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‘Volunteering with the heroes who saved my life’

One year after a serious accident in the Brecon Beacons, explorer Niall McCann reflects on becoming a volunteer with the mountain rescue team who saved his life.

35-year-old Niall, who lives in Cardiff, crashed on to the north face of Pen-y-Fan last May, in an extreme sport accident. He was rescued by Brecon Mountain Rescue Team [MRT] and HM Coastguard.

Doctors who cared for him during his 38-day hospital stay thought he might never walk again, after he was left with a shattered spine.

Niall said: “I have always been a serious adventurer and expeditioner and after years of doing long and difficult expeditions I wanted to try something a bit different, something that would give me an instant adrenaline rush. I had been speed flying for about two years when I had the crash. I wasn’t very good at it!”

Niall now follows a rigorous physiotherapy regime and one year on from the accident is fit enough to volunteer alongside the mountain rescuers who saved him.

“I was three weeks in to my training with Brecon Mountain Rescue Team at the time of the accident, and have now re-joined the team to complete my training. I feel privileged to work side-by-side with the volunteers who saved my life; it is such an important charity.

“I’ve had a fair amount of medical training. I was the de-facto medic on expeditions to many hard-to-reach places, all over the world. You have to be calm under pressure when there’s no back-up coming! Now that I’ve experienced the other side of a rescue I feel like I’m better able to help others. ”

An avid explorer and adrenaline junkie, McCann was born into a family of adventurers in Canada and was brought up in Shrewsbury. After studying in Bristol and Cardiff his career has taken him all over the world, studying endangered animals and working on anti-poaching projects.

He said: “Compared to before my accident, I’m not doing great. But, compared to 11 months ago I am doing amazingly well. I still have some paralysis down the back of both of my legs, but I’m back to cycling and hiking, and am back in the gym again.”

Brecon MRT is an emergency service staffed by volunteers and funded entirely by donations. One quarter of their funding is raised by the WAAT4.

Since the event started in 2009 it has raised over £70,000 for Brecon Mountain Rescue Team.

Why WAAT4 helps to raise money…


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During the lead up to The Brecon Beacons WAAT4 Challenge we will be advertising the event nationally to attract competitors and visitors to Brecon and the surrounding area.

We would be very grateful if you could help us by printing our poster and displaying it in your local shop, post office, pub or anywhere in your community.

Please download WAAT4 Challenge Poster 2018  (PDF)  


Thousands of people have taken part

Poster 2018

Become part of Team WAAT4 by taking part in the WAAT4 Challenge 2018, and raise funds for the vulnerable within the communities.

Attracting over 500 participants and over 1,000 spectators each year, this iconic event has become a must do in the outdoor calendar.

With 2 routes to choose from it doesn't matter whether you've never done a navigation event before or are an champion of the mountains – there’s something for all abilities and ambitions!

The Challenge

The WAAT4 Challenge takes place at the Rugby Fields, Parc de Pugh, Brecon. From here you will navigate through the iconic landmarks of the Brecon Beacons.

There are 2 routes available: 40km and 20km

There are 3 competition categories available: Competitors Cup, Emergency Services Cup and a Forces Cup.

Teams to consist of a minimum of 2 or a maximum of 6 persons.


Saturday 16
th June 2018

Join us

Registration to secure a place at this event costs just £25 per team member and we ask that you pledge to raise a minimum of £50 per team member in sponsorship for our nominated Charities.

Participants must be over 16 years (16-17 year olds must be accompanied by a team member of 18yrs and over).

By registering for this event you agree to our terms and conditions.


Join us for our 10th Anniversary

Our Charities - Brecon Mountain Rescue, Wales Air Ambulance, A Safer Dyfed-Powys and DofE Wales.

WAAT4 Raise £22850.00

WAAT4 Challenge say a Big Thank You!  9 years and still going strong…  more >>