Living and working within the Lake District and surrounding area we are acutely aware of the impact humans have on the environment, particularly on the fragile mountain environment.
Bigwalks Mountain Adventures are members of the Institute of Outdoor Learning and our guides are members of various organisations such as the British Mountaineering Council and the Mountain Leader Trainers Association all of which promote responsible and sustainable enjoyment of our mountain environments.
We encourage all 3 peaks challenge participants to abide by the Institute of Fundraising's code of conduct for outdoor UK challenge events. Although this code of practice is voluntary and aimed at charity fundraising groups it provides good practice for all 3 peaks challenge participants.
national 3 peaks challenge
The national 3 peaks challenge provokes much controversey in the small communities around the mountains in question but particularly so in the communities around Scafell Pike. This is because of the sheer number of participants who descend on the area, mostly in minibuses, some of whom create noise, litter and general disturbance throughout the night without providing any benefit to the local community or economy.
This controversy is perhaps understandable when you consider that Wasdale Head is a small hamlet with very few facilities. It has no mains water supply but relies on water supplies from the hills - water is not unlimited. The National Trust, who own most of the land in the area, have only just this season (2010) provided toilet facilities specifically for National 3 peaks participants. Prior to this the National Trust car park and hegerows were used by many as a toilet. The roads in this area are not designed for modern traffic especially the hundreds of minibuses that descend in mid summer full of national 3 peaks participants.
The situation in Seathwaite, the alternative approach, is almost as bad. So, some years ago a voluntary code of practice was devised to try to overcome the negative aspects of the national 3 peaks challenge.
Not all providers are even aware of this code of practice! Bigwalks abides by the code but we go even further - our guides undertake voluntary litter removal patrols several times a year both in the valleys and on the mountains themselves.
There has been calls from various influential sources recently to limit the number of people going onto Scafell Pike because of the above issues. Only by behaving responsibly and with due consideration for the environment and local communities can we avoid having restrictions forced upon us. We all have a part to play.
We provide many alternatives to the national 3 peaks for those who prefer a more environmentaly friendly challenge. These alternatives are centred around the Lake District and cater for all ability levels. Visit the Lake District Challenges page for further details.
tel: 07584 177506 or 01228 573513