Tuesday 9th March 2021, 10:53am
What do mountaineers and hillwalkers traveling to the hills have to do with new trees?
Now, through our Tree a Trip scheme, one can lead to the other.
When Mountaineering Scotland hosted the international winter climbing meet last February we were very conscious of the carbon footprint of an event which saw so many climbers driving all over Scotland to capture the best climbing available.
We promised then that we would take action to mitigate against the environmental impact of our activities.
That has happened now, with a grove of trees planted on our behalf on a hillside near Loch Ness.
And we’ve set up the scheme so all our members can help take action on the climate emergency by planting a tree for each trip they make into the mountains to go hillwalking, climbing or snowsports touring.
Mountaineering Scotland has joined up with Trees for Life to offer members the opportunity to have a tree planted on their behalf in return for the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere by their trip into the hills.
A donation of £6 secures a tree of local stock in the highlands, storing away carbon for the rest of its natural lifespan. Each tree you help get planted mitigates your recreational carbon footprint and helps wildlife in Scotland’s mountains. You can donate through the Mountaineering Scotland corporate grove on the Trees for Life website. There you can add to the number of trees we have planted. You can also add your name and a message if you wish, and the link to donate for a tree or trees is here.
Although we are still advised to keep travel for recreation local, within your Council area, or up to 5 miles beyond the boundary to walk, you can still participate in this initiative if you take in some high tops to enjoy the weather and the views. Alternatively you could apply this retrospectively for your hillwalking trips last summer and autumn.
Trees will be planted at the Trees for Life hillside estate at Dundreggan, in Glenmoriston, near Loch Ness. Dundreggan includes pinewoods, birch and juniper woodlands. With mires, wetlands and wildflower meadows, Dundreggan is rewilding the Highland landscape, and with Glen Affric, one of the largest ancient Caledonian pine woods in Scotland, just over the watershed to the north, this is rewilding on a landscape scale.
By removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and locking it up, year on year, trees help to combat climate change. The creation of woodland is also good for wildlife: good for birds such as crested tits and woodpeckers; animals like red squirrels and pine martins; butterflies and dragonflies sheltering in clearings, woodland flowers speckling the ground; mosses and lichens encrusting bark and branch; and the almost invisible fungi that recycle nutrients and improve the soil, allowing it to store more carbon.
The trees planted on your behalf are saplings grown from locally collected seed and grown on in the Dundreggan Tree Nursery. It will be one of a number of species that grow naturally in the area, such as alder, aspen, birch, bird cherry, hazel, holly, rowan, Scots pine or willow. The selected tree will be appropriate to the soil, and the aspect and altitude, and the trees are not planted in rows but mimic what would be the natural distribution of trees.
We encourage all our members to make a difference in tackling the effects of rapid climate change, and hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity for action.
Picture courtesy of Trees for Life