On a very wet and windy Saturday a team of 109 volunteers took on the real 3 peaks challenge. Not to be confused with the national three peaks challenge, this particular challenge is intended to clean up the litter left by the hundreds of thousands of walkers who visit the UK’s most popular mountains. Started in 2013 by mountain guide Richard Pyne after he was appalled by the litter on Ben Nevis, the challenge takes place every year after the peak walking season is over. The growth and support of the challenge is reflected in the dedicated volunteers who give up their time to help. In the past, the challenge has usually just taken place on Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowden but this year many other popular mountains were included such as Ben Lomond and Man Tor.
This year on Ben Nevis, 14 volunteers set off from the visitor centre at 8am and headed up the freezing cold and blustery footpath. The weather was grim but spirits were high! Having reached the summit the group spent some time clearing the immediate area around the summit shelter and the shelter itself, by this point everyone’s first bin bag was already full. Later we walked across the plateau in a line trying our best to pick up as much litter as possible. The usual suspects were being found, tissues galore, banana peel, orange peel, bottle tops, tampons and panty liners, sweet wrappers, foil, crisp and sandwich wrappers, plaques, flags, bits of walking poles, and some very old tin can drinks. Most shocking was the discovery of a peanut packet with the best before date of Jan 1987! The rest of the day was spent descending the mountain and picking as much litter along the way as possible. The area around the Red Burn and John’s wall received a lot of attention!
In total, around 120kgs of litter was taken off Ben Nevis this year, thankfully less than previous years. This is largely due to increased litter picks throughout the summer months by the John Muir Trust and the public becoming more aware of the litter issue.
Across the entire challenge over half a tonne of litter was removed. Here are the results for each mountain,
Ben Nevis – 120kgs from 14 volunteers
Scafell Pike- 55kgs from 34 volunteers
Snowdon – 280kgs from 29 volunteers
Lochnagar – 13.4kgs from 3 volunteers
Ben MacDui – 7kgs from 4 volunteers
Ben Lomond – 16kgs from 8 volunteers
Mam Tor & Dovestone – 77.5kgs from 17 volunteers
570 kg s from 109 Volunteers!
The John Muir Trust would like to thank everyone involved and we hope that one day this challenge will no long be necessary.