Saturday 8th October 2016 was the fourth year running of an event called the ‘Real 3 Peaks Challenge’.
This yearly conservation event, and general awareness campaign, was conceived by Scottish based mountain professional, Richard Pyne after seeing so much litter on Ben Nevis when working on the mountain during 2013.
Supported by Kelvyn James in the Lake District, on Scafell Pike and in Snowdonia by us (Kate and Ross Worthington) on Snowdon, the concept is based on those working in and walking in the mountains taking more responsibility for our actions and helping to keep litter and waste in our rucksacks and not left on the mountain…
This volunteer event is massively supported by the following organisations, with thanks:
Yr Wyddfa/Snowdon: some final stats and a few photos!
31 amazing volunteers.
193 kgs of waste removed, over Llanberis, Pyg, Miners and Ranger paths and off path, too, including approx. 380 plastic items (mostly bottles). A lot of weight was wet clothes and glass and was spread over 25 standard sized bags. Many thanks to Keep Wales Tidy – Cadwch Gymru’n Daclus for donating the bright red waste bags, litter pickers and protective gloves – much appreciated.
Less items than 2015 for sure…
Thanks to Snowdon Mountain Railway for transporting volunteers to the summit to focus on cleaning on descent, and for taking bags from the summit down on the service train. We ALL know how lucky we are to have this aid on Snowdon, especially in light of the full day had out on Ben Nevis – which is always a beast to get up and down…
Also big hugs to regular and new Real3Peaks Challenge faces on the mountain yesterday… and we ALL commented how much less there was to clear in the obvious places. And less plastic bottles and fruit peel (expect in a few banana hot spots).
A lot of this must be down to the regular clearing of the paths conducted by Snowdon volunteer wardens over the summer season – approx 350 small bags have been collected, as well as individuals and organised teams bringing down litter, in agreement with their Mountain Training Mountain Leader and more.
Messages are getting through to different user groups and hopefully will keep filtering along. People are being more proactive than ever before and it does prove that ‘every little helps’. The less litter there is on the ground, the less people are likely to leave or drop something on purpose…and we talked to folk and they engaged and listened.
With the theory that we were expecting to ‘find less’ (you have to be hopeful) we looked for the wind traps and cubby holes and cleared a lot of older items found deep in crevices etc. A team of 15 from Snowdonia Society looked after the Llanberis Path, focusing on the old stables near the summit, around Clogwyn Station and off the path around Snowdon Halfway House Cafe 570 Metres – they took down approx 64 kilogrammes of items, but only 10 plastic bottles.
That’s a result for the Llanberis Path as many of you will know.
Laura, Ian, Louise and Tarquin looked after the Snowdon Ranger path and brought off approx 20 kilogrammes – looking in lots of ‘sneaky’ hiding places. After an hour on the summit area, a team of 12 then travelled below Clogwyn y Garnedd, towards the old copper mines there, before splitting down Pyg and Miners Tracks, still scouting off path: Dave, Robin, Jamie, Steve, Eleanor, Kate, Charlotte, Bronwen, Ian, Jason, Stephen and Sarah.
Of most note in the ‘wind/water hollow’ underneath the summit were many hats, odd gloves, waterproof trousers, lots of rucksack covers, broken walking poles, a map, plastic bottles/items, socks, glasses and crisp/chocolate packets. In nooks and crannies and old buildings, that’s where the baby wipes, tissues, human faeces and banana skins/fruit peel were mostly.
All of these items we ‘looked’ for and found…but to the general gaze, the mountain is seemingly very clear of obvious litter on paths. But this was one of the initial missions of the Real3Peaks Challenge – to give these beautiful mountains a ‘deep clean’ every so often – a cleansing facial, until the next appointment.
And it was agreed by some, over a post-event drink, that a yearly event would still be beneficial to keep up the good work and keep getting down to the older items, so gradually clearing the mountains of old, rotting (or not, as the case may be!) debris.
And more suggestions of support, ideas to explore, links to organisations and people shared. These are beautiful mountains…and this is an ongoing beautiful mountains challenge.
Next year’s Real 3 Peaks Challenge event will be Saturday 7th October 2017.
Enjoy your outings!