Welcome to the Mend Our Mountains Whernside appeal.
We're trying to raise £20,000 for Whernside in the Yorkshire Dales. At least 100,000 people climb Whernside every year, many of whom are taking part in the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. But the main descent route from its summit has become so badly eroded the only option is to start again – at significant cost. We need your help to raise £20,000 to undertake urgent work to halt the erosion in this area.
An iconic peak
At 736m, Whernside is the highest point in Yorkshire. People have been attracted to its summit since Victorian times, and today it is estimated that it gets well over 70,000 walkers every year. Whernside also provides the stunning backdrop to the Ribblehead viaduct and together they make one of the most popular visitor attractions in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Whernside is not only a fantastic walk in its own right, but also part of the Yorkshire Three Peaks route where thousands of people take the 26 mile challenge of walking Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in one day.
Although the work of the first Mend Our Mountains was important, there is just as much work to do on another nearby path.
The main descent off the summit of Whernside is known locally as Bruntscar. The steepest section of the route is particularly susceptible to damage and the path is becoming increasingly eroded, making walking unpleasant, undermining the local ecology and creating an ever-widening scar on Yorkshire’s highest hillside.
This section of path, because of its instability and steepness, has posed problems over the years. In 2003 it was stone-pitched using stone sourced locally from the site. However the sheer pressure of use, the unsuitability of the stone, the site conditions and the wet Yorkshire weather means that its condition is deteriorating. In its current condition the route is extremely difficult to use, causing people to walk off route, which in turn is causing additional erosion on the adjacent slope.
A fresh start
Unfortunately, it seems that the ongoing battle to maintain the existing path has been lost – under the pressures it faces its condition has reached a level where the only solution is to start again.
This project will therefore create a new 200 metre section of stone-pitched path on the steepest section and landscape the adjacent areas of erosion. The newly created route would be sensitively designed to ensure the least possible impact on the landscape and provide a route that can stand up to the enormous number of walkers it receives every year.
For the work to be successful, we need to use stone that is of sufficient size to create a route that will provide a sustainable long-term walking surface. As this is not available on-site it will be necessary to fly in approximately 150 tonnes of hand-picked stone.
With an estimated project cost of £46,000, the scale of the task is huge given Bruntscar’s remote location and steep conditions. However, we feel that Whernside’s worth it!
Before and after shots from the Swinetail path, fixed as part of Mend Our Mountains in 2016. Photos: YDNPA
To help us reach this total (and those in our other Mend Our Mountains projects) we're working with a huge number of partners, many of whom have made incredibly kind donations - you can see some of them below.
It means we can offer an amazing range of rewards - from t-shirts and mugs to unique experiences. You can see all of these, most of which are exclusive to the Yorkshire Dales on the right. We think there's something for everyone, on any kind of budget, and we've worked hard to make sure our partners are offering you something really great in return for your valuable pledge.
And it's not just about the Yorkshire Dales. As you've probably guessed, Mend Our Mountains is a huge campaign, spanning the entire family of 15 UK National Parks. We've got 13 primary projects in 11 parks, and every park will benefit in some way. Crowdfunding is just part of what we're doing - we want to raise £1,000,000 in total, the most ambitious campaign of its type ever.
If you want to take a look at all the projects in the appeal, and see how close we're getting to our overall target, check out the Mend Our Mountains Crowdfunder Homepage.
Pledge today and protect Whernside for the future.
Organic cotton Mend Our Mountain tees. Sizes shown: Men’s Medium, Women’s Small