Monday, 8 May 2023

My smidgeon more, sustainable mountaineering!

My smidgeon more, sustainable mountaineering!

Climate science over the last 200 years has shown that the earth is warming fast, in the geological timescale, from our rapid exploitation and burning of finite fossil fuels.  In addition, I think, our folly is to live as if they are inexhaustible.  Hence, the climate emergency.

Over a lifetime of hillwalking in the UK in an effort to visit the summit of every hill listed in the SMC's (Scottish Mountaineering Club's) 'Munro's Tables' book, I have done my bit to hasten the strain on the planet's creaking life support systems by bombing up and down the M6 as many as six times, once, in one busy year.  In my defence, I saw it as my reward for cycling, aka active travel or food-fueled, self-powered travel that I was using nearly every day to get to work between the early 1990s and 2013 when I retired from social work at 65.

Firstly, I am now reducing my visits to two a year but each one lasting for as long as my wife is forbearing and injuries allow.  I also try and park further out and then cycle longer before I start the climb.

To reduce my hypocrisy quotient, I am also driving my diesel car at between 60 and 65 mph on 70 mph roads.  In this way, on my injury aborted trip last month to the SMC's Donalds, I got over 80 mpg on one tankful.  It brought 17.5 miles/litre when I filled up again on my arrival home.  That is impressive!!

Thirdly, I am trying to show more restraint by only visiting Wales by bike and train.  It is a great adventure to train/bikepack when the weather is fine and settled.  Just for three or four days.

Fourthly, I am having great fun exploring local and regional public rights of way.  Are we the only country with 140,000 miles of paths to explore?  I've had years, zooming off to Wales to walk and climb but I've been missing the most amazing and beautiful scenery on my doorstep!  You still need navigation skills to find the intriguing paths and crossings - and compass.

Fifthly, I feel guilty driving and have cut my driving in half to 5,000 miles a year and cycle all local journeys and even some regional journeys.  I'm using the bus and train more than ever before.  Buses in the Lake District and the Sherpa in Eryri are excellent but must be more frequent and cheaper.  

Sixthly, old crocks (75) like me have had our turn and must now show restraint for you youngsters to enjoy the big hills.

Seventhly, try 10-10-20 vision - use a max 10 units of electricity/day (ours is 2.6 kWh/day with solar); at least 10 miles/litre out of the car; and, max 20 C in the room you live in and other rooms lower.

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