Like most of us, we at City Mountaineering are hugely concerned about humankind’s impact on the climate and on our natural world. There’s no doubt that the travel industry is a significant contributor to that impact. There’s also no getting around the fact that City Mountaineering is a part of that industry and so we want to make sure that we are doing all we can to mitigate and reduce the impact that we have.
The aim of City Mountaineering has always been to promote the mountains here at home in the UK to show people that there is no need to fly abroad to get your mountain fix! Staycationing is an irritating word but it is surely key to a greener future.
We also believe that adventure-tourism, much like eco-tourism, is key to the preservation of our wild places. The premise is simple: the more something is worth to the economy, the more likely it is be protected from change.
Below is a list of what we call The Easy Wins; the small things that we do to help reduce our impact on the environment. We are always looking to add to this list, to leave no stone unturned, and so welcome any new suggestions!
Train travel: We include the cost of travel in almost all of our trips. In our early days, we used to drive a minibus from London. However, we now try to use train travel for all of our trips, only using the minibus for transfers from the train stations.
All of the lunches that we make and provide are vegetarian and, whenever possible, we use seasonal ingredients.
We make every effort to avoid the use of single-use plastics on our trips; when we’re not making our famous lunch wraps al fresco (Stu has been known to carry a chopping board in his rucksack!) they’ll be wrapped in reusable beeswax “cling film”.
We have a zero-tolerance approach to littering and ensure that we take all of our litter off the mountain with us.
We always seek to wear our outdoor clothing into the ground, choosing to repair it before we replace it. We also donate our old kit (sleeping bags, waterproofs etc.) to London’s homeless charities so that it can be used again.
We limit almost all of our trips to eight clients. As well as being more fun, smaller groups like this help to keep things like path erosion at a minimum.
We like to support the local communities we visit and so we make sure we finish our trips in the local pub (okay, so this is the easiest of wins!).
We are a small business and so we have to be realistic about what we can and can’t do. However, our long-term goal is to purchase land for eco-friendly City Mountaineering accommodation. We will seek to rewild that land and to plant native trees to offset some of our travel.
The mountain experience is a powerful one. One that can inspire us and even show us that the impossible is possible. We believe that this is an experience that should be available to everyone, not just those of us fortunate enough to be able afford it.
Our inner-city communities are home to some of the most disadvantaged people in our society. People for whom the mountains and the wilderness are off limits. People who have never left the boundaries of London, let alone entered the boundaries of a National Park.
We want to change that. That’s why we are working with businesses to provide hiking trips to those less fortunate than us. We are in the early stages of this project. Watch this space…