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Countrystride #69: BLENCATHRA with Andy Airey which we summit one of Lakeland's finest heights via the rocky arête of Halls Fell Ridge with Threlkeld born-and-bred Andy Airey. After grappling with local pronunciations, we hear about the outdoor freedoms of a Lakeland childhood; we learn that Father Christmas lives on Great Mell Fell; and we explore the merits of each route onto Saddleback. Approaching the summit on a picture-perfect autumn evening, conversation turns to Andy's daughter Sophie, who took her life in December 2018. In a frank discussion about suicide, about the need to talk with young people and about healing though walking, we move on to consider the '3 Dads Walking' campaign, in which Andy and two other suicide-bereaved fathers walked 324 miles in memory of their daughters – and captured the attention of millions around the world.

Majestic Blencathra.

Our guest for the day: local lad Andy Airey.

...And our route: up Hall's Fell Ridge.

Rocky 'boot wedge' - Andy visits it on every ascent up the ridge.

Getting to grips with the rocky spine.

Andy and Mark nearing the summit.

Approaching Gategill Fell.

Obligatory Swaledale shot.

Andy with Sophie on his 50th birthday - about to embark on the same walk we did up Blencathra.

Our route for the walk.


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