Leo Houlding

Leo Houlding

A climber and adventurer who has led expeditions from the Antarctic to the Amazon rainforests is urging the public to support a clean-up on his home patch.

Leo Houlding has been appointed an ambassador for this year’s Great Cumbrian Litter Pick.

The mass-volunteering clean-up organised by Friends of the Lake District will take place on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 March. The landscape charity is asking every parish, school and organisation in Cumbria to get involved.

Houlding, who has travelled to the remotest corners of the world on his expeditions, said: “I was born in Penrith and one of my pet hates is when you’re out in the wilderness and you see rubbish blowing in the wind or sitting in a hedge.

“You see it all over the world and I’m sad to say, you see it right here on our own doorstep in the Lakes.

“Something I try to teach my kids is that every time we go out we try to pick up the rubbish that we see and come home with more rubbish than we set out with. Please do get involved in the Great Cumbrian Litter Pick.

“Come out, let’s get all that rubbish out of our countryside and leave the Lakes cleaner than we found it.”

Ruth Kirk, landscape engagement officer for Friends of the Lake District said: “It’s a truly sad fact of life that carelessly chucked-away rubbish is still blighting our beautiful Cumbrian landscapes, clogging and polluting our waterways, affecting our soils, causing harm to creatures that unwittingly ingest it, or become tangled in our discarded debris.

“And recent storms Ciara and Dennis will have, unwittingly, spread our mess far and wide. So let’s do something about it. Last year, over 1,000 people joined in with nearly 50 litter picks right across Cumbria – from Whitehaven to Sedbergh; Carlisle to Millom – collecting nearly 300 bags of rubbish.”

There will be a draw with a prize of £500 for one community or school who takes part, to be spent on environmental improvement or enhancement in that community or school as well as free environmental books for each school or college that signs up.

Cumbria-based Leo Houlding most recently has completed a free climb of the Roraima tepui in Guyana and previously completed a 1,000-mile Antarctic expedition; an ascent of the Mirror Wall in Arctic Greenland; and an ascent of the Orcadian sea stack the Old Man of Hoy with Sir Chris Bonington to mark the latter’s 80th birthday.

Details of how to take part in the clean-up are on the Great Cumbrian Litter Pick website.

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