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Saving the Brown Tongue Path to Scafell Pike

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Every year, streams of humans flow continuously on the path of Brown Tongue, even at night. The route is walked on by 100,000 people every year, as it is the most direct way to the top of Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain.

The impact of the tens of thousands of feet that have walked along the path for 30 years have made the work to control the erosion a never ending job. As a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the next phase of work enters its final stage, funding is still short of £17,000 from its target.

Path repairers are stressing the importance of the repairs of the paths so that it could preserve a large section in the middle of Brown Tongue for several more decades.

The crowdfunding effort is part of a larger year-long push to raise £100,000 for Scafell Pike as part of the Mend Our Mountains campaign, a UK-wide appeal led by the British Mountaineering Council. The council not only supports Fix the Fells alone, but it also has 13 similar campaigns and aims to raise £1M for path repairs in different locations.

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Brown Tongue is a route favoured by the Three Peaks Challenge participants, with most challengers tackling Scafell Pike in the dark, adding more pressure on the path. Brown Tongue is one of the most serious example of a problem often found in popular hill and mountains not just across Britain, but in the world.

If these worn out path ways were to be left alone, the erosion scars would grow bigger. It would wipe out vegetation, disturbing local habitats and hydrology, even destroying terrain features such as mountain tarns.

Maintenance for all the mountain paths in the Lake District and Fix the Fells, its costs an estimate of £500,000 a year. With similar organisations trying to do the same, maintaining the paths relies on fundraising to sustain its works.

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