‘MAD Weekend’ gets people out volunteering for Snowdonia

‘MAD Weekend’ gets people out volunteering for Snowdonia

The Snowdonia Society’s 50th anniversary event, the 2017 MAD (Make a Difference) Weekend on 29-30 September saw more than 80 people take part in two days of intensive conservation work across Snowdonia National Park, with overnight camping and live folk music at the Craflwyn Estate.

As well as 30+ new and regular Snowdonia Society volunteers were:

  • 15 children from Ysgol Beddgelert primary school
  • Eight members of staff  from Electric Mountain/First Hydro, Llanberis
  • Seven students from Bangor University
  • Nine mountaineers from the London-based Rockhoppers Club
  • A team of six staff members from the North Wales Wildlife Trust

camp MADOrganised as part of the Snowdonia Society’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the event showed the willingness of different groups of people to get together to look after and celebrate Snowdonia, as well as the huge role that volunteering plays in protecting and managing the National Park.

The event highlighted the importance of working in partnership in conservation, with staff from the National Trust, Woodland Trust, North Wales Wildlife Trust, Keep Wales Tidy and the Outdoor Partnership leading volunteer tasks over the two days.

Marian MAD WeekendOne of the tasks included a river clean on the Afon Dwyryd with Keep Wales Tidy. Postgraduate student Marian Pye took helped collect 14 bin bags of rubbish. She said: “I can’t believe the amount of rubbish we found today: not just the bin bags of plastic but also the seven car tyres and even a tractor tyre than we hauled out of the river”. She added: “It’s terribly sad to find so much litter in such a beautiful place, but also incredible that a group of people can achieve so much in just a few hours”.

Other tasks included rhododendron clearance on the Craflwyn Estate, habitat management for wildlife in the woods near Betws y Coed, footpath maintenance near Beddgelert and a litter pick in one of Snowdon’s remotest valleys, Cwm Hetiau.

hats MADRob Collister, experienced alpinist who led the litter pick to Cwm Hetiau said: “Cwm Hetiau is Welsh for Valley of Hats, so named in the late 19th century due to the number of hats that would collect having been whipped off peoples’ heads by the wind. Our team found some 15 hats and although not antiques, they are a striking reminder that rubbish and litter in the mountains is still an issue over 100 years later.”

Although the MAD Weekend was part of the Snowdonia Society’s special anniversary programme for 2017, there is talk repeating of the event in 2018:

Director of the Snowdonia Society John Harold said: “We’re so proud that such diverse groups of people took part in our MAD Weekend, united by the common aim of looking after Snowdonia. The input from volunteers and partner organisations was superb and we’re hoping to do this again next year!”

For more information about the 2017 event or to play a part in the 2018 MAD Weekend, get in contact with our Events Coordinator Claire: claire@snowdonia-society.org.uk

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