Walker collected 96 miles worth of litter across West Highland Way trek

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The man, who completed the five-day crossing during which he litter picked for the entire 96 mile trail, said he was shocked by the amount of trash he collected.

An avid climber and walker has pushed himself to the limit by collecting litter along the full 96-mile length of the West Highland Way.

Before he left, Lewis wasn't sure whether he would find a lot of trash, but by the end he had collected 431 pieces of trash. Picture: Lewis Coupland

Before he left, Lewis wasn't sure whether he would find a lot of trash, but by the end he had collected 431 pieces of trash. Picture: Lewis Coupland

Lewis Coupland completed the picturesque walking route in five days, but he wanted his trek to have a purpose.

Starting on 28 October at 9:30am, he decided to cross the trail whilst wild camping, sourcing his own water and, most importantly, leaving the famous nature crossing in a better way than he found it.

The 28-year-old adventurist from Leeds picked up litter from the start to the end of the route. He took pictures after every day to document his work by using the tag #96milelitterpick.

Lewis said: "I spend most of my time outdoors, I do a lot of walking and wild camping, sometime I rock climb, but mainly I am always looking into ways that I can reduce my impact on the environment in any way possible."

The 28-year old adventuristfrom Leeds decided to pick up litter from the start to the end of the route, and took pictures after every day to document his work. Picture: Lewis Coupland

The 28-year old adventuristfrom Leeds decided to pick up litter from the start to the end of the route, and took pictures after every day to document his work. Picture: Lewis Coupland

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Earlier this year, he discovered the British Mountaineering Council's (BMC) campaign Hills 2 Oceans, which called for its members and the wider public to get involved in a litter pick to help remove as much litter and plastic from hills, mountains and crags as possible, to prevent it from ending up in oceans.

The climate activist said: "I went to a BMC litter pick in peak district in June and then I volunteered to work for one of their stands during this campaign in July.

The adventurist said more people should be helping by cleaning up after themselves. Picture: Lewis Coupland

The adventurist said more people should be helping by cleaning up after themselves. Picture: Lewis Coupland

"I this point, I had been finding myself wanting to push myself in my outdoor hobby, but I was also trying to do the best I could for the environment.

"So last week, when I had 5 days off of work, I decided I wanted to push myself to complete the West Highland Way for the first time whilst wild camping and carrying my own food and water filter all the way.

"Before I left, I wasn't sure whether I would find a lot of trash, but once I started I did, and eventually I collected 431 pieces of trash, and you really can't ignore that."

Once he completed the trail on Friday, he sifted through all the litter he found, including a sole of a boot and a trainer, and took out what was recyclable.

"I didn't just want to throw everything away, so I took out the 180 pieces of trash that I could recycle, mainly lots of food packaging and plastic bottles.

"I thought it was such a shame that people don't think or don't care enough to take things with them, but they are able to carry a bar of chocolate on their walk, so why can't you carry the wrapper and take that back with you?"

"More people should be doing this"

Lewis, who completed the trail whilst carrying his own baggage weighing over 15 kg, shared his findings on social media, hoping to highlight the campaign and get people's attention to show them that even in remote places, there will always be people littering.

On the way, he met fellow climbers and walkers, and they all encouraged what he was doing.

He said: "It was nice to bump into people, I saw a Glaswegian man, met a German girl and an American couple, and they all said what I was doing was a good idea and that more people should do it."

Lewis is hoping to continue the campaign, and has already started thinking about his next walk: "I have already been eyeing up Cape Wrath Way in Fort William, but it is longer, so I will need to take more time off of work and do more planning, but there is definitely more I want to do.

"I like going abroad, but the impact of travelling on the environment is so bad, and this country so much to offer, so instead of making my carbon footprint bigger by travelling abroad, I would prefer to clean up at home first."