Oxfordshire farmer Mark Wiseman (pictured) is walking the 268-mile Pennine Way next month to raise money for farmers in need.
Mark has worked for Cumber Farms in Marcham for 31 years, having previously attended Berkshire Agricultural College. He’ll be crossing hills, moors and bogs over 18 days with his sister Natasha and her partner Mike Kenyon, who are raising money for MIND and Prostate Cancer UK, respectively.
The Pennine Way was Britain’s first national trail and runs from the village of Edale in Derbyshire, through the Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Park to Kirk Yetholm, just inside the Scottish border. Although it’s not the UK’s longest national trail (that distinction belongs to the 630-mile South West Coastal Path), the Pennine Way is arguably the best known and toughest.
“No doubt we’ll walk a bit further as some of the hostels and campsites are off trail and we may take the odd wrong turn,” said Mark. “We travel to Edale on May 26 and will begin walking on the 27th. If all goes to plan we should arrive in Kirk Yethom on June 15.”
The trio have been doing regular 23-mile walks on Sundays to set them up for their forthcoming challenge. In 2012, Mark and Natasha walked the 192-mile Coast to Coast path that crosses the Pennine Way over 12 rainy days during one of the wettest summers in living memory to raise funds for Mesothelioma UK. The memories of blisters on blisters and vast quantities of mud have not deterred them from pulling on their walking boots once more.
Mark explained: “The Coast to Coast path crosses the Pennine Way at a village in Swaledale called Keld and it was there I met a woman in her sixties who was walking the Pennine Way alone. It was her stories that first got me interested.”
Mark originally intended to do the Pennine Way walk in 2017 but postponed his plans when his friend and employer for 29 years, William Cumber, died in November 2016. William, a well-known figure in Oxfordshire farming circles, was a trustee of R.A.B.I and thrilled that Mark wanted to raise money for the cause.