In praise of industrial estates

“A couple of years ago, the writer Nick Royle and I decided that we would undertake the Three Peaks Challenge. We’d get another rambling writer to join us, raise sponsorship and give the proceeds to charity. However, it transpired that there were grave environmental concerns about the peaks. The sheer numbers of sponsored walkers clambering up Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon were leading to catastrophic erosion, denudation of flora, scaring off of fauna – not to mention the large quantities of plastic water bottles that were left behind by these charitable folk.

“In truth, I’ve never considered doing a sponsored walk since my age reached double digits, but I liked the idea of three writers/three peaks. I suppose it was naïve of me not to have realised the extent to which these eminences would’ve become a magnet for people who would never normally go walking. After all, I’ve been a walker all my life and I’ve noticed that the words ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’ attract Gore-tex the way sugar does wasps.”

Read the rest of Will Self’s article for Walk, the magazine of the Ramblers, here.