The summit of Scafell Pike, seldom a place for solitude in the summer months

The summit of Scafell Pike, seldom a place for solitude in the summer months

A mountaineering body has provided cash for a website that aims to reduce problems caused by people tackling a popular walking challenge.

The British Mountaineering Council has stumped up £3,000 towards the cost of the Three Peaks Partnership site.

The partnership was set up in response to the huge pressures put on the landscape and communities by walkers attempting to summit the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales.

With the approach of the summer solstice, numbers are expected to peak, presenting potential problems for mountain rescue teams which cover Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, with many challengers lacking mountain and navigation skills.

The Three Peaks Challenge is also partly responsible for increased litter, noise, erosion, road risks, parking problems and poor sanitation.

The Three Peaks Partnership website is designed to raise awareness of these problems by providing practical information alongside guidance on responsible behaviour. Participants are also encouraged to register their challenges, enabling the organisations which manage the mountains to plan their efforts.

The BMC contributed £3,000 towards the cost of the website through its Access and Conservation Trust.

Rob Dyer, BMC access and conservation officer, said: “The new Three Peaks Partnership website is a fantastic resource, bringing the information needed to organise the challenge together in one place.

“Some may view the website as further promotion of an already very busy challenge, but gone are the days of simply saying ‘don’t do it’.

“The approach taken by this site, and supported by the BMC and ACT, is to accept that the challenge is so well known that numbers are unlikely to decrease, so educating participants and organisers is now crucial.

“The aim of the website is to reduce the impacts the challenge has on local communities and the mountain landscape, whilst helping participants to enjoy the experience by preparing them with realistic information about the level of difficulty they should expect and the skills they will need.

“To have all the relevant information needed about each of the three mountains in one easily accessible site is a great step forward and hopefully will help people’s challenges run more smoothly and with lower impact for this and future Three Peaks seasons.”

The website contains useful route maps, environmental information, health and safety tips and a simple registration process.

While the Three Peaks Challenge is a popular and successful fundraising activity for a range of charities, there is a knock-on cost for the conservation charities that care for the landscape and for the volunteer mountain rescue teams, which are also charities.

More details are on the Three Peaks Partnership website.

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