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Minimal impact, maximum fun

Tuesday 17th May 2022, 4:18pm

With spring well established even on the tops, and summer in sight, weíre entering peak season for walking, climbing and other outdoor activities. Not to mention the camping season too.

Itís a good time to take stock of what we do and how we do it.

Already there have been much-publicised incidents of mountains being defaced by graffiti and by race markings, and cases of dirty camping, littering and irresponsible campfires. Even when carried out by a small minority of people, these can reflect badly on the whole outdoor community, and we should all be looking to minimise both our individual and collective impact on the environment.

And, of course, on the back of a year with a record number of call-outs for mountain rescue teams, we should have a thought to safety, responsibility and self-reliance too.

Minimal Impact

One person walking over a hillside might leave little trace, but when ten, twenty, even hundreds of people walk the same route the cumulative impact is significant, and, bearing that in mind, minimising the impact we have as individuals becomes even more important.

Erosion, disturbance to wildlife and toileting in the outdoors are all issues where we need to do the right thing every time we go to the hills, and these and other areas where human impact is an issue are addressed on our Minimal Impact pages on our website.


We also have information on camping and campfires. This is often a contentious issue, with many outsiders assuming that all camping is like the appalling behaviour that has been seen at many tourist hotspots where rubbish, human waste and even whole campsites are left when the culprits leave to go home. It should be up to all of us to be ambassadors for genuine low-impact camping Ė whether wild camping, in a site or by roadside Ė and leave no trace that we have been there.

Find out more tips about camping on the website.

Tak It Hame

And, of course, as well as not leaving any rubbish ourselves, we encourage walkers and climbers to take home any litter they find, regardless of who dropped it. After all, if we donít, who will?

Read about our #TakItHame campaign.

Dogs and wildlife

Itís not just people who can make an impact on the environment. Many people take great pleasure from the company of their pet dogs. But, just as people have to take care not to disturb birds and other wildlife, so they have to ensure their dogs donít cause a disturbance either.

Taking responsibility for your dog.

Avoiding disturbance of birds.


Self-reliance and responsibility

As well as looking after the environment we need to look after ourselves, both for our own safety and to avoid putting others at risk because of our mistakes. Part of that is down to experience and proper planning and preparation for our adventurers, making sure that we have the right clothing and equipment and the knowledge how to use it. But for newcomers to the hills or for those of us who feel they would benefit from more knowledge, there are plenty resources available.

Thereís a huge amount of information available in the Activities and in the Safety and Skills sections of the website, but for a ready made package of all sorts of knowledge to get the most out of your hillwalking, from skills and safety to responsible behaviour to an appreciation of the nature youíll come across on your travels, try our free Sofa 2 Summit online courses.