Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Source to Sea Fundraising Walk

On 1st September Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border and yours truly will commence a fundraising walk along the entire length of the River Eden. The 80+ mile walk, lasting four days will raise funds for Eden Rivers Trusts conservation and education projects. A dawn start sees in day one on the 1st September at Mallerstang, the source of the Eden. Over the ensuing four days friends, family and supporters will join us each day as we make their way towards finish at the Solway Firth.

The walk is split into four sections (to be confirmed) and will be conducted on a mixture of footpaths, bridleways, quiet lanes and private land, where permission has been granted.

• Day 1 – Mallerstang – Appleby
• Day 2 – Appleby – Penrith
• Day 3 – Penrith – Wetheral
• Day 4 – Wetheral – Solway Firth

During the walk I will be introducing Rory first-hand to some of the key issues that affect the wildlife, ecology of the river. The itinerary will take-in 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 local community river clean-up event!

The walk will also focus on meeting members of the community who rely on a healthy river environment river to support recreational and economic purposes.

We are aiming 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 up and down river valley.

Our fundraising target is £10,000.

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 firsthand about some of the major issues affecting the wildlife, ecology and people of this truly iconic river.”

Rory Stewart said: “I have been looking forward to this walk for months. It will come at the end of a Summer that, for me, has been 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 to end 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 will be 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 to raise awareness of its importance, and funds to contribute to its longer-term survival, and look forward to welcoming anyone who would like to join us on the walk."

If you would like to make a donation please contact Eden Rivers Trust on 01768 866788or

After last years Coast to Coast Mountain Bike Challenge - I swore I would never do another charity fundraiser........I must be mad...but it is for a very good cause!

Monday, 12 July 2010

I 'CAN' stand the rain........

Well..... we have had some rain at last...but not nearly enough!

Levels on the rivers and major lakes in the catchment have risen by a few inches or so. We now have a hosepipe ban in place and are being asked to conserve water wherever we can.

This is all well and good but my major worry is that drought events are likely occur more often and with increased severity. If we accept this 'climate change scenario' surely we should be having a serious debate about long-term water usage and conservation. We have now reached a point in time where reactive measure are simply not good enough and we must be taking a long term view on the sustainability of supplies for both private and business users. It is not simply a case of hitting water companies over the head with a big stick. We are all voracious consumers of a very precious resource that in my opinion we have learnt to take far too much for granted. Some painful and potentially costly decisions may have to be agreed if we want to keep taps running.