This summer international charity WaterAid is running a massive hill challenge across the UK and Ireland to raise vital funds for some of the world's poorest mountain people. This brand new event isn't your average walking fundraiser, but something altogether more ambitious.
On Saturday 16 June WaterAid 200 aims to put a team on the top of the 200 'best' mountains in Britain and Ireland, as chosen by WaterAid supporters. The charity hopes to raise £200,000 for its work to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in Nepal, where people in remote rural villages can face arduous treks along treacherous paths to find water which is often dirty and unsafe to drink.
Over 150 WaterAid supporters nominated up to ten of their favourite mountains, and the final list includes many classic peaks in the Lake District, Snowdonia and the Scottish Highlands. For those looking to go off the beaten track the ticklist offers the chance to explore some spectacular lesser-known mountains. And with hills like Sgurr na Ciche and Liathach among their number, quite a few of the 200 are a long way from being a walk in the park.
Rebecca Poyntz, Event Fundraising Manager at WaterAid says:
'Every step each team takes will help some of Nepal's poorest people climb out of poverty and with peaks across the UK and Ireland, ranging from moderate climbs to more extreme challenges, there's a mountain for everyone.'
'All the money raised will make a real difference - families with safe water, sanitation and hygiene education have better health and with no need to trek for water they are free to earn a living and children have time for school.'
WaterAid has been running mountain challenge events since 1995 - usually a Munro challenge, or last year a Corbett-based event. These prove popular, attracting somewhere between 1500-3000 participants each year and raising on average around £150,000.
'We've always had great support from the walking public, and they have helped us achieve the challenge in some years by getting teams on all of the peaks included in each challenge – even some of the really remote ones' WaterAid's Kristina Peters tells us.
Notably in a fundraising field dominated by the Three Peaks circus, which concentrates huge numbers of participants on Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, WaterAid has chosen to limit numbers on all its target mountains to three teams per peak.
'Whilst the Three Peaks is a great fundraising challenge, it has become very popular in recent years, and we at WaterAid feel very strongly that our events should not have a detrimental effect on the environment' Kristina says.
'By spreading the event across the UK and Ireland, not only do we encourage our event participants to explore and climb peaks outside of the usual charity mountain challenge areas, but also we reduce the environmental impact of such challenges. We like to encourage our supporters to experience what the whole of the UK has to offer, not just the well-trodden paths!'
'We have great support from the UK water industry which promotes our work throughout the UK and Ireland to all of their staff through their internal comms systems. We have a series of regionally-targeted press releases to print media too, and also some coverage in outdoor magazines.'
Teams on the WaterAid 200 should have between four and seven people and each team is asked to raise a minimum of £400. To find out how you can get involved and for more info on safety requirements visit the event website