A FESTIVAL that combines books and boots is celebrating its 10th year - and is reporting healthy advance bookings for many of its events.

The Richmond Walking and Book Festival, which takes place from September 20 to 28, invites visitors to discover new authors as well as to enjoy Swaledale countryside and its history.

Anne Wicks, chairman and co-ordinator of the book aspect to the festival, said this would be her last festival as she and her husband no longer run Castle Hill Bookshop.

“This is my swansong, and it is also for walking co-ordinator Richard Wright who will also be leaving after this year, so hopefully it will be a successful event this year.

“The opening night of the festival will include a talk from Yorkshireman and mountaineer Alan Hinks, who will be showing pictures of his walks and climbs, talking about his successes and near misses.”

Mr Hinks is the only Briton to have climbed all 14 8,000 metre peaks in the world and will give his talk at Richmond School at 7.30pm on Saturday, September 20.

The festival will also feature poetry, with the northern launch of a collaboration of 16 poets, with four of them – George Jowett, Ian Duhig, WN Herbert and Andy Croft - reading from A Modern Don Juan: Cantos for These Times by Divers Hands on Tuesday, September 23 at Richmond Cricket Club.

Mrs Wicks said: “The cantos relate the antics of Byron's anti-hero Don Juan, now a nightclub DJ and Reality TV contestant as he stumbles from one romantic disaster to the next.”

Mr Wright said one of the highlights of this year’s walking programme will be the chance for walkers to complete the Swaledale Marathon in four circular stages, with certificates being given out for those who complete all four.

He said: “Stage one is on Sunday, September 21, with other stages running throughout the week.

“It is a gruelling fell run race but we will complete it at walking pace. It is something new for this year.”

Mr Wright said other walks include talks and tours relating to the history of the area, including the Feldom Wander, taking in rarely-walked MoD land in Catterick Garrison over heather moorland, woods and deep cut valleys; and the Swaledale landscape history walk, on Thursday, September 25, will discuss features of the ancient dale.

For full listings, timings and to book, visit www.booksandboots.org.