Given the paucity of television programmes dedicated to mountain activities on UK TV, it’s heartening to see the Welsh language channel Sianel Pedwar Cymru-(S4C) putting out a dedicated season of programmes this week. Last’s nights offerings included a profile of Everesteer, Charles Evans; a 90 minute feature on young local hot shot, Ioan Doyle and Everest Diary. The first and latter I intend to watch on the S4c version of iPlayer this week. I did catch Defaid a Dringo (Shepherding and climbing), a subtitled profile of shiny happy Ioan Doyle who comes across not so much as a glass half full person, as a glass full to the brim and foaming down the sides person!
Ioan from Bethesda gave up on an academic life at Uni to concentrate on building a career in his local environs as an agricultural contractor. A career within which he is an accomplished dry stone waller. With a boundless enthusiasm to get his foot on the farming ladder, Ioan was seen building up his own small flock of sheep on loaned fields and with donated ewes. His dedication to his flock extended to taking one pet lamb with him to Parisella’s Cave where in between making the second attempt on a V12 boulder problem, he bottle fed his lamb.
The vast landscapes of the Carneddau were beautifully filmed. Showing the vastness of a rolling wilderness which runs down to the sea. Mostly unpopulated apart from the ubiquitous sheep and the wild ponies . The film did however,capture the catastrophic snow fall which engulfed the Welsh uplands in March and showed Ioan and family members engaged in the heartbreaking task of digging out pregnant ewes-mostly dead-from the vast snow drifts. Food for thought for those UKC-ers who wet themselves over the prospect of heavy snow in the mountains? Some people have to live with extreme weather episodes 24/7, not for a few hours at the weekend.
The climbing sequences filmed by amongst others, veteran Welsh action cameraman Alun Hughes, were pretty mind blowing. Highlights being his ascent with girlfriend ‘Helen Bach’ (Little Helen) no mean climber she-on one of Europes’ longest sports climbs. A thousand footer in the Spanish Riglos. ‘One of the best climbs I’ve ever done’. declared Ioan. Not bad when you consider it was intended as a spot of easy recreational climbing after an old finger injury flared up and prevented him from doing any hard projects.
The final piece of climbing footage was closer to home but equally engaging. A second ascent of Sean Miles 86 pump fest-Ogwen Crack- a vicious E7 on Braich ty Du above the A5 near Ogwen Cottage. I had stiff little fingers and screaming tendons just watching it!
All in all, an excellent film which showed a highly talented young climber as an intelligent and rounded human being. Totally engaged with his natural environment, his friends and family and his local community...
Defaid a Dringo (with English subtitles available. Click on 'S')