By: Blonde Two
When I found out that Ordnance Survey was getting together with Mountain Rescue to raise awareness of the increasing numbers of callouts last year I was keen to get involved. Which worked out well because they were looking for somebody who has been rescued from a remote location to share their experience on BBC Breakfast. Whilst my rescue after breaking my ankle on Dartmoor back in 2009 was by the Devon Air Ambulance, it could very easily have been one of our 4 Dartmoor Rescue groups and I will never forget the feeling of utter relief I experienced when I knew that help was on its way.
Being Blonde and having relatively short notice of the event, it wasn’t until I hopped on an early morning train in Torquay that I really thought through the implications of what I had signed up to do. I had plenty of time, however, to ponder my decision as my 8-hour journey to Snowdonia turned into a ‘bridge issue’, ‘tree on line’, ‘overhead electrics’ 10-hour marathon. My doubts didn’t last beyond the train however because as soon as I arrived and was met by the lovely fellow Ordnance Survey Champion Jason Rawles, I was whisked into a stunning world of misty mountains and clear, swimmable lakes (Snowdonia definitely deserves more Blonde attention!). The words ‘live broadcast’ didn’t really get the chance to enter my comprehension until the morning of the event and as I arose at 5 o’clock they only just made it past the blurred Blonde brain cells even then.
After a slight location based confusion, the irony of which I don’t think escaped either the world’s premier mapping organisation, all-round ginger superman Sean Conway, Chris from Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue or a bunch of outdoor enthusiasts, we found the BBC with little time to spare. This meant that I really didn’t have any time at all to even consider nerves. There was a brief ‘you stand here and please can you say this’ conversation and we were up and running with broadcast 1 at 06:20. By broadcast 2 at 07:20 I was enjoying myself and by the 08:55 attempt I felt like a pro.
There were, of course, a few Blonde moments:
- The imaginary trailer that had been ordered for my hair and make-up got lost somewhere in the Welsh mist and I looked progressively more bedraggled as time went on (thank goodness for hats!)
- I insisted on the poor presenter saying ‘that’s a wrap’ at the end of broadcast 1 and took great glee in saying it myself when we had finally finished all 3.
- I (and only a Blonde could achieve this) managed to take my phone out to take a picture on live BBC TV. I thought I was out of shot at the time and it was only the camera man’s frantic hand signalling that alerted me to the fact that I was not.
As it turns out I think I quite like broadcasting. Much more importantly, however, is the possibility that, between us, we may have persuaded a few more people to prepare properly and consider contingency plans before they venture into the hills. If you are planning a walk, camp or other expedition (cyclists and runners this includes you) do please have a look at this Mountain Rescue fact sheet before you do so.
Stay safe and give those great Mountain Rescue volunteers a few more chances to stay at home with their families or at work doing their day jobs.