LIKE many who tackle the South Wales Three Peaks Trial around Abergavenny on March 30, Ian Waddell keeps himself active and has a passion for the outdoors.

But what puts Mr Waddell, from Abergavenny, in a different league from the other competitors is his age. He will be taking on the trial of climbing Bal Mawr, Pen Cerrig Calch, and Sugar Loaf, three weeks after his 81st birthday.

He said: “I’ve done this kind of thing for 40-odd years since I left the army.

"I’m not an armchair person. I had a new hip and knee three years ago, and at my 80th birthday party I said it was silly I’d been laid up for nearly two years.

"When you start to know what’s on daytime TV, you’re in trouble.”

Mr Waddell is determined to take on the most difficult platinum route – he “can’t stand roads” – and with the aid of sticks and crutches will start his journey at midnight on March 29 from Llanthony Abbey, where the original trial used to begin.

“The darkness will add a bit of spice to it,” he said. “People have accepted the fact I’m a bit of an oddball, but I’ve always been active and I will be until the end.”

Mr Waddell will be accompanied by Ross Townley and another man, Mo, and there’ll be backup support on hand from the Angel Hotel should any problems arise.

But Mr Waddell isn’t considering failure.

“The pain drains you and that’s the thing I’ve got to fight, but if I don’t try I’ll never know.”

Mr Waddell is raising money for children’s hospice Ty Hafan. To donate, visit