Hunting for the Welsh Bigfoot

Hunting for the Welsh Bigfoot with The Unexplainers

About a year ago we were contacted by a production company producing a show for BBC Radio Wales to provide some training in tracking for the two presenters on a show called The Unexplainers. This isn’t too unusual for us – we provide assistance to radio and TV productions most years for foraging, bushcraft, survival and so on. The subject of that episode was a bit outside the average requests – to train them to hunt big cats in the UK. Zoocryptology isn’t part of my skillset, but I could easily teach the two presenters (Mike Bubbins and John Rutledge) a few simple tips and the sort of things we are looking for when tracking a subject.

Fast-forward to early April 2016 and I found myself out with them again, this time to escort them into the mountains of Northern Snowdonia (specifically the the Carneddau) to hunt for the Brenin Llwyd, which is pretty much the Welsh Bigfoot. There is a similar story of a grey ape-like creature stalking the mountains of Scotland in the ‘Grey Man of Ben Macdui’, AKA Am Fear Liath Mor. Compelling stuff.

We were tasked with safely escorting Mike and John to Dulyn Bothy in the next valley, a secluded mountain hut maintained by volunteers from the Mountain Bothies Association. In my bag I had the usual clothes, sleeping kit, stoves and safety kit expected of someone escorting clients for an overnight trip – and 10kg of coal for the stove in the bothy to keep us warm – and hopefully keep any large, grey and hairy visitors away.

We gradually made our way along the access track, pausing along the way for the usual delays in recording a show that involves setting up microphones and cameras. As darkness approached we descended the final slope to Llyn Dulyn, picked up some lake water for our needs and approached the bothy, alone in our corner of wilderness, with nobody else for miles around.

Apart from the Paul Poole and some candidates on their final days of their Mountain Leader Assessment, about to head out on a night-navigation session. Bugger.

And they had brought a massive bag of coal already. Bugger.

After a few salutaions and explanations we settled in for the evening, cooking and warming ourselves by the industrial-grade multifuel stove that Dulyn Bothy boasts.

As midnight approached we went back out amongst the rocks and scrubby grass to continue our search, armed with a few ‘specialist’ tools tactics that John had prepared.

So did we find our quarry? Did they all make it out alive? Were we silenced by government agents for what we had learned?
To find out you’ll have to listen live on BBC Radio Wales, download the podcast on iTunes or come find us in an undisclosed location, doing undisclosed things…

NOTE: We didn’t set fire to the bothy, we swept the place out afterwards, removed some rubbish left by others, made a few running repairs to the door and left a massive bag of coal behind! The production company also made a donation to the MBA.

Foraging with 16 Hospitality
Outdoor First Aid Course Report March 2016

Richard Prideaux is a partner of Original Outdoors and our lead instructor. For more than a decade he has worked in outdoor education, expedition leadership, safety and management, mountain rescue and SAR and coaching and personal development.

He has also worked with international restaurants and chefs as a professional forager and advisor and appeared on several television and radio productions.

He lives in North Wales on the borders of Snowdonia National Park.

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