'If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be around': Pen y Fan, dramatic rescues and the pandemic

Every year over four million people visit the Brecon Beacons national park; many to climb the iconic peak of Pen y Fan. At 886 metres tall this mountain is not an easy stroll, and things can and do go wrong.

The volunteers of Brecon Mountain Rescue team know this landscape well. They respond to emergencies in some of the most hard to reach places, and are the only team whose base is in the park itself. 

With around a hundred calls out a year the team has to train every week. But last year, in the middle of filming, everything stopped. The mountains were closed, everyone had to stay home and training went online. 

. “There is a sense of freedom of being in the mountains so it has been hard. Lockdown made us all feel massively isolated” - Niall McCann

But the summer brought a new challenge, as people flocked back to the National Park.

After months of staying home, the team had to quickly find their mountain fitness once again. And find a Covid safe way to respond to emergencies.

Pip Rosser-Stanford credits Mountain Rescue with helping to save his life. 

Last summer he had a heart attack at the top of Pen y Fan, as he and his family scaled the summit at sunrise.

As Mountain Rescue set off to rescue him, they had an emergency of their own, as one of the vehicles broke down. 

Visitors queue to reach the summit of Pen y Fan.

Setting off on foot, they called for assistance from the Coastguard and the two rescue teams met on the top. 

“They didn’t give up getting to me and it’s thanks to them that I’m well on the road to recovery," a grateful Pip explained.

"I was preparing to say goodbye. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be around, simple as that."

In a year like no other, ITV cameras followed Brecon Mountain Rescue team as they coped with callouts, the coronavirus and the closure of the National Park. 

You can see how the mountain rescue team of the Brecon Beacons coped with the pandemic on Monday 29th March at 8pm on ITV Cymru Wales.

Catch up with the series so far here.