The Llanberis team covers Snowdon, Wales's highest mountain. Photo: John Lynch CC-BY-SA-2.0

The Llanberis team covers Snowdon, Wales's highest mountain. Photo: John Lynch CC-BY-SA-2.0

One of Britain’s busiest mountain rescue teams will today mark 40 years since its headquarters were officially set up as a rescue post.

Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team members will attend a thanksgiving service in the town before launching a day of celebrations.

There will also be chance for visitors to see the result of the volunteers’ £25,000 revamp at the base, much of the cost of which has come from donations from visitors.

The 60-strong team’s patch includes Snowdon, a magnet for both seasoned mountain-goers and less well prepared visitors.

This year, the Llanberis team’s volunteers have been called out more than 150 times.

The organisation’s chairman John Grisdale said: “It’s great to see visitors enjoying the mountains of Snowdonia.

“Certainly the Government’s goals of economic wellbeing and healthy living seem to have been successful if the numbers of visitors to our hills are seen as a benchmark.

“But, inevitably, the number of callouts has similarly increased over the last decade.”

The team said it is all a far cry from 1968 when tentative discussions about forming a Llanberis-based mountain rescue team, peopled by local climbers and mountaineers already involved in rescues, began.

Members of the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team will mark the base's anniversary and unveil recent revamps at the headquarters

Members of the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team will mark the base's anniversary and unveil recent revamps at the headquarters

“With little equipment or funds and no base, the embryo team initially relied on the hospitality of the Snowdonia national park, using its warden centre in Nant Peris,” a spokesperson said.

“There the fledgling Llanberis team was allowed access to the garage to store their small quantity of equipment.

“The national park authority sought the recognition of the mountain rescue committee in establishing a mountain rescue post in the centre and on 31 August 1973 it became a reality.

“That is the anniversary being celebrated this weekend.”

In the years leading to the mid-1960s calls for assistance on Snowdon were directed to the mountain rescue post at the Pen y Gwryd Hotel which was run by Chris Briggs.

However, as the number of incidents on Snowdon grew, a greater demand was made on local climbers and mountaineers in the Llanberis area.

Led by staff from the mountain centres in the village, discussions about forming a mountain rescue team based in Llanberis began for real in 1968. However, equipment and funds were very limited and with no real base for the organisation it depended on the hospitality of these centres and the backing of individuals such as Don Roscoe, Jesse James, John Brailsford and John Ellis Roberts.

During 1972 the national park authority supported the then mountain rescue council to establish a recognized mountain rescue post in the centre.

It was approved in early spring 1973 and the next few months saw the gradual arrival of some first-aid equipment, then a casualty bag, a rucksack and later a Thomas stretcher complete with a double leg splint.

On 31 August the national park officer wrote to the Ordnance Survey to say Post 77, the warden centre, was fully functional and requesting they inform the public of the new facility.

It became the base where the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team housed its equipment and has operated from for the past 40 years.

Latterly the base has become a tight squeeze for the team as the amount of specialised equipment and communications systems grew year on year.

The revamped base now houses a new, 21st-century operations room, an equipment store, a kitchen and toilet, together with a large multipurpose hall.

Most of the renovation work has been undertaken by team members.

Saturday will also see past members joining in the celebrations as the team itself looks to ways of marking its half century in 2018.

The Llanberis team said it looks set to deal with an ever increasing number of callouts.

“Discussions with the politicians in Cardiff have started with the hope of greater support not only towards the support of teams and the upkeep of bases, equipment and transport but also towards educating the public about the need to prepare properly before venturing on to the mountains, to respect the mountain environment and to enjoy their experience safely,” Mr Grisdale said.

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