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Countryside Charity Creates New Peak District “hill bagging” Challenge

You’ve heard of the Munros in Scotland and the Lake District Wainwrights. Now there’s a new hill walking challenge for those addicted to “bagging” Britain’s wildest summits – the Peak District “Ethels”!

The Ethels are all the Peak District hilltops over 400m above sea level, plus some significant lower prominent hills that stand out in their own right. There are 95 in total – enough to keep the keenest hill walkers busy for many months to come.

They’re mapped and listed on a new smartphone app that’s being released by the countryside charity CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire (CPRE PDSY) to coincide with its 97th birthday this month.

They’re named the “Ethels” in tribute to the charity’s founder, a pioneering environmentalist named Ethel Haythornthwaite.

Ethel created the charity in 1924. She found refuge in the beautiful countryside near her Sheffield home, after losing her husband Captain Henry Gallimore in the First World War, when she was only twenty-two.

“Ethel was lost in grief,” said CPRE PDSY chief executive Tomo Thompson.

“Her parents suggested that she took restorative walks in the countryside around the city, an area we now know as the Peak District.

“Those walks and landscapes had a profound effect and literally changed her life. She went on to create the countryside charity that we now know as the CPRE.

“She helped protect wild areas like Longshaw and Blackamoor from development by organising their purchase for public access. She was also a key figure in creating the Peak District as Britain’s first national park seventy years ago.

“Today so many more people are finding refuge from Covid lockdown in the countryside on their doorsteps, so we thought it apt to create this new hill walking challenge in Ethel’s memory.

“On our 97th birthday we wanted to give something back to the communities that have supported us, and to inspire others to come to this remarkable part of England.”

The smartphone app has a map of all 95 Ethels, plus a list of them by name with their height and grid reference.

They range from the 287m summit of Thorpe Cloud at the gateway to Dovedale in the limestone “White Peak” to the remote moorland summits of Kinder Scout, Bleaklow and Black Hill in the northern “Dark Peak” area.

The highest point is the top of Kinder Scout, at 636m above sea level.

The challenge was the idea of CPRE PDSY supporter Doug Colton. Doug worked with the charity to create an app named “Ethel Ready” that can now be downloaded for both Apple and Android.

The app includes a tick-list accumulator that allows people to work their way through the hills entirely at their own speed.

“Some people may want to join them all up in a very long run, and some people might want to take it more steadily, ticking off just one or two a year,” said Tomo Thompson.

“The app also has a CPRE tab that links to our website where you can learn more about our work, join our charity as a member, or make a donation to us.

“We have launched the app for free as we don’t actually ‘own’ those hills, we have just made a list of them!

“If you use the app we would be very grateful if you would consider making a donation to us to support our work.”

Founded in 1824, CPRE PDSY is the Peak District and South Yorkshire branch of the countryside charity, CPRE. The charity works to:

  • Tackle the climate emergency
  • Promote rural life
  • Empower communities
  • Connect people and countryside

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