At around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday 22nd January call-handlers from Aberdyfi Search & Rescue Team were made aware of a party of 3 adults and 3 children lost on Cader Idris.
The well-equipped party from the Wrexham area had started their day on the mountain from Minffordd at 8:30 a.m and, having summited at around 1:30 p.m., were on their way back down when they took a wrong turn. They made attempts to get back on track but with the children, aged between 10-13 years, starting to fatigue, and with poor visibility and failing light, the party opted to take to their emergency shelters and seek help.
With an accurate grid reference provided by the party, rescue volunteers were able to drive on a hill track to a nearby sheep shelter from where they deployed on foot. The casualty party shone torches in the direction of the approaching rescuers, so their position was quickly identified. The group was escorted down to the Team vehicle, and with a couple of shuttle-runs, were taken down off the mountain and back to their vehicle. Everyone was off the mountain and back at the Minffordd car park by 10:40 p.m.
At around 8:30 p.m., as the Team was already deployed on a rescue, call handlers were informed that concerns had been raised over the safety of a party of 1 male and 2 females on Cader Idris. The party, described as "in their 20s," "poorly equipped" and "looking out of their depth", were last seen in the summit hut at 4:30 p.m. shortly before darkness fell.
In conversation with the informant, the party had mentioned that they were doing the Mynydd Moel loop from Minffordd, but seemed to have little idea of their route and directed the informant 180 degrees in the wrong direction. The informant continued with her own journey and returned to the Minffordd car park some time later in the evening where she found three cars. Being concerned for the well-being of the walkers, she called the police to report her concerns once back in signal.
Call-handlers were able to establish that two of the cars were likely to belong to the casualty party from the ongoing rescue which left the possibility that the third belonged to this "missing" party. With this in mind, the Team was put on standby whilst further developments were awaited.
It was felt that, since a group of 20 year olds may well have a working phone between them, and that no calls had been received by North Wales Police regarding this matter, then it was unclear whether an emergency actually existed. With the Team vehicles, and a number of Team volunteers in the closing stages of a rescue nearby, it was decided to await a search of the car-park and other likely parking spots once the first job had been completed. On their return to Minffordd, the Team found only two cars in the park, both belonging to the casualty party they were accompanying, and with surrounding parking spots empty, the call-out was declared a false alarm with good intent, and the Team was stood down.