Rescuers pointed out they are themselves a charity organisation. Photo: Aberdyfi SRT

Rescuers pointed out they are themselves a charity organisation. Photo: Aberdyfi SRT

A team that went to the aid of charity walkers in Snowdonia pointed out that callouts place an extra burden on rescuers who are themselves a charity.

Aberdyfi Search and Rescue Team were alerted about 11.20pm on Saturday when a group of walkers reported themselves stuck on Cadair Idris.

The team said the man and five women were players and coaches from a rugby club on south-east England who were attempting the Welsh Three Peaks challenge – an ascent of Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen y Fan.

Rescuers said the walkers left Kent on Friday evening and began the walk up Snowdon at 5am on Saturday, then started their ascent of Cadair Idris at 2.30pm.

An Aberdyfi SRT spokesperson said: “Having reached the summit, a combination of poor weather, encroaching darkness and navigational errors took the group away from the intended route and on to the steep crags above Cwm Cau.

“While some of the group tried to find a way down, others called for mountain rescue assistance.

“Using smartphone technology, call-handlers were able to pinpoint their location among the crags, and the group was directed to retrace their steps up the steep ground to the plateau above, then move to intercept a fence line which would mark the safer way down from Mynydd Moel.”

A small party of team volunteers was sent up the hill to provide extra lighting and assistance as the group made their way off the mountain. “Tired after around 20 hours on the go, the walkers were otherwise unharmed, and everyone was safely off the hill by 2.30am,” the spokesperson said.

Graham O’Hanlon of Aberdyfi SRT said: “Charity challenges such as the Welsh Three Peaks can be great when things go well.

“However, being established ‘challenges’ can create the impression that they are somehow safer or need less preparation than a normal day on the mountains, and can encourage the participation of people without much or any hillwalking experience or skills.

“The diary pressures of organising group activities can lead to groups taking to the hills in unsuitable weather conditions, and the time pressures and fatigue of challenges like the Three Peaks can encourage groups to be working in the dark and to press on into a worse situation rather than retrace the route back to the last good position, particularly if this means going back uphill.

“Charities such as our rescue team depend entirely on donations, and so depend heavily on the work of fundraisers such as these walkers.

“However, we would ask would-be fundraiser looking at challenges like this to consider whether collecting money for one charity while placing a burden of time and resources on another is actually fundraising at all.”

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