A retired Major General has followed the route wild salmon take when returning to their native River Ure spawning grounds, not in a boat but on a bicycle.
Michael Charlton-Weedy, CBE DL – a keen supporter of the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust – began his two-wheeled, two-day 114-mile journey at the Humber Bridge, finishing at the picturesque Aysgarth Falls.
The ride took him along the Humber to Goole, up the Ouse through York to Boroughbridge, and onwards up the Ure through Ripon and Masham.
His effort raised over £4,000 for the River Ure Salmon Project, which was launched in 2011 with the aim of the Ure reclaiming its crown as one of England’s premier salmon fishing rivers, and thereby contributing to sustainable employment in Wensleydale.
In addition to reintroducing young wild salmon into tributaries along the Ure, the T&R Theakston Ltd sponsored ecological and environmental initiative has restored great swathes of river banks which, over decades, had crumbled and caused gravel beds around the natural spawning grounds to silt up.
Now, thanks to the significant improvements along the course of the waterways, the Ure is once again becoming one of the better salmon fishing rivers in England, with fish weighing in excess of 20lbs being hooked on a regular basis.
Michael said: “I was keen to do something different to support the great work of the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust, so I decided to cycle the length the salmon’s migration from the Humber Estuary to its physical limit at the barrier of the Aysgarth Falls, following the line of the rivers as closely as roads and tracks would permit.”
“As a fisherman whose family roots are in Wensleydale I have a keen appreciation of the Ure Salmon Project, which would not have been possible without the financial support of Theakston’s brewery and other North Yorkshire businesses.”
T&R Theakston Ltd Executive Director Simon Theakston said: “We have been a proud sponsor of the River Ure Salmon Project since its inception in 2011, and subsequently we are now a keen supporter of The Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust.
“We were delighted to welcome Major General Charlton-Weedy to the Black Bull in Paradise Inn, located within our Masham brewery visitor centre, where he reluctantly declined the refreshment of a glass of Theakston Best, before embarking on the final leg to Aysgarth Falls.
“However, I’m pleased to report that at the finish line he did enjoy a pint of his favourite Theakston XB!”
Simon added: “The River Ure Salmon Project is a remarkable success story, and the local economy is now reaping the rewards of salmon returning to the river in ever-growing numbers.
“The area has now been given another significant boost with the Environment Agency bringing the start of The Ure’s salmon fishing season from April to February.
“This has only been achieved by the hard work of the River Ure Salmon Project team and the co-operation of the riparian owners. And we can all raise a glass of Theakston’s ale to that!”