As Northumberland National Park celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, local businessman and outdoor enthusiast David Wilson, is taking on the epic challenge of walking the entire length of the Park, non-stop, to celebrate!
Setting off at the crack of dawn this Friday 27 May, the 70 mile route will take him from the most northerly tip of the Park at Kilham, across the Cheviots, down the Pennine Way and eventually join Hadrian’s Wall to finish at Walltown. The route covers stunning areas including Yeavering Bell and Newton Tors along with practical areas that allow him to access food, water and other supplies.
David, from Newcastle, is a Park volunteer when he’s not busy running his own financial advice company. He aims to use the challenge to encourage more people to enjoy the great outdoors by showcasing some of the most beautiful, remote and uninhabited countryside in England.
“I’ve lived near the National Park all my life and I still find hidden treasures and places I’ve never seen or heard of before. I hope that through my ‘Walk in the Park’ challenge I can show people that Northumberland National Park is on their doorstep and encourage them to go out and explore their own little piece of it.
“Northumberland is a wonderful place, steeped in history and culture and I want to use the walk to showcase it from my perspective. I’m 37, running my own business while juggling family life with two young children and I hope this challenge will demonstrate that we can all find a bit of adventure and see and do amazing things right here without the need to travel for miles outside the area,” explains David.
The trek is expected to take him 28 hours and the final route was created with the help of Northumberland National Park’s GIS Officer Ed Hudspeth, using new Ordinance Survey (OS) data called the Detailed Path Network (DPN). The DPN will feed into an OS tracking map embedded on the Northumberland National Park website so people can follow David’s progress during the challenge in real-time.
David has already clocked up a long list of achievements, including running the Great North Run twice in one day, walking the entire length of Hadrian’s Wall non-stop and volunteering to use the Google Trekker in the National Park last year to capture imagery for Google’s Street View service. David was responsible for catching one of the most iconic shots in the National Park; Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall.
“I did the Hadrian’s Wall Challenge back in 2012 and felt the need to try something new ever since. The fact it’s the Park’s 60th anniversary this year presented the perfect opportunity. I’m a huge supporter of the National Park movement and having a young family I feel it’s very important to highlight the work they do to make sure they are conserved and enhanced for generations to enjoy,” said David.
Tony Gates, Chief Executive at Northumberland National Park, which was recently declared National Park of the Year in a public vote, said: “David is a wonderful ambassador for the Park. He’s worked with us on a number of occasions. It is fantastic that his experience and passion for the landscape has inspired him to show people how much there is to explore and do in and around Northumberland. He’s about to put himself through an enormous physical challenge and we all wish him every success in his endeavour.”
David will be setting off on his non-stop trek from the north of the Park at 7am on Friday 27 May and is hoping to arrive at the Walltown site at the southern-most tip of the Park at 10am on Saturday 28 May. You can follow David and track his latest position on the Northumberland National Park website at: www.northnorthumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/walkinthepark.
The team at the Park will also be sharing photos and links to each of the areas David passes through and running a number of giveaways on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow the Walk in the Park challenge on Twitter @NorthumberlndNP, #WalkinthePark and Facebook at Northumberland National Park.
David is also keen to raise the profile of The Northumberland National Park Foundation which aims to safeguard the future of the North East’s most unspoilt landscapes and cultural heritage.
It supports activities that enhance, protect or conserve the natural and historic environment. It also provides volunteering, education and learning opportunities for people of all ages to open up the Park for an even wider range of people to enjoy.
If you would like to find out more about The Northumberland National Park Foundation and how to make a donation please go to: www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/about/foundation/ or contact Rosie Thomas by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01434 611543.