Britain’s Prince William went hiking Friday with a group of homeless teenagers on a picturesque peak in northern England to raise awareness for two charities he patrons, spokespeople for the prince and one of the charities said.
William, 27, was joined by six teenagers from Centrepoint, a charity for homeless young people, as they walked up Helvellyn, a mountain in the Cumbria region of northeastern England. Leading the group were members of Mountain Rescue, a volunteer-run charity. Prince William is the patron of both charities. The aim of the walk was to provide some of Centrepoint’s homeless teens with a memorable and challenging day, and also to have an event that both charities could participate in together. Each teenager was paired with a Mountain Rescue volunteer as they climbed the mountain, said Andy Simpson, a spokesman for the charity who was on the walk. After days of spotty storms, the group got lucky with the weather and had sunshine and big, billowy clouds for much of the two-hour climb, Simpson said. He described Helvellyn as a moderate mountain that requires a certain level of fitness. The prince, however, did very well — not surprising, given his military training. “He’s a very fit bloke,” Simpson said. “I had trouble keeping up with him.” The location of Friday’s hike was kept a secret until the last minute. That meant other climbers on Helvellyn had no idea they would encounter royalty on an otherwise-normal day out. “One or two of the people were quite surprised, to say the least, to see the future king of England coming the other way,” Simpson said. William stopped to chat to the people he met, he said. “It was nice to see him engaging with so many members of the public. They just happened to be out for a walk and it’s just made their day,” he said. Partway up the mountain, by a lake called Red Tarn, the prince flew a flag for the London 2012 Olympics, Simpson said. Monday marks three years until the Opening Ceremony of the Games.