Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend

An expert on Britain’s hills has been appointed an ‘ambassador’ to inspire existing and new walkers to pull on their boots and head for the high ground.

The British Mountaineering Council has named author and photographer Chris Townsend as its first ever hillwalking ambassador.

The Manchester-based council’s ambassador scheme aims to provide role models to inspire and engage new hillwalkers, climbers and mountaineers.

Mr Townsend said: “Having been a member and supporter of the BMC for over 30 years I am honoured to be the BMC’s first hillwalking ambassador.

“In this role I hope to promote hill walking and inspire and inform hill walkers and show them why the BMC is important.

“The BMC’s work on access and conservation is essential for the future of hillwalking and should be supported by all hillwalkers.”

Mr Townsend was the first person to walk the 1,600-mile length of the Canadian Rockies, and has completed the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail and the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail.

He has also climbed all of the 517 Scottish munros and tops in the first ever continuous walk – 1,700 miles with 575,000 feet of ascent. This summer he completed a two-month walk along the 1,200km length of the Scottish watershed.

Carey Davies, BMC hillwalking development officer, said: “We are thrilled to have Chris as our new hillwalking ambassador.

“His walks and his accompanying books and articles have been a great source of guidance to many getting into the outdoors.

Writer Chris Townsend, centre, a staunch defender of Scottish wild lands and now a hillwalking ambassador

Writer Chris Townsend, centre, a staunch defender of Scottish wild lands and now a hillwalking ambassador

“Chris started out his walking life doing things many ordinary folk have done, spending weekends in the Lake District and walking the Pennine Way. He shows it is within the ability of all us to get out there and experience the life-changing power of mountains and wild places.”

Mr Townsend is a former president of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and has campaigned against the building of wind turbines in the Monadhliath Mountains.

He has walked more than 15,000 miles in the wild places of North America, Scandinavia and Scotland through a dozen huge solo walks.

Between his adventures he has written 15 books including the Backpacker’s Handbook, now in its fourth edition, and contributed to The Great Outdoors Magazine as equipment editor for more than 20 years.

He also recently starred in Terry Abraham’s The Cairngorms in Winter film.

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