Hillwalking is a ‘green,’ low carbon activity. However, travelling to hillwalking locations may be less green. RHSoc has given some initial thought as to how it can support members to be ‘relatively greener’, recognising that this is an area on which there is a range of views. Feedback and suggestions are welcomed.
The Role of Mountaineering Scotland
RHSoc is affiliated to the National body, Mountaineering Scotland (MS), which has well-developed expertise and partnerships to enable it to operate as a national representative body. Its carefully considered approach to the environmental impacts of mountaineering is set out on its website:
- The MS Vision for the Future: Respecting Scotland Mountains
- The MS Conservation Strategy
- A series of Statements relating to Wild camping, Hill tracks, Hydropower and Mountain Memorials
- A number of campaigns such as Tak it Hame and Mend our Mountains
- MS is also active in commenting on planning applications and other relevant public consultations.
- MS run events and courses which address this area.
MS works closely with the BMC, the national body for England, and the BMC also has a set of policies and campaigns. Although the MS approach is specifically tailored to Scotland, many of the campaigns etc. have general UK applicability.
The Role of RHSoc
RHSoc could not, nor would it wish to, replicate the work of MS.
There are three Campaigns that are particularly relevant to individual members and RHSoc encourages members to consider them:
- ‘Tak it Hame’- regarding litter and human waste-an appeal to all, not just MS members
- Minimal Impact – a comprehensive set of tips to minimise the effect of recreational hill walking on the environment- in leaflet form
- Tree a Trip - a new initiative, launched March 2021 to plant a tree in a designated grove in Scotland to offset carbon associated with driving to the hills (subject to any Covid restrictions, of course!)
The new MS Tree a Trip Campaign invites members to plant a tree in a designated Scottish grove for every hillwalking trip at a cost of £6. MS do not attempt to address the question of the length of a trip and are careful in their claims i.e. MS says this initiative can mitigate emissions associated with travel as well as helping the environment. It is recognised that this is a gesture that some members may wish to make and that tree planting is certainly not the total solution to carbon emissions.
British Mountaineering Council - The Climate Project
The BMC explains: "Out on our wild moorlands grows an amazing plant called sphagnum. When sphagnum is growing healthily, this little plant powerhouse takes as much carbon out of the atmosphere as a tropical rainforest. Peat moorlands cover 15% of the UK, but many have been dug up, drained or destroyed. The Peak District moorland landscape is now the most degraded in Europe and damaged peat can be a great carbon emitter. Moors for the Future was founded in 2003 to fight back. So far they’ve transformed over nearly 8,000 acres of peat moors across the Peak District and South Pennines. This will make a real difference, as healthy moorland will:
- Actively fight the climate crisis
- Reduce wildfire risk
- Reduce flooding risk
- Protect endangered wildlife"
Members may wish to read this interesting article in UK Hillwalking - dos and don'ts of hillwalking with regards to the environment.