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.
Why WAAT4 helps to raise money…
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.
We would like to thank the following for their kind Donation:
Organiser Resigns following nine years’ service to WAAT4
It is with sadness that the WAAT4 Committee receive the resignation for personal reasons of Mr Gary Philpott. Mr Philpott has been the driving force behind WAAT4 since 2009 when it commenced. On behalf of the Committee and everyone involved in WAAT4 we would like to say a huge thank you for all the time and work that you put into ensuring that the WAAT4 was a fun and safe event for everyone concerned. Gary, good luck and best wishes to you and your family for the future.