A man who found great help for depression in walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks has donated £1000 to rights of way maintenance in the area.
David Field, a retired medical engineer and former Bradford Northern rugby player, has walked to the top of Ingleborough, Whernside and Penyghent a total of 600 times in the past five years.
He said as he had probably worn paths down with such frequent use, it was ‘only right’ that he should give back.
The National Park Authority’s Three Peaks Project relies on donations to fund path maintenance in an area which is enjoyed by tens of thousands of people each year.
David Field, who is 68 and lives in Eldroth near Austwick, said: “I started going up the three peaks and I would do probably three peaks a week – on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday – a different peak each day. I used to log and time all my walks and since July 2018, I’ve completed 600 peaks which has included 14 ‘Three Peak Challenges’. I like to be neat and tidy so it’s been 200 times for Penyghent, 200 for Whernside, 200 for Ingleborough.
“I feel as though the amount I’ve been up and down, I’ve probably worn the trails down myself. So I feel it’s only right that I give a donation and that gives me a lot of pleasure, because I feel as though I’ve put something back.”
Mr Field said he was content to put on record how walking in the National Park had improved his mental health.
He said: “I suffered from depression from my mid-50s. You still have those days where you get a little bit dark, but the best way to get out of it is to get out for a walk.
“Once you get out and you get walking it just makes you feel so much better. For depression it’s one of the best things you can do. In fact walking in the countryside, whether the Three Peaks or other footpaths, is the finest thing you can do for depression.
“It gives me peace of mind. You feel better when you’ve done a walk. When it’s something that is a challenge, you get a buzz from it – and you can live on that for a few days.”
He added: “Walking the Three Peaks, it’s unbelievable countryside. I would never get bored. I’ll go up from different areas. There’s nothing better going up early morning in summer, the place is filled with birds and other wildlife. You can’t put a price on that.”
The Member Champion for Recreation Management at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Lizzie Bushby, said: “Thank you to David for his donation to the Three Peaks Project, and for sharing his story. His record of walking the peaks over the past five years is probably unique.
“The improvements in the state of the public rights of way network in the Yorkshire Three Peaks area is one of the proudest achievements of the National Park Authority and its partners. But we do need public support to keep up the good work. All money raised through the Three Peaks Project goes directly to looking after the rights of way in the area through our dedicated Three Peaks Ranger.”