Shepherdess sets out with veteran’s wives and partners on 80-mile yomp along Dales Way

This Saturday, 8th June, a group of ladies will embark upon “A Light in the Dark” yomp led by Alison O’Neill, the one-woman hill farmer famous for her barefoot rambles.

The challenging five day ladies yomp will commence in Ilkley on Saturday 8th June, concluding in Bowness on Wednesday 12th June. The ladies yomp will include a number of war veteran’s wives and partners who are taking part in a bid to help raise awareness of the impact on families when soldiers return from war with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other psychological and social issues.

The ladies yomp, “A Light in the Dark” was organised by Alison O’Neill, former SAS officer Ken Hames MBE and Sedbergh farmer and former soldier Brian Capstick, who announced the event at a launch event in February hosted by Sue Howorth of The Family Business Network.

Taking part in the gruelling 80-mile yomp will be a core group of twenty ladies, who will be joined each day by additional walkers including over forty pupils and teachers from Sedbergh school on Day 3 of the hike.

The organisers, Hells Fells, anticipate around one-hundred-and-fifty walkers will take part in the event in total. Those undertaking the full yomp or multiple days will spend the night at specially arranged camps along the route. The Hells Fells support team, led by Brian Capstick, will be setting up the mid-route camps and providing hot meals for the walkers. During the evenings, guest speakers and entertainment around the campfire is planned for all involved.

Alison O’Neill Alison, who tends her flock of Rough Fell sheep at Shacklabank near Sedbergh, has for many years helped groups and individuals through the walks she leads on the fells. Speaking about the event she said “Having been involved last year with Hell’s Fells, there was one lady’s story that particularly touched me. The walk we shared made a huge difference to her personally so it felt a very natural suggestion to create an event that could help more women and would help raise awareness.”

“With a recorded 79 veteran suicides and an estimated 1200 veteran rough sleepers in the UK in 2018, alongside over 4,000 veterans currently in prison in England & Wales, it is important to encourage individuals and businesses who can help and make a long-term difference to not only former serving soldiers who have returned to challenging civilian circumstances, but their families too”.

Sue Howorth of The Family Business Network said, “It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to be involved with the ladies yomp project. I’m looking forward to joining the team myself on Day 1, Day 2 and Day 5. The yomp is open for anyone to join and we extend an invitation to anyone that is interested to contact the organisers and join us for a day of walking, or to simply support the team with donations of food, bottled water, or suncream (we hope!). Monetary donations to the cause would also be greatly appreciated.”

More information about the ladies yomp and how to make a donation or contact the organisers can be found here. The fundraising page can be found here .