An eight-strong team of friends are to tackle one of Wales’s toughest mountain walking challenges – the awesome Welsh 3000s – in aid of St David’s Hospice in Llandudno.
The band of brothers, all from the Conwy county area, have been getting in trim with a rigorous exercise programme while keeping to lockdown rules.
Among them is Howard Vaughan, joint managing director of building company Brenig Construction, who has been starting many of his training exercises straight from the firm’s Mochdre headquarters.
It’s a gruelling challenge but one Howard and his friends are embracing. He said: “There’s one day when we will go up and down so much it’s the equivalent of climbing Snowdon three or four times.
“We’re doing it over four days and scaling all the Snowdonia peaks over 3,000-feet in that time and hoping to raise £10,000 for the Hospice.
“It doesn’t help that I’m scared of heights so going over Crib Goch will be tough for me but I’ve done a few of the peaks before.
“I’m doing a 25 kilometre walk this morning and building up to 30 to 40km walks to get the miles into our legs ahead of the challenge which we’re hoping to start on March 26 providing there are no restrictions.
“On the fourth and final day we’re planning to do 36km, walking from our business up into the Ogwen Valley and back down to the Castle Hotel in Conwy – if it’s open.”
Howard does his training with his friend Mark Orme, another of the team, and they and the rest of the group hope to make the four-day trek in the spring or whenever those travel and mixing restrictions are eased.
The 15 peaks is one of the UK’s toughest walking challenges and as well as conquering Snowdon the team will ascend the other summits including Carnedd Llywelyn, Tryfan, Glyder Fawr and Y Garn.
Pandemic restrictions have made it difficult for the team who have been unable to train together as a group and Howard added: “It’s been difficult not being out all together because we don’t know what standard we’re all at.
“Ideally we’ll all be at the same level and everyone is entering their walks into a group on the Strava app so we know what everyone is doing in terms of elevation and times.
“We’re all geeing each other up and it’s all quite competitive and it’s in a really good cause.
“My father-in-law died of cancer and St David’s Hospice were wonderful with him and Mark lost his mum to cancer so it means a lot to so many people.”
Mark Orme, from Llandudno, an Education and Sports Coaching professional with Achieve More Training Ltd, also has a personal reason for taking part after his mother received end of life care at the Hospice.
He said: “It’s just such a wonderful facility in terms of what they do for people and their families.
“It’s been very difficult for charities who have been unable to run most of their fund-raising activities but the services they provide are still desperately needed and we all just felt anything we could do would be a help in these difficult times.”
Howard and Mark will join their friends Alun Pritchard, Ben Woof, Dave Sweetman, Evan Humphreys, Gary Field and Gaz Lavin on the four-day trek and to donate to the team’s fund for St David’s Hospice go to https://www.justgiving.com/team/Welsh3000hike100k