Once, there was a listing of outdoor organisations in the footer of this blog, and it is a slight surprise that I never converted it into an article like this one. Having gathered a varied selection in recent weeks, it feels opportune to collect them and other others that I find afterwards. This is a varied bunch, and eclecticism is a feature that I hope to retain as new additions get made.
All accept members, and some also are happy to receive donations for their work. Volunteering is a natural hallmark of many of these and that fills gaps that may have been the preserve of the public sector once upon a time, but current austerity means that such activity had more of a place now than during the boom of more than a decade ago.
Many report that being out in nature helps with mental health, and I certainly found that wandering through the countryside really helped during the height of the pandemic. This organisation organises a range of group activities for those needing help with their mental health; the clue is in the name if you have come across the expression before. It is not just about walking or hiking, but cycling, climbing and water sports also feature.
This group is not just about the Lake District National Park, though their efforts often are centred there, with volunteers working on maintenance activities. They also campaign on conservation matters and have a proposal for extending the National Park area to the south as well.
This group maintains the Long Trail in the Green Mountains of Vermont, part of the Appalachian Trail, one of the National Scenic Trails of the United States of America. Accordingly, you will find walking advice here as well as details of voluntary maintenance activities.
This is an organisation that maintains paths and other similar infrastructure in Irish hills, and the growing interest in Irish hillwalking means that such work is much needed, and the Irish state is not always there to do the needful. Often, there is an apparent shortfall in such efforts, and they are always wanting more volunteers to help.
In the north of England, you will find many a sign erected by this organisation, and they also put bridges in place as part of their commitment to making improvements. Otherwise, they monitor and protect the footpath network to ensure that it remains useful for lovers of the outdoors. In these cash-strapped times, their efforts are more needed than they ever were.
A few of the guidebooks published by this organisation have entered my possession, but it also owns mountain huts that can be booked by groups and the website has both hill and climb lists. Hillwalkers’ books are more my kind of interest and these include hill lists such as the Munros, Corbetts, Donalds and Grahams as well as one for the North-west Highlands. The associated Scottish Mountaineering Trust also publishes books like Scottish Hill Names and Hostile Habitats that I also have in my collection.
Scotland is home to a lot of land that feels wild to visitors, and this group wants to keep it that way in the face of pressure from wind farm and hydroelectric developments, as well as unwanted hill tracks. With the prevailing economic conditions, they have plenty to do, so their survival following a lengthy volunteer shortage is invaluable.
For a long time, the collection of people who had climbed all of Scotland’s mountains with a height of at least 3,000 feet or 914.4 metres was a select one. That no longer is as much the case and this organisation is for those who have achieved the feat, with some having completed multiple rounds of the Munros, something that has become more prevalent in recent decades. Some will decry list ticking, but it can be a way of motivating explorations of hill country, and operating like that should deflect at least some of the criticism.
This is an American charity that aids the conservation of lands that benefit local communities and visitors alike. Some take the form of local parks, while others have a wilder feel and trails form part of their remit too. It is all about making the outdoors more accessible to all, as well as taking a holistic approach to conservation.