Bainbridge, 21 May, 2019
A much-used footpath off the summit of Yorkshire’s highest mountain has been re-built with locally-quarried stone, following a successful public fundraising campaign.
In November 2017, as part of the British Mountaineering Council’s (BMC) Mend Our Mountains appeal, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority launched ‘Pitch in for Whernside’, an attempt to raise £46,000 to fix the severely eroded Bruntscar path.
Whernside is the first of the 13 projects in the BMC national appeal to be completed.
Hundreds – perhaps thousands – of individuals have pitched in, via collection tins, online donations and crowdfunding, while businesses including HF Holidays, Hanson UK, The Traddock at Austwick and Skyhook Helicopters have also lent support.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Member Champion for Recreation Management, Nick Cotton, said: “The stone pitching on the new Bruntscar path is quite different to the uniform steps and small stone that came before it. Much larger, local stone has been pitched in a random style, allowing people to pick and choose where they step. The work could not have taken place without the generous support of the general public and businesses, and the landowner. I think the success of the ‘Pitch in for Whernside’ campaign shows just how much people care for the National Park and for good access in the countryside. Thank you to everyone who donated money or time, or gifts to attract crowdfunding.”
Carey Davies from the BMC said: “Whernside isn’t just a mountain. Like Penyghent and Ingleborough, it is a cultural landmark enjoyed by tens of thousands of people every year, often as part of the Three Peaks challenge. Unfortunately, places like this don’t look after themselves. Erosion is a serious threat to popular landscapes all across Britain and fixing it requires money, skill and commitment. This brilliant new path will help ensure that a new generation of walkers get to enjoy Whernside in a sustainable way. We are thrilled to have played a part in making it happen.”
Feedback on the new path has been very positive. Jonathan Smith of the Yorkshire Dales walking company, Where2Walk, said: “The Bruntscar path is a big improvement on the difficult descent of the past. The groups I have taken this year are much more confident and less worried about the descent. It may not be fully bedded in yet, but it is already much safer. Good job!”