The Westmorland GazetteBen Fogle to lead walk up Lake District peak (From The Westmorland Gazette)

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Ben Fogle to lead walk up Lake District peak

The Westmorland Gazette: Ben Fogle will lead the Lake District walk Ben Fogle will lead the Lake District walk

A TV presenter and adventurer is leading a hike up one of the Lake District's most popular peaks this weekend to commemorate an unsung innovator.

On Friday, Ben Fogle will lead a hike up Cat Bells near Keswick to the plaque dedicated to Thomas Arthur Leonard, who founded HF Holidays, the UK’s largest provider of walking holidays.

The event will commemorate the 150th anniversary of his birth.

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Filmed for ITV1’s Countrywise programmme, Ben will train as a volunteer walk leader and lead the walk up Cat Bells.

Mr Leonard is described as 'the father of the modern open-air movement and innovator of group walking holidays'.

He played a key role in establishing a number of organisations connected with the outdoors including the YHA, Ramblers and HF Holidays.

Steve Backhouse, of HF Holidays in Penrith office, said: “Leonard ranks alongside Thomas Cook and Billy Butlin as one of the pioneers of British holidaymaking - but has never had the same level of recognition.

"It’s fantastic to be able to shine the spotlight on him on the 150th anniversary of his birth. We’re delighted to host Ben and the ITV crew and be able to share the story of our founder with all their viewers.

"We have more than 700 volunteer walk leaders and we’re always looking to recruit new ones. If Ben wants to volunteer we’d be happy to have him.”

Ruth Gray, of ITV Countrywise added: “Ben Fogle and ITV's Countrywise team are visiting the Lake District this summer to find out about the origins of our country's love affair with rambling.

"Ben will be discovering the roots of walking in the Lakes and learning about T.A Leonard - one of the original Friends of the Lake District.

"Leonard was man who dedicated his life to the great outdoors and encouraging the working classes to enjoy it - something which is still as relevant today as it was over 100 years ago."

The new series of Countrywise begins in October 2014 on ITV.

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