A Moel Eilio Mauling? More 4×4’s on Mountains.. No ratings yet.

You may well have seen the lambasting that Landrover have received in the press this weekend for driving a 4×4 up one of Snowdonia’s most popular peaks in a brazen publicity stunt (rhyming slang in the same mode as the Berkshire Hunt? Don’t Google if you’re offended, but it’s the origin of Berk!) As we’re local to the peak, and that I’ve walked up it far too many times – we decided to see for ourselves what the issues are.

1 – Is there any damage? Fact is, the route up Moel Eilio from Bwlch y Groes is pretty well eroded and rutted anyway. It’s next to impossible to say if there’s any fresh damage lower down on the route, but there’s clear damage that someone’s done along the final, steeper sections. It’s perfectly clear to the left of the regular path in the images below. I say someone, as I’ve no proof who’s done the damage. Let’s hope the National Park Authority have some before and after shots – or is it just bluster? The shots they’ve got on the BBC site definitely don’t reflect the state of the peak today.

2 – Timing? They’ve done it at a really stupid time of year and fail to show that they know even basic – Year 7 – Geography. The slopes are currently rather waterlogged, any slight damage will be increased by the heavy rainfall expected this time of year and recovery will be slowest over the winter months. Rainfall will use any weaknesses to erode the hillside further – with the example below showing the state of the footpath after it was eroded by heavy rainfall last winter.

Moel Eilio-0772
Water damage from last winter.

3 – Irresponsible. This is a cold, calculated publicity stunt. On that count, they’ve succeeded in the most Malcolm Tuckeresque fashion. We’re even giving them free publicity. Chances are, those of us who are bothered by this are probably not going to be big fans of 4×4 (for anything more than practical puposes – e.g. Mountain Rescue) and they’re not going to be losing sleep about any missed sales there. However, by undertaking this stunt they’re legitimising the driving of 4×4 vehicles to places they really ought not to be and showing blatant disrespect to the National Park. I wonder how many copy cats they’ll spawn?

4 – Impotent. It’s perhaps the most shocking state of affairs that a landowner can allow this to legally happen, and the National Park is powerless to stop it. The National Parks have plenty of power to ensure your slates are of the proper shade of ‘slate’, but it seems little real power when it comes to actually protecting the environment. Landrover have said they’ll pay for any damage, but that doesn’t meant it’s right to be doing this in the first place.

Let’s hope that they see the error of their ways and pull all the publicity shots and also contribute something towards the Snowdonia Society or similar.. I’m not, however, holding my breath..

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Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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3 thoughts on “A Moel Eilio Mauling? More 4×4’s on Mountains..”

  1. “This is a cold, calculated publicity stunt” you say, but was it really?

    I have the understanding that it was a photo shoot for a limited edition vehicle that has not been made public yet. So in that sense, the photo agency would have preferred to have attracted no publicity. Rather the opposite to what you are saying.

    Have you jumped into a story without getting your facts correct; and if so, what else are you stating that may also be incorrect?

    If you want to give the Landowner grief for earning a few pounds from his land (assuming they did) then should they also have the right to stop walkers causing damage when the conditions are as bad as you state?

    1. If they didn’t want to attract publicity – then they’re not doing a good job of it by driving a 4×4 up a popular and very busy peak that’s been well known in the past for illegal off-roading. Perhaps Landrover need to consider hiring more discreet agencies? This is my ‘take’ on the matter – an opinion – but your point makes it clear that if they were trying to keep this discreet then they’re guilty of incompetence rather than pulling off a clever bit of marketing and I was clearly wrong to actually give them any credit for that.
      The publicity (e.g. via the BBC) has been highlighted by the National Park – clearly unhappy about this ‘stunt’ – who were obviously in the know about it beforehand, and were clearly not going to let them get away with it.
      As for walkers causing damage, I’ll concede that – but I’m yet to understand the physics behind the perfectly spaced parallel paths up Moel Eilio that these walkers walking two by two seem to have produced?

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