A helicopter airlift has kicked off work to stop erosion on a heavily scarred path on Kinder Scout, thanks to more than £17,000 raised by the public through the BMC's Mend Our Mountains campaign.
A sunny autumn day saw the specially chartered helicopter lift more than 40 tonnes of locally-quarried gritstone up from Edale to the path below the spectacular wind-sculpted rocks of Ringing Roger at around 500 metres (1,640 feet).
Done in around 66 journeys from the valley to the hill, the costly airlift - the only way of getting the stone on to the site - means that repair work can now begin to create a pitched path in place of the jumble of loose rock and scree that has formed over many years of use by walkers.
Overseen by the Peak District National Park, this work would not be taking place if it wasn't for the Mend Our Mountains campaign. Run by the BMC and the BMC Access and Conservation Trust, along with teams in eight national parks authorities, Mend Our Mountains crowdfunded more than £103,000 for eight upland paths in iconic landscapes across England and Wales.
While the section of path just below the Kinder Scout plateau has been eroding for years, until now no budget has been available to repair it. Without the generous response to the Mend Our Mountains campaign it would have continued to deteriorate.
WATCH: Mend Our Mountains in action on Kinder Scout
The original target for the Ringer Roger repairs was £10,000, but the appeal ultimately raised more than £17,000, receiving more donations - almost 400 people - than any other project featured in the overall campaign.
The Ringing Roger project was boosted with pledge rewards provided by local businesses like Peak Mountaineering, Peak Walking Adventures, Underleigh House B&B, Wheeldon Trees Farm cottage, and Cloud Loft cottage.
The overall Mend Our Mountains campaign was supported by Cotswold Outdoor, Alpkit, Steep Edge, DMM, Tentmeals, Vertebrate, and more.
Mike Rhodes, access and rights of way manager at the Peak District National Park, said: “It’s quite something that so many people were prepared to donate to something like this and almost all the money came from individuals. They may not even walk the route themselves but still want to help us look after the landscape.
Representatives from the BMC and the Peak District National Park saw the stone being delivered. Photo: Adam Long
“The amount exceeded all our expectations and we are delighted that it has covered the cost of the work. The erosion had got to the point where we had to do something and this initiative from the BMC has been absolutely brilliant. It means that a very important and popular walking route will be repaired for people to enjoy for a long time to come.”
Mike added: “The only way to get that amount of stone up there is by helicopter. There is no access for vehicles and it is just not practical to transport it any other way.”
Carey Davies, hill walking development officer for the BMC, said: “We are thrilled to be able to support path restoration work on Kinder Scout.
"Thanks to its part in the famous 1932 mass trespass, this is a hugely symbolic mountain in the movement for free access to open country, a right we take for granted today. Supporting this work means that people will continue to be able to enjoy the unique otherworldly atmosphere of the Kinder Scout plateau sustainably.
Picking up the stone from Edale. Photo: Adam Long
“The challenges of balancing free access with conservation are particularly pronounced in the Peak District, a national park surrounded by 20 million people. The number of people who supported this project in our Mend Our Mountains campaign is proof that passion for the Peak District is as strong as ever.
“It also shows that if walkers are given the opportunity to give something back voluntarily to the landscapes they love, then they will. As national parks face increasing pressures in carrying out their work, we want to send a message out on behalf of walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts: these are our hills to climb and ours to care for.”
WATCH: Mend Our Mountains and the Ringer Roger Path on the BBC
Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million
Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million is the new BMC campaign to raise £1 million to repair paths across the UK's 15 National Parks.
If you love the outdoors, we're asking you to support your favourite mountain by donating to Mend Our Mountains. You can donate online here.
WATCH: Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million