(SWANSEA, Wales) — Britons were shocked Wednesday morning to see the photo of rock-climbing fanatic Menna Pritchard climbing a 30-foot rock face with 2-year-old daughter Ffion strapped to her back.
Readers and commentators were especially critical of toddler Ffion’s not wearing a helmet.
Proud single mother Pritchard, 26, insisted the climb was “100percent safe” from falling rocks.
She was inundated with comments after she posted the photo online, many of them from concerned mothers who questioned the safety of taking such a young child up a sheer rock face.
Pritchard, a single parent, is an experienced climber and an enthusiastic promoter of outdoor sports that involve children.
“My real passion is just getting people outdoors with their kids, and I wouldn’t want to put anyone off,” she told the BBC. “I’ve had feedback on my blog and Twitter from people who have said they found it an inspiration, and have asked for advice on types of slings and things.”
Pritchard has been taking Ffion on outdoor treks through the hills and mountains of Wales for some time.
The photo that caused all the fuss was taken during a recent climb of the Three Cliffs Bay in Wales’s picturesque Gower peninsula. Pritchard is wearing a helmet but not her daughter.
Pritchard said no helmet was needed because both she and Ffion were attached to a rope held by a trusted colleague. “Some people would say I’m taking more risks than are necessary, but I am very conscious of safety,” she said.
The Daily Mail newspaper reported, however, that local climbers said the limestone rock face of The Three Cliffs was notorious for breaking off and falling.
A defiant Pritchard said, “The sue-and-blame culture means so many people are nervous, so afraid of getting into trouble, and taking small risks.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Andreas Preuss, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN
Lorenzo Ferrigno, CNN