How Forgetting to ‘Be Prepared’ Nearly Ended in Disaster

A true-life story of what happens when you’re not prepared

Darren Matthews
9 min readOct 25, 2019


I pulled my phone out, cursing at the stupidity I had created.

I looked around praying that the other walkers we had lost sight of would suddenly reappear, then I could recover a situation which was rapidly getting out of hand.

There was no sign of them anywhere, god knows where they had gone. I couldn’t see them anywhere, they were gone. I headed into the long grass and walked straight into a marshy area. It was no good, I had to accept it. We were lost.

We had fallen in love with North Wales as a result of a holiday in North Wales back in 2009. The landscapes we found were stunning, autumnal colours just adding to the majesty of the place.

One village in particular hooked us, Beddgelert.

Taken by Author — Beddgelert -16/10/18

We found it one evening, driving back from Caernarfon as I had wanted to see a bit more of Snowdonia. Twilight was upon us, the orange glow from the streetlights illuminated the bridge the crossed a river. Shop windows teased delights that beckoned us to enter.

We parked up, curiosity getting the better of us.

We were back the next day, and whilst exploring we found a footpath that followed the river down. Along the path, we found Gelert’s grave, as well as some fast-moving rapids, with stoppers created from the boulders and rocks under the water. At the end of the main footpath was a bridge to cross the river, which met the point a train line crossed the river too.

That year we hadn’t ventured further than the bridge, but others were walking that way. Thinking back, we had stopped on the way into the village and taken some photos of the river from a wooded area next to it. We had seen the footpath has followed the river bank down on the other side. Where did it lead to…

I got back to my family, “I’m sorry but we are lost. It’s getting late, the cloud is coming down and I don’t know where we are or how to get us out of this. I’m going to call the police.”



Darren Matthews

I’m utterly curious about decision-making | Sharing lessons learned from the thousands of decisions I’ve studied and made | Founder