Grieving relatives spreading ashes of loved ones on Snowdon are ‘RUINING the mountain’

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Grieving relatives who spread ashes and leave plaques of their loved ones on Snowdon are ruining the mountain, national park bosses have warned. 

Snowdonia National Park Authority spoke out after the latest tribute, a slate plaque saying ‘Love You Always’, appeared on Crib Goch, an infamous knife-edge ridge on the 3,350-foot high peak in North Wales.

The authority also said that scattered ashes are having a ‘significant’ impact on the landscape and could damage Snowdonia’s sensitive mountain range environment.

It was assumed the Crib Goch memorial was a tribute to someone who had fallen to their death, but turned out to be for a man who loved climbing mountains and died last year after a long illness.

The authority is now pleading with people to consider other ways of remembering loved ones.

Grieving relatives who spread ashes and leave plaques of their loved ones on Snowdon are ruining the mountain, national park bosses say. Pictured: Tributes at the top of Mount Snowdon in North Wales

Grieving relatives who spread ashes and leave plaques of their loved ones on Snowdon are ruining the mountain, national park bosses say. Pictured: Tributes at the top of Mount Snowdon in North Wales 

Snowdonia National Park Authority spoke out after the latest tribute, a slate plaque saying 'Love You Always', appeared on Crib Goch (pictured), an infamous knife-edge ridge on the 3,350-foot high peak in North Wales

Snowdonia National Park Authority spoke out after the latest tribute, a slate plaque saying ‘Love You Always’, appeared on Crib Goch (pictured), an infamous knife-edge ridge on the 3,350-foot high peak in North Wales

A spokesperson said: ‘The National Park Authority understands that people can form a special attachment to places, and that friends and family may wish to honour the memory of loved ones by placing a plaque or memorial in a particular place.

‘The park authority receives many requests for plaques and memorials, but because the accumulative effect on the landscape would be significant, especially in popular areas, the authority cannot support such requests.’

The authority added that it has a duty to preserve the natural environment and the impact of too many memorials would ‘be significant’. 

If the families of people commemorated with mountain tributes can be identified, they will be politely asked to remove plaques and memorials.

Others will be taken down by staff if those responsible cannot be traced, warned the authority.

The authority has also been forced to confront the issue of human ashes being scattered on mountain summits.

For many, Snowdon in particular is seen as a fitting final resting place for loved ones who enjoyed walking and climbing.

People's ashes have also been scattered and the authority say the tributes are having a 'significant' impact on the landscape and might damage Snowdonia's sensitive mountain range environment

People’s ashes have also been scattered and the authority say the tributes are having a ‘significant’ impact on the landscape and might damage Snowdonia’s sensitive mountain range environment

Despite it being the highest peak in Wales, the SNPA fears the sheer volume of ashes is damaging the mountain’s delicate ecosystem.

A spokesman said: ‘However well-intentioned, the dispersal of ashes is problematic as it can be upsetting for others in the vicinity and we have received many complaints from the public in the past.

‘In terms of ecology, the area’s soils are low acidic types, and the spreading of what is calcareous materials will lead to changes to the existing soils and subsequently the natural ecosystems.’

Formal requests are usually rejected but, in practice, the authority is powerless to prevent people climbing up and scattering ashes.

Despite it being the highest peak in Wales, the SNPA fears the sheer volume of ashes is damaging the mountain's delicate ecosystem

Despite it being the highest peak in Wales, the SNPA fears the sheer volume of ashes is damaging the mountain’s delicate ecosystem

Families are asked to find alternatives for the sake of the environment and out of consideration for other climbers.

As for memorials, the SNPA said there are other ways to remember lost friends and relatives.

The spokesman said: ‘In recent years, as an alternative to traditional plaques, we have received contributions towards work on footpaths, gates and benches. We consider these to be an appropriate means of commemorating loved ones.’

The gates and seats do not have plaques dedicated to donors or their loved ones but the SNPA said they provide an unspoken connection between people and places.

In contrast, the National Trust will accept donations for physical dedications to people on benches or trees at its properties. But as demand is so high, it asks donors to consider dedicating a tree online as an alternative.

Critics have called for restrictions on memorial benches to avoid turning beauty spots into ‘graveyards’.

They have included National Trust Jersey chief Charles Alluto, who claimed Britain’s beauty spots are being ruined by too many benches.

In May the National Trust said it might be forced to remove a memorial on a Welsh beach dedicated to one of the most popular characters in the Harry Potter books amid concerns that there were too many visitors.

Dobby the House Elf died in the last book of the series having helped the protagonist and his friends escape imprisonment.

In the 2010 film adaptation the scene depicting his death and burial was shot at Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire. 

Dev

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