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The year (and a half) of Legends

  • By the time you read this, I will have left Localgiving after a very happy year and a half as North Wales Development Manager. Though I’m sad to go, I have many brilliant memories to take with me. Since July 2016 I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside nearly 90 community groups across North Wales. In that time, I’ve witnessed some incredible fundraising. Over £50,0000 has been raised so far by 59 organisations; ranging from tiny volunteer led community groups, to registered charities working across the whole region - with a few Community Interest Companies thrown in for good measure.

    Throughout 2017, Wales was celebrating its folklore and heritage in a festival called “The Year of Legends”. The fundraising in North Wales this year has been nothing short of legendary, so let me introduce you to just one of the brilliant groups I’ve met that will surely go down in history.

    Cadair Idris

    Cadair Idris, which literally translates to Idris’ Chair, is a mountain in the southern part of Snowdonia. It stands at 893m high and overlooks Dolgellau. So who’s this Idris guy anyway? Depends who you ask - but he’s got to be pretty big to warrant a 2,929ft tall chair. Needless to say, Idris often appears in Welsh folklore as a giant. Ever walked along a mountain trail and got some annoying pieces of grit in your boot? Idris was no different - only giant feet need giant boots, and that can only mean one thing. Giant grit. Yes, legend has it that one day Idris sat down in his massive seat to extract the pesky pebbles from his shoe. He cast them down the mountainside, and there they still lie today - three humongous boulders embedded in the landscape.

    Other tales of Cadair Idris say that anyone who sleeps on the mountain will have one of three things happen to them.

     

    • One: They’ll awaken as a poet.
    • Two: They’ll awaken as a madman.
    • Three: They’ll never wake up again. Like, ever. Wales is known as the paradise of the bard, but I don’t like those odds!

     

    One group that is very familiar with Cadair Idris (and the other 170 or so other peaks in Snowdonia National Park) is Cymdeithas Eryri. The Snowdonia Society is a conservation charity working to protect, enhance and celebrate Snowdonia. There’s a lot to protect, too - the park has 1,479 miles (2,380 km) of public footpaths, 164 miles (264 km) of public bridleways, and 46 miles (74 km) of other public rights of way.

    The Snowdonia Society hosted one of the most innovative fundraising challenges I saw whilst working at Localgiving. In a bid to illustrate the sheer breadth of their work, and the mounting challenge posed by heavy footfall and the resulting environmental impact, a volunteer with the charity decided to do a sponsored litter pick over a two day period.

    But this wasn’t any old litter pick. Conservation Volunteer Bob Smith scaled 15 of Snowdonia’s tallest peaks - all the ones that are over 3,000ft tall - whilst collecting litter on his way up (or down)!

    Of his challenge, Bob said:

    “I started at Pen-Y-Pass and set off up the Pyg track (up Snowdon) and took about 10 steps before finding my first piece of litter! Not surprisingly there was plenty of rubbish on the summit and after a quick visit in the mist to Garnedd Ugain I headed down the Llanberis path collecting plenty of litter. I then headed to Nant Peris to walk back up again. The bulk of the litter was plastic bottles and sweet wrappers collected on Snowdon (2 bags full) with the rest of the peaks relatively clear of rubbish, but still filling 1 bag.”

    So Bob’s Legendary challenge cleared 15 beautiful peaks of 3 bags of litter, and managed to raise £404 at the same time! Match funding from the Big Lottery-funded Wales Development Programme brought his total to a fantastic £604, which will go towards the Snowdonia Society’s 50 Years Future Fund - set up to celebrate the charity’s 50th anniversary.

    What a shame Cadair Idris wasn’t on Bob’s hitlist, standing just shy of 3,000ft. On second thoughts, perhaps it was for the best. Who knows what might have happened if he’d have stopped for a well-earned snooze in Idris’ spooky seat?!

    I may be leaving Localgiving, but the fundraising frolics will continue - with the central Localgiving team providing support for groups and Lauren Swain (based in South Wales) on hand to help as well. Any North Wales group that would like support should call 0300 111 2340 or email help@localgiving.org

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