Romantic feat: Walker pops the question on 100km Dales trek

LOVE was truly in the air for one hiker yesterday as he proposed to his girlfriend while hundreds of intrepid walkers completed one of the region's toughest charity challenges.

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The stunning Yorkshire Dales provided the perfect backdrop as Jamie Willis asked for the hand of his long-term girlfriend Liz Smith after they had completed some 80km of Oxfam's incredible Trailtrekker event, a gruelling non-stop 100km walk through the Dales which takes in some of the region's grandest peaks.

A total of 537 walkers – split into 136 teams of four – from across Yorkshire and around the world set off from Aireville School in Skipton early on Saturday to take on the challenge of an event which is expected to raise 350,000 for Oxfam's aid projects around the world.

The winning team were a group of cycling enthusiasts from nearby Barnoldswick, who completed the 62-mile circuit in just over 17 hours.

Other competitors took up to 31 hours to finish the course, hobbling home well after lunchtime yesterday to the applause and cheers of the watching crowds.

But there was no doubting who were the happiest couple in Skipton, as Miss Smith proudly showed her ring to cheering crowds. "I just wanted to choose a time that would stand out and always be really special," said Mr Willis, 28. "It was just a case of picking the right moment on the course, when there was no-one else around."

Mr Willis popped the question at 7am yesterday – 24 hours after the couple set off from Skipton. "It was a massive surprise," 27-year-old Miss Smith beamed. More than two-thirds of the participants completed the course this weekend. The Yorkshire Post was media partner for the event.

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