Sir Chris Bonington, Doug Scott CBE and Julia Bradbury are backing a major new British Mountaineering Council (BMC) campaign to raise money for environmental projects on some of Britain’s most iconic peaks: Mend Our Mountains.
Working with eight national park authorities, we aim to raise more than £100,000 for path repair projects on some of Britain’s most iconic peaks, including the respective highest mountains of England and Wales, Scafell Pike and Snowdon.
The campaign will also feature Ingleborough, Kinder Scout and part of the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe, as well as vital repairs to moorland on Dartmoor, Exmoor and the North York Moors.
Due to launch on 14 March, this is a fundraising appeal with a difference. It will be powered by crowdfunding, so donors will receive a reward in return, including personal experiences donated by outdoor personalities and mountaineers such as Sir Chris Bonington and others.
Everyone who makes a donation will have a choice of either giving their money to an individual project featured in the campaign or to an overall total which will be split between the eight projects. Many of the projects, like Snowdon’s Watkin Path and Kinder Scout’s Ringing Roger, will not go ahead if they do not reach their Mend Our Mountains target.
Carey Davies, BMC hill walking officer and joint Mend Our Mountains campaign coordinator, said: “More people experiencing the outdoors is good news, improving our collective health, enriching our culture, encouraging engagement with nature, and keeping rural economies alive. But it puts pressure on the landscape.
“One of the biggest and most expensive problems to manage is erosion. In the past in popular places like the Yorkshire Dales, some of these scars caused by countless feet have grown to up to 30 metres, motorways of damage as wide as parts of the M1.
“To manage this problem needs effective intervention, usually through the construction of paths, which help to heal the mountain landscape and protect habitats and wildlife. But they are not cheap to construct. And in these straitened times, where austerity is the mantra, money is in increasingly short supply.”
“Together we can make a difference. If the whole outdoor public comes together we can provide a financial lifeline for these vital environmental projects at a time of need. But to do that we need your help. Please spread the word as far as you can before the campaign launch on 14 March.”
Sir Chris Bonington, renowned British mountaineer, added: “Footpath work is essential to look after our mountains. Without it many routes in places like the Lake District would become huge scars or rivers of scree.
“Mend Our Mountains is an innovative way for walkers and climbers to make a collective contribution to preserve the beauty of the fells at a challenging time. I fully support it and would encourage everyone to donate.”
Mend our Mountains will go live on 14 March at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/mendourmountains and will run for two months.
See below for the projects which will be featured in Mend Our Mountains
The highest mountain in Wales is the most popular mountain in Britain, attracting almost half a million visitors a year. The section at the top of the Watkin Path just below the summit is notoriously eroded, but without the success of the Mend Our Mountains campaign it will not get repaired.
The most direct route to the summit of England’s highest mountain, around 100,000 people walk this heavily scarred path ever year, many of them taking part in the famous national Three Peaks Challenge. Keeping the Lake District’s paths in good shape is a constant challenge, especially after the devastating winter floods.
A heavily damaged path below Ringing Roger on the mountain famous for the 1932 Kinder Scout Mass Trespass, which helped create the access freedoms we enjoy today.
A path below the summit of Ingleborough known as the Swine Tail. It is on the route of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, which is conservatively estimated to raise 5 million pounds annually for charity, but this path must withstand 60,000 pairs of feet a year to support all those efforts. It costs £28 per metre to maintain the 42 kilometres of the Three Peaks.
Brecon Beacons Horseshoe
The path above the Neuadd Reservor is part of a magnificent circular walk that takes in the highest peak in southern Britain, Pen y Fan, but the path has deteriorated badly over the last 20 years. Path repair in the most remote parts of the Brecon Beacons can cost up to £170 per metre.
North York Moors
Lyke Wake Walk
As well as damaging the sensitive surrounding moorland, the erosion on this section of path near the Yorkshire coast at Burn Howe Rigg threatens to undermine ancient monuments, including possibly the oldest stone cross in northern England.
A spectacular ancient path in the high reaches of Dartmoor used by 18,000 walkers 6,000 mountain bikers, but with erosion that threatens the precious peat bog surrounding it. This is a 4km long project which will cost about £40 – 50 per metre.
Long Chains Combe, an ancient trading route through one of the most remote parts of Exmoor, has become badly eroded through a combination of high usage and recent heavy rainfall.