MOUNTAIN CHALLENGE RAISES OVER £15,000 FOR CANCER RESEARCH
Around 30 Farmers' Union of Wales officers and staff members plus friends will be up before dawn tomorrow (Thursday June 14) to climb Wales' three highest mountains to raise funds for union president Emyr Jones' charity Cancer Research Wales.
Even before they begin their arduous 15-hour challenge they have raised more than £15,000 including donations from FUW Insurance providers Farm Web, NIG and BIBU.
The climbers from all parts of Wales - including 26-year-old Welsh women's rugby international Elen Evans of Dinas Mawddwy - will assemble at the Bryn Tyrch Bunk Barn in Capel Curig this evening before starting their 3 Peaks Challenge by climbing Snowdon at first light.
Armed with an energy-boosting flapjack made by Llanrwst-based FUW area office assistant Gwyn Jones's wife Mari, their ascent of Snowdon (3,560 ft above sea level) via the Pyg track will take around two hours.
So with a good wind and kind weather all the walkers should be back down again by 8.30am where bacon and egg butties, arranged by FUW Caernarfonshire county executive officer Gwynedd Watkin, will be waiting!
They will then travel to Cadair Idris (2,820 ft), near Dolgellau, taking the Pony Path and - buoyed by locally-bottled Cerist spring water from Dinas Mawddwy - they should also scale the mountain in about two hours.
Following refreshments provided by Elen's parents, staunch FUW Meirionnydd members Aled and Catherine Evans, and Dolgellau-based FUW area officer Bethan Roberts, the group will head for Pen y Fan (2,907ft) in the Brecon Beacons by mid-afternoon to start their final climb at around 6pm.
After completing the arduous challenge by around 9pm, they will recover with a welcoming barbecue, organised by Abergavenny-based FUW area officer Gwen Evans.
One climber, FUW Meirionnydd county executive officer Huw Jones, said: "This fund-raising challenge is a rare opportunity for us to look beyond the agricultural world and recognise the further demands of society as a whole."
Aberystwyth-based FUW press officer Anne Birkett has already blazed a trail for fellow staff members by completing the 3 Peaks Challenge and raising over £400 for Emyr Jones' charity fund.
"I was really proud to stand on the summit of Pen y Fan after my third and final ascent. The views were truly breathtaking.
"As it was a clear evening we could see from the Black Mountains to the Preseli Hills, from Exmoor to Plynlimon and the sea beyond Mumbles.
"We also got a great view of Pontsticill reservoir which lies just above Merthyr Tydfil and the South Wales valleys beyond."