From today until 5th August is National Parks Week. This years National Parks Week is a celebration of our beautiful winning landscapes, which have apparently inspired generations of athletes, cyclists, climbers and others to aim higher and train harder. Amongst those inspired are Sebastian Coe, now Lord Coe, the driving force behind London’s winning bid and its subsequent implementation, who use to run in the Peak District from his Sheffield home before his success with gold in Moscow and Los Angeles. Nicole Cooke gold-winning cyclist from Beijing who loves to train in the Brecon Beacons taking in the Fan y Big and the Cribyn – with spectacular views all the way to the Black Mountains. Alan Hinkes is the first Briton to climb all 14 of the world’s highest mountains – peaks above 8,000 metres or higher. Only 12 people alive have achieved this feat and many have perished attempting the Challenge. Alan started his climbing on the minor crags of the North York Moors.
These winning landscapes have also inspired me, but not to challenge for gold at the Olympics or climb Everest but to explore, walk and capture the landscape forever. As well as being able to enjoy the Parks in the comfort of my own home I can also share these with others who are less fortunate than myself who do not always have the opportunity to visit and wonder at the magnificent and diverse landscapes we are so lucky to have in the British Isles.
Danny Boyle’s “Isles of Wonder” Opening Ceremony for the Olympics cost the nation £27m, almost £1m per million television viewers and whilst it appears to have been a resounding success I would have preferred for that money to have been spent in protecting the beautiful landscapes in the British Isles and encouraging and helping others to visit, enjoy and benefit like myself and those winning athletes that it inspired to victory.
Please feel free to share your own thoughts on my views.