and over the ensuing four days friends, family and supporters joined us as we made our way towards the Eden’s finish at the Solway Firth.
The walk was split into four sections, covering a mixture of footpaths, bridleways, quiet lanes and private land, where permission was granted.
- Day 1 – Mallerstang – Appleby
- Day 2 – Appleby – Penrith
- Day 3 – Penrith – Wetheral
- Day 4 – Wetheral – Solway Firth
During the walk Simon introduced me first-hand to some of the key issues that affect the wildlife and ecology of the river. The itinerary took in some ‘hands-on’ ERT conservation tasks, including a survey to hunt for the internationally rare White Clawed Crayfish and a to get ‘down and dirty’ at a local community river clean-up event! The walk also focused on meeting members of the community who rely on a healthy river environment to support recreational and economic purposes.
We aimed to raise as much money as possible to support ERT’s environmental education initiative ‘Rivers in the Classroom’ which to date has worked with nearly 5000 school children along the river valley.
Simon Johnson, Director of ERT, said: “I am really excited to be undertaking this fundraising walk with Rory. The walk not only offers a special opportunity to see a river in its entirety but also for Rory to learn first-hand about some of the major issues affecting the wildlife, ecology and people of this truly iconic river.”
I had looked forward to this walk for months. It came at the end of a Summer that, for me, was made memorable by the people of Penrith and the Border and the landscape they inhabit; these are the two constants that make this constituency so special. It seems fitting that I ended my first Summer as an MP walking the length of this extraordinary river; 80 miles long, with 184 different species of plants and flowing through the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales National Parks, the North Pennines, the Solway Coast AONB, and the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall. This is arguably the jewel in our crown, and it was a great privilege to meet the people along the way who – as I am – are proud to speak of the Eden Valley as their home. With Simon’s help I hope I raised awareness of its importance, and funds to contribute to its longer-term survival.
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Getting to know the Constituency
To obtain an intimate understanding of local concerns & issues, I enjoy walking expeditions around the constituency. I hope to undertake further expeditions in due course. Please join my newsletter to be one of the first to hear about my next walk. I would be delighted if you could join me.