Thirteen may be considered unlucky by some, but it turned out to be the perfect number for the Lincolnshire Wolds Walking Festival.
This year marks the 13th festival and the launch on Saturday was held in bright sunshine at Claxby.
The day’s base was the Viking Centre and doing the honours of officially opening the festival was the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Toby Dennis.
“I was very thrilled when I was asked to come and open the festival,” said Mr Dennis.
“My wife, Sarah, and I are very affiliated to the Wolds; I am very lucky to be able to farm at Binbrook.
“The Wolds is without doubt a splendid place and, with agriculture more and more automated now, walkers are the eyes and ears of the countryside and they can notice things that might otherwise get missed.
“I hope everyone has a great time over the next 16 days and the sun continues to shine.”
The launch event saw members of the Rotary Club of Market Rasen serving up food from the barbecue to sustain the walkers and members of the Viking Centre committee providing tea and cake.
The main focus of the launch was the six walks heading off, ranging from a short geology walk to the nine and a half-mile ramble to Rothwell.
There was also the opportunity to take part in a self-guided village walk or in the God’s Acre survey walk, which joined the walking festival with the Open Churches event.
“None of these events would take place without people working behind the scenes diligently,” said Geoff Newmarch, from Heritage Lincolnshire, one of the main festival partners, along with the Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service.
“A lot of them are volunteers and they put a lot of time and effort in to making the festival the success it is.
“A special mention goes to the volunteer walk leaders - there are 53 of them and without them the event wouldn’t happen.”
Thousands of people are expected to take part in the 103 walks over the 16-days and full details can be found at www.woldswalkingfestival.co.uk or in the festival brochures.
The finale event will be held on June 4 at Tetford.
Saturday also saw the official opening of the new car park at the Viking Centre in Claxby.
Sarah Dennis had the honour of being the first person to drive through the gates and Mr Dennis hoisted the Lincolnshire flag to mark the occasion.
The car park was made possible through grants and donations from West Lindsey District Council, Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service, CLA (Country Landowners Association) and the Rotary Club.
The centre offers a meeting place and basic accommodation for up to 20 people - see more at www.thevikingcentre.org