From Snowdon to Kilimanjaro: Charity Climbs for Wonderful Causes

From Snowdon to Kilimanjaro: Charity Climbs for Wonderful Causes

Llanberis Pass

While TV and movie celebrities use their looks and influence, athletes, for their part, make the most of their physical attributes to raise money for various charitable causes and organisations. Aside from the typical marathons, these sportsmen and sportswomen often go to the extreme, not only to test their limits, but also to bring attention to notable causes.

One of these benevolent acts is through mountain climbing. So with that in mind, here are some renowned sports personalities who have – at least tried – to conquer perilous conditions to underline a number of causes.

Martina Navratilova (Tennis)

Martina Navratilova awaits the shot, circa 1980s. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)

Martina Navratilova, despite her slightly older age has done many notable acts during her time to raise money for charity. In 2010, the nine-time Wimbledon champion fell 4,000 feet shy of Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit, because of altitude sickness. The tennis icon had to call for help as she was experiencing a brutal combination of mountain sickness and a stomach infection. All her efforts didn’t go down the drain though, as Bleacher Report revealed Navratilova still managed to raise £50,000 for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

Ray Lewis (American Football)

September 27, 2012;Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis (52) pumps up the crowd during the game against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

Photo: pinterest

Ray Lewis is more than just a 13-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens and a former Super Bowl champion; he is also one of the more recognisable faces in American football. Following his retirement in 2013, Lewis was all set to join charitable groups World Serve International and Pros for Africa in their quest to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to promote awareness for sustainable water issues. However, as reported by The Baltimore Sun, he was not able to take part in the climb due to a fever and a nagging foot injury.

Matt Jones (Football)

Matthew Jones

Photo: Wikipedia

Climbing mountains is not just limited to leisure and charitable pursuits; it can also be used to pay tribute to a fallen comrade. Ex-Wales international footballer, Matt Jones, did so to raise money in memory of his former teammate, Gary Speed.

Jones’ former teammate Gary Speed was a talented footballer, who transitioned into the world of management, taking the Welsh national team to new heights and laying the foundations for Chris Coleman’s current success. However, what many people don’t know is Gary Speed was an avid writer, publishing his last article in 2007 on football website Betfair, as well appearing on television as a pundit. Speed was a well-loved figure in the game, and his untimely passing was hard to take for many, including his friend Matt Jones. For his part, in honour of his friend, Jones braved the intense weather conditions of Snowdonia to carry on his late friend’s mission of supporting good causes such as the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and John Hartson Foundation. You can see a picture of Jones completing the climb in this BBC article.

Some of the world’s most well known celebrities have a knack for giving back. Whether it is through fundraising events such as annual telethons, or personal cash contributions during natural disasters, or extreme outdoor adventures, a lot of famous personalities use their power and reach to promote notable causes. It is a mutually beneficial endeavor, to say the least, as these stars get to build their image, while helping those in need.

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Outdoor Adventure Activities in Snowdonia this Easter

Looking for Activities in North Wales this Easter?

If you’re looking for something to do whilst visiting North Wales this Easter then coming out with us for a day of adventure activities is really enjoyable and memorable experience.

Activities for the Adventurous

We offer activities that suit all ages and abilities. If you’re up for a real adventure then the activity you should be looking at is our Canyon Xtreme Trip. This trip follows the same part of the river as the normal canyon trip but continues on for an extra hour of adrenalin, a slide off a waterfall, optional jumps up to 45ft, more slides and pools followed by a waterfall climb to finish off.

This is one of the big jumps on the Canyon Xtreme trip; BIG!

If you’re looking for a full day then Rock Climbing & Abseiling makes for a good session. We setup ropes on a few different routes of varying difficulty. You learn how to tie the rope safely and how to hold the rope for your climbing parter, plus we look at some climbing technique. Everyone usually makes it to the top of the 80ft face, and afterwards we setup an abseil down the middle of the 100ft drop of Main Slab.

Absolutely no expertise required for abseiling. Maybe some nerve though!

