Sir Chris Bonington, Doug Scott CBE and Julia Bradbury are supporting a major new British Mountaineering Council (BMC) crowdfunding campaign to raise money for environmental projects on some of Britain’s most iconic peaks: Mend Our Mountains www.crowdfunder.co.uk/mendourmountains
Booming visitor numbers and smaller budgets, compounded by the extensive damage of recent flooding, means that national park authorities and conservation bodies are struggling to keep up.
Working with eight national parks, the BMC aims to raise more than £100,000 to repair damaged paths on some of Britain’s most popular peaks, including the respective highest mountains of England and Wales – Scafell Pike and Snowdon.
The campaign will also feature Ingleborough (Yorkshire Dales), Kinder Scout (Peak District) and part of the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe, as well as vital repairs to moorland on Dartmoor, Exmoor and the North York Moors.
The campaign has been generously backed by top outdoor retailer Cotswold Outdoor, clothing company Alpkit and adventure film website Steep Edge, along with many other smaller sponsors for individual projects.
Carey Davies, BMC hill walking officer, said “We want to provide a financial lifeline for national parks at a time of need. To make this happen, everyone who loves the outdoors needs to come together. If the same number of people who walked up Snowdon in a year alone gave just 20p, we would hit our target.”
“More people experiencing the outdoors is great news, improving our collective health, enriching our culture, encouraging engagement with nature, and keeping rural economies alive. But it puts pressure on the landscape.
“Over time, the steady pounding of feet can blight the mountains, causing erosion scars that harm the local ecology and ruin people’s enjoyment. Erosion is one of the biggest and most expensive problems to manage. 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.”
The Mend Our Mountains campaign will run until 16 May at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/mendourmountains. 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, mountaineers, national parks and the outdoor industry.
Personal experiences include:
· A walk in Borrowdale in the Lake District and pub lunch with Sir Chris Bonington – pledge £1000 (only 1 available)
· A place on a full day’s walk in the Lake District with filmmaker Terry Abraham – pledge £100 (4 available)
· A day out for 3 people in the Cairngorms with long-distance walker Chris Townsend – pledge £250 (1 available)
· A day of trad climbing tuition for two people in Snowdonia with top climber James McHaffie – pledge £250 (1 available)
· A day of sport climbing tuition for two people in the Peak District with top climber Steve McClure – pledge £300 (1 available)
Other rewards include:
· Helicopter ride in The Yorkshire Dales in a helicopter which lifts stone for path repair for four people – pledge £200 (1 available)
· Handcrafted and personalised Yorkshire Three Peaks sign post with Three Peaks Waymark – pledge £75 (10 available)
· VIP tickets to the finish of the Devon stage of the Tour of Britain – pledge £200 (1 available)
· 15% discount* at Cotswold Outdoor, in store and online, for every donation above £10
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. The money raised will be channelled to the different projects through the BMC’s Access & Conservation Trust.
The individual projects are:
· Watkin Path on Snowdon, North Wales
· Ringing Roger on Kinder, Peak District
· Waun Rydd in central Brecon Beacons
· High Moor on Dartmoor
· Swine Tail, Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales,
· Scafell Pike in the Lake District
· Lyke Wake Walk in the North York Moors
· Long Chains Combe in Exmoor Forest
Sir Chris Bonington, renowned British mountaineer and BMC Patron, 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.
“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.”
BMC Patron Doug Scott, renowned for first ascent of the south-west face of Everest, said: “In popular places the impact of our activities on the mountains can be profound, and the task of managing this impact is becoming harder and harder. I fully support Mend Our Mountains as a way of putting something back into the places that give us so much joy and fulfilment. In doing so this may concentrate the mind to tread more softly and leave less trace on the landscape.”
TV presenter Julia Bradbury said: “It’s easy to take the paths beneath our feet for granted when we’re walking in the hills, yet footpaths are the arteries of the hills when it comes to enabling people to access the mountains sustainably. I’ve been fortunate to walk along many footpaths that have formed part of our landscape for hundreds of years and which now need our help.
“I’m supporting the Mend Our Mountains crowdfunding campaign so that many more people, including families and young people, can enjoy our hills and mountains in the years to come. If you love walking in our national parks, please lend your support.”
Please support the Mend our Mountains campaign: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/mendourmountains