Walkers in South Pennines by Steve Morgan Low ResChallenges abound in this year’s South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival with charity fundraisers and skills training days on offer alongside the traditional guided tours in the stunning uplands.

Three charity events will take place during this year’s South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival, which runs from Saturday, September 7 to Sunday, September 22. The festival is managed by rural regeneration company, Pennine Prospects, and is now in its sixth year.

On Sunday, September 15, walkers will be able to choose between two events in one. Both walks in the Huddersfield Rotary Club Pub to Pub event start at the Old Bridge Hotel in Holmfirth and end at the Nook Brewery. One walk involves a seven mile loop via Digley Reservoir and the Fleece at Holme, and the other is a short stroll across the road from the start to the finish. Participants in both pub to pub walks will be able to raise funds for Disaster Aid.

Walk organiser, Narrell Leffman, explained: “We want as many people as possible to get involved in this year’s sponsored walk. Some people may not want to make the steep climb up Upperthong to Digley Reservoir and would prefer to cross the road to the finish line. But of course only those who make the climb will see the wonderful views from the Fleece, where we will stop for refreshments.”

For cyclists there will be two major charity events this year: the Bronte Mountain Bike Challenge, raising money for Sue Ryder; and the Moor Power Mountain Bike Challenge, in aid of Dementia UK.

The Bronte Mountain Bike Challenge will take place on Sunday, September 22 and will include three rides. The challenging 26-mile Charlotte route is shorter than in previous years but has more off-road cycling, including a brand new section of the Pennine Bridleway. Emily offers intermediates an opportunity to ride on a mix of tracks, trails and minor roads over a 21-mile course. And the 11-mile Anne course will take beginners over less rugged terrain through Haworth, Cullingworth and Harecroft.  Last year over 280 entrants took part and raised £11,000 for Sue Ryder.

The Moor Power Mountain Bike Challenge is a tough 20-mile ride taking in the best of the South Pennines bridleways with lung busting climbs and exhilarating downhills. It will take place on Sunday, September 8 starting from Hollingworth Lake, Littleborough, and money raised will be in aid of Dementia UK.

Registration before the day is required for all the charity events and further details are available from the South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival website at www.walkandridefestival.co.uk

For those wishing to try their hand at a new skill or to enhance a skill they already possess there will be over a dozen skills days on offer in this year’s festival. All skills days are led by trained professionals and some lead to recognised qualifications.

“There are a number of navigation courses available this year,” explained festival co-ordinator, Sue Leffman. “On Saturday, September 7 you can choose from the First Steps in Navigation above Hebden Bridge, or the Exploring with Map and Compass event at Wycoller.

“For those wishing to take their navigation skills further there are two courses being delivered by members of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors; both two day courses, one leading to the Bronze Level and the second leading to the Gold Level in the National Navigation Award Scheme.”

There are also skills days for those wishing to try dry stone walling, Nordic walking, forest skills, rock climbing and mountain bike repair. Details and booking information for all the skills days, as well as details of all the events in this year’s festival can be found at www.walkandridefestival.co.uk

With over 160 events, this year’s festival, the biggest yet, offers something for everyone; most are led by volunteer guides and organisers who have expert knowledge of the area and terrain. To find out more visit the festival website for full programme information at www.walkandridefestival.co.uk



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