Sunday, 21 October 2012

Hungry pub goers and walkers help the Yorkshire Three Peaks

Special pub meals and a book of walks have been raising much-needed cash to help maintain footpaths around the Three Peaks of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The Lion in Settle decided to help by donating 15p every time a hungry visitor to the pub ordered a main course dish called ‘Butchers Board’.

And manager Ian Pilcher has handed over a cheque for £250 – raised from more than 1,600 meals – to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) for its Three Peaks Project, which was launched in 2009 to maintain the heavily-used network of paths connecting the famous hills.

“I think it’s really good to support a local organisation that conserves the area,” Ian said.
“Most of our customers come to walk in the Three Peaks, and the menu choice proved very popular. We’ll do the same again over the coming winter.”
From left to right: Ian Pilcher, Chris Grogan and Steve Hastie in the restaurant at the Lion in Settle.

The first Three Peaks Project was established by the YDNPA in 1987, after a study by the Institute for Terrestrial Ecology carried out a study of the condition of the path network in the Three Peaks area.  It  concluded that the region had the sad distinction of possessing the most severely eroded network in the UK.

Originally started with a staff of 13, its remit included trialling new path-engineering and re-vegetating techniques to provide sustainable routes and to allow damaged surrounding land to recover.  The mid-90s and early 2000s saw a number of externally-funded projects completed, each with one or two extra staff appointed.

However, since 2004, the management and maintenance of the Three Peaks network has reverted back to the YDNPA’s Rangers – a team of just two officers covering the whole of the wider Ribblesdale area.

The latest project aims to create a sustainable source of both practical and financial support that will help protect and enhance the area and the rights of way network into the future.  Since its launch, many of the charities that regularly use the Three Peaks for sponsored events have volunteered to donate money towards the upkeep of the area.

At the same time, the authors of a book of walks from stations along the world-famous Settle Carlisle railway line have been doing their bit to help the project.

Tony and Chris Grogan from Saltaire-based publishers Skyware Ltd decided that a proportion of the proceeds from the sale of each copy of ‘Dales Rail Trails’ would be donated to the Friends of the Three Peaks, a group run by the National Park Authority.

Chris has passed on a cheque for £200 generated from sales of the book over the spring and summer.

“I’m very happy that we are able to donate to the Friends of the Three Peaks, and that sales of the book have gone so well,” she said.

“It has only been on sale since the spring so we’re hopeful that we can make further contributions.”

The book was funded by the YDNPA’s Sustainable Development Fund – which is managed by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust – and has sold more than 650 copies since going on sale at the beginning of the year priced £8 99.

It contains 32 walks from stations along the railway line as well as a guide to the popular, 24-mile Three Peaks Challenge route and details of the 48-mile Six Peaks Trail, which links stations from Settle to Kirkby Stephen.

Steve Hastie, the YDNPA’s Three Peaks Project Manager, said: “The great thing for me is that these fundraising ideas came from Ian, Chris and Tony.

“Our Corporate Friends have really started to get to grips with the challenges facing the wonderful Three Peaks and they are making very useful, positive contributions.”

If you'd like to become a Friend can log on to the YDNPA website at and follow the pages to join online.

And you can watch our walking video around the Ribblehead Viaduct, which takes in part of Whernside below.

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