Julia Bradbury on the Lake District felltops

Julia Bradbury on the Lake District felltops

One of walking’s best known celebrities is to become the face of the Ramblers.

Julia Bradbury, credited with boosting the popularity of Lakeland’s hillwalking routes, has been put forward for the post of president of the organisation. The move is set to be approved by the Ramblers’ general council next month.

Ms Bradbury, best known in walking circles for her series on Wainwright’s Walks, said she wants to  dispel the idea that walking is only for ‘hardcore enthusiasts’ and to get the country on its feet.

Julia – dubbed the first lady of walking by the Ramblers – will take over from Floella Benjamin, the current president of the 100,000-plus strong walking charity. Ms Bradbury was voted top walking celebrity by readers of Walk, the organisation’s magazine.

She said: “For too long walking has been associated mainly with the hardcore-enthusiast tag. My message is that walking is for everyone – young, old, groups, singles, city, country, black, white, you name it.

“My ambition with the Ramblers over the coming year is simple: get Britain on its feet. The country is stuffed with beautiful walks and a 130,000 mile footpath network – I want everyone to get out there and enjoy it.”

Ramblers’ chief executive Tom Franklin welcomed the nomination, saying: “In the Ramblers’ 75th year, our mission is to revamp walking and restore it to its proper place at the heart of everyday life, leisure and transport – no matter who you are.

“We want to break down the barriers to walking, whether it’s blocked paths or lack of motivation. There is no better expert at this than Julia Bradbury.”

As well as the series charting some of Alfred Wainwright’s Lakeland fell walks, Ms Bradbury tackled his Coast to Coast Walk and fronts the BBC’s Countryfile programme. She also climbed the Very Severe-rated Old Man of Stoer with Tim Emmett as well as presenting Railway Walks.

The Dublin-born ‘Lady of the Lakes’ grew up near the Peak District and spent much of her early life exploring the rugged countryside around the family’s Sheffield home.

A spokesperson for the Ramblers said: “Her fresh approach, combined with her expertise and life-long enthusiasm for walking, have earned her a name for putting the zing back into walking.”

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