Patrick Godden and Jack Hanson are walking to Westminster as part of fundraising for the Ilkley Clean River Campaign.
They've already walked the length of the River Wharfe to its source at Cawood near Tadcaster earlier this month - and collected more than 150kg of litter along the way.
Patrick and Jack are aiming to raise £3,000 to fund independent testing of the Wharfe, which was given Bathing Water Status last year.
Patrick says: "Like most rivers in the UK, it is heavily polluted. Not just with litter but by the raw sewage discharged by treatment plants along the length of the river. As local lads who grew up with the Wharfe as a backdrop to so many good times, when we realised the extent of the problem we knew we had to get involved."
The next leg of their journey began today (Monday 17th May) and takes them on a 10-day 200-mile walk from Cawood to the Houses of Parliament in London.
“The Wharfe isn’t the only UK river suffering from these issue," says Jack. "We want to raise awareness across the country and are walking to London via rivers like the Ouse and Trent, and lakes and reservoirs like Rutland Water, collecting waste as we go."
Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore recently met the duo and will welcome them to Westminster when they arrive on 26th May. He said: “It was great to meet Paddy and Jack to hear about their fundraising activities. They are both very determined people who want to make a positive change to both the local community and nationwide.
“Cleaning up our waterways is vital to preserving the biodiversity of our streams and rivers – much of which is covered in the Government’s new Environment Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament.
“Paddy and Jack are undertaking a monumental task walking 200 miles from Yorkshire to London – on top of the 100km walk along the River Wharfe which they did earlier this month. I wish them every luck with this mammoth challenge and I look forward to welcoming them on their arrival to London on 26 May.”
Find out more about the Wharfe Walkers and make a donation to their fundraising effort at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wharfe-walkers
And we're off! Day one is Cawood to Google along the River Ouse with breakfast courtesy of the wonderful The Pickled Postie. Thanks Hannah and team!— Walking for the Wharfe (@WharfeWalkers) May 17, 2021
Find out why we're walking to London and support here https://t.co/vgCbI5sIdG@CleanIlkley @sascampaigns #millionmileclean