Rory joined parliamentary colleague and neighbouring MP for Hexham Guy Opperman on Saturday at the Roman Fort of Epiacum, just outside of Alston in Rory’s constituency, where they joined fellow local walkers to officially launch the inaugural North Pennines Walking Festival – “Inspired by the North Pennines” – coinciding also with the 75th Anniversary of Alfred Wainwright’s Pennine Journey.

On a brisk sunny day the MPs joined with organisers Ian Forbes of North Pennines Walking Festival Steering Group, David Pitt and Jill King of the Pennine Journey Supporters Club, Claire Lumley of Alston Moor Partnership and representatives from an array of local organisations all involved in collaborating on the festival, including the North Pennines AONB, the National Trust, the Weardale Visitors Network, and the Heart of Teesdale Landscape Partnership. The event coincided also with a day-long fundraising event “PJ in a Day”, whereby local groups walked different segments of the Pennine Journey – a 247-mile circular walk beginning and ending in Settle and taking in Hadrian’s Wall – to raise funds for a number of local charities. Local MP Rory also set off the local Hospice at Home team on their leg of the walk from Alston’s market cross, where he wished them luck and spoke of the importance of bringing together community spirit with a love of the landscape.

Speaking at the launch of the first ever North Pennines Walking Festival, Rory said: “Today is about  bringing together three great things: history; hills; and community action. We have history right here where we’re standing –  the Romans created our nation, and made us the people we are; secondly, our landscape – the thing we love, and which from the nineteenth century onwards people have celebrated; thirdly, community – we are a people in Cumbria and Northumbria with a genius for community action, connected to charity. To bring these three things together – the history that created us; the landscape that created our souls; and the charities that symbolise our hearts – into one event, is an extraordinary achievement. Many many thanks and congratulations.“

Claire Lumley of the Alston Moor Partnership said “We thank Rory and Guy for supporting us with our launch of the North Pennines Walking Festival today, and for walking with us from Epiacum to Alston. It was a brilliant day and both MPs were great company. We felt privileged that they were willing to take time out of their busy schedules to support our community in this way.”

Print Friendly and PDF