Whilst we are all staying at home I thought I would join the trend for sharing some photos and some stories from the last few years.
This photo is of Paddy on the Isle of Skye, I think the route is Integrity and the year would be the late 1990’s.
I got into the mountains through my Mum & Dad. They are keen hill walkers and every family holiday would be spent walking in the UK somewhere. We did several of the long distance footpaths as kids, routes like the Coast to Coast, The Pennine Way, The West Highland Way and plenty more.
When I was old enough to drive I started climbing at my local climbing wall and Dad hatched a plan that we would go to Skye and scramble on the Cuillin. Neither of us had any roped scrambling experience and so we hired a “guide” – that was Paddy.
We headed to Skye for our family holiday, together with Kate (who is now my wife) and her little boy Josh (now my 25 year old step son) and booked Paddy for three days of guiding.
I don’t remember the exact routes that we did as we repeated the formula for several consecutive years and the days have rolled into one a little. They were all amazing obviously!
I do remember one trip where I did my first lead on a multi pitch route, Window Buttress (Diff). Having finished the route we abseiled down to hear rock fall higher in the corrie, followed by shouts for help. Paddy was a member of the Mountain Rescue Team and rushed ahead to help, with my Dad and I following behind as quickly as we could.
A father and son had been hit by rockfall and the young lad was injured enough to require a helicopter that Paddy was able to summon on his radio. I vividly remember being sat under the hovering Sea King as my Dad turned to me and said “blimey – you never know what you will end up doing in a day!”
Those trips with Paddy inspired me to do the job that I do today. That rescue inspired me to join the Llanberis MRT as soon as I moved to Wales. It’s fair to say they made a lasting impression.
In 2009 I passed my Mountaineering Instructor Certificate (MIC) and I got an email totally out of the blue. It was Paddy – he had been following my blog and was sending his congratulations. I was blown away.
I have been going to Skye every May since that first trip and I regularly see Paddy as he is still guiding and still involved in MR with the Skye team.
Thanks Dad and thanks Paddy.