Monday, 10 September 2012

VIPs on Snowdon

Surely the least likely place to meet your MP would be on top of Snowdon, but eight members of the Mountaineering All Party Parliamentary Group (Mountaineering APPG) walked to the summit of Snowdon on the 7th of September as part of an informal working day to discuss and share concerns affecting hill walkers, climbers and mountaineers.

Joining the MPs and Lord Greaves were officers from the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), Plas Y Brenin's CEO, mountain guide Al Hinkes and the first Welshman to summit Everest, Caradog Jones.

Setting off from Pen y Pass along the PyG Track in low-cloud, conditions steadily improved and the summit itself was bathed in sunshine with spectacular views and only a light breeze. The tops of Lliwedd and Cadair Idris in the far distance stuck out through a sea of cloud.

The party divided at Bwlch Glas with one group returning down the Miners Path and the others continuing over Crib y Ddysgl to Bwlch Coch where they dropped down into Cwm Glas to pick up the foxes path back to the PyG Track.  

Co-Chair of the Mountaineering APPG, John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, said: "When we lobby Government we're keen to stress that hill walking and climbing are pastimes that people continue to do throughout their lives. The physical health benefits save the NHS money. I'd also like to see more research into the mental health benefits."

"It's important to ensure key ministers realise the economic value that participants of these activities bring to rural communities and now of course we have to link to the broader Olympic legacy."  

Relaxing at Plas y Brenin after the walk, Mountaineering APPG Co-Chair, David Rutley, Conservative MP for Macclesfield, said: "It's been a highly enjoyable and productive day. North Wales always feels special to me since it's where I started rock climbing as a 16 year-old."

BMC Access and Conservation Officer, Dr Cath Flitcroft, said: "Hopefully with the success of these events over the last two years this will now become an established annual fixture. It's a great way to share with politicians the real concerns of hill walkers and climbers, in an informal setting, evoking a cross party enthusiasm for the cause.

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