Great trip to Wales now maybe a hillclimb and the Welsh MRT Reunion on Saturday night at Tyn – Y – Coed? Meeting special people.

It’s been so  wet today but we left the boys to golf as Ian and I went to pick up left gear at one of the golf clubs an old age thing. After the boys finished Pete Kirkpatrick won the OFG cup all headed home! Some have long journeys !

I went to the Air Musuem at Landwrog ( Ceanarfeon) airport to see some of the RAF Mountain Rescue gear that is there.This is where RAF Mountain Rescue was started during the war as so many aircraft crashed here in the mountains. It was reckoned that many could have been saved as they had survived the crashes. From this and the work of one Medical Officer RAF Mountain Rescue came to be.  

RAF Mountain Rescue Service (MRS)
During the early stages of the Second World War the discovery of an aircraft crash in the mountains was often a matter of chance and the subsequent removal of casualties a difficult problem. Stations near mountainous areas made their own arrangements for the organisation of search parties, and used the most readily available equipment for their purposes. Early in 1942 one such party was organised under the direction of Flight Lieutenant George Graham, the Station Medical Officer at No. 9 Air Gunners School Llandwrog, North Wales. It soon became clear to him that the equipment and personnel at his disposal were inadequate to deal with the number of aircraft crashes in the mountainous Snowdonia area. Flight Lieutenant Graham adapted what equipment he could for mountain rescue and trained selected volunteers from the station. By the end of 1943, 33 survivors had been rescued from 22 crashes.

I enjoyed my visit the Station is now the home of the SAR and Air ambulance helicopter. 


 By now the weather was awful pouring rain. I was glad that I was not on the hill and had a good hour wandering about! It was then head for the mountains and Bethesda to spend a great night with Nerys , Rusty and the boys old friends from Mountain Rescue days.

I visited many old haunts before I met them Tryfan was soaking with water everywhere but what a magic place to be so accessible and despite the wild weather there were loads out on these great hills.

I was here from 1979 – 1983 and had a great time as Deputy with the RAF Mountain Rescue Team at RAF Valley. These mountains taught me so much with lots of Call – outs and a load of climbing. I also had a few great winters where at one time I climbed ice for 7 days in a row. These were incredible times with the 14 /15 peaks in a day a test of new troops and the scrambling and climbing magnificent! 

A new Scramble Guide had come out and we climbed some great routes getting to know these magical hills and Corries! The rock climbing was also so diverse and with so many talented climbers in the team I learned so much. 

It was rare to get little done on the hill there was always a wet gully or big hill day to do in the poor weather and when the sun shone you had so many climbs to chose from! Did I take it all for granted then? I do no know but what a place to be. The social scene was as intense as the climbing and placed like Pete’s Eats , Cobbies and the Ancaster Cafe were great haunts. 

Rusty has his own buisiness and guides these hills! Snowdonia Walking and Climbing and loves the area and we had a great night with Nerys after dinner showing me his incredible photos of Wales in all its glory! My memory was not too bad for the look back in some of the routes hills! There two boys Arron and Harry have some adventures in th hills , water and rock and love the outdoors! 


We had a great night it was special to spend even one short night with Nerys and Rusty . I could have chatted all night and you realise how important these friends are and 5 years is to long between visits! The boys are great and Harry and Arron loves the helicopters and tales of his Dad’s Mountain Rescue past that I brought up! Rusty is a very low key Chap about his past we were on Everest together and he and Dan Carrol summitted in 2001. They are a special family and the views when the rain stopped from their house is wonderful. The Black Ladders is the view and did I have some wild climbing here in my Valley days in winter! It is a wild Welsh Corrie with some incredible routes in winter! Harry called me out to see the rainbow over the hills a magical moment.

The rainbow


It was a great night and today I meet another top pal Pete Kay and we hope to meet at Idwal this morning and have some fun with Rusty. Later it will be the Welsh Reunion in Capel and hopefully see some old pals!

Incredible few days !!

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
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