We don’t know how lucky we are

I have just returned from a memorable holiday with friends and family in Guatemala  and Mexico. In Mexico we explored the volcano of Iztaccihuatl. The minibus took us a long way up and then we climed about 1,200 ft on foot to a height of nearly 14,000 ft, the highest I have ever been on land.  It was a wonderful chance to explore a beautiful remote landscape. The volcano is not active so the slopes were not covered in ash as they are for instance on Etna in Sicily.

The guide told us that on these regular tours he has virtually no native Mexicans. All his customers are foreigners. A Canadian on our trip explained that he  and other Canadians occasionally organised work parties to try and clear some of the mountain trails which would otherwise disappear altogether from neglect.  There is apparently no tradition amongst Mexicans of mountain walking.

So here is my point. We do not always appreciate how incredibly lucky we are in the UK to have inherited BOTH an amazing  variety of beautiful landscapes   AND a tradition of exploring and enjoying them, supported by a hard-won series of access rights. Let us continue to protect and enjoy our heritage.



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