Wale Outdoors used to be an adventure activity provider extraordinaire – offering up a broad range, in fact the most complete range, of outdoor adventures to a wide range of clients, from kids in care to stand and hen and everything else in between.
We decided to stop this provision for a range of reasons, not least the abuse of the river environments of the Brecon Beacons National Park and of clients by most of the activity providers working in the area. This picture, we believe, is a clear example of this.
Wales Outdoors believe that gorge walking activities should not be taking place in the River Mellte due to it’s popularity with walkers and so impact upon othe rvisitors but more importantly due to it’s impact upon the environment, the lower plant species at the edges of waterfalls, for example, and the infrastructure in the area.
Despite these concerns the wider adventure activity commuunity along with the BBNP and Natural Resources Wales set limits, per company, of 48 participants per session. This has led to large groups, multiple groups and what Wales Outdoors warned against and predicted, an abuse of the location.
Further, we know of NO company operating in the Mellte that enforces appropriate footwear for the activity, the lead cause, according to Mountain Rescue, of accidents and injuries at this venue. Would you let your kid gorge walk in daps? Crocs maybe? Well the government agencies that oversea such stuff most certainly turn a blind eye to this leading cause of customer pain, discomfort and hospitalisation.
So, to the pic…
I was at a pool on the Mellte with my small group of walkers, one of whom happened to be an ex adventure activity provider from Devon and we watched this group, with the river running high, in spate if you like, cross over the water. All of my group of seven people commented at how dangerous it looked. In the end we had to leave as it was looking likely that there was going to be an incident.
- Group size – too large for the venue
- Client control – little evidence of maintaining control over the clients. Wales Outdoors would have had all those not swimming stand back from the edge
- River levels – Wales Outdoors would have chosen not to run the activity in such high river conditions
The clients of this company we swimming, one at a time across the pool. The safety used was helmets, B.A.’s and the instructors had throow lines. However, the instructors did not know how to use the throw lines. We saw on multiple occassions the lines go a couple of feet or up into the trees. Some made it across without ever having hold of the line and this was more luck of entry in to the pool than swimming skill.
We observed one client jump in and begin to be swept doewnstream. One line then another failed miserably to get to him and he was saved by the third. If that had not got to him he would have gone over the rapids and would have faced the possibility of serious injury.
Wales Outdoors predicts ongoing unnecessary accidents in the river and at some stage a death. This is why we left this industry. Wales OUtdoors do not want to be associated with those who weekly place trusting members of the public at risk.