Northumberland National Park recently announced the winners of its 2012 Awards. The Awards were established to recognise and reward the efforts of individuals, businesses and community groups who are helping the National Park Authority and its partners to achieve the aims of the National Park Management Plan.
Joyce and Colin Taylor won the Welcomimg Award and this was well deserved. They have developed the Forest View Inn at Byrness over the last twelve years out of a former youth hostel into a welcome and comfortable place to stay and fully understand the needs of PW walkers and other travelers such as cyclists. In addition they pick up PW walkers at the halfway point on the difficult and lengthy final stage and bring them back to home cooked meals and real ale. I would imagine that all PW members will be pleased to hear about this award!
There was also a special mention to Geoff Holland for his unpaid role as champion of the Cheviots. Have a look at his website at www.cheviotwalks.co.uk especially if you are thinking of a few days there.
The Curlew Award, which is given for an exceptional contribution to the National Park went to Jimmy and Jean Givens. In the 1980s and 1990s Jimmy was the head warden for the National Park and did much work on improving the conditions of the PW on the border fence (along with Trevor Hardy and others) and later the couple carried out a great deal of work as volunteers. It would be remiss of me not to mention the special mention for Marion Graham who has looked after legions of cyclists, including myself, at The Old School House Tearoom in Elsdon and also found time to create a cycling museum.
Members may remember that the Curlew (which is the emblem for the NP) Award was last year won by our Vice President and his wife Trevor and Dorothy Hardy. The PW obviously plays a major role in the work of the National Park.
Any walker watching The Village on BBC1 who thinks the village in question looks familiar is right! This six part play by BAFTA Award winner Peter Moffat follows the life and times of one village from the summer of 1914 up to the current time. From what l have read the camera never leaves a village which is in fact Edale at the start (or finish for a few) of the Pennine Way and nearby Hayfield. Keep a look out for the classic pack horse bridges in both the villages and who knows in a later stage there might be a PW waymark! Without knowing the story it is possible that ramblers may feature in a later programme although l understand that the name of the locations is not divulged as both locations are special places in the history of rambling.
A recent edition of the Northumberland Gazette had a major feature on the current work on the PW and the slabbing on Auchope Cairn and Padon Hill, which will be more fully reported in our next newsletter. With the current financial restrictions it is good to see the work still proceeding!
Please note that the date of the AGM has been changed to Saturday March 23rd starting at 1:30pm at the usual venue of the Friends Meeting House, Woodhouse Lane in Leeds. The normal room in which we have our meetings is in use until 1:00pm but the foyer is available as usual for those wanting to eat their lunch and the kitchen is also available.
All members are welcome to attend!
Planning the Pennine Way
The above photograph taken at Birkdale Farm in Upper Teesdale in 1948 shows from left to right Barbara Castle (then aged 38), Fred Willey(38), Arthur Blenkinsop(37), George Chetwynd(32), Tom Stephenson(55), Hugh Dalton(61) and Julian Snow (38) planning the route of the Pennine Way. Birkdale farm is on the Pennine Way and is the last building passed when heading from Teesdale to Dufton. It was famously cut off for many weeks in the severe winter of 1947. Due to the many objections of the landowners, the Pennine Way did not actually open until 1965. Those present on this historic photograph were all senior members of the government of Clement Attlee (1945 -1951) except Julian Snow who became a MP at a later date and all went to senior positions both within and without government.
Barbara Castle (MP Blackburn and later a Baroness) became the first female Secretary of State and in a later role as Minister of Transport the use of seatbelts a legal requirement, a 70 mph speed limit on motorways and brought into use the breathalyser. Fred Willey (MP Sunderland), Arthur Blenkinsop (Newcastle East and South Shields), George Chetwynd (Stockton) and Hugh Dalton (MP Bishop Auckland and who was Chancellor of the Exchequer) all represented North East constituencies, whilst Julian Snow later became Baron Burntwood. Tom Stephenson, who had promoted the idea of the Pennine Way before WW2, became the first full time paid secretary of the Ramblers Association and it was he that had gathered such an important group to survey the route. All were walkers and many held positions in the Ramblers Association as well as senior positions in various national wildlife and convservation bodies. Their efforts led in 1949 to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, which has since delivered massive improvements to the general public which are now taken for granted. It is difficult to imagine such a group of senior MPs, of any political persuasion, now being assembled to carry out such an activity!
Permission to use this photograph has been given by Paul Jackson, the Editor of the Yorkshire Dalesman. This fine magazine is full of interesting articles not only of the Yorkshire Dales National Park but also the North Yorks Moors National Park and much of rural North Yorkshire. In addition it keeps you informed of much that is happening in the area as well as forthcoming events and is an excellent read for all those who love this fine part of the country.
Trevor Hardy was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Birthday Honours List published on June 16th as a Northumberland National Park Voluntary Ranger, having been a member of the Northumberland National Park Voluntary Warden/Ranger Service for over 50 years. Also towards the end of last year Trevor and his wife Dorothy were presented with the Curlew Award for exceptional contribution to the Northumberland National Park having devoted more than 50 years to protecting and enhancing the North East’s finest landscape.
Trevor has been a member of the RA for many years and is well known to many RA members and especially to those members such as Reg Alexander, Bob Hill and Maurice Reed who were all in the same Mountain Rescue Team, along with myself, which was led at different times by both the late John Weatherall and Bob Hill and was part of the National Park Service.
Trevor has also served in the Association of Countryside Volunteers (formerly the Association of Countryside Voluntary Wardens) since its inception in the 1960s and has been Vice President for a number of years. He also carries the same position in the Pennine Way Association where his vast knowledge of all aspects of countryside activities and political legislation is much appreciated by all the other Officers of both groups. I can honestly say having been involved with Trevor over much of this time that the award was richly deserved and follows the same award which was made to his wife Dorothy in the New Years Honours List. A real husband and wife team!