This is a scheduled post because, well, you’ll see.
I spent last night in a nearly empty hostel in Chester. It’s a Wednesday on the seam of December; not exactly primetime for holiday makers. Long summer days are a distant memory; most campsites and many small guesthouses have shut up shop for the off season and we look to the next few months of weather warnings; for storms and floods, high winds, snow and ice.
Of course it makes sense then that I chose this morning to start walking 870 miles down the Welsh coast, aiming to eventually make it round to Chepstow by the end of January. I hope I will have fun but, ultimately, it will definitely be quite miserable in places. I anticipate Christmas to be spent somewhere near Aberystwyth and New Years on an exposed expanse of sand fifty miles or so northeast of St Davids. I might end up having my early February birthday somewhere on the south coast if I’m delayed by safety-related rest days or minor injury (or malnutrition from weeks of beige food). I definitely am not doing this wonderful path justice by opting to walk it now rather than in five months time.
So why have I chosen to go?
“INCIDENT 141 @ 14:48. FRIDAY 20/08/2021.
The team was called to a casualty that had fallen 70m from Garnedd Ugain and reported to have sustained a head injury, broken arm and broken leg.
The team was called to our base at Nant Peris, and a request for the assistance of the Coast Guard rescue helicopter and RAF Valley mountain rescue team was made. The team and RAF members were flown up by Rescue 936 to Glacial slabs area of the PYG track, and then continued on foot to an area just above the casualty and his crag fast friend.
Llanberis members scrambled down to casualty and friend. The friend was roped back up and walked off the mountain whilst team members treated the casualty for his injuries. He was put into a stretcher, and then in a joint rope rescue with the team and RAF, the casualty was lowered off the cliff to members at the bottom of the crag. He was backroped to the PYG track and carried down the mountain to a Land Rover at Llyn Llydaw; then evacuated back to Nant Peris and handed over to north Wales ambulance who took him to hospital.
The team wants to thank the crew of Rescue 936 and the troops of RAF Valley mountain rescue team for all their help.“
August 21st 2021, from @llanberismountainrescue
Llanberis Mountain Rescue is the busiest Mountain Rescue Team in the country. Like all Mountain Rescue Teams, it is staffed by incredibly knowledgeable and experienced volunteers who are on call to go to the aid of injured, trapped, lost and missing hikers that venture into the Yr Wyddfa range. Mountain Rescue Teams are a huge part of the reason why so many of us feel supported and secure to venture out and explore new wilderness and to push ourselves to new challenges. The traditional emergency services usually do not have the ability to reach the remote areas where incidents arise, and do not have the skillset to navigate either the difficult terrain or a wilderness emergency; Mountain Rescue Teams are, for all extents and purposes, our fourth emergency service. Which, I repeat, is staffed entirely by volunteers.
“DARK MORNINGS- half term is over and the call outs keep coming. A very busy 24 hours on (bold statement coming) the ‘world’s busiest mountain’.
We had three jobs yesterday and one on going this morning. ‘Cragfast’ on Crib Goch, legs hurting on the Llanberis path and two lost parties.
A few reflective lessons could be useful at this time of year. Navigation skills are essential in poor weather and the dark. Keeping track on a map of where you are along a route is key. Never guess.“
November 3rd 2021, from @llanberismountainrescue
As a charity, Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team is entirely dependent on donations to be able to continue to operate safely and to cover the costs of equipment, vehicles and their training headquarters. Each year, they need to raise £30,000 to continue saving lives.
The work they do is immeasurable for anyone that has ever appreciated the outdoors. This past August, while everyone else was out having their Staycation Summer, the team responded to a record number of calls, sacrificing their own holidays to be there for the droves of us that descended on Snowdonia.
The owners were very experienced walkers and made a make-shift stretcher with a survival bag and walking poles. They made it as far as they could on steep ground before realising they could do with our help. We dispatched our team vet, a stretcher and a few extra bodies to assist the walkers and their pooch. She was patched up, given some pain relief and whizzed straight into surgery only 20 minutes down the road. This lovely collie made a full recovery and continues to enjoy the hills of Snowdonia.”
August 10th 2021, from @llanberismountainrescue
I am hoping to raise £1,000 for their 2022 operating costs. By the time you read this, I will have left Chester on my first stage along the North Wales Coast, hoping to raise at least a pound a mile. I very much appreciate anything you can give to help make that happen.