Fundraising for SARDA Wales on Snowdon

The rotten weather forecast could only mean one thing – Bank Holiday - and for Search & Rescue Teams everywhere this also means two more things: extra callouts and a chance to raise much-needed funds.  All Search & Rescue Teams in England & Wales are entirely reliant on donations and with the increasing need for technology, specialist equipment, vehicles and transport costs, to name but a few things, funds are stretched more than ever.

Fundraising for SARDA Wales

An Early Start

SARDA Wales, the Search & Rescue Dog Association, are very fortunate to be allowed to fundraise on the Snowdon Railway concourse in Llanberis, and at the top of Snowdon so Kevin Thomas and I set off (not necessarily bright-eyed or bushy-tailed, but at least awake) at 7am on Sunday to be in Llanberis in good time to be on our allotted spot for 9am.

There was a gap in the weather to give stunning views as we travelled from Llanfyllin and we met our friend Tim, a trainee search dog handler with his Irish Red & White setter, Izzy, who had already done a great job setting up our stand with smart new merchandise – travel mugs and bags with our logo, books marking this year being the 50th anniversary of search dogs in the UK – enticing people towards us with bright new flags and table displays.

SARDA Wales Fundraising Stand

Two Dogs Called Izzy

Tim had brought his partner’s search dog with him (also, confusingly, called Izzy!) a blue Merle collie who got really excited to see him getting her search jacket out of the van, not realising she was just on PR duty today! Kevin took her for the day and I had Maya, a collie who isn’t a search dog but she passed the gruelling SARDA stock & obedience test in the summer so that she can proudly wear the coveted green disc on her collar and come training. Often she comes out with me when I am bodying (hiding for the dogs to be trained to find people) and knowing she is obedient and will not chase sheep means that she and I can keep each other company (and she keeps me warm!), in the long hours out hiding on the mountainside. We have also used her to replicate a scenario where the dogs are searching for a missing dog-walker: I am the missing walker, Maya is “my” dog and we can assess how a search dog reacts to meeting another dog when they locate a casualty. 

Izzy no 2


First priority was a bacon buttie and as you can see from the picture, it’s a great way of keeping dogs under control and focussed on you! 

Two Izzies

Two Izzies are Amazing with Children

The two Izzies and Maya probably got more of my bacon than I did but it was worth it as they were patient little superstars all day as a stream of people kind enough to put money in our collection tins wanted cuddles with them, posed photographs, more cuddles….. The two Izzies, in particular, are amazing with children and stoically put up with fingers in their nostrils and ears (yes, really!), patting on the nose, ice creams being casually held at the dog’s mouth level, taunting with toys, sudden loud noises, and so on.

Tips on Scaling Snowdon

Another inevitable feature of the day is being treated like a free guiding service! – it’s probably worth reiterating here that there is no easy way up 3,560 feet and even if the weather is lovely at the base of the mountain, it can still be ferociously cold and wet at the top (I remember scrambling on icy rocks at the top of a mountain in Snowdonia one July….). Summiting Snowdon is always a special feeling and it’s even more fun if you are safe and warm there and back – please at the very least bear in mind the following:

  • Leave details with someone responsible, of where you are going, your intended route, who is with you and when you estimate you will be back

  • wear suitable footwear (walking boots are best)

  • avoid jeans (horrible when wet!) 

  • carry extra layers (including for children), extra food and liquids, basic First Aid kit, whistle, torch and map (and know how to use it!) 

  • keep your mobile dry and switched off unless you need it, to save its battery life (which can be shortened by cold temperatures), and don’t rely on there being signal everywhere. 

  • leave plenty of time to get there and back in daylight!

  • Book the train up Snowdon well in advance as it gets busy and if you can’t get a ticket, think about this list and whether you should really be setting off to walk up. There are plenty of beautiful viewing spots by the road in the area where you can get an ice cream and admire the mountain safely.

Following a few basic safety principles should ensure that the only time you need to meet us or our gorgeous search dogs is at our fundraising events where we are always delighted to see you and the dogs will oblige with cuddles!

End of the day