Activities for Families

If you’re in Snowdonia with your family or young children this easter, then your best options are either rock climbing/ abseiling, kayaking/canoeing or gorge scrambling. Children (as young as 4) are often excellent climbers, usually much better than the adults!

Canoeing is a nice relaxing activity and with 2 people to each boat, very young children can come out on this trip. We get the boats on the water (canoes and/or kayaks), learn a bit about paddling, and then set off to explore the clam river environment.

Canoeing and Kayaking, relaxing fun for everyone

Canoeing and Kayaking, relaxing fun for everyone

If you’re keen to get in the river then Gorge Scrambling is great fun; more suitable than canyoning for under 11s. We swim, slide, jump and scramble up the cascading woodland river!

Gorge Scrambling is a great adventure activity for families with young children

Wet Weather Activities

The weather in Wales doesn’t always shine, if you’re looking to do an activity that isn’t ever weather dependent (and is often better and more exciting in the rain) then gorge scrambling (families) and canyoning are definitely the best choices here. You’re going to get wet anyway so it makes no difference if it’s pouring with rain; get stuck in!

Canyoning when it’s raining and the rivers high. What better to do on a wet day!

How to Book Your Adventure

The absolute easiest way to book your trip is to Book Online. You can choose your activity, the session date and time (morning 9am or afternoon 1pm) and you can pay and receive all the necessary information by email immediately. Once you’ve booked you’ll be sent a confirmation email detailing the session you’ve booked, the location we meet and what you need to bring.

Got a Question?

If you’ve got a question then the quickest way to get in touch is to drop us an e-mail. Our e-mail address and a contact for can be found on the Contact Us page. We’ll normally get back to you within minutes or hours.

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Bunkhouse Accommodation in Snowdonia

Bunkhouses in Snowdonia, North Wales

There’s no shortage of accommodation in North Wales. From campsites to hotels, farm houses to yurt pitches; there’s pretty much something to suit everyone on a range of budgets.

If there’s a big group of you and all you want is somewhere cheap to sleep, renting a bunkhouse for the weekend could be a good option for you.

Where to Stay?

Unless you’ve already got a location in mind, I almost always recommend that people stay on the coast. The weather is virtually guaranteed to be better on the beach! Quite often it’s sunny in Harlech and a mile or so inland you can see the rain falling. People in Betws Y Coed would just assume it’s another rainy day!

The three main coastal options are the Barmouth/Harlech coast, the Llyn Peninsula and the North Coast. In my option the coastline between Barmouth and Harlech is normally your best bet; a whole variety of different villages with a range of accommodation options. The Llyn Peninsula is also very nice but slightly out of the way; good if all you want is a beach holiday. The North Coast is easy to access but lacks some of the charm of the more traditional Welsh towns and villages.

Our Top Pick of Bunkhouses

Of all the options in North Wales we think these bunkhouses are all a good bet; they’re all a bit different but either way they should do the job properly.

Bunkorama – Barmouth

Sleeps 10. £15 per person per night. Bunkorama is situated on the hill above Barmouth in a really picturesque location. None of the other places mentioned here have views that rival this one. Barmouth’s a good choice because the town has plenty of dining options and amenities, a nice beach and good transport links. The bunkhouse also has an adjoining campsite. It’s about an hours drive to Snowdon.

Vagabond Bunkhouse – Betws y Coed

Sleeps 36, starting from £19 per person per night. The Vagabond’s primary draw is its size and location. It can sleep a big group and it’s within walking distance of all of the pubs and cafes in the busy wooded village of Betws Y Coed. If you want to be based in the North of the Snowdonia National Park then this place is a good shout. Snowdon is approximately 20 minutes away, the coast is about 45 minutes.

Treks Bunkhouse – Blaenau Ffestiniog

Sleeps 16, £16-£20 per person per night. Treks Bunkhouse is situated in the mountain village of Llan Ffestiniog. It offers good amenities and beautiful mountain views across the Moelwyn rage. Fairly central in terms of time to the beach (30 mins) and time to the Snowdon area (30 mins) it does make a useful base. The village itself is very small so if you’re looking for some life in the evening then this probably isnt the most suitable location for you, it is nice and quiet up in the Welsh mountains though!

