Our mountains and moorlands are coming under increased pressure due to the massive increase in the popularity of outdoor pursuits. We are lucky that our mountains and wilderness in the UK are looked after and are largely kept clean and well maintained. It is everyone’s responsibility, not just the official bodies to help preserve these spaces. There are some simple things we can do to limit the impact we have on the environment as a group.

At Wild Hikes we like to go off the beaten track following lesser known paths and trails sometimes not on paths at all. This relieves the intense pressure that the popular paths get from the many people walking on them. We do though have a responsibility to tread carefully and not add to any erosion or harm any plant or animal habitats. Keeping our group sizes small reduces this impact. We will also walk in a single file where appropriate to reduce erosion.

When walking in areas not deemed ‘open access areas’ we will always keep to footpaths. We will always leave a farm gate how we find it. So if we find it open then we leave it open.

We will leave no refuse, this includes apple cores, banana skins and orange peel and other organic matter. We will pick up any litter that we find so improving the environment we are crossing.

If you need to go to the toilet when hiking then pee well away from any water source including streams, lakes and other wet areas. If you need a poo then dig a hole at least 10cm deep and 50m away from any water. Do not leave toilet paper behind. Pop it in a bag and take it home. Your leader will have bags for this use.

When wild camping find a campsite out of sight from passing walkers and not visible from lowland areas. When wild camping in the UK never build a camp fire. Do not wash with soap or detergents directly in streams or lakes, carry water in a container to wash with away from water sources. Clear away any rocks you may have used to sit on or hold down your tent. Leave no trace that you have been there. Pitch your tent towards the end of the day and move on as soon as you can in the morning.

Quite often the most visible environmental issue in some of the areas we travel overseas is rubbish. Many remote communities have no way of recycling or disposing of their rubbish. Local people are slowly becoming more aware of the need to keep their environment clean both for reasons of health and also for tourism. Our role in this as visitors is not to add to the problem and to set a good example. To do this we try to adhere to the following guidelines:

When buying supplies we bring our own stuff sacs to transport and store it in. We try to avoid single use plastic bags.

We try not to buy mineral water in single use water bottles. Before each trip we will advise you on whether the water is safe to drink. If the water is suspect then we will suggest ways of purifying it without the need to buy mineral water in bottles. Sometimes we will have to buy water. If this is the case then careful disposal of the empty bottles is important possibly keeping them until we reach a larger town with formal rubbish disposal. We can also buy water in larger containers and decant into personal bottles. The use of purifying water bottles is a good idea.

When camping or bivouacing leave the campsite clean and rubbish free. When using local guides, cooks and porters make sure they leave the campsite clean. We will have a group litter pick around the area of the campsite before we leave. Your leader will ensure that they remove all trace of you being there.  If you have a campfire then use an existing fire location if one is there. Never use live wood to burn and only use the minimal amount of dead wood to make a small fire. Save some of the dead wood for other people or locals to use.

When going to the toilet when hiking or at a remote camp apply the same rules as stated in the UK section. Carry out or burn all toilet paper. Take your rubbish away with you and pick up any litter you find on the trail. This sets a good example and will educate the local guides, animal handlers and porters in the importance of keeping their environment clean.

All our overseas trips involve flying. There is no way of getting around this other than taking a slow boat, a train or not going at all. Air transport is one of the leading causes of air pollution, contributing 4.9 percent of human caused climate change including emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.Although airlines are trying to make changes, including investing in more fuel-efficient planes that carry more passengers, it’s not enough. Until industry innovates as required, it’s unfortunately up to us as consumers to lead the way. Carbon offsetting is the act of offsetting the CO2 emissions of your flight by investing in a scheme or project that will help compensate for their emissions. Although contentious and considered by some as a Band Aid approach to climate change, this really is currently the only solution to a global issue.The Gold Standard for offsetting was established in 2003 by the WWF and other international NGO’s to ensure carbon offsetting projects contributed to sustainable development, The Gold Standard focuses on:

  • Energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that encourage a shift away from fossil fuel use and carry low environmental risk.
  • Social and environmental indicators to ensure the scheme contributes to sustainable development goals in the country where the project is based.
  • Tree planting projects are excluded.
  • Projects are independently verified by a third party to ensure integrity
  • Projects in developing nations, helping these countries leapfrog fossil fuels and focus on sustainable alternatives.
  • We use two organisations to purchase your off set, both adhere to the Gold Standard.
  • Atmosfair
  • MyClimate

The headline price of each Wild Hikes overseas trip will have the carbon offset included. If you do not wish to pay this or would like to pay for your own offset then simply deduct the value from the total you will be paying.