In June 2021, Pedal 4 Parks will be setting off on a 1,200-mile journey across the UK. The team of five eco-warriors will be travelling across land and sea from the Orkney Islands to the Isles of Scilly pioneering a unique cycle expedition. Along the way they will be cycling through six of Britain’s National Parks, stopping to speak to advocates for environmental change and to take in some of the beautiful sights. From North to South, these National Parks will include: The Cairngorms, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, the Lake District, the Brecon Beacons, Exmoor, and Dartmoor. This will be no easy mission as these National Parks are home to some of the UK’s toughest terrain, pushing the team to cycle over twice the height of Everest in elevation over the course of their two-week adventure.
To understand why these five eco-warriors have decided to take up this challenge we asked each of them to tell us about the National Parks they love, and the ones they are most excited to visit on the expedition.
Written by Pedal 4 Parks support crew member Emily Murrell.
“My most special place among the National Parks is Exmoor. It is where my parents took me on holiday every year, so I have a strong connection with the National Park. I am particularly fond of Watersmeet on the east river Lyn where my father owns some of the water for salmon fishing! I know it like the back of my hand and love it there. Watersmeet is the best place to enjoy lunch and a tranquil river walk, I would even say it is the most beautiful walk and place I have been to in any National Park.
I am most looking forward to the Cairngorms National Park, mainly because it is the largest and more remote as opposed to the other parks we will visit. Here I hope to gain a deeper connection with nature as we will be cut off from the rest of the world.”
“The National Park I have spent the most time in is the New Forest, as I have lived in Hampshire and Dorset. My most special memories there are mountain biking with colleagues during cold winter evenings. It is exhilarating to ride across the crisp heath-land, before stopping for a well-deserved hearty pub meal (with local pints!) before cycling back into the darkness.
“I am excited to visit the Cairngorms as I have never been. I have heard such consistently high praise from others that I have a lot of expectations for it! It’s also the first National Park we cross on our journey, so it will be a momentous occasion.”
“Dartmoor National Park is one of my favourite places in the world! The river Dart running through the park is an awesome section of white-water for kayaking and the moorlands are great for trail running. There’s also lots of great wild swimming spots and you’re not far from the coast for a play in the sea!
“I am most looking forward to exploring the National Parks in Scotland. This is an area I am yet to have visited, so what better way to explore it than diving right into the deep end on this expedition.”
“A National Park spot I love is the Devil’s staircase in the Brecon Beacons National Park. This cycle was one of the biggest hills I have cycled, and I conquered it while on my longest ride! This double achievement will definitely stay with me for a long time, and I encourage any adventure enthusiast to give it a go.
“I am most looking forward to visiting the Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve in Scotland. As of now the furthest north I have travelled is the Peak District, and after hearing lots of amazing things about the Scottish National Parks I am excited to finally explore them.”
“Pembrokeshire National Park is one of my favourite places on Earth. I love the sea, surfing and just being outside. The water down at St David’s is so clear and the coastline is so staggeringly beautiful, especially when the sun is backlighting the translucent waves. It’s a magical place and spending time there is always a huge pleasure and privilege.
“Oh gosh… don’t make me choose between one wild and beautiful place and another. They are all amazing. If pushed, I would say I am most looking forward to exploring the Cairngorms at a bike’s pace. I love big hills, rugged terrain and above all, visceral interactions with nature. Plus, I have never been there before. Here’s to now!”
The team share excitement about exploring the Scottish National Parks, so let’s hope the weather treats them well on their travels! With fond memories shared by the team in the more southern parks, the cyclists are excited to share their favourite natural places with the team and with you.
The central mission of Pedal 4 Parks is to raise awareness of the environmental issues we are facing here in the UK. It is time to become conscious and aware of what we can do to make a change and what better way to do it than cycling through the stunning National Parks on our doorsteps. Follow Pedal 4 Parks on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to find out more and to keep up to date on their journey.