Lledr House – Dolwyddelan

Sleeps 36, starting from £18 per person per night, or £550 for the house. Lledr house is an old converted Youth Hostel, another big house! Again, it’s size is one of it’s biggest selling points. Situated about 5/10 minutes down the road from Betws y Coed the location isn’t bad at all. 20 minutes to Snowdon.

Bala Bunkhouse – Bala

Sleeps 26. £17 per person pe

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What is Canyoning?

A Guide to Canyoning in North Wales

This is a question we get asked a lot! The adventure activity knows as ‘canyoning‘ is basically when you descend a river just wearing a wetsuit and a buoyancy aid. This means you’ll be scrambling, swimming, sliding and jumping your way down a cascading Welsh river. This is almost certainly our most popular adventure activity and is suitable for anyone between the ages of 11 and 70+.

The Canyoning Adventure

We start by getting geared up. This means changing in to a wetsuit, putting on a safety harness, a buoyancy aid and finally a helmet. These items help keep you warm and safe whilst you’re navigating your way down the river! Then when we’re ready, your instructor will guide you to the start of the river.

Take a deep breath and go for the plunge!

The first bit’s the worst bit! If you’re brave you can throw yourself straight off the riverbank in to the water; there’s no point delaying the inevitable! If you’d rather a less intense approach you can carefully lower yourself in and swim across the first pool.

Next up the slide underneath the waterfall, this is good when the river’s high!

Once everyone has crossed the first pool, we then have to pass the slide under the waterfall. In high water this section is really exciting! The waterfall creates a big curtain that you have to get inside before sliding down the slide and in to a section of the gorge. Another pool leads to another waterfall slide, we put a rope on this so you can slide down nice a carefully.

For this slide we go steady, using the rope to control your speed

The next area is the big pool area. This is where we can do the jumps. From the edge, you can climb up the rocks starting from the smallest ledge at about 1ft (good for small or scared people!) to the biggest jump which is about 10ft. Sometimes we organise a relay race; pandemonium in the river!

This is where you can jump in

Next is some scrambling and swimming, passing small pools and slides. There are some interesting features that we encounter including remnants of an old mining bridge, some rare plants and mosses and unusual rock formations. In the end we arrive at the final obstacle: the BIG slides! These series of giant natural water slides cut through the canyon for almost 250ft before ending at a 40ft waterfall. 

The big slides, clipped to the rope for safety!

Slides, Waterfalls and an Abseil / Zipline

After a safety briefing, we get clipped in to the rope and start sliding down. When we arrive at the top of the waterfall we either abseil off the edge or zipline straight off the top (small group abseil, large group zip-line). This lands you in the middle of the final pool where we can go for a swim under the waterfall before regrouping on the beach and climbing out of the canyon.

The grand finale! Zipline off the 40ft waterfall

The canyon trip is suitable for anyone who has some level of fitness. Normally we enforce a minimum age of 11 but this is a guide only. If the river is very high then smaller children will not be able to descend the slides where as if the water level is very low, we’ve had children as young as 6 complete the trip without any problems.

All obstacles on the trip are avoidable so if there’s something you don’t like the look of you can just go around it! Although you’ll find the trip easier and less scary if you can swim, all participants wear a buoyancy aid that makes you float; we’ve taken plenty of groups that can’t swim confidently and everyone has always found the trip very rewarding.

How to Book Your Adventure

The best way to organise your canyoning trip is to book online using our online booking system. You can select your date, time and the number of participants and once you’ve booked you’ll automatically receive all the relevant information like where you’re meeting, what you need to bring etc.

If you’re part of a bigger group then the best thing to do is contact us via the online form and we can organise your trip from there.

Need More Adventure? Canyon Xtreme is for YOU!

If you think this all sounds good but a bit tame, you need to check out our Canyon Xtreme trip. This trip offers everything the normal canyon does, plus we continue to an area with some seriously exciting features including a slide off a 15ft waterfall, jumps up to 45ft, more slides and pools to a climb out up a waterfall stream. You can watch a video of the trip here. Check out this blog post for more information on the trip here (coming soon).


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