A Wrexham finance director has raised £4,500 for charity by trekking through a Spanish mountain range which saw him negotiate a perilous path with a 1,000 metre drop on one side.
Medwyn Edwards, joint director of Hadlow Edwards Wealth Management, took part in a three-day expedition through the Picos De Europa in Northern Spain where he spent one night camping out in a remote mountain hut.
The trek was organised by the St. James’s Place Foundation, the charitable arm of the FTSE 100 Company St. James’s Place which is one of the UK’s largest wealth management organisations and looks after client funds amounting to £62 bn.
Medwyn’s firm, which he set up in 2000 with fellow director Warren Hadlow, is based in Regent Street, Wrexham, and is a Principal Partner Practice of St. James’s Place.
Events and challenges are held every year to help raise money for the foundation which has been supporting those in need since 1992 by awarding grants to charities registered in the UK with more than £40 million having been raised to date.
Causes supported include Support Dogs, a national charity which trains and supports dogs to help people with a range of disabilities including autism and epilepsy, AfriKids which is London-based charity which works to improve the lives of Ghana’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children, and Worldwide Volunteering which helps disadvantaged young people through volunteering opportunities.
This was the first time that Medwyn has taken part in one of the challenges and the specialist financial advisor said he was bowled over with the good wishes and charitable donations he received.
Medwyn, of Bryngwran in Anglesey, enjoys walking in Snowdonia and on the North Wales coastal paths. He said: “The thing I enjoyed most about the trek was seeing the different landscape changing as we made our way up. But there were moments when I was scared.
“Zig zagging your way up snow covered scree which was loose and difficult to walk on was a real challenge and we had to walk on an exposed path with a 1,000 foot drop on one side for 100 metres. I have walked up Crib Goch in Snowdonia so I am used to difficult mountain terrain but nothing as high as this.
“It was a pretty, steep drop and you were under no illusion that you would die if you fell over it.
“Anyone would suffer from vertigo if you dared to look too far over it.”
The area, which is home to a native species of brown bear, is renowned for the changing nature of its spectacular landscape which ranges from wide grass covered meadows to steep snow-capped mountain peaks.
Medwyn, 55, a father-of-two who lives in Wrexham and is originally from Anglesey, said: “The scenery range was very impressive and is what impressed me most during the trip. It was so lovely and peaceful. It started off with steep narrow valleys with raging torrents in the bottom and the sides covered by trees at the bottom of the mountains.
“From there it became a wide grass covered meadow with small huts and shelters nearby and these were covered in buttercups. Then you were greeted with steep rocky mountain terrain with narrow exposed path and no vegetation. As you went higher, patches of snow became more common which were about 10 metres wide.
“After a time this became a snow field in shadowy areas. Higher up again were steep mountain peaks and deep rocky valleys.
“One of the most single impressive sights for me was the Naranjo de Bulnes which is a limestone peak formed millions and millions of years ago which is a central point for the region.
“It is the point we were all headed for and once it came into sight, we knew we had achieved our goal. You can’t get to the top of it without ropes and proper climbing expertise so we had to be content just to look at it.”
Medwyn, who enjoyed the local cuisine while he was there including roasted goat, added: “We saw many Golden Eagles soaring above us, sometimes in pairs, which was a breathtaking sight. Also some wild chamois, which are the goat-antelope native to the region.
“I didn’t see a brown bear, unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, but we were not surprised about this because I believe their population number is now quite low.”
Medwyn’s fantastic fundraising total echoed the impressive pot of cash raised by the trekking group, which was made up of other employees and directors from the St. James Place organisation.
Medwyn said: “In total the trek raised £45,000 which we were all delighted about. I was very touched with how generous people were in helping me raise my own significant amount and many people were concerned about my welfare!”
To sponsor Medwyn visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiserweb/donate/indexerSearchCharityResults.action
For more on the St James’ Place Foundation visit: http://www1.sjp.co.uk/about-st-james-place/our-responsibilities/st-james-place-foundation