Keep Britain Beautiful
As part of our Keep Britain Beautiful campaign, we want to highlight and showcase the individuals and communities who are really making a difference in keeping the outdoors clean and wonderful for us all.
Tell us a little bit about The Lakes Plastic Collective?
The Lakes Plastic Collective was started after the easing of the first lockdown in May 2020. As more people began to be out and about there was noticeably a significant amount of more litter in the area. It’s a social media lead campaign of education and action, trying to get locals and visitors involved in keeping the Lake District safe and beautiful for everyone to enjoy
What motivated you to start doing this?
The Lakes is such a special place and it’s simply heart breaking to see the state that some people leave it in. The damage done by some peoples behaviour can be long lasting and a huge threat to the area and wildlife.
What’s the most amount of litter you have picked up in a session?
Probably around 12 bin bags. Large collections like this were frequent in summer 2020. Also more recently I along with some other locals cleaned up a large “Fly Camp” at one of the reservoirs which was the biggest one to date, multiple tents and camping kit left behind, and a huge amount of litter also.
Hiking in the lakes is amazing! What would you say your favourite hike in the Lakes would be?
Tough one! I’d say the Buttermere Fells, views are incredible on a good day. But the scree slopes aren’t for the faint hearted
What has been your favourite hiking / wild camping experience in the UK?
I’ve had several great nights out on the fells, I think a favourite was when I was woken by a sheep outside my tent who was having a late night snack, I’d gone to bed under a fairly cloudy skies but stuck my head out of my tent to have a look and I was right under the Milky Way. It was incredibly beautiful so I wrapped up and sat just watching the stars for a while
What tips and advice do you have for people wanting to do a litter picking up session?
Really easy to get involved. Put a bag & gloves in with your kit for the day and simply #SeeitBagitBinit if it’s in the Lakes then please use the #TheLakesPlasticCollective across social media accounts so I can share your hard work!
What do you think needs to be done to stop people desecrating our natural landscapes?
I think the government need to have a huge nationwide roll out of education on the countryside code, and tougher action is needed for those who do leave behind their mess. And it needs to become a part of the school curriculum for generations after ours.
Has the problem got worse in recent years?
Mainly since the easing of the first lockdown, whilst it’s not all down to visitors, we have had a very different type of visitor with people not being able to go abroad (they shouldn’t be behaving this way in any country) I’m hoping when restrictions ease and there isn’t as many people in the area things will settle down.
Do you have a website or social media presence where people can find out more about your work and how they could get involved in litter picking up sessions?
Yes.. Instagram: @TheLakesPlasticCollective Twitter: @LakesPlasticCol and Facebook: The Lakes Plastic Collective
How can hiking and wild camping enthusiasts help keep Britain beautiful?
I’ve done guide on how to wild camp correctly it’s great for those who are new to camping and a good refresher on current campers
But in general, the golden rule is to Leave No Trace. Wherever you are spending your adventure time should be left exactly as you found it, if not better.