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Tak It Hame taks aff

Thursday 18th July 2019, 1:11pm

Since its launch in June, our Tak It Hame campaign to persuade people to pick up litter rather than drop it has certainly attracted attention.

We’re encouraging people, whether as individuals or as clubs, to take more rubbish back home with them than they took out.

Responsible hill walkers and climbers already know not to leave litter in the hills or approaches. But we’re asking people to do more. We want people to pick up any litter they see, even though they didn’t drop it themselves.

If you want to take part as a club or a group, you can get in touch with us and collect our specially branded and 100% recyclable #TakItHame bags. They won’t just give you something to put the rubbish in – they’ll help spread the word to others too.

And you can help spread the word yourself, by sending us photos of your litter picking and by sharing them on social media, using the #TakItHame hashtag and tagging @mountain_scot

The 45 Degrees Mountaineering Club got in touch with us before going to Skye, where they were headed for member Jason Bostock’s Munro compleation on Blaven. They took a stock of bags with them and made sure the mountain was cleaner when they left than when they arrived. And they’re hanging onto the bags so they can use them on other hills too.

Mountaineering Scotland Access & Conservation Officer Davie Black led a walk up Conic Hill, by Loch Lomond, and was heartened to find only two bags-worth of litter. “Not bad,” he said, “For a hill that gets about 100,000 pairs of feet each year.”

At the same time a bagful collected in the Cairngorms by Communications Officer Neil Reid shows that ‘micro-litter’ – the almost unnoticed tiny pieces of plastic, tabs from wrappers, cigarette ends – can mount up to a surprising quantity itself and shouldn’t be ignored.

Other litter campaigns, such as the Real3Peaks Challenge, have highlighted the type of litter that many think is ‘okay’ – banana skins, orange peel and apple cores.

All are unsightly, but what many people still don’t realise is that orange peel can take months to break down in the ground and – especially on the mountain tops – banana peel can take as long as two years! That’s not to talk of the ecological damage they do in the process of breaking down through altering the nutrient balance of a very vulnerable environment or attracting seagulls or ground-living rodents which can then displace existing fauna.

Encouragingly, when a story about Real3Peaks' co-founder Rich Pyne picking up a huge quantity of banana skins from Ben Nevis appeared on the BBC website, it was the most viewed story in Scotland of that day, with over 419,000 views – this IS an issue people care about.

If you’d like to organise a #TakItHame event, whether with your club or a group of friends or work colleagues read our guide and download our risk assessment form – and don’t forget to let us know how you get on!

Since our foundation as the Mountaineering Council of Scotland nearly 50 years ago, Mountaineering Scotland has been representing the views and needs of hill walkers, mountaineers, climbers and snowsports tourers in Scotland. We work closely with our members, the media, partner organisations, the government and landowners to make a real difference on the matters that affect us all.

By becoming a member of Mountaineering Scotland, you are supporting this work and adding your voice to that of 14,000 other members by getting involved in our campaigns to protect access rights and encourage sustainable mountain environments.

Join us