The Snowdon volunteers and warden

The Snowdon volunteers and warden

A group of volunteers who spent summer weekends helping visitors to Wales’s highest mountain were thanked for their work.

The 15 people worked on Snowdon’s three busiest paths, clearing rubbish and advising walkers about the mountain environment.

The group took part in a project that started seven months ago, to help the estimated 450,000 who make the ascent of the peak each year. The 15 volunteers worked on the Pyg Track, Miners’ Track and Llanberis Path. They gathered at the weekend for an official thank-you.

The project was a joint scheme run by Snowdonia National Park Authority, the Snowdonia Society and Snowdon Mountain Railway.

The volunteers come from the Snowdonia area, with ages ranging from 25 to 65. They are experienced mountaineers, and a mixture of Welsh speakers and learners, and have all been trained in rescue emergency care.

In August alone, the volunteers collected 47 full bags of rubbish, containing a mixture of plastic bottles, food wrappers and the worst of them all, fruit skins. In addition, there were four incidents in which volunteers carried out first aid to walkers on the mountain.

Snowdon warden Helen Pye said: “The management of a mountain such as Snowdon is difficult, complex and challenging work.

“In my area I look after 170 sq km of land and in, August alone, an average of 3,000 people reach the summit every day. So, receiving help from these volunteers is invaluable to me.

“Although it started as a pilot scheme seven months ago, I’m pleased to report that the scheme has succeeded beyond all expectations. The positive feedback I’ve received about their presence and the reduction in litter on the mountain reflects their hard work, and is a testament to their enthusiasm and dedication.”

Michelle Harris, one of the volunteers from Llanberis, said: “Volunteering for the national park has been an amazing opportunity and a privilege.

“I’ve developed a much better understanding and a high level of respect for the work that goes on behind the scenes to maintain a mountain that’s accessible to all while mitigating the pressure that this can create.

“One of the other really useful aspects for me has been the opportunity to practice Welsh. National park staff and other volunteers have been really enthusiastic and supportive in helping those of us who are learning Welsh to converse with them.”

Haf Meredydd is another volunteer. She said: “As a member of Clwb Mynydda Cymru working towards my Mountain Leader qualification, the chance to volunteer on Snowdon throughout the summer was a great opportunity to add to my knowledge and to chat to local people and visitors alike was an invaluable experience.” The club promotes mountaineering in Welsh.

Another volunteer, Elen Huws from Penygroes said: “It’s been great to be part of an entertaining and enthusiastic team of volunteers, and to do something I really enjoy, as well as helping people enjoy and appreciate Snowdonia at the same time.

“A wide variety of people climb Snowdon and it has been interesting to talk to with them and hopefully help them discover more about Snowdonia.”

As part of the scheme, the national park provided training days for volunteers to build on their skills.

The park authority pointed out that, contrary to popular belief, fruit skins left on the mountain are harmful to the environment because of the long time they take to decompose. According to Keep Britain Tidy, banana skins can take up to two years to decompose.